Team Cooperation at Its Best… Use These Leadership Techniques from Rein Lemberpuu


Rein Lemberpuu

Looking for new ways to strengthen your team or bolster your company?

Have you ever considered establishing a more transparent business culture? How about employing forward-thinking practices such as Clearing and Intelligent Cooperation?

Rein Lemberpuu joins us to discuss how he utilizes these approaches in his very own company.


“It’s my company Contriber that gives me joy in using all of what my life has brought to me in fulfilling my commitment to myself—fighting for my freedom and for those around me.”  —Rein Lemberpuu


More About This Episode

In this episode of Unlock People’s Potential, Guerric de Ternay interviews Rein Lemberpuu, Founder and CEO of Contriber. Rein is very straightforward in speaking about the benefits of utilizing progressive, yet practical approaches that lead to better cooperation between leaders and their teams. Along with personal examples, Rein illustrates how they can be implemented into your organization. 

Cooperating Intelligently: What are the differences between leading a team and supporting a team? Is it possible to do both AND what are the consequences?

Transparency:  Can increased transparency really make for better collaboration, cooperation, and decision making? And what does transparency actually look like in a company?

Clearing:  Have you ever heard about the clearing technique? Better yet, do you have the courage to start implementing this simple process into your team meetings?


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More About Rein Lemberpuu

Rein’s vision began coming into focus during his early days of working at Playtech, a successful Estonian tech startup that is now a publicly traded company. Though Rein admits, the word startup wasn’t even in use at that point. When Playtech was still young, Rein says that there were no rules—everybody put their effort where they felt it was needed, where they felt they could contribute.

It was during this period that Rein realized he had a talent for team building—and a passion for it as well. Eventually becoming CEO of Playtech from Jan 2004 until Feb 2009, Rein’s driving force helped turn a small tech startup into one of Estonia’s largest corporations, with more than €600 M of revenue in 2015. After leaving Playtech, Rein started focusing on his own projects and eventually decided to form his own company, Contriber.

With a focus on improving relationships within organizations, and helping tech businesses unlock their potential, Contriber has created two software products that help teams collaborate more effectively. Wanting to do more, Rein began investing more time and effort into Tartu’s startup ecosystem by way of angel investing, mentoring, and creating new hubs in his hometown city.


Approaches For Strengthening Your Organization

Transparency helps to build trust 

Building trust is an essential factor in the success of any organization—but how do you go about doing that?

When Guerric first joined Contriber, he was taken aback a bit by the degree to which conversations in the company were open to anyone interested in participating—he did not know at first what to make of Clearing and, was surprised to see that people’s salaries were not kept confidential.

This type of culture is what is often referred to as transparency.

Rein says that building trust requires quite a lot of transparency in terms of the work environment and the sharing of information. He says that many companies are still sharing information on a need-to-know basis and, that in a way, this runs contrary to building trust.

When information is shared more freely, it sends out a message that people are trusted… I trust you to be an intelligent person… I trust you are here so that we can together achieve the vision that we want to achieve.  

Rein says it’s important to start building trust from the first moment and that there is no better way for a leader to do this than to be open about things. He says, “If I’m not sharing the plans, the vision, and so on, then how can anybody else feel secure if they don’t have an understanding of the situation, what the purpose is, and the direction we are taking?”


The Clearing tool

Respect is also another way to build trust. But, what does this mean?

Rein says that it is about taking into account others thoughts and feelings about whatever subject is being discussed.

In other words:

If a person says something, and then I say it’s useless and that there is no point, then I’m not adding any value to it… I’m not using it… I’m not making anything practical out of it, in which case I am not respecting what is being brought to the table”. 

In addition to building trust, clearing helps to reinforce this idea of respect. Clearing falls under the umbrella of transparency in that, it is a way to share information. Clearing can be used during team meetings—it consists of asking everybody two simple questions and it’s a very powerful way to get an idea for what is going on inside your team.

One of the questions asked is, what is not working for you?

Every team member answers the question while everyone else is listening… this is very important, this is not a discussion, not a dialogue, not a question-and-answer session… you just ask the question and listen with every fiber of your being to what the other person is saying.

The key to listening is in paying attention to the feeling you are sensing.

Someone might say they are not feeling good about a new strategy and, though they may not have logical reasons to explain it, it is still something to be taken into consideration—there is something behind the words and this is an excellent place to get a sense of where you are going off-track with your company or project or whatever is the scope of the clearing. 

…And the other question?

The other question is, what is working for you? 

And here as well, you will hear things that surprise you… some people may be really happy that someone has joined the team… they may feel good about a new market segment the company is trying to tackle.  

It’s also beneficial to encourage the team, from time to time, to discuss personal matters as well… maybe a team member is sick and not sleeping properly… perhaps someone is worried about his child being in a new school or that he is happy that his wife got a new job—these things allow the team to see where people are at. Are they in a good place, an inspiring phase, or maybe something is troubling them?

Rein says that it is very important that a team leader share openly—this is not the time to hold back.

The more people see the leader expressing him or herself, the more others begin to express more freely. This is when trust begins to blossom and then strengthen—and the more you build trust and use Clearing to build a positive and secure atmosphere, the more people start to open up and participate. 


Intelligent Cooperation helps a leader get the bigger picture

First of all, it doesn’t matter if you are leading 1 person or 100 persons… exactly the same qualities are needed, exactly the same responsibilities need to be carried out.

In any situation, someone is leading and someone is supporting. Sometimes people think that leadership is something complicated or that they don’t have the qualities to be effective at doing so. But in actual fact, we can all lead.  It’s just that some of us choose a leading role more often than a supporting role and, it is these people who we usually refer to as natural leaders.

At the end of the day, someone must choose to be the leader.

The leader points out the direction that the team will be heading, provides the methods, and how they are going to reach their goal. To have meaningful cooperation, the supporting persons needs to bring something to the table as well.

They need to be willing to find and report gaps to the team regarding the leader’s plan—they need to be honest about the results they are seeing and willing to share their feelings about where they sense things are heading, good or bad. These actions act as a natural balancing factor for the team.   

This is where both trust and respect are vital. If there is trust amongst the team, the more the supporting side is willing to give their true thoughts and feelings regarding the matter at hand. And for a leader to make a good decision, he needs to have all the facts, all the possibilities, everyone’s feelings on the table.

This gives him the bigger picture and as much clarity as possible. The respect comes into the play when the leader and the rest of the team consider carefully what has been brought to the table instead of instantly dismissing it.

The more and more you build trust and utilize the clearing technique to build a positive atmosphere and secure space, the more and more people start to open up. And this is when things really start taking shape and start moving in the right direction.


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Show Notes about Team Building & Strengthening Organizations

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