Reorganization Viewed from the Inside, with Fly The Nest
1) Hi Erwann, could you remind us Fly The Nest activity, and share the most recent release of your purpose and vision, that I know you are updating on a regular basis?
At Fly The Nest, we help businesses to scale, by aligning every team members on the vision they want to achieve, making sure they execute what they have in mind, and developing the leadership of everyone.
If you want our official purpose, I’ll translate it to “help individual and collectives to achieve their vision, in harmony with their environnement“. We believe that everyone has a vision of a better world, and should try to implement it: we are here to make it come true.
Today, our short and mid-term vision are focused on scale. We are trying to double our impact (the number of people we animate) in 2019 by developing partnership with VCs, and networks of entrepreneurs. This strategy is starting to work so we have a lot do on recruitment in order to find the best people for our peculiar organization. We also have a lot of communication projects going on, in order to saturate Paris market at the end of next year. By that, we should finally have built a scalable organization, and the tools to operate it.
Our long term vision is mainly internal, and describes what we want for our company in the future. We are still focused on startups and scaleups, for a few years now, but what we do could be applied to anything. So what we want in the next ten years is to broaden our clients base:
- bigger and more traditional organizations;
- public projects like cities for example;
- opening new territories (in France and abroad);
- working with a network of certified coach for small businesses.
=> In all that vision, what is important for us is to stay based on entrepreneurship, and a decentralized organization. A network where anyone can pave its own path within thousands of opportunities.
2) You recently reorganized your resources: what were the weak signals that trigger this reorganization?
First of all, it was something discussed since the first days of Fly The Nest. As we are building a decentralized organization, we believe that teams should remain small and autonomous, so agility and leadership can thrive. When we reached 10 people in the team, decisions became slower, and harder to make. Committees had been longer and longer, more and more exhausting. Leaders of the company were starting to have too much weight. So we decided to split the team in two.
3) Could you describe the new organization, and explain the rational behind?
We are now past this reorganization, as we organically reorganize every semester. During our biannual summits, we collectively align on the priorities of the company : short and mid-term company goals, main areas of work and targets for each. Then we create squads of 4 to 6 people, each focusing on one area of work.
We really believe that innovation thrive from autonomy, and unplanned discussions. So each squad has its own clients and budget. Squad members spend a lot of their time together (at team meeting or during clients off-sites for example), and they are pretty much free to do anything, as long as they communicate it well. As a little company on its own, these kind of teams are so focus than they deliver very well.
In order to stay coordinate between the squads, we also created guilds, inspired from the Spotify model. The guilds links some of our colleagues by the criteria of competences. For example, the sales guild coordinates leads transfer and training. For each of the important “jobs” at Fly The Nest, we have a guild that meets from time to time in order to structure the activity.
Finally, in the middle of the semester, we spend two days to review every result that has been achieved, and we adjust the direction for the last 3 months of the period.
4) Traditional organizations split resources according to ‘functional job like marketing, sales, production, finance,…’, or geography, or according to ‘customer portfolio (like freedom incorporated Favi)’, or ‘projects portfolio (like scaling Agile at Spotify)’: why wasn’t Fly The Nest comfortable with these patterns? And what does your bespoke organization bring to the table that the traditional organizations did not provide?
Splitting jobs between different fonctions can be very useful when you have a business that needs a lot of different expertises. Like building a submarine for example. At Fly The Nest, our main expertise is people. People are certainly the most complex element of the world, but you don’t need to work with 5 different experts to do what we do.
So from the beginning, we have the chance to not be forced to build silos between work expertise. We all have a very different background, which is wonderful and very useful. But we don’t need to organize ourselves around our skills.
We are closer from ‘customer portfolio‘ as FAVI. When we did our first split, each team had a specific set of clients. One squad had small clients (>30p) and the other big ones, because we had very different objectives for them, and both were important. After 6 months, it was not relevant for us anymore, because our focus were not on the “products” we deliver.
We are quite similar, in fact, to ‘projects portfolio’ at Spotify. As them, we believe that decentralized modularity is the key for performance, well-being, learning, resilience… Everything that a company is looking for seems to hide in a very natural model, where cells interacts with each other, for a common purpose. The Spotify cells are focused on developing a great product, ours are focused on developing a great company.
5) How long has the new organization been going on, and what are the first feedbacks, and KPIs?
We started the company in 2015, and we are very happy that we reached 1 million turnover this year. Our main KPI is the number of people we have been working with, which is around 1,600 these days. All this is due to satisfied clients: they bring us 75% of our clients as our Net Promoter Score may suggest : 80% will recommend us. We also look at our own commitment, as employee of Fly The Nest. And we always score more than 90% so we are satisfied with it 🙂
To conclude, I would say that we have now proved that our business model – working with startups for a flat rate with an holistic approach – can work and creates values for every stakeholder. We have now the responsibility to scale right and strong so we can help much more people to achieve their vision!
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Nicolas Bry is Orange Startups Studio COO. He entices Orange employees into becoming intrapreneurs, bringing their idea to life within Orange business. International executive, he sets-up innovation devices for new business. International speaker, writer with RapidInnovation.fr, guest lecturer at the Google Academy mini-MBA, visiting innovation professor at Telecom ParisTech, MediaSchool & EM Lyon, freelance consultant for the EC. Follow him at @nicobry.
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