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Opinions From Startup Changemakers
German Startup Changemakers: Patrick Gromm

We had a chat with Patrick Gromm, Training & Development Manager at TAM Akademie, the oldest trainer academy in Germany. His mission is to enable and inspire people, make them happy and shape company cultures which allow them to become the best version of themselves. Find out what is it about the startup world that particularly attracts him, what lessons for founders he shared with us and what he predicts for the German startup ecosystem in the near future.
A man with fair hair and complexion wearing glasses and a blue shirt

1. Hi Patrick, thank you for agreeing to do the interview. Could you tell us a bit about your background and how you entered the startup world?

Hey, thanks for having me! I started my career for Daimler in Bremen. After my apprenticeship, I worked in the procurement department and helped young talents during their apprenticeship. After 7 years at Daimler and studying Business Administration with a focus on work and organisational psychology I quit my job because I wanted to deal with humans, not with sheets and numbers. After a short detour on AIDA Cruises in the Board Entertainment (which was really fun by the way), I started my master’s in Business Psychology and wanted to change the world – basically organisations. The TAM Akademie was the right place for me – I can help humans and organisations to be more productive and happier at the same time!

2. You’re the Training & Development Manager at TAM Akademie, the oldest trainer academy in Germany. Tell us about your mission there!

TAM Akademie’s vision is to be the no. 1 address for livelong learning in Germany. Our Core Purpose is to enable and inspire people. How do we do that? With great trainings and programs for leaders of all stages and New Work Agents. Those people are the ones with the biggest impact on their own organisations. On the surface, we train people but more importantly we develop cultures, especially for startups and grownups, but also for corporate companies.

3. What is it about the startup world that particularly attracts you and how are you shaping the ecosystem in Berlin?

This is a really good question! I think one of my biggest drivers was my experience in the corporate world, where I saw a lot of potential that nobody else saw and seemingly didn’t want to see. Seeing employees with a lot of potential, unable to use it, was really frustrating and irritating for me as I was in a phase where I wanted to learn and grow.

I want to enable people, make them happy and shape company cultures which allow them to become the best version of themselves. That does not only help the people but the companies as well. So it’s the biggest win-win for everyone. And this is exactly what we at TAM Akademie do.

4. As a Training & Development Manager, could you share the top 3 lessons for entrepreneurs you learned over the years?

1) Create a culture by design – not by accident! Every company has a culture, no matter if you’re aware of it or not. Culture is an emergent process. The earlier you start to actively build and shape your company culture the better you can hire people with a good fit and develop your team and your company accordingly.

2) Build processes and systems for your culture! Don’t just put a catchy company slogan in the entry hall and think ‘everyone knows how to run the business’. Founders should build stable processes and systems to align everyone with the same vision.

Let me give you an example of how we put this into practice at TAM Akademie: We have 6 core values that shape our culture. In our weekly company meeting, we have a ceremony in which our core value trophy for an outstanding way to live our core values is given to one team member. It’s a challenge trophy given by last week’s winner to the next core value champion. So culture becomes an active process everyone is responsible for.

3) Care for your people! Eric Flamholtz said: ‘The two resources your competitor can’t copy are people and culture!’ This quote always reminds me of caring for people and developing them as good as we can. Everything, especially in the startup ecosystem, can and will be copied by others except those two factors. If you treat your people the best you can, they will be happy and perform outstandingly.

5. What’s the next big thing in the startup world? What do you predict for the German startup ecosystem in the near future?

Who am I to predict this? During the last years, I have seen so many great products and services, and I’m really looking forward to seeing more. 

I hope there are two important factors when it comes to a thriving startup ecosystem in Germany. Firstly, I believe it’s important to make founding as easy as possible for all creators and innovators with great visions no matter what gender, nationality or financial background. Secondly, speaking from my own experience, I’m convinced that it’s crucial to incentivise great people to leave the ‘safe’ corporate economy and enable them to change the world through great startups. Let’s do this together!

Thank you very much for your insights, Patrick. We wish you the best of luck in your future endeavours.

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