“Isabel was very successful in getting everyone to consider the core of what we’re doing, why we exist as a business and what our strengths are.
She was exceptional at creating a comfortable atmosphere – she basically took us on an intense journey of discovery, yet it never felt hard or pressured.”
Julie Weigaard Kjær, CEO & Cofounder, Ruby Cup
At the heart of belonging, a shared Ethos – ‘Our Purpose and what we Value’ – can power any group to work at its best. So we were delighted when Ruby Cup asked us to lead an intense full-day workshop, in Barcelona, on values and purpose in action.
Ruby Cup – A company working for good alongside profit
Belonging is especially valuable for a social enterprise like Ruby Cup, an award-winning business leading the way for commerce with a conscience. Ruby Cup developed the highest quality, most environmentally-friendly menstrual cup, and for every cup sold the company donates one free to a girl or woman without access to safe menstrual care products. With a passion for social change and partnerships across the world, the team researches and shares training on good menstrual health, supporting girls and communities, mainly in East Africa.
With continued expansion, the time was right to regroup and agree their guiding focus of purpose and values.
How do you get hold of ‘belonging’, with so many aspects?
We use our Belonging Framework© as a basis for the many different impacts of belonging, such as the symbols, habits, interactions and accountabilities.
Our founder, Isabel Collins facilitated the session:
“We led an intense exploration, through a series of activities, of what people really value. We identified how each individual, as well as all together, makes an impact through Ruby Cup’s work.
The session culminated in defining the core principles that everybody works by.”
How does a Belonging Workshop make a difference?
“The main benefit of a Belonging Workshop is to make a little space and time to think together as a team about what you value and why.
With everybody together in one space, this was a great opportunity to articulate the heart of belonging, from shared language, and convey purpose and values with real meaning.”
What was the client’s experience? What do founders get out of a Belonging Workshop?
Julie Weigaard Kjær, CEO & Cofounder said:
“Isabel’s programme was very successful in getting everyone to consider the core of what we’re doing, why we exist as a business and what our strengths are.
She was exceptional at creating a comfortable atmosphere, where everyone felt they could participate – she basically took us on an intense journey of discovery, yet it never felt hard or pressured.”
How far can a Belonging Workshop go in one day?
Considerable depth, with a great team like this. We worked with the whole international team, gathered for the first time for a retreat together in Barcelona.
We began with themes like pride, identity and ethical boundaries. Then we looked deeper, through contextual scenarios and dilemmas, to pin down what really matters, what you wouldn’t do, and why. We explored the positive aspects of belonging and any potential dark sides.
We used mix of our tried and tested activities, building a picture of what belonging looks and feels like, as well as deeper ones devised specifically for this team.
As Isabel found, from the start of the day:
“There is a deep sense of belonging and purpose throughout this team – but it was more implicit, and the company is growing beyond the informal communication of smaller teams.”
Enabling openness and trust
It was very rewarding to see how very open the group was with each other, with a high level of trust and empathy between people who mostly work remotely, some of whom had never previously met face to face.
This environment of openness and psychological safety is a required condition for belonging – and it’s this kind of culture that enables growth.
So we always create a mood of openness from the outset of a workshop.
“Our conversations through the day connected the deeply personal involvement with the big ambition of the team.
As facilitators we make it easy for the team themselves to show what the company believes in and why we should believe them.”
We took this even deeper with our ‘Hot seat’ activity, an empowering deep-trust exercise.
Nurturing cross-discipline collaboration and cross-cultural belonging
What does the team get out of a Belonging Workshop?
The day resulted in the team defining principles behind belonging to Ruby Cup – the shared purpose and values – and how this shapes practice and the experience for teams, customers and partners.
Julie Weigaard Kjær continues:
“For a team like ours often working remotely and with people working on different continents, it was really an eye-opener realising how much brain power the team has when put in a room together for an entire day.”
Belonging to Ruby Cup is international and cross-cultural. With offices in Barcelona and Nairobi, and mostly working remotely, the team is from Denmark, Kenya, Uganda, Spain, Italy, Germany, Russia, France, the UK… Each individual brings very different expertise, and broad diversity of background and thinking style, while sharing the same motivation.
Handing over for continued self-management
Belonging Space is always keen to give clients things to do self-sufficiently. We consolidated the insights from the session and handed back to the team to continue work after their intense day. We shared a few tools and suggested methods, enabling the team to self-manage the next steps to refine their purpose and values, which is now emerging.
How did Ruby Cup connect with Belonging Space?
This project was in partnership with Companies for Good, who run responsibility, sustainability and corporate social responsibility initiatives that do good for communities and the environment.
Marc Cirera, founder of Companies for Good, commented:
“Companies for Good is delighted to work with great companies like Ruby Cup, which is doing so much good across our world. We’ve expanded from our base in UAE so it’s particularly rewarding to support Ruby Cup in Barcelona (my own home town!) with their team from three continents around the globe.”
Albert Freixa Gonfaus, Barcelona lead for Companies for Good, continues:
“It was a pleasure to work with Isabel Collins and Belonging Space, as leaders in values and belonging. We partner only with top specialists so that we can offer broad support, with great people, to make a positive difference.”
In a nutshell, how has Belonging made a difference to Ruby Cup?
Julie, Isabel and Marc, all agree on the power of belonging.
As Isabel Collins says:
“For companies to do good they have to connect with their people – so we see how belonging can put the heart into sustainability and ethical business.”
Drop us a line if you’d like to chat about how Belonging Space can help you create a sense of belonging. Whether a one-day Belonging Workshop, or deeper programmes on culture and leadership, or solving specific belonging challenges like values, ethics and governance.