What was a pivotal moment where your business made a big leap forward?

When the Kirby team turned into shareholders in our new company. The feeling of owning the company together as a team had a big, positive impact on me.

What do you wish you had known 10 years ago?

Small, consistent steps get you a lot further and are more sustainable than exhausting jumps. It sounds like such an obvious learning, but to choose exciting jumps over boring small steps keeps being way too tempting.

What shift in perspective / mindset has allowed you to see things differently?

I was a solo freelancer for too long and that blocked me from being a good team player. To truly see myself as part of a team and not just as an individual within a team was a very important shift in mindset.

What's a skill that we should pay more attention to in the workplace?

As design students, we had to learn to be very critical with our work and throw it in the bin without regrets. It's a skill that still helps me a lot, although I'm far from perfect at it. It's more like constantly training a muscle. Keeping your ego in check and learning how to be good at receiving, but also giving constructive critique is often seen as a given, but in reality it comes with hard challenges for everyone.

What do you do to maintain balance in your life?

Turning away from the screen whenever possible. No matter if it's time with the family, sport, building physical objects or playing guitar – I can really feel how my brain and my heart need more screen antidotes the longer I work in the digital realm.

What’s an important guiding principle that informs the way you build and run your business?

Trust. I trust us as a team and each one individually, that we make the right choices together, that we are honest with each other and that we make mistakes but also manage to learn from them together.

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Here’s More, From Other Founders Around the World

What's a skill that we should pay more attention to in the workplace?

We have to put way more effort into really listening to the people in our teams, talking about impediments, needs & ideas. We won't be able to create growth if we continue to act like leaders from the 90s.

  
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What should leaders understand about their own role and responsibility?

You serve the team, not the other way round.

  
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What personal habit or behavior helped you accelerate your personal growth?

Adopting a 'growth mindset' sounds fancy and fun, but it is very uncomfortable. It requires a great deal of self-reflection, the ability to admit where you have gone wrong and to find new ways to become the best leader you can be. Getting into the habit of these behaviors sucks at first, but it pays off every time.

  
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What personal habit or behavior helped you accelerate your personal growth?

I once received a quirky compliment from an Investor: “Achim, you are not afraid to ask questions that make you look stupid." I lean into that a lot now because many things that people take for granted don’t have a reason to be the way they are.

  
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