Kasper Helligsøe portrait

October 17, 2019

Misunderstandings in a culture of clarity

Peter Bredsdorff portrait

“Nothing is unimportant,” he said, and went on to tell me how they always strived to do the best they could in everything concerning the team. Not just on the handball pitch. “If the edges of the table are important,” he explained, “then a lot of other things are too. If they are unimportant, on the other hand, then it might also be unimportant whether the coffee is any good, the seats in our bus comfortable or whether we meet on time or not. Unimportance, to my mind, is a symptom of inattention and lack of engagement and I do not accept that.”

I was fascinated. This is quite an extreme way of approaching one’s work life. With excessive attention to detail believing that everything you do is connected to how well you perform. In that sense, it is not about the edges of the table, it is about what the grinding of them represents. A mindset, a culture, a way of approaching the world almost. I wonder whether this approach could inspire teams at Systematic? After all, the circumstances are completely different.

The level of complexity and time available does not lend itself to such scrutiny of details. But what if this scrutiny was consciously applied to only aspects of a team’s work? Aspects that the team members are currently struggling with. Could teams at Systematic successfully use the insights from the handball club to reflect upon their own practice -- their level of clarity and attention to detail for example? I will have to get back to you on that.