I caught up with Cody Case recently to talk through his passions inside and outside of work and to get his thoughts on how he has grown in his five years with Credera.
WHO ARE SOME OF THE CLIENTS YOU’VE WORKED WITH?
Some clients I’ve worked with at Credera are National Geographic, C Spire, Backcountry.com, Freeman, and Chili’s.
HOW DID YOU ORIGINALLY FIND OUT ABOUT CREDERA?
When I first joined my prior employer in 2004, the guy that showed me the ropes was Justin Bell (a Credera employee of 11 years and a Vice-President with the firm). There were several of my prior colleagues that joined Credera, and I got to know the company through them. It wasn’t until Credera started the Mobile Solutions practice that I felt like the timing was right for me. Also, I saw that all of the guys that had come over to Credera from my existing employer were working successfully, growing their skills and experience, and they were all still there. Many times, people taking a new job don’t stay more than six months at that job before they are gone again as a victim of missed expectations, but that wasn’t happening at Credera. In fact, all of the people were still there, and several had been promoted one or more times.
WHAT ARE THE ASPECTS OF THE CULTURE AND JOB THAT ATTRACTED YOU TO CREDERA?
I had achieved the level of Enterprise Architect at my prior job, and I felt like I spent the majority of my day talking about things, but without actually doing anything. I wasn’t building any more. I wanted to spend my career being very close to making mobile solutions come to life rather than just postulating. Having “30 thousand foot” technology discussions is important, but I did not want to focus my career there.
I also knew that I would need a different line of work if I was going to grow myself personally. I’m actually very introverted by nature, and I knew that if I stayed in a place that allowed me to avoid getting ‘out there’ that eventually my growth would plateau. I wanted to push myself technically as well as to get better at presentation skills and speaking. Finally, in a smaller organization, you get a chance to have a greater impact on things, which is different than working at a company with 70,000+ people.
HAS CREDERA HELPED YOU STAY OUT THERE ON THE EDGE AND GROW YOUR TECHNICAL AND PUBLIC SPEAKING SKILLS?
Definitely, though it would be impossible to sit here and say ‘nailed it’. I’m a very different person now compared to five years ago. Could that have happened at my old employer? Yes, though I definitely believe Credera has made a huge difference. I am better at developing well-founded opinions and better able to concisely communicate them.
IS THAT BECAUSE YOU HAVE HAD DIFFERENT EXPERIENCES ON YOUR VARIOUS PROJECTS AND CLIENT TEAMS?
I think the well-founded opinion part is definitely true, and then being around other Credera leaders has sharpened how I articulate those opinions. That’s helped my career, but those skills transcend my job; they’ve made me better outside of Credera as well.
WHAT DO YOU ATTRIBUTE THAT TO?
Credera fits into the way I like to do things. For example, my hobby is to race sports cars. I’ve always been interested in cars, and in college I took it beyond reading Road & Track and moved into road course racing. I campaign my own car in time trials, and I rent a seat in an endurance race car that a friend owns. Both racing and performing a project for a Credera client fit into a cycle of 1) preparing and using lessons learned from prior experiences to meet the particular race or project situation, 2) starting the race, which is like deploying code to Production, and 3) analyzing the results and applying them to future efforts. I see the same cycles of activities in both my hobby and my job.
I tend to do my best work under a healthy amount of pressure, and in past roles my expectations of myself often exceeded the projects I was working on. At Credera, I don’t get bored because our clients’ expectations of me align closely to the bar I hold for myself. That’s what I attribute my success to, because when I wake up I have a sense of challenge, and it’s the same type of challenge I would pursue even if I didn’t need to work.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE JOINING CREDERA?
Know why you want to come here. Don’t just ‘wander’ to Credera because you are looking for a change, because it’s closer to your house, or because you’re chasing a dollar. Have a personal agenda of how you want to grow. It doesn’t have to play out exactly as you’ve planned it, but have a plan going in of what you’d like to learn, how you’d like to grow, and what you’d want to achieve.
Once they’ve joined, I try to give people a lot of opportunities. I like to talk about different approaches to a problem without being too prescriptive. I want them to see how I think without telling them exactly how to do things. This provides them with an idea about how to frame up a solution, and the freedom to make decisions. I’ve learned best in my career when I’ve had the chance to understand how others think and then the opportunity to decide for myself.
TELL ME A LITTLE ABOUT HOW YOU’VE SEEN SOME OF CREDERA’S CORE VALUES LIVED OUT?
Integrity. I’ve always felt like the people here have a tremendous amount of integrity. Over the last couple of years I’ve started to read more books on leadership, and I’ve seen that many of the things they talk about great leaders doing, we already do here. I great example of integrity happened a couple of years ago. We had an employee that had not filled out his health insurance paperwork correctly, and his wife hadn’t been enrolled. The premiums for her insurance weren’t coming out of his checks, but he didn’t notice. This went on for a while, and then his wife needed surgery. They hadn’t set aside any money for the missed insurance, but Credera covered the cost of the premiums and made sure that the insurance issue was corrected so her surgery would be covered. People talk often about ‘doing the right thing’. I’ve seen it happen here, regardless of the consequences.
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR PERSONAL CORE VALUES, AND HOW DO YOU APPLY THEM TO YOUR WORK AND PERSONAL LIFE?
Honesty – if you don’t have that, you don’t have anything. I strive to be the type of person that lives out ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you’. It’s really that simple, but it is not always easy to achieve.
WHAT EXCITES YOU ABOUT CREDERA?
Going through the feedback loops with people, and helping them find the answer and seeing them grow along the way. It’s also really fun helping our clients change things for the better. I’ve been at my current client, Chili’s, for a while now, and it’s gratifying to see how much things have changed. The mobile app has traditionally taken a back seat to the website, but over the past nine months the mobile app has seen an increase in the total number of users of 12x and the revenue has increased 2x. I am really happy for Chili’s, and I hope that we had some small part of that. I thrive on making customer-facing applications and helping to change the way an organization interacts with its customers.
WHAT ARE YOU PASSIONATE ABOUT OUTSIDE OF WORK?
The number one thing is family. I have a wife and three children, ages seven, five, and three. Life becomes a time management exercise between family, work, service, and self-improvement. I am constantly refining my approach to making the most of each day I’ve been blessed with.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU?
I think about this one a lot. Current focus is on effectively scaling myself, investing in our people and helping them grow. I am also working on asking better questions, being able to elicit the right responses in order to become a more effective consultant. Those are tactical actions toward the foundational goal of doubling my professional skillset every 2 years, and I am bullish that the opportunities Credera affords will continue to fuel this growth.