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  • Writer's pictureDr. Andreas Pfeiffer

Emobility: Team culture & organizational development

In the emerging world of emobility, where technological advances and changes are the order of the day, one thing is often neglected: the development of a healthy, agile organizational culture. Appropriate organizational development is not just a necessity, but a crucial tool for the success of the often newly founded units. In this special edition of 'Behind the Scenes' we delve deeper into the world of team and organizational development in the context of this new market. We have with us today two experts in their respective fields. First of all, I would like to welcome Marc Rogowski, a renowned psychologist, coach and organizational developer. Mr. Rogowski has an impressive background in systemic human resources and organizational development and has long been supporting companies with his consulting company "Choreoo - the human side of change" on questions relating to the development of effective teams. I would also like to warmly welcome Dr. Andreas Pfeiffer, experienced manager and business innovator, and owner of the management consultancy greenventors.

Team development is not only a necessity, but a critical tool for the success of often newly formed entities.
Team development is not only a necessity, but a critical tool for the success of often newly formed entities.

Welcome, Mr. Rogowski and Dr. Pfeiffer. Mr. Rogowski, what importance do you attach to team culture and team spirit for the success of teams, especially in such a pioneering area as electromobility?

Mr Rogowski: Team culture and spirit are crucial for every team. They form the glue that holds a team together, especially when it goes through the typical, sometimes challenging development phases - from formation to conflict to smooth collaboration. In an innovative field like electromobility, where things change agilely and teams often grow and are built just as quickly, these phases are even more critical. In addition, relatively new units often compete here - but they are attached to an existing, established organization. You should then work in the spirit and speed of a startup, while at the same time respecting the framework of established organizations. This creates additional tension.


You talk about different development phases. How can managers support their teams to move through these phases efficiently?

Mr Rogowski: First of all, as a manager it's about being aware of the respective phase of your own team. For example, in the early stages, teams are often very enthusiastic, but can also be chaotic. Here you need clear structures and framework conditions. In later phases, when conflicts may arise, it is important to address and clarify them openly. A good team is characterized by a high level of maturity in which all members work together efficiently and trustingly. To achieve this, you need clear communication, psychological safety and the willingness to continually work on yourself.


Thanks for this explanation. Could you explain these phases in more detail and show us how they are particularly relevant in the context of electromobility?

Mr Rogowski: I would be happy to go into the individual phases in more detail. First there is the formation phase, in which a team finds itself and gets to know each other. At this stage, relationships are often polite and superficial as members are still unsure and want to find their place. This is followed by the phase of conflict or storm, during which disagreements and friction may arise. This phase can be particularly intense considering how new and unknown the field of electric mobility is to many and how many different backgrounds and perspectives are at play.

Conflicts in teams are frictions that are important for further development and team performance.
Conflicts in teams are frictions that are important for further development and team performance.

That sounds challenging. How does a team move from this conflictive phase to effective collaboration?

Mr Rogowski: Through clarifying leadership that does not shy away from conflicts, but actively addresses and resolves them. This is not always easy, and sometimes you need external advice, coaching or a few workshops. But then it succeeds.

After the conflict phase comes the norming phase, in which the team begins to gain clarity about roles, responsibilities and expectations. It develops rules and processes to work effectively. Finally, when these norms are firmly established, the team enters the performance phase, where they work together efficiently and harmoniously. It is the point at which the team really begins to develop its full potential in the field of electromobility.

It is not about 'fixing' individual members of the team, but rather about recognizing patterns that influence team dynamics and understanding how these patterns can be used to the team's advantage or can be redesigned can. Marc Rogowski

That's interesting. Could you tell us more about how systemic coaching can support these processes?

Mr Rogowski: Of course. Systemic coaching is a counterpart to well-known expert advice, which often approaches problems with ready-made solutions. Which usually doesn't work in the long term. Our type of coaching looks at the team as a whole, in the context of its environment. It is not about 'fixing' individual members of the team, but rather about recognizing patterns that influence team dynamics and understanding how these patterns can be used to the team's advantage or can be redesigned.


Dr. Pfeiffer, you closely followed Marc Rogowski's comments on team development. From a manager's perspective, how do you interpret the phases of team development described and their significance in the context of electromobility?

Dr. Pfeiffer: Marc's insights into the team development phases are very apt, especially in the rapidly changing environment of electromobility. It is crucial as a leader to recognize what phase the team is currently in. In the early stages - and this can be joining a team as a "new boss" or completely rebuilding an area - when everything is new and exciting, I see it as an important task to offer orientation and set initial structures. This gives the team security and a clear framework for excelling in their performance.

In the early stages, when everything is new and exciting, I see it as an important task to offer orientation and set initial structures. This gives the team security and a clear framework for excelling in their performance. Dr. Andreas Pfeiffer

You talk about orientation and structure. How do you deal with conflict phases when differences of opinion or points of friction arise in the team?

Dr. Pfeiffer: Conflicts are often unavoidable in team dynamics and can even be constructive if they are handled correctly. During these phases, my role is to listen to the team, intervene and ensure that we pursue common visions and goals despite differences of opinion. It's essential to create clear lines of communication and remind the team that we all share the same overarching purpose: to revolutionize mobility.

In conflicts, leaders should listen to the team, mediate, and ensure that everyone is following the common vision and goals.
In conflicts, leaders should listen to the team, mediate, and ensure that everyone is following the common vision and goals.

If we now change the perspective: As an interim manager, you are not firmly anchored in the organization, but come on board for a certain period of time. How do you interpret the team development phases in this context, and what differences or challenges do you see compared to the role of a permanent manager?

Dr. Pfeiffer: As an interim manager you actually have a slightly different perspective. You often come to a company in phases of upheaval or change. Awareness of the team development phases is also crucial here. Perhaps the biggest difference is that as an interim manager you have the advantage of a fresh outside perspective. This can help break old patterns more quickly and create new impulses. However, the challenge often lies in gaining the trust of the team in a short period of time. It is important to communicate quickly that you have the well-being of the team and the company in mind and that you want to contribute constructively to development, even if you are only on board temporarily.

A central aspect of my work is to enable managers to better understand themselves and their team, to create spaces for reflection and to develop solution-oriented paths. Marc Rogowski

Mr Rogowski, you work as a systemic coach and organizational developer. What exactly do you do when you accompany managers in these complex situations?

Mr Rogowski: In my work with managers, I first focus on gaining a deep understanding of their individual challenges and goals. Systemic coaching makes it possible to look at both the individual and the relationships and dynamics in the team. A central aspect of my work is to enable managers to better understand themselves and their team, to create spaces for reflection and to develop solution-oriented paths. It is important to me to develop concrete action steps together that both enable short-term success and contribute to further development in the long term.


That sounds like very fulfilling work. Why do you enjoy coaching executives in electromobility so much?

Mr Rogowski: It is important to me to support people and organizations in such a dynamic and forward-looking field as electromobility. It's not just about overcoming technological or economic challenges, but also about helping teams and individuals develop their full potential. Every time I see the positive changes that come from our work together, it confirms to me how valuable and effective coaching can be. And if I can contribute a little to the energy transition, that makes me even happier.

Team member interaction and performance are closely related and critical to success.
Team member interaction and performance are closely related and critical to success.

Dr. Pfeiffer, you have worked intensively on the various facets of emobility. How do technical content, technical knowledge and customer behavior in mobility interact in your work?

Dr. Pfeiffer: Emobility is an interdisciplinary field. It is not enough to have only technical or energy industry knowledge. You also have to understand customer behavior in order to develop and market successful products and services. Team member interaction and performance are closely related and critical to success, especially when you work with such heterogeneous teams as I do.

No matter whether the team members have a heterogeneous corporate background or are fresh out of university - we are all looking for something meaningful in common. Dr. Andreas Pfeiffer

You have worked with many different teams in your career. How do you manage to form a coherent team from such heterogeneous groups?

Dr. Pfeiffer: From my perspective, it's all about creating a shared vision and clear patterns of action. Regardless of whether the team members have a heterogeneous corporate background or are fresh out of university, we are all looking for a meaningful common ground. I love working intensively with my employees and developing a vision together. The key is to not only make them feel like they are part of something bigger, but to actually live it by developing the vision and themselves - as a team and as individuals.


Finally, could you each formulate a suggestion for action for managers on how to succeed in the new situation of emobility?

Mr. Rogowski: Sure, my suggestion: invest time and resources in developing your teams. This is an investment that pays off several times over. And it's not just about technical training, but above all about developing team culture and dynamics. Dysfunctional teams are very costly and difficult to heal. My advice is to invest early to ensure a good start.

Dr. Pfeiffer: My suggestion would be to always take the time to talk with the team about the vision and goals together. It is important to understand vision and goals as a development process. And create spaces where open communication and feedback are possible. This creates trust and binds the employees.

Marc Rogowski (choreoo) & Dr. Andreas Pfeiffer (greenventors GmbH)
Marc Rogowski (choreoo) & Dr. Andreas Pfeiffer (greenventors GmbH)

Emobility is a fascinating and challenging field that is constantly changing. But despite all the technological advances and market changes, one thing remains constant: success depends largely on people - on teams that work together effectively and organizations that adapt and grow. Like Mr. Rogowski and Dr. Pfeiffer emphasized today, a strong team culture, systemic coaching and an understanding of the organization's level of maturity are crucial factors for success in this dynamic environment.


From this article, both experts would like to give managers in electromobility three essential and concrete tips for action:

1. Invest in team development: Leaders should consciously invest in the development of their teams, both in terms of professional development and in terms of team culture and dynamics. Awareness of the different team development phases and providing support during these phases, whether through coaching or other intervention methods, is crucial

2. Developing a Shared Vision: It's important that leaders regularly communicate with their teams about the company's vision and goals. Constant reflection and adjustment of these visions and goals enables the teams to develop further and adapt to the changing requirements of electromobility.

3. Encourage open communication and feedback: Open dialogue and clear lines of communication are crucial to building trust within the team and effectively managing disagreements or points of friction. It's important to create spaces where employees can give feedback and express their concerns. This not only promotes trust, but also overall team dynamics and efficiency.



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