In the first two parts of this series, I discussed the evolution of the software factory and the need for companies to move beyond this identity. In this final post, I’ll share how Ci&T became one of those progressive companies providing peak experiences – by committing first and foremost to our employees.
So how do we do it? Of course you can only create peak experiences (those moments when one is “in the zone”) for your customers if your employees also enjoy them. If your employees are still mostly concerned with “Survival” needs (i.e. money), they won’t be able to move up the pyramid to help your clients in the “Success” or “Transformation” layers. However, if you create an environment where employees (or “collaborators,” as we say at Ci&T) look beyond survival and find recognition and meaning, you will have a team capable of aspiring to self-actualization. And that creates the inspiration needed to surprise and awe the client.
Where’s the Inspiration?
Unfortunately, it appears that within the “software factory” paradigm, IT professionals all over the world have accepted working at the “Survival” level too easily. I’m not saying that IT professionals do not earn money enough to work on the upper levels – not at all – but with the emphasis on “cold” processes, tools and prescriptive specifications, the motivation, more often than not, is just money. Take inspiration out of the equation and you get boredom. So, when all jobs look the same, individuals jump to the company that offers a dime more. All of a sudden, the only places that are fun and exciting to work at are Google, Facebook, and Apple (or some start-up where you may not even receive a paycheck in return for your work).
But it doesn’t need to be like that and I believe we’re proving that with Ci&T’s high-performance teams. Looking from a distance, by just reading the services portfolio provided on our website, we might just look like any other company – hardly an admirable outlier. But if you dig a little deeper, and take a closer look at the relationship between our collaborators and clients, you will see people enjoying peak experiences – finding “magic” in outsourcing.
Some Key Ingredients
At Ci&T, we believe that the keys to creating these high-performance teams are:
- Recruiting and retaining the best talent
- Building intrinsically motivated teams
The first item above is pretty obvious. The second has a lot to do with autonomy, mastery, purpose (reference to the book “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us,” Daniel H. Pink, 2009) and finding meaning in our work. The third refers to the foundation of principles upon which these teams will continuously improve: dealing with problems in a structured and scientific way, eliminating waste, and learning about what brings value to customers.
The truth is that software development is similar to all of the metaphors mentioned above: designing a car, building a house or painting a canvas. In order to be successful, we need processes, project management and high-performance teams. But you can’t stop at the “Survival” level – or, paradoxically, you may be going straight to death.