Anja Hurtado Medina is a system coach, certified mediator and she studied social and business communication at the College of Fine Arts in Berlin. She worked for ten years as a mediator and editor at Radio Fritz/rbb and was involved in social projects with children and teenagers throughout Germany and internationally. At the Bundesvision Song Contest 2006 the Rostock-born singer rapped her state to eighth place. The three-times mother is passionate about her job as Culture Manager at HDI next GmbH (HNX), established in Rostock two years ago. In 2021, she moderated the virtual Talanx annual launch event and the virtual forum of HDI Germany to launch the Strategy Programme GO25.
HDI next represents the start-up culture at the centre of our Group. To a very great extent, our employees work with independent responsibility. We put great emphasis on freedom, trust and responsibility. Ultimately, the top priority is whether teams have achieved their goals. We are guided by the integral evolutionary paradigm of the pioneer Frédéric Laloux. Our cultural model is based on the three paradigms: empowerment, wholeness and autonomy. Consequently, communication is a very high priority here – we have a multifaceted feedback culture and a conflict-solving process firmly anchored in our ethos. HNX is an open, transparent organisation which encourages all employees to think and act entrepreneurially. This enhances intrinsic motivation and personal satisfaction, and naturally also promotes identification with next.
Feel-good management is basically part of culture management. My work is very versatile. Primarily, I act as an interface, I give inspiration and support our teams in proactively overcoming challenges and solving problems. Of course, this is particularly relevant against the background of an organisation without any supervisors. This is not about having a ready-made solution for everything but about being resilient when under stress and much more about adopting a minimally invasive approach. Listening is therefore my primary function and also asking the right questions. I also organise events, produce videos and presentations. Furthermore, I help our people to solve conflicts through mediation, I develop our cultural-fit workshops and I also lead them. The primary focus is always on the further personal development of our people – this is not always easy and most importantly it’s not always just about “feel-good” – the designation of Culture Manager is therefore much more appropriate for the core function. When we are able to help people develop, we’ve done a great job because the entire organisation is also continually evolving in step with the people.
We are above all aware of culture when it differs from what we experience in our subjective perception as “normal”, for example how we talk and communicate, how we act and operate, how we solve problems, how we take responsibility, how we present and perceive ourselves. Creating a new culture doesn’t work simply by imposing something hip on an existing tradition – after all this places a question mark over the entire status quo and consequently only fosters rejection and scepticism. Cultural change requires the development of individual personalities combined with structural innovations.
As far as I’m concerned, culture is all about community How do I identify with my colleagues or my organisations? We asked next people: What is important to you personally and what do you value in the context of work? What mustn’t happen under any circumstances? Who do we want to be and how do we want to get there together? What do we need for this? At the moment, we’re gathering all these results together in our HNX Culture Book. We generate our culture from the mindset, the attitude and the values of our employees. Anything else would simply be pure window dressing.
Very typical response to my job: “Okay, the Feel-good Fee…”. When I was working in the music scene, there was naturally significant pushback for me as one of the first female rappers. But I don’t let that get to me. Just because somebody else can’t get their head round something, doesn’t me that it can’t work in my own mind! By the same token, I noticed in bias training that at times I allow myself to be taken in by particularly empathetic people. That’s why I think that the form of our application interviews at HNX is good. The teams recruit their future colleagues themselves and there are always several people involved in the process. This enables us to make the best use of swarm intelligence, because naturally enough everybody perceives different facets in the person opposite – truly illuminating.
That they can do everything and be anything that they want! Incidentally, that also applies to my son. I strengthen my children so that they become personalities with strong characters, I encourage them to forge their own pathway and not allow themselves to be limited by glass ceilings imposed by other people. Creativity, education and self-worth are important cornerstones for this.