The first in the #Bytetruths (behind the scene) series
What a year it has been for the Byte Family! You may all cringe at the descriptor of “family” when I speak about our team here but let me tell you, it’s most certainly an accurate one. There are the loud, fun loving brothers and sisters, the quiet and reflective, the straight shooters and the siblings that require a little more time to understand. There are shared meals, miscommunications, apologies, relationship building, celebrations and shared burdens.
If I was to take a selfie of the Byte family at the start of 2018 in our office, think Brady Brunch - people engaged across teams sharing knowledge and solving our customers’ requirements and sharing frustrations and a laugh.
In contrast, if you were to see a selfie of one of our monthly meetings - think awkward family photo.
Byte’s vision is to “Build great teams that deliver the extraordinary” but we had a team, that when it came to our monthly “family discussion” there were crickets and a high level of detachment. How can we continually deliver the extraordinary when our team didn’t feel comfortable to engage?
Embarrassingly so, I tried a few things, (as I had to chair the monthly meeting)
- Being “Stage 10” excited in the delivery of each topic (there would have been questions surrounding my sanity after each month- trust me)
- Actively trying to engage the audience with direct questions “So does anyone have any suggestions for the issue at hand?” (cue blank stares and an uncomfortable silence)
- There was singing, bouts of verbal diarrhoea and small talk that would bring any Account Manager to shame
It became apparent that this method of engaging our family members was not working. And from the wise words of an unknown author, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Whilst, I have been described as “weird” insanity was not a title I was chasing – a step back was required.
Merging of Cultures
This year I married into the most beautiful Chinese/Malaysian family and as a Caucasian from Ipswich, Queensland let me tell you I had a few things to learn! What I thought was normal behaviour was in some eyes unacceptable; like wearing shoes inside, being barefoot outside or putting my handbag on the kitchen table.
To merge the different cultures, certain changes had to occur. It took an open mind, vulnerability and a strength to still be me in sometimes an uncomfortable environment.
This taught me much about acceptance, understanding different points of view and managing expectations. I had a Eureka moment! Why shouldn’t I apply the same to my Byte family?
And so, I did.
I applied the following changes to our meeting routine:
- Encouraged participation of different members to lead discussions about actual issues that affect our family day to day –the team could now shine and showcase who they are and what they have achieved, but also to talk about everyday challenges and obstacles.
- The “Dad” of Byte, Robert Roshan, Founder and Executive Director being vulnerable and open to critique. Rob openly shared areas of weakness, asking to be challenged and asking for feedback daily.
- Provided a safe environment where members could give open and honest feedback. I must say a key contributor to this was through our “Dad’s openness to self-critique”. However, what a few of us did, was when someone was bold enough to speak, we would encourage them by asking open questions to keep the discussion going and showing gratitude when someone did speak up.
- When suggestions were made they were considered and where possible actioned in a timely manner.
- Team Leads encouraged this open discussion/feedback style in their own weekly meetings.
Our November meeting was by far the best we have had all year; discussion was a-flowing! (just like drinks at a corporate Christmas Party).
There was honesty, suggestions, openness, laughs and engagement from a variety of team members that in the past would have sat silent avoiding eye contact.
From a Human Resource Manager’s perspective, I felt like a proud mum seeing their kids kick a goal in their footy match. It was a win for the team and a win for the culture at Byte.
This year saw Byte kick some amazing goals professionally and internally and I know that with continued investment into developing our relationships within our family nothing will stop us delivering the extraordinary to our customers and to each other.
Human Resources Manager
"At Byte Information Technology our purpose is to build teams that deliver the extraordinary. I am invested to see each individual employee succeed and thrive. When they are satisfied and supported the achievement of this purpose is inevitable."