How are the other Team Academies doing? What kind of successes have they had? And how about failures from which we could all learn from? We are creating a new blog series in which we will find out the most interesting insights from the different Team Academies around the world.

Our first story comes from France,  Strasbourg to be precise.

Where a Team Academy started in 2011. The Team Coaches Marcellin Grandjean, Olga Bourachnikova and Pascal Bastien were happy to share their stories from TA Strasbourg: how they are building empowering new connections in and outside of France, merging two teams unsuccessfully and launching a new pilot programme in a new city in only a few months.

Team Academy Strasbourg’s programme has 32 team entrepreneurs in four different teams and graduate team entrepreneurs have been able to create some successful companies in France. For 8 years the programme has been carried by the University, but they still face some challenges. TA program is not one of the priorities in the promotions of the EM Strasbourg Business School, which offers many other programmes as well. Despite the efforts, TA’s pedagogical team is unable to make this program part of the school’s strategic position. Also, the coaches have learned from their experience that the Team Academy programme require full time coaches that the academic setting does not allow. There are many challenges to overcome, but the coaches still feel that they are going in right direction as more and more people are interested in what they are doing, which has changed a lot from the past.

The Undergraduate programme keeps running, but Marcellin, Olga and Pascal are hungry for more. They were very excited to share the news about their newest adventure, which will be taking its first steps in February 2020. That’s when they will be launching a new one year Team Academy programme for professionals in Mulhouse, one hour south from Strasbourg. The best part is that the idea for this came from the local entrepreneurs after they visited the TA space in Strasbourg. They were so impressed with the methodology and their way of working that they requested to receive something similar. Mulhouse has a good infrastructure with co-working space for digital entrepreneurs but they are missing learning around entrepreneurship and leadership to happen through dialogue, which Team Academy could provide. So as you can imagine these are very exciting times for the coaches as they will be able to implement the Team Academy methodology in a new environment.

The Golden Failures

At Team Academy we celebrate failures, as from them we can learn the most. These guys have not been able to avoid their failures. For example, they recently merged two teams together and apparently that did not go down well. When two second year teams with a strong team culture and a competitive past were suddenly merged, they were not pleased. The coaches soon learned that it was a mistake and the process of building this new team had to start from zero.

Another failure happened when the coaches wanted to help the 1st yeast year team. In Strasbourg the 3rd year team entrepreneurs don’t hand down their projects to their younger colleagues like in some other Team Academies. That’s why it can be harder for the 1st year team entrepreneurs to get started and have some projects right at the beginning. However, when their coaches gave them clients the 1st year teampreneurs refused their help claiming that they wanted to do it on their own. This brought them to the realisation that something given may not be appreciated as much as something earnt, or done in collaboration.

“Even though we always encourage them to co-create with their clients, but for some reason we didn’t do that with them.”

These kind of experiences have helped the coaches to develop the programme and that’s something that they continue to do. The monthly Coaches meetings are very important for the team, but they also meet every six months to reflect on the past and plan the future.

The Power of the Network

When discussing the highlights of the Team Academy Strasbourg, the networks were give the most significance. There are other organisations in France who use the Team Academy methods, even though they are not part of TA Strasbourg. Due to this the links between TA Strasbourg and these organisations have been strengthened, this does not just benefit Team Academy it also benefits the organisations in Paris. With these two parties in play they have created a Team Academy France, which is not a recognised organisation but is a platform for all these parties to network and learn from each other.

For a long time TA Strasbourg has been a far throw from other Team Academies until the emergence of TA Switzerland in Sierre, which is only a short four hour drive from Strasbourg. TA Switzerland started in 2017 and for a few years there has been a great synergy between these two TA’s. This has allowed the coaches and the teampreneurs to collaborate and learn from each other.

Writer Nina Jussila, Certified Tiimiakatemia Team Coach

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