Wednesday, May 2, 2012

What makes you stay ??

Ice breakers are great way to start a session. It should be simple, quick and get people talking. When we met this group of stakeholders in my current project, the simple format was: 'Introduce yourself, tell us what you do and why you like working at XXX'

In this group were people who had been working for this organisation for 42 year and the youngest person was around for just a few months. Inadvertently my friend had asked an interesting question that gave us great insights into what it meant to be a part of the business we were dealing with. Most people in the group had spent their lives doing just that and they had just a few minutes to reflect and say what they liked most.

When it came to me I did not even mention how long I have been working in my organisation. The average life span of a person in an IT organisation seems so short in comparison. And I can truly claim to be working in an organisation that has been voted consistently over the years as one of the best places to work. Interestingly, a couple of days later we were in a pub having a heated discussion over a drink about what brought us here.

But soon the discussions shifted to ' what makes you stick around?'



Listening to each others perspectives was enlightening. For most of us it was the kind of people we got to work with. Quite strange because most of the people around me would be termed 'jerks' or at best 'nerds' elsewhere. But still my answer was "I like working with people who 'keep me on my toes', where every statement I make can be questioned by any member of the team, where passionate disagreements do not lead to sour relations but mutual respect. Of course, I hate the stubbornness of people around which at times seems like an unreasonable eagerness to always  have the last say in an argument. But enjoy (giving and receiving) whole hearted support once we set on delivering/executing plan. I enjoy the sense of shared responsibility of each assignment we take up."

Having been a lateral hire, I put up this question "Grass often looks greener on the other side of the fence. Since you have always been on one side of the fence, have you not had this feeling very often."

The answer was a surprising 'NO'. This seems so peculiar to Thoughtworkers. The overall sense of empowerment provided by the culture and value seems so strong that it made everything else look unattractive on the other side of the fence.

The point is we all have reasons to stick around. Not all of it is intrinsic to an organisation. For an individual I believe it is a combination of a lot of factors. But as a friend put it, " We spend a better part of our life at our workplace, much more that what we get to spend at our homes, so it makes sense to be picky about where you work. Enjoy your life as you earn the mullah because you spend more time earning it that you get to spend it."

Whatever makes you stick around let it be the experience of being around and not anything else...

So what makes you stick around??