“Nothing”. That was the actual response from my then 3-year-old daughter when asked what she was thankful for on Thanksgiving Day two years ago. It left half my family speechless and the other half holding back belly laughter. Even though it was an innocent response by an unaware toddler, I couldn’t help but think my parenting skills needed some serious help. Fortunately, she eventually figured out the meaning of ‘thankful’ and my family can look back on that day and smile.
Even as adults, it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day bustle and forget about all the things we are fortunate to have in this world. There are countless things I often take for granted including family, friends, health, home, freedom, food to eat and more. The holiday season is a good time to step back and reflect on what we are thankful for. I took a few moments over this year’s Thanksgiving holiday break to summarize my Top 5 work related list. Here goes:
- Team: It sounds cliché but I’m a firm believer no matter how hard you work or how much you do as an individual, you are only as good as the team around you. I’m fortunate to lead a high performing team that is made up of talented people who genuinely strive to do the right thing. Their skills coupled with putting the company ahead of their own self-interests yields amazing results quarter after quarter. I can sincerely say I’d be far less successful without my team – thanks gang!
- Culture: Most people say ‘culture’ is one of the main reasons they work for a company or one of the main reasons they leave. I’ve been lucky to work for a company who truly treats culture as more than just a word. The culture is infused into the way employees communicate with one another and conduct business with customers and partners. While we’ve grown too big to send every employee to Sweden for a week long introduction to our company culture, the 5 core values are still deep-rooted starting at the C-suite all the way down to individual contributors in remote locations. Being part of a genuine culture where employees live the core values is a really cool thing.
- Industry: Let’s face it, working in a boring industry wouldn’t be that much fun. Luckily for me and most of you reading this blog post, we work in one of the hottest industries (i.e. ‘business intelligence and analytics’) which remains a top priority for CIOs and business execs year after year. It’s enjoyable to be relevant no matter what the situation: company size, industry or prior experience with other technologies in this space. Not many other industries can tout this!
- Solutions: One of my team’s primary focus areas is crafting and delivering solutions for clients regardless of their industry or line of business function. We convey business value and demonstrate how our solutions will help improve the top or bottom line. I’ve yet to find a business challenge that isn’t a potential use case and solution area for business intelligence and analytics. It’s much more fun (and rewarding) to sell solutions rather than just pure technology and feature/functions!
- Innovation: Some people fear change or the uncertainty of what lies ahead. I’ve learned one thing is certain in the software industry: there will always be change. Rather than fight it, I encourage people to embrace change. This holds true for all the innovation going on in the industry right now. While the big data hype is starting to subside, we’re seeing incredible innovation in areas such as cloud, IoT, AI, cognitive, virtual reality and others. It’s a fun time to be in the analytics software space and there’s no shortage of innovation and corresponding opportunity right now!
Hopefully a few of these resonate with you and I’d love to hear what you are thankful for at work too. Feel free to add your comments below or ping me @msaliter. Happy Holidays!