Communication is frequently listed as one of the key attributes of healthy relationships. When I think about the relationships I have with friends and family, it’s easy to point to examples of what open, authentic communication looks like. I am happy to say I also see those same characteristics in the relationships I have with my co-workers at Credera.
Lead by Listening
A month after new recruits begin working here, Credera holds a Q&A lunch with the new hires and the partner team. The goal of this lunch is to give the new hires an opportunity to communicate their first impressions of Credera, any issues or concerns they’re experiencing, or things they’re enjoying and would like to see continued. By teaching this kind of communication early in their career, it’s easy to continue that form of transparency throughout all levels of the firm.
During my partner lunch nearly five years ago, I expressed one thing that I felt should be changed. Rob Borrego, our CEO, listened to me and shared his opinion and a potential solution. His response made me feel heard and respected, even as a first-year consultant.
It’s better to begin a relationship with open communication, than to attempt to fix this later.
Taking it a step further, Credera fosters a culture of open communication through the monthly Fireside Chats. Once a month, the company comes together to celebrate recent wins, introduce new employees, cheer for other employee’s anniversaries, and learn who won the month’s peer-to-peer nomination. Transparent communication does not stop at sharing the good news and omitting everything else, it means sharing all news with the company, which the partner team does openly. This open communication creates higher levels of trust between the leadership team and the rest of the company resulting in transparent communication that most would be hard pressed to find elsewhere.
Embrace Conflict With Humility
Briana Gentry said it best, “Credera hires people who want to grow, be challenged, and desire to help others do the same.” Conversations around conflict are typically the most difficult, but can also be the greatest source of growth, not only for an individual but for an entire team.
During my first year at Credera, my project team had monthly meetings with Matt Levy, and it was during one of these meetings that he discussed with us how he approached conflict. Matt wrote a wonderful blog post on this concept, exploring how conflict grew into trust between himself and Rob Borrego. Matt told us to reflect inwardly first, and to “remove the log from our own eye, before pointing out the speck in someone else’s eye.” The inward reflection allows us to have a humble conversation in the face of conflict.
This approach also means that I have never played the blame game at Credera. My co-workers and I may occasionally have different viewpoints, but we’re all working toward the same goal. Approaching conflict directly allows us to resolve differences and work together effectively.
Make Collaboration Fun
One of the best parts about Credera is working closely with colleagues and having fun. Credera fosters an environment for open communication, right down to the seating arrangements. You won’t find a cubicle farm at Credera. Project teams that work in the Credera office sit together in team rooms. Within a team room you’ll frequently find coworkers sharing thoughts, talking through a difficult roadblock, or even using the white board to chart different options and processes.
In addition to the above, my team frequently used the whiteboard to vote on where we went for lunch, missed trash can basketball shots, records for solving the puzzle the fastest (we kept one on hand for mental breaks), and fun, inspirational quotes from members of the team. This element of fun created camaraderie. We didn’t have issues with conflict, varying viewpoints, or sharing constructive criticism because we were all “in it together” and worked toward a common goal.
Communication Impacts Morale
Effective communication limits confusion and frustration between coworkers. The ability to express ideas, concerns, or changes openly, in a receptive atmosphere, allows employees to make a difference at work. When people feel they are making an impact, and that their work is valued, they’re happier with their surroundings.
It’s incredible how the ability to speak openly with my team has impacted my morale at work and others around me. By trusting each other we’re able to work together effectively to achieve great things.
Life at Credera
We’re “open-sourcing” the Credera culture in a series called Life at Credera. We are sharing an authentic perspective on what we are learning and where we are growing. We are talking about friendships and fun, growth, higher purpose, talent and character, leadership, and communication.
We hope this series is a helpful resource in the continuous pursuit of a great culture. And we hope the results are encouraging to our company, employees, clients, and friends.
Looking for more? Check out these great Life at Credera perspectives:
Leadership Through Conversation: Lunch with New Hires & Leaders
Life at Credera: Building Character While Building the Company