Startup Stereo Episode #01 – Why Receiving Feedback Can Feel Like Going to the Dentist – With Jenny von Podewils

Written by German Accelerator

In our very very first episode of German Accelerator’s podcast “Startup Stereo,” we talked to Jenny von Podewils, Co-Founder of Leapsome, a Berlin-based startup that is providing an employee performance management & engagement software. The platform supports fast-growing companies such as Spotify, Trivago or Babbel in building high-performing teams and strong company cultures. Jenny and team currently participate in the German Accelerator program in New York with the goal to successfully expand Leapsome to the U.S. market.

Jenny von Podewils, Co-Founder of Leapsome

In conversation with our host, Katrin Grunwald, Jenny shares the importance of giving and receiving feedback and how it can serve as rocket fuel for learning, and why it’s crucial to give feedback on feedback. She also shares what giving feedback has in common with going to the dentist. As the conversation progresses, they also talk about company culture and the role the founders play in shaping it.

At the end of Startup Stereo episode #01, Jenny shares her recommendations on successfully communicating, managing distributed teams, and the hidden drivers of engagement – great insights for any company – not only in times of corona!

Katrin and Jenny Talk About:

  • How during rapid growth, organizational alignment has do be done intentionally or else employee engagement can deteriorate. This can be done through alignment on goals. How to get there and who does what – often with the support of OKRs.
  • How Leapsome helps companies to set up a people enablement ecosystem through a data-driven understanding of what’s going on in the company in order to act upon it
  • The key role that founders play in setting the stage for the company culture including a feedback and learning culture by ideally acting as role models in asking for feedback
  • How a software such as the one from Leapsome can function as a tool to set up mechanisms and built habits, but that the actual feedback conversations still need to happen face-to-face
  • Feedback on feedback – after giving feedback, ask each other: “How was the experience for you? Anything I can change for the next time or maintain that was helpful?”
  • The benefits of having diverse peer mentors for different aspects
  • How working with a business coach gives you space and forces you to think certain contexts through
  • We also talk about organizational culture and how at Leapsome, even though there is a broad diversity in nationalities and background, a strong company culture is also built through hiring the right people with a growth mindset through a quite extensive hiring process
  • Leapsome’s participation in the German Accelerator in New York Class 2020-1
  • Many recommendations for successful distributed (and non-distributed) teams such as clarity, transparency, and accountability. Who is owning which initiatives that are linked to that? Having clearly defined routines around “How do we learn from one another?“
  • Team happiness and how to measure it
  • Remote onboarding
  • What personalized learning might look like in 10 years with a rise of complexity at work, larger amounts of millennials in companies, and the challenge of re-skilling and upskilling due to the speed of technological changes
  • The advice Jenny would give her younger self: Most things you learn while doing and you don’t necessarily have to have learned them to start doing them. Just start and be smart about learning on the way!

About German Accelerator’s Startup Stereo:

German Accelerator’s “Startup Stereo” is a podcast with and for founders, innovators, and change-makers. Plug into the stories, experiences, and best practices around startups, expansion, leadership, new work, company culture, and more. Stay tuned for more episodes in the near future!