Great people contribute to a healthy company culture and success

By Dan Blomberg
11 February 2020

I was flying back from our company kick-off in Edinburgh recently. Middle seat again. Being 6 foot 4 inches, I have slight practical challenges with middle seats… However, it was a good opportunity to close my eyes, disappear into my own world and reflect over the team event we just finished and how culture, talent and success are all tied together. So I wanted to share some of the thoughts that came to me on that flight, sitting in the “friendship” seat.

As one of the organizers of the kick-off, my view is obviously not objective, but I strongly believe that it was a successful and important event. It was particularly rewarding to see how people used the time to interact, have fun and get to know each other better. In all honesty, this is the main reason why we have kick-offs, more so than the business updates and training. Let me elaborate a bit on that.

Our clients operate in an increasingly complex environment with more regulations, higher volumes, and lower margins, and having the right technology and services strategy have become a differentiator for scale and growth. Rightfully, our clients have high demands, they expect the best from their own team, but also from their vendor, and their solutions and people. Together we need to be the best. Always.

How do we then ensure that we are the best at what we do for our clients? Apart from continuing to deliver solutions and services that meet their business needs, the answer is our people. We need to ensure that we attract the top talent people (brand awareness), train them, retain them (culture and entertainment value), and foster an environment where they can share knowledge (collaboration). This is easier said than done when working in a team like ours, with people scattered across regions, which makes it even more important to get together face-to-face from time to time. We are all humans after all, and getting to know each other on a personal level is the key to accessing each other’s talent and experience.

Our SS&C Advent team is full of highly educated, smart and motivated individuals. The standards are high and given all my rambling about “team” and “collaboration”, it might seem irrelevant to recognize individuals, but yet we do it. Awarding members of our team gives us a chance to focus on what works well in our company, and especially those people who make it happen. This year we asked our team to vote for colleagues who stand out as role models in three different categories. I’m proud to present them here:

  • Kosta Masalov – “Big Thinker” award – always bright new ideas, helpful, humble
  • Manolis Bikakis – “Client Experience Excellence” award – helpful, dedicated, always delivers
  • Sue Liu – “Employee of the Year” award – knowledgeable, friendly, talented, helpful

Congratulations all three, well done!

Now, if we look at these people as well as the winners from previous years, they all have the same high standards as everyone else. So what are the characteristics that make them stand out? There are many answers, but after several years in a leadership position and observing people be nominated and rewarded, I have my own view on this: These people take pride in helping colleagues and clients alike, placing them in a position where many want to help them back. They get full access to the entire talent and experience pool in our company, as well as with clients. And it makes sense, doesn’t it – no one can do everything on their own, we are all dependent on teamwork to succeed.

Middle seat or not, I am already looking forward to the next opportunity to get together with colleagues and clients. We are in this together.