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TBF + Partner

Open Talk

The pleasure of change

An interview with Andreas Sägesser – TBF’s learning organisation expert – on the power of collaboration, individual scepticism, shared ‘a-ha’ moments and mutual progress.
Andreas Sägesser

Andreas, you trained as an electronics engineer and electrical engineer, and for over 20 years you were a teacher and lecturer, most recently at the Zurich University of Teacher Education. What made you put aside your academic career and join TBF?

In all my years as a lecturer, I found that exchange between people is a central – if not THE central – element of learning. Years ago, I happened to come into contact with representatives of TBF for the first time, and I noticed that they had experienced the same thing. This gave rise to ideas about reorienting the entire organisation to enable precisely this type of exchange. We soon noticed that we were able to inspire each other and offer each other positive reinforcement. Over the last six years, there has been a symbiosis between TBF and the university: we were able to substantiate and test the latest findings from research in the area of organisational development in business, and in return I got to preserve this real-life experience in teaching. In recent years, I have come to the conclusion that hierarchical structures tend to hinder this exchange. While TBF has man­aged to or­gan­ise it­self around flat hi­er­ar­chies in a rel­a­tive­ly ag­ile, straight­for­ward man­ner, the same could not be said for the university. As a result, I decided to make a complete switch to TBF, because it offered me the ideal platform and the necessary freedom to strategically approach and successfully implement organizational development in business.

Why is the ‘learning organisation’ so important to organisational development at TBF?

Many of the projects that we design and implement are one-offs. Because of this, it’s nat­ur­al that we take to new tasks with enthusiasm and cre­ativ­i­ty. As an or­gan­i­sa­tion we be­lieve in life-long, vol­un­tary learn­ing.

What does that mean in real terms?

In 2013, we offered the first Learn­ingHub on the top­ic of com­pe­ten­cy man­age­ment and per­son­al de­vel­op­ment. This re­sult­ed in an en­vi­ron­ment in which we were able to work and learn to­geth­er around the top­ic at hand in a way that brings var­i­ous mu­tu­al­ly con­struc­tive com­pe­ten­cies to­geth­er. A key ad­van­tage of shared learn­ing is that the group’s will­ing­ness to learn is larg­er than the sum of the in­di­vid­u­als’. We want to learn and work, not com­part­men­talise our think­ing!

Is that all it is?

No, of course not. An­oth­er im­por­tant el­e­ment for suc­cess­ful progress in an or­gan­i­sa­tion is peo­ple’s in­di­vid­ual de­vel­op­ment. We don’t just cre­ate scope for shared learn­ing, but also en­sure that every­one doc­u­ments their per­son­al learn­ing process­es, main­tains a lev­el of crit­i­cal in­quiry at all times and shares their in­sights with oth­er em­ploy­ees. Along the way, every­one cre­ates their own per­son­al learn­ing port­fo­lio by de­scrib­ing their cross-di­vi­sion­al com­pe­ten­cies and doc­u­ment­ing the re­quired re­sources. We draw no dis­tinc­tion be­tween pri­vate and pro­fes­sion­al com­pe­ten­cies, be­cause both ad­vance the or­gan­i­sa­tion as a whole. Link­ing re­sources with com­pe­ten­cies al­lows us to act efficiently. Fi­nal­ly, we cap­ture the learn­ing process in a dig­i­tal di­ary, share this with the or­gan­i­sa­tion if re­quired and thus en­sure that any­one can ac­cess the nec­es­sary skills at any time, no mat­ter where they are.

How is all this incorporated into customer projects?

As I men­tioned ear­li­er, we design and im­ple­ment in­fra­struc­tures that have before nev­er ex­ist­ed in this form. This goes hand in hand with the fact that the required skills often change on the customer’s side or are even turned upside down. We are not ‘just’ designing and im­ple­ment­ing the tech­ni­cal in­fra­struc­ture, but also enabling the people who will operate these infrastructures for decades by helping them experience positive changes and assisting in their development. As we build the in­fra­struc­ture, we are also in a po­si­tion to de­vel­op the or­gan­i­sa­tion and uncover ad­di­tion­al po­ten­tial. This working style embodies the spirit of a learning organisation.

A collaborative learning experience at Beckenhof LearningHub on the topic of ‘visualisation‘

Locations Switzerland

TBF + Partner AG
Schwanengasse 12
3011 Bern
TBF + Partner AG
Quai du Seujet 10
1201 Geneva
TBF + Partner AG
Via Besso 42
6900 Lugano
TBF + Partner AG
Beckenhofstrasse 35
8042 Zurich

Locations Germany

TBF + Partner AG
Alsterarkaden 9
20354 Hamburg
TBF + Partner AG
Mauerkircherstrasse 9
81679 Munich
TBF + Partner AG
Schlossstrasse 70
70176 Stuttgart

Location in Italy

TBF + Partner S.r.l.
Via Pola 11
20124 Milan