Elina and Tabea in Athens

Don’t Fake it, Feel it!

Tandem Europe participants Elina Makri (Oikomedia - Athens, Greece) and Tabea Grzeszyk (Hostwriter - Berlin, Germany) have joined forces throughout the programme to work on Collaboration instead of Competition. They now share the lessons learnt from their Tandem Placements and how they have developed their partnership. Their experience and the tools they have used showcase the importance of this Tandem Method. Follow their experiences as they happened by clicking through the interactive timeline.

Tandem Methods-in-Action: Placement Toolkit

Tandem methods-in-action: Placement, Actor mapping, Job shadowing

Placements are a major cornerstone of the Tandem experience. Elina and Tabea visited one another on their home turf. The ten days they each spent in the other’s company allowed them to learn more about each other and their organisations.

By submerging in your partner’s native scene for a longer period of time, important knowledge can be gleaned that may be vital to the cooperation and project. Not to mention the benefits of building a relationship outside of the professional context.

Several Tandem tools are available to Tandem participants to make sure they take away as much as they can from their placements. Elina and Tabea describe three of them in the timeline above: Expectations, Actors Mapping, and Job Shadowing. You can download the related toolkits at the end of this post, and try the methods in your own placements and work.

Here’s a recap:

First and foremost, partners need to discuss their Expectations. A thorough conversation on wants, needs, timetables, working hours and more will help avoid uncomfortable or disappointing situations.

The next tool Actors Mapping is very useful in giving your partner insight into your organisation. By illustrating their positions in their organisations and the relationships with their colleagues and other professional partnerships, Tandem partners gain a better picture of what they can expect from the collaboration.

And in Job Shadowing, the guest partner accompanies the host during their day to day work activities. Observing the other in various work contexts is beneficial for everyone. The host receives useful feedback from an outsider on their practices. The guest gains a better understanding of the partner organisation and may find new ideas to implement back at home.

Tips & Tricks from Elina and Tabea
  • Don’t fake it, feel it!
    Go into the experience wholeheartedly and “live” the experience even though you do not know your partner well yet. You have the chance to create together and you will for sure learn from whatever comes out of your collaboration, as well as from yourself.
  • Walk in your partner’s shoes!
    The name of the programme “Tandem” is emblematic for the project, but that does not mean we are at all times fully synchronised. And that is OK. We are all looking for our way and try to find good timing during the placement. Frustrating moments can occur. Do not rush to judgements or to conclusions.
  • Play hard, party hard!
    Do not forget to smile a lot and have fun. Well, setting up projects can be quite frustrating, especially when you work from a distance with someone you do not know well (yet). You have no obligation to make it work, but, you do want to deliver. Besides that, we do things in life to create, survive but also have fun!

Try the method, enjoy and don’t hesitate to share your own story with us.