Photo by BRUNO CERVERA on Unsplash
A CEO, who is also a founder, gathers all new employees in a room during onboarding week and tells them this:
“This isn’t the time to keep quiet. Your first two to three months is when you should speak up the most. You are not blind yet, like the rest of us are. Question why we do things a certain way. The rest of us have been here and may have become blind to processes that don’t work, and you have the opportunity to help us regain sight.”
I don’t know about you, but when a CEO chooses to say this as one of two important takeaways from the newbies gathering, he not only gains my respect - he has just given me a reason to believe that this is a company that puts team performance first and denounces politics.
This is what Kristo Ovaska, the CEO and co-founder of Smartly.io, said to a group of us when we sat in the room with him together for the first time, as newbies. I immediately felt like I belonged. This is my personal modus operandi! So I noted down what he said and how it made me feel.
To me, this is incredibly refreshing. I thought most companies expected newcomers to quietly work and prove their worth before their opinions carry any weight? I suppose a bit of that is still true here since he’s not saying that you should be a know-it-all and not try to earn our place in the company.
Instead, what I think he’s saying is that as someone new to the company, we can bring a kind of value that the current team can no longer bring to the company. Humans adapt to both good and bad conditions.
This wouldn’t be something to write about if it was just something said and not lived. Somehow, my colleagues who have been in the company for two, three, or even five years seem to be fully cognizant of their blindness to the way the organisation works and they embrace the feedback we give via “#feedback” pings in our internal communications platform.
I believe that a team comprised of people who are self-aware of their biases and ideological entrenchment is a team that will find ways to keep getting better. And that, in my opinion, is the foundation of a great professional team that will do remarkable things together.
Sunday, 15th July 2018, in a Starbucks in Tanglin Mall waiting for Charlane to finish her bridal makeup gig in a nearby hotel.