What is the difference between a boss, a CEO and a leader Ewelina Kołoda – CEO Nakatomi LLC

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Today we are talking to Ms. Ewelina Kołoda The head, CEO of the Nakatomi agency which in just 7 years has created one of the largest non-network marketing agencies in the world with a 100% turquoise and additionally completely remote work system.

Good morning Ms. Ewelina thank you for accepting our invitation to LA Weekly

Ms. Ewelina, we’ve invited you to talk about your work model, what it looks like and what it is characterized by, as well what made it possible for you to succeed? A work system that all employees in the world dream of?

What is the difference between a boss, a CEO and a leader?  The latter is able to listen to his team and make decisions that will help not only develop the company, the brand, but also create an optimal team. Am I a good leader? I keep learning it all the time, however with the constant changes that are taking place in society, people’s mentality, business conditions in the labor market – it is not easy. Some time ago I decided that an employee cannot just be a cog in the machine – he must be a steering wheel and an important element influencing the development of the company. This will never be achieved without talking and listening to the needs and expectations, of course, the leader is not there to accept demands, but to talk about the needs of the employees.

Why is working with us a dream job? For two reasons. First, we have been working 100% remotely for 7 months now – yes, we managed to achieve it; and second, we have a fully turquoise work system in place, without the standard ladders such as those in corporations. It’s not like we sit down today and say okay, we’re working remotely from tomorrow and letting everyone be their own boss – no, that’s not how it works. We introduced our unique system of work on a global scale gradually over several years, of course not without some mistakes on the way – but that’s obvious when you are a pioneer in a market that is becoming more demanding every year.

Why is it precisely that the turquoise employment model is optimal for you

99% of people, employees and even bosses do not understand what the Turquoise model of employment is, it’s not a rule where everyone does whatever they want, such ideas and nonsense can only be written in weak publications. To introduce Turquoise into your company, we need to learn it ourselves and give voice and decision-making rights to the team, as well as full freedom of action, but, and this “but” being the key to success here – we need to teach that freedom. A man is not born to work, absolutely not – one lives to explore, develop and be able to make decisions for himself. Let’s ask 100 people a question: if they get a million dollars a year from other sources would they go to work? 99% will say no and the one percent that says yes will do it out of spite. Therefore, to be able to say that we have a turquoise company we need to teach the team to take full responsibility for their actions. Unfortunately, not everyone is up to the task.

We managed to create NakatomiTeam only after 7 years; a team that in my opinion is 95% Turquoise, where the team is independent, where everyone knows what they are doing and want to do it, in our company as well as in any other organization there is no room for those who want to sit around – it’s not a government office in which the boss doesn’t worry about where he will get the money for the paychecks from, that’s why, in Turquoise, only the right people will do well. What follows is that the team must be taken care of, if we want to have the best agency in the world – and this is what we all want – the team must be exceptional. We still have a long way to go but the worst part is behind us, we are moving in the right direction.

Why is this the best solution for me? I can’t imagine being a leader who has to work 400 hours a day, or standing over someone’s head all day, it’s not for me, not my world and not my corporation. Nakatomi is becoming the company I have always dreamed of, I can travel the world, I can fly between offices, I can do what I love while at the same time building a unique brand.

What are the advantages for employees resulting from this employment model

I think this is a question that should be asked to the team, as I can only speak for my own part on what I see and which benefits I perceive. Certainly with fully remote work, anyone can work from anywhere in the world. We have people in our team who live in Brazil, Nigeria or Bali, left Poland for Spain or the USA, and there is no problem for them to perform their duties well and conscientiously. Huge savings in time, no commuting to the office, no traffic jams, no nerves that the next train or bus won’t come, etc… if we talk about turquoise in our organization on the other hand is certainly trust, we have given 100% trust to the team and we see the effect of it, team2022 is amazing, not only great knowledge but sensitivity to the needs of customers give us great hope that this is a good direction for the development of the brand.

“ For me, the biggest benefit of working remotely is the feeling of freedom and also significant time-saving. Living in Gdynia, for commuting to the office I lose about 2 hours a day, so remote working is extremely comfortable for me. What is more, this model allows me to work from anywhere in the world. Currently, I am renting an Airbnb in Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife. I love to travel, so this is a really dream option. for me. Right after work I can go to the beach, go hiking or make some other trips around the Island and spend the evening with tapas and sangria. There are plenty of other digital nomads in the city with similar lifestyles, who cannot imagine going back to the office for the moment. It is fantastic to be part of this group” – Katarzyna Wardzyńska – Project Manager Nakatomi LLC

Do you think it’s time for changes in the global employment system, will companies switch to Turquoise or a hybrid work system?

I think it is already happening, there is no need to wait for several reasons. First of all, the change of generations entering the labor market. A worker who is 25 years old now has completely different expectations from a worker in the 1990s, these are two different worlds, the reason for this is the prosperity of the country and the approach of people to the growing awareness of themselves and their needs. Let’s take the example of Poland, where we also have branches, 30 years ago in this country devastated by the communists after the system changes, simply finding a job was already a success, and finding a job with which you could survive with relative dignity bordered on a miracle. See how Poland looks like now, how Warsaw has developed, which in my opinion is already on a par with Barcelona or Rome in terms of the labor market and often surpasses most European cities. With such changes in the economy, we have a market for an employee who is more and more educated, and thus has higher expectations not only in terms of salary. The head of the team, the leader must move with the times, I know it comes hard, getting out of your comfort zone, but if we want to have the best team we must work with the team. Working remotely is not a bad thing, on the contrary, of course offices are needed, we have wonderful offices where everyone can work as they please, we have places to meet and feel the spirit of teamwork, but the world is changing and we are changing with it. At Nakatomi we already have a 36-hour work week, remote working and a fully turquoise management system, with the highest salaries in the country, is it possible? Yes, you just have to want to commit to it.

On the example of your agency, can you provide information about real savings with this model of employment, does the company earn more and spend less?

And this is where we have a typical mistake when creating a brand like ours, a completely misplaced question. I know why you’re asking this, because that’s what 9/10 company heads would ask. This is not what it is all about. It’s not about profit, it’s about a team, a work system and a unique approach to hiring. This is the way it is, if we create something exceptional and the first thing on our mind is profit, then we won’t do it, it won’t work. It’s not about profit, we don’t earn more or save money at all, on the contrary because we have higher and higher salaries, but we create a unique workplace, for our last ads in Poland for one job position we got 600 applications, and in the US 1200+, this already speaks well of what we do. Let’s not do everything for profit, sure the company has to make money, otherwise why would we run it – but whether it makes 6 or 20 million do you think it makes a difference? As Steve Jobs said, a car for $100,000 will get you where you want to go just as much as one costing $5. You know, the greatest honor for us is when an employee writes out of his own initiative that he has the best job in the world, or when an intern comes to us and says, I did everything to work for you. That’s what it’s all about – not net income, because frankly that’s a weak approach. We don’t want to be a corporation, we want people to work with us for 10-20 years and not 8 months like in other agencies, then it’s all worth it.

What is the opinion of people employed at Nakatomi on the entire work system.

Hmm that’s a difficult question, how to measure employee satisfaction? Of course every other HR will say that it’s not a problem, that it can be done, for us the determinant is whether employees are with us for the long term or are looking for another job. With the team we have now, we have no turnover at all, just more and more people in the team, it seems to me that this is an indication of employee satisfaction. It will be easier for us to answer these questions at the end of this year, then it will already be a year of working in the new system and new realities, if we manage to make 100% of the team stay with us for a whole year, we will consider it a cosmic success and a great satisfaction of the team with our working model.

Ms. Ewelina, as an expert and pioneer in introducing this Turquoise + Remote model, what are your 5 advice in 5 sentences for all companies that are hesitant about how to transform their employment model into yours.

Trust the team, you need to listen to them and not just hear them, you live in 2022, learn to see the world as a new place with great opportunities.

Work as little as possible, but wisely. This applies to both the leader and the team, don’t strain yourself or the team to the limit, it won’t bring you any benefits.

Introduce a work-life balance – the team’s free time is sacred – while being flexible to requests, going to the doctor for an hour is not a bad thing.

Reward the team and yourself for results, don’t forget about yourself because everyone should live and not just exist. Learn to benefit from your work.

If you take 5 steps forward and 4 steps backward you are moving in the right direction. Don’t be afraid to take a step back, because often a step back is a step forward.

Thank you for the conversation, it was nice to meet you.

Here is the website: https://nakatomi.pl/en

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