Just recently the Kohera team went on its annual off-site trip. When I got back home after a splendid weekend filled with food, drinks, banter and amusing activities, I actually kind of had a small sense of the holiday blues. You know, that genuine feeling that lets you know you had a good time. It made me realise that working for Kohera is more than a day-to-day job. In fact, it’s a passion that started five years ago. Because it does not always have to be technical, I would like to give you some shop-floor insights and somehow reflect my five years of experience so far. So whether you are an enthusiastic applicant, a customer looking to hire, or just an eager reader, please continue hereunder.
One of the things we did was abseiling. Knowing that I’m not into heights (at least not when I’m vertically challenged), that picture probably does not depict my happiest moment. At school I never really was the first to put up my hand, even if I knew the answer. I would hold my tongue when I had a question, because it might be a stupid one. On the football pitch I wasn’t Lionel Messi either. Even today you will not see me stand out in a group, either in public or even among friends. There are a lot of personality types in this world. I’m more the quiet type, a more introverted, intuitive person. However, I have learnt in life that I will fit in with a group, thereby having a tendency to feel and adjust myself to the situation as part of a team. Come to think of it, this might be exactly why I chose Kohera over others. Let me explain.
As technology is advancing it is not always clear to understand where everything is heading. So sharing knowledge goes hand in hand with keeping pace with where the data playground stands. At Kohera I quickly learnt that individual performance can thrive on being part of a whole, rather than on being an individual with skills. The right encouragement, appreciation and belief, as well as a nurturing environment, can lift a person to a higher level. In short, there is a human side to bringing out the best in people, enabling them to step out of their comfort zone. Already during my very first interview I appreciated the way of thinking Kohera presented to me. I had a distinct feeling that my personality and flexible thinking skills were fostered, and that this would fit with my mindset. I wanted a workplace that offered me both the freedom to grow and the indulgence to be part of something. One thing was sure: at Kohera I wouldn’t be a number doing a job.
Nowadays it is almost impossible to keep track with all technology innovations. As an individual, nothing can therefore be considered more honest than admitting that it is okay not to know something, that one might seek the help of a colleague, need a recap or explore a topic more before presenting it as a solution. After all, what good is there in being a yes-man all the time? Pretending to know is worse than not to know. The incorporation of saying it’s okay not to know, gives a consultant the necessary freedom of balancing the needs and expectations of a customer. As a consequence, the customer’s success is put in pole position. As technology is increasingly becoming the lens through which we experience the world, it is not always easy to understand where everything is heading. So knowledge sharing goes hand in hand with keeping a finger on the data playground pulse. Within the multitude of data technologies we have at our disposal today, one needs a playground and a nurturing environment to keep up, otherwise it is easy to fall behind.
Kohera understands this and, therefore, provides multiple platforms for its consultants to grow as an individual and be part of a team at the same time. Sharing knowledge and discovering your own passion is encouraged by setting up platforms to indulge yourself in getting certified, to create a (video) blog platform, a knowledge library where people can share experiences, needed software and/or Azure tenants, and, most importantly, the infrastructure to discover and play with new technologies (For example an Azure tenant for our consultants to play with). Be innovative, think big, develop your own skills and those of your co-workers. There is a great content to gain by doing something for yourself. Learning or being able to share your experiences with others are cases in point.
Don’t get me wrong, the individual attitude and talent still play a role. If you want results, you have to be willing to make an effort. Like one of my favourite actors (Will Smith) once said: Talent comes naturally, but skill is only obtained by hours of beating down your craft. But with today’s fast-paced development product cycles not everyone might have the natural talent or time to do so. One needs to realise that it is okay not to know everything. It is not okay, however, not to dare to find out. If we go back to that playground, then having one outstanding player will not win you the game. The same applies to Kohera’s corporate policy: a good productive personal development strategy is essential. Moreover, having people who think as a team rather than as individuals is what I think key to long-term gains like achieving sustainable growth and customer success rates.
It therefore goes without saying that there is still personal effort involved, as the above-mentioned items are only tools to an end. There are always still the individual attitude and talent that play a factor. If you want results, you will have to be willing to make your hands dirty. Most of us hate the feeling of being stuck in our jobs, so it is your own responsibility to take action as this can only happen if you stop trying and start believing in yourself. As for me, I’m probably not the most talented of the bunch, because I found my passion for data later in life, but if we go back to that playground, then having one outstanding player will not win you the game. You can always find someone more talented, more skilled and if you do, be damn sure he or she worked hard for it. And pray to god that person is willing to share, so your life gets easier (Joke).
As I see it, one must understand that a productive personal development strategy is essential. Moreover, having people who think as a team rather than as individuals is what I think is key to long-term gains, like achieving sustainable growth and customer success rates. In return, as an individual you must be willing to put in the effort. One team member strengthens the other, they are like yin and yang: totally different, but only a whole when put together. I truly believe this mixture is understood within Kohera. Nothing is ever perfect, but I would rather be a man of value than a man of success. People have a tendency to appreciate the fact that you can stand for something, have an idea on what your goal is or what kind of person you want to be and stick to it. As a company, Kohera tries to let you be the consultant you want to be. This staff policy has been summarised in five memes.
To conclude: in our job we interact with clients each day, often switching it up once or twice a week. It is not always evident, having to change your mindset and co-working with different people from day to day. This shows with ease that there is a human side to working as a consultant as well, it is more than being a techie sent out to do a job, as we are often thought of. As such, for some of us it is a big difference between going out on yourself or knowing that there is a bigger picture to back you up. It takes a mind shift as a company to grasp the concept that our playground has expanded and maybe needs to be approached differently. I believe in the Kohera concept that a team has to be a mixture of eagerly learning youngsters, seasoned professionals and MVPs that back each other up. As a result, a customer gets to hire a genuine consultant and, indirectly, the knowledge base of an entire team, which helps us to boost customer success rates in return.
To end with, I want to give you one more particularly significant quote by one of the most renowned sportsmen ever: