by Tim Olson
During the interview process at Kenway Consulting, there is an entire interview devoted to culture – we call it the Critical Behaviors interview. During this interview, we ask questions probing to see how the candidate would act in certain situations. How does the candidate define success? What motivates and drives the individual?
On Day 1 for a new hire at Kenway, the employee goes through a full day of New Hire training. Part of this New Hire training is devoted to culture. It is a refresher and a reminder of the many things discussed during the interview and hiring process. We discuss the reason Kenway exists – our “Why” – which is To Help and Be Helped. We also touch on Kenway’s Guiding Principles. These Guiding Principles provide a beacon to help employees determine paths forward when navigating difficult situations and serve as guides for decision making in complex situations. They focus on integrity, quality, value and respect for each of us as individuals. They teach our employees to focus on the means, not the outcome!
The point I am making here is that culture is everything at Kenway. It is the main reason I joined the company. Post-training on Day 1 and through the first several months at Kenway, our “Why” and Guiding Principles are continually reinforced to a new hire, so the employee can see and, more importantly, experience these tenets in action. The new hire starts to understand that each employee not only “talks the talk” but also “walks the walk.” After the acclimation period, we ask our new hires to write a small bio about themselves. A few months after I started at Kenway back in April of 2014, I was asked to write my bio. When I sat down to put pen to paper, the first words that came out were:
I joined Kenway Consulting, because I wanted to better myself while also providing a benefit to my company. Too often people work somewhere with the saying, “Well, it’s a job” or “It provides a paycheck”. I’ve witnessed the company’s Guiding Principles put into practice and not just used as cliché. As I continued to see this, I knew it was the place I wanted to be – to challenge my entrepreneurial spirit and become part of something special.
When I wrote that bio, Kenway employed about 24 people. Fast forward to the present day as we head into October of 2017, and Kenway is right on the brink of hitting 50 employees! When it comes to Kenway’s “Why”, Kenway’s Guiding Principles, Kenway’s culture, you know what has changed? Absolutely nothing. If I were asked to re-write those sentences in my bio now as opposed to over 3 years ago, I wouldn’t change a thing. And that really is what Kenway is all about. We want to expand, and we want to help more and more companies, but we will not grow at the expense of our culture.
About a year after I started, Kenway devoted a good portion of a quarterly all-day company meeting where all of the employees, regardless of experience level or tenure at Kenway, collaborated to develop our vision statement, or The Kenway 20/20. The Kenway 20/20 is a narrative that speaks to where Kenway will be in the year 2020. Some of the metrics you will find in the narrative are that Kenway will have partnered with close to 40 clients, opened a satellite office and grown to 100 employees. These are goals – ambitions for which to strive. They are extremely motivating. What you will also find in this narrative is that Kenway will continue to stay true to our guiding principles, true to our “Why”, and continue to focus on the means, not the outcomes.
When Kenway was founded in 2004 with one employee, Kenway had these beliefs. When I started in April 2014 and Kenway had 24 employees, Kenway had these beliefs. Kenway, in the present day at almost 50 employees, still has these beliefs.
Kenway will continue to grow and help our clients. We will strive to hit the 100-employee mark and further our competencies. We will strive to move beyond those goals … BUT, not at the expense of our culture!
Are you a Business or IT leader accountable for driving change in your organization? Are you a person passionate about helping companies solve business problems by bridging gaps between business and technology? Or just want to say hi?