Living Up to Our Company Values (Part 2): Do the Right Thing and Never Stop Learning
In our previous blog, we began introducing the Cprime values that we all strive to every single day. Here, we introduce the next 2 values that define our goals as an organization.
IntegrityIntegrity. Doing the right thing even when no one is looking and being compassionately transparent about it.
In the fast-pace world of contract consultants, where talent is hard to find, national unemployment is at an all-time low, specific skillsets are scarce, and budgets are tight – it is very easy to “cut-corners”. What I mean by cutting corners is it is very easy to stretch the truth, to “sell” a consultant to a client even knowing that the consultant may not fit the client’s unique needs. Our integrity value prevents us from doing that. In order to be a trusted advisor – we will be compassionately transparent and have the courage to advise our clients when we can’t do something, or we don’t agree with the approach. We are willing to walk away if necessary because that’s what true partnerships demand.
Recently, I interviewed a contract consultant for a leading technology client for a Scrum Master role. After a great discovery conversation with the candidate, I was sold that this person not only has the technical aptitude, but the cultural fit and cultural values that is valued by this client’s organization. I had a strong pulse on what the client needed – after spending over half a year with the client through an in-flight transformation and already successfully placing several consultants. The wrinkle was that this consultant admitted (integrity value) that he was proposed by a prior competitor of ours just 48 hours earlier to the same client. I was crushed. Now, I could have easily proposed this same consultant to the client and acted like I knew nothing of what my competitor was doing. But that wouldn’t be living our integrity value. In fact, it would be a blatant violation of it.
So, I did the best thing I can do for my client and this consultant. I let the client know that I had spoken to this consultant and that he was already submitted by our competitor. I advised that they should speak with him and if he is indeed the right fit – they should go with our competitor. Yes, go with our competitor. It wasn’t much of a discussion in my head – it is simply acting with integrity and being transparent about it.
LearningLearning. Continuous learning and being a learning organization can be stressful, overwhelming and tiresome at times. Technology moves at such an exponential pace; our clients’ business models are being disrupted at lightning pace. You have to outlearn not only your industry, but really your customers. They demand it. Learning can be extremely uncomfortable and takes an incredible amount of discipline. But like building muscles in the gym and getting consistent results, it is about having the discipline to consistently do it. Even when it sucks or when you’re tired. Having that genuine curiosity for the world and not being satisfied requires hard work. I’m amazed by our people on a daily basis who practice and live this value every day.
I believe I can easily dig into various client engagements where we had to execute and learn new things that no one in the industry has ever done before to solve complex business problems. Or to deliver the value and quality to exceed client expectations for the engagement. But that would be too easy. In fact, I’m going to tell you about that one time our VP of Sales, Niles, wanted to learn more about pour-over coffee from me.
Yes, pour-over coffee. Not a complex business problem, not learning about how to integrate various IT systems – but coffee.
You see, if you ever have the opportunity to visit our Los Angeles Office – there is a good chance you’ll experience my pour-over coffee. Yes, I make coffee for my office colleagues – it’s my personal moment of Zen during the day where I will gladly make anywhere from 4 – 6 cups of grown at high-elevation, various coffee varietals (just like various wine varietals) that are complex, delicious, “you-don’t-need-sugar-or-cream” coffee. Recently, Niles made a trip to our office and proceeded to pepper me with coffee questions. He was genuinely curious in what made it so different from his Sumatra french press mornings. We literally spent 15 minutes talking about personal preferences in tastes, different terroirs and how it affects the coffee taste, different brewing methods, and my technique for creating a great cup of coffee. In the end, I was struck by the fact it didn’t have to do anything with work. He had that general curiosity of the world, of this craft.
In the end, he simply had the desire to learn something new. Nonetheless, Niles did prefer his Sumatra french press (he likes coffee bolder, toasty / soil, and oily). But the next time he’s back in the office, we’ll work on opening his mind to that.