I have always been fortunate to know what I wanted to do. From an early age I had a love and passion for all things IT. When I finished Uni, I quickly followed my calling and got myself a good IT gig with a swish corporate firm.
In this role, I learned many things that have stayed with me and shaped my career path. One of them was that the glitz and glamour of the corporate world is only surface deep. Eventually, the lifestyle for me became tiresome and repetitive and so I left, wanting something different, something meaningful. I wanted to be inspired.
It was my then mentor, Martin Ferguson, who initially encouraged me to explore volunteer work. Having mentored at risk kids in the youth justice system in the past, I decided to increase my efforts and joined a social enterprise café and soup kitchen. This experience reshaped my outlook on what matters when it came to work. I learned that when you’re doing something that matters, something that people truly value, it has an exceptional impact on your desire and drive to keep going.
This experience is something I have held on to ever since. It is a different way of thinking and quite a cultural shift from many traditional workplaces. At Azured, we have built our business around this way of thinking and our customers, team and partners are the beneficiaries.
So, how do you ensure you create a culture that drives your business forward? That is a question I find constantly evolving. However, there are three fundamentals that have formed the backbone of Azured today.
#1 Hire on attitude, not on skills
Are there are a lot of smart people working in IT? Absolutely. It’s easy to find someone that fits a job description on paper. But if you are serious about culture, you need to invest in finding someone that fits with your culture. This is a much harder task.
At Azured, we focus on the people we want to work with, have a chat or grab a beer with and much less on the skills. Any gaps in technical capabilities can be taught, but sharing values and being the right cultural fit can’t be.
#2 Seek out human moments with your team
I have worked in businesses where CEOs or business leaders are placed on a pedestal and seen to be infallible. In our office, I’m the first to put my hands up and declare myself fully fallible!
Being imperfect means we have room to grow. I need to ensure my team sees this attitude in action in me, so they know it is ok to be equally imperfect. To feel comfortable sharing flaws or inexperience, helps us to be comfortable with each other and this is where sharing human moments is crucial.
I love getting team members along to jiu-jitsu, another passion of mine. Or grabbing a coffee and getting to know what makes them tick away from work. Taking interest in each other, builds relationships and trust. It builds support and helps ensure we understand how each other work.
#3 Foster natural interests and turn them into opportunities
Different people have different interests and strengths. It’s no surprise really that if you cater to these interests and strengths your team will thrive. If we see that a team member has a real passion or drive in one area of the business, even if it is not technically within their remit, we try and ensure that this interest is nurtured.
In doing this, it means that we, as a team, are constantly moving forward, striving for more and challenging ourselves. We don’t waste time trying to push round pegs into square holes. People have to want to do their work, it needs to be enjoyable and rewarding.
Not rocket science but a bit of flat pack assembly
So there you go, it’s not rocket science to know that you need the right people on your team. The theory is simple, the execution is more complicated. Whilst it may not be rocket science, there are no directions provided and sometimes, even when you think you are all set, you can find out you’re missing a crucial piece.
Knowing all the right pieces are in the right place is rewarding in itself. At Azured, we are bought together by a love of technology and problem solving but we stay together because of our attitude and approach.