Twice a year, CommUnity leaders are invited for a weekend to reconnect, ideate, set new goals and plans for future activities as well as share the latest news and best practices and strengthen connections to build a long-lasting, strong CommUnity. This November, old and new faces showed up to spend a weekend in a cozy atmosphere near Krakow, Poland to learn, exchange ideas and integrate with fellow members in our network. Everyone was excited about new experience and expected a great event.
We kicked off the event with the opening speech from Jakub Miller, CEO of InnoEnergy Central Europe. To bring the group into the local atmosphere, he introduced us to the activity of InnoEnergy in Poland as well as the major challenges regarding the region. The participants were very interested especially in the topic of coal and waste management and how it is tackled in Central and Eastern Europe. The most heated discussion revolved around the topic of the energy transition in Central Europe and its implication onthe society. Jakub pointed out the societal problems caused by smog coming from urban transportation and waste burning in residential houses. He presented the actions taken by InnoEnergy and the cooperation with the European Commission aiming to address these issues, which can be summarized by this study in cooperation with Deloitte.
This year was all about building our skills! Therefore, on Saturday andSunday we were focusing on the development of the CommUnity members and their growth.
Our CommUnity Member, Aleksandra Radwanska brought on board a great team of external soft skill trainers from Board of European Students of Technology: Tobias Weghorn, Kseniya Zavatskaya, Maximilian Friedle, Flavius Ivan and Artur Corte. They prepared interactive, dynamic and impact-oriented soft skill training sessions specially tailored to the needs of the representatives.
As an ENTECH student, these are topics we cover in detail so I was excited to learn a new approach and be able to put to test the skills I have learned over the past year. The Team Work and Group Dynamics workshop brought about a surprising technique to show how a group of people, who had not previously worked much together, naturally form as a team. I do not want to spoil the secret, but just know - moral values were questioned!
Leadership and Delegation
CommUnity projects are done in teams and each team needs to be guided by a team leader. During the Leadership & Delegation Workshop the coaches Artur and Flavius emphasized, that leadership is more than pure delegation. An ideal team knows its followers and empowers them and enables individual contribution.
We learned means to prioritize tasks and to assign the most capable team member to it. Based on Expectancy Theory and the Situational Leadership theory we concluded, that correct and adapted communication is crucial to motivate and enable the executor. The delegation process should start with the project vision and should consider themembers experience and capabilities. An open feedback ambiance conveys appreciation and ensures members development.
The Team Dynamics session was enlightening. We learned about theTuckmann Model for teams, and it helped us to understand the difficulties at different stages that teams go through. My biggest takeaway was seeing how each of the Leaders could identify times they were in each stage and remedies to make each stage more efficient. It's helped me identify some tools I can use as well!
In the training session 'Leadership and Delegation' we gained some very useful insights on how to categorize tasks and how this categorization can help in delegating tasks within a team. The workshop will definitely help me to cooperate more effectively in teams in the future!
The participation in the Project Management training broadened my knowledge of how a structured framework can be utilized from ideation until the implementation phase, which makes the event more organized and high quality. Finally, a valuable keynote that stuck in my mind after the training is “the one who fails to plan, is planning to fail”.
Facilitation and Group Dynamics - "Everyone knows how deleterious an ineffective meeting could be. I wanted to understand how to participate and/or lead meeting so that I could both be able to achieve the purpose of the meetings but also provide an enjoyable experience to all the meeting participants. This training session provided me with many tools I could use whenever a meeting has to happen! It was interesting and well prepared. Great job trainers!"
Funds raising - "Considering the need of financial sustainability need our CommUnity is facing, this training was absolutely on-point. It was fun and very useful understanding the mistakes I have always made in the field of sales and persuasion. After this training I am more mindful of the steps which are needed to be taken in order to establish long-term sponsorship or funds raising"
The team dynamics training gave us a detailed look at the full life cycle of the project from the perspective of Tuckman's stages of group development. For me, as someone who likes to create cohesion around an idea, I learned the importance of laying out all potentially relevant informationin the beginning of a discussion to speed up the process of finding a new decision that meets the needs of the situation. I will definitely be using these news skills in CommUnity and and my job moving forward.
Of course, the event cannot happen without in-depth discussions about the CommUnity and its future. On Saturday, all participants had an opportunity to engage in the talk by Claudio Geyken who presented the roadmap for the upcoming years. Beginning with a motivational segment about societal issues such as living in ignorance of privilege, lack offulfillment in life, mental health and materialism, the talk introduced why and how the CommUnity can make such a big impact for young people who share this common passion for sustainability.
The leaders discussed how we can combat these issues and empower energy innovators by sharing experiences, connecting with one another and becoming role models with bottom-up influence. Utilising this spirit, the key services of the CommUnity are to shape agendas by influencing decisions, open our talent pool, foster innovative startups and provide co-creative solutions for organisations. After clarifying the purpose, the discussion targeted how we will sustain ourselves without public funds. The next step is to focus on sparking more external connections and expanding our professional network in order to get the word out about the services the CommUnity provides.
The event was an occasion to announce two big changes for our organisation which everyone anticipated. First, we engaged in an interactive session with Nicol Mayr on the new strategy for members engagement, which is directed to pro-bono professionals being ambitious about sustainable energy and leadership. This is why the volunteering programme’s name is “The leadership programme”. The introductory session tested our knowledge about the changes, which were announced before the event, by means of a quiz. After every question an explanation with more detail was given by Claudio Geyken and NicolMayr , followed by a Q&A session. The game was an encouraging first step to remember the new information as the winners were rewarded. The game was followed by feedback of the leaders about the Leadership programme and interesting discussions.
Finally, Krishna Reddy gave a brief introduction of the new platform for the CommUnity, addressing the way the challenges of existing platform has been solved. He assured us that this new platform will be accessible to all before the end of the year and even gave a sneak peak of interesting features that would make the navigation around different topics very user friendly.
All strong and resilient organisations are built on close bonds among people with trust and friendship and these two active days definitely were an occasion to get to know better the volunteers from other locations. We ended the event with bigger motivation and passion to continue developing the CommUnity and contribute to the energy transition. For all of us, this event was a great and insightful experience that we’ll be remembering for the upcoming months.
Find all photos from the event here.
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Published on 13 December 2018