“No company has a culture, every company is a culture.” This statement from Peter Thiel shows the value of work culture in an organization. A healthy work culture is the key to building an exceptional organization which positively brings growth, productivity, and committed employees. For a culture officer, creating an effective work environment is not a one- time job, it requires understanding and endurance that needs time, attention, and leadership. Considering the significance of work culture and its affect on employees’ overall performance, Anne Krog Iversen, Chief People, DNA and Culture Officer at TimeXtender, spends a lot of time aligning culture building with day-to-day work activities to create a healthy and prosperous workplace.
We wanted to find out more. Below are the details of the interview with Anne:
Give a brief overview of your background and your role at TimeXtender.
I’m the Chief People, DNA & Culture Officer and co-founder of TimeXtender. My passion is people – it’s all about people helping people fulfill their purpose, goals and dreams. I try to ensure that we all enjoy the journey – knowing that focus, hard work and a whole lot of passion can help our employees reach their destination at work and in life. I believe in the concept of ‘1000 people – 1000 ways.’ Our purpose at TimeXtender is to give businesses instant access to data, enabling them to make quality business decisions with data, mind and heart. We do this for one simple reason – because time matters.
How does TimeXtender position its cutting-edge technology to appeal to its target audience?
To start, it’s important to note that we’re a market leader in data management with our high performance data management platform Discovery Hub®. We’re focused exclusively on Microsoft, which allows us to provide our outstanding technology to companies looking to rapidly construct and manage a modern data estate on Microsoft data platforms. More specifically, with Discovery Hub, companies can build and manage their corporate data estate on Microsoft Azure, on-premises or hybrid. Discovery Hub fully prepares corporate data for Azure, artificial intelligence and advanced analytics. This emphasis has led us to being named a Finalist as a 2019 Microsoft Data Estate Modernization Partner of the Year. Discovery Hub is built with automation in mind, enabling companies to use a single, integrated platform rather than a patchwork of tools. This results in a huge me and cost savings for businesses and a fully operational data-driven enterprise.
How necessary is it to align business with technology and what are its outcomes?
To be successful, today’s modern business must have access to its valuable enterprise data on a moment’s notice. This isn’t an option. Organizations that do not provide business users data at their fingertips will fall behind. Decisions regarding how to run their business now and into the future must be based on reliable, accurate data. In order to make superior and strategic business decisions, users within functional areas need to evaluate insights, trends, history, analytics and reports. However, it is also very important to know that decision making shouldn’t be predicated solely on data. Using your mind and your heart are key factors in making good decisions as well. This helps us bring knowledge and intuition, plus passion and interest, into the decision-making equation to help us make a more complete business decision. In sum, we call this making quality business decisions with data, mind and heart.
What were some of the primal challenges and roadblocks that you faced during the ini_al phase of your journey?
As TimeXtender began to grow, we lost a valuable colleague from within our executive inner circle. Then, as the company began to emerge onto the global business tech scene, there was a lot of activity within the company. Several years ago, to help us all deal with these issues along our journey, and to provide calmer, stronger emotional intelligence, we rolled out our corporate mental health program. Mindfulness has given us the life skills to become better at self-management both at work and at home. This helps us all identify with a common purpose greater than life’s challenges and growth rates. Along with mindfulness, we’ve used Dr. Stephen R. Covey’s ’The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ program as our centerpiece for developing our company DNA, and it has truly been a game-changing catalyst for helping TimeXtender grow over time.
Along with the 7 Habits, what else comprises your corporate mindfulness program?
We have a weekly recharge session where we have regular attendance from the majority of our employees. We have also hosted online recharge sessions as well. During our weekly gatherings, we might include mediation, yoga, breathing, peaceful walks or other related mindfulness and mental health ideas. We also have a weekly breakfast on Fridays so that the team can socialize and engage with each other. We also instituted a minute of silence to start our business meetings. The power of silence helps us all get grounded and recharge and recover from previous business engagements as we prepare for the new meeting about to take place. In addition, our corporate offices are decorated with inspiring artifacts to help reinforce our beliefs and way of life. This helps to promote and foster a harmonious, peaceful, and tranquil environment for our staff and visitors.
Describe some of the vital attributes that you think every business leader should possess.
Well, there are several attributes that any business professional should have but if I had to identify the top three that come to mind I would say trust, resiliency and perseverance. At TimeXtender, our business is centered around our industry leading Discovery Hub. Our research and development team works tirelessly to advance the technology as times and needs change. But, really, if you think about it, we’re also in the people business. We have hundreds of partners and thousands of customers around the world. What makes this all work is the trust in our relationships. Trust is very important. Secondly, I would say that being resilient is essential as well. There are ups and downs in any business and it’s important that we stay even keel and consistent as we guide the business through cycles. Related to this is perseverance. We have to possess grit as it’s a competitive world out there. To aid us here our company DNA is now designed so that our employees can become more aware and focused in their work and personal endeavors. Providing corporate mindfulness at work during the workday is a big part of who we are at TimeXtender and it inspires us and helps us persevere in the short and long runs.
What is your advice for emerging businesswomen?
Several years ago, the term “soft skills” and possessing those skills became a hot topic in the business world. Today a lot of emphasis is put on having emotional intelligence. We work and deal with, buy and sell from people. It’s extremely important to understand human relations and being attentive, not just to business requirements, but to people’s personal needs. These skills are not always innate and can be learned, so along with studying and gaining experience in one’s chosen career path, it’s essential to also learn relationship skills at the outset, but really throughout your professional career. In addition, I would say that searching out more experienced management peers to learn from can be quite beneficial for someone advancing in corporate management. Having a corporate mentor to turn to who possesses more experience can help someone accelerate along the learning curve and find greater success in management. Also, it’s important to build, expand and nurture your personal network. Having a business network can help you expand your knowledge base and provide access for support and opportunities.
Where does TimeXtender see itself in the near future and how will you catalyze the change?
TimeXtender continues to grow by leaps and bounds each and every year. We’ve been rated one of the fastest growing private technology companies on numerous occasions. This is evidenced by our very high growth rates, growing customer base, and ever-expanding partner network. But we’re not resting on our laurels. There are still myriad businesses around the world who could benefit from Discovery Hub to create win-wins with us. The ability for business users to have instant access to trustworthy data is vital to any organization. And today, this necessity is now moving into the cloud. Discovery Hub makes all this happen for businesses.
That said, companies have choices when it comes to selecting technologies to manage their data estate on Microsoft Azure. The question becomes, what is the best option for building and managing your data enterprise today and tomorrow? What will ensure that you have a future-proof data architecture? We wholeheartedly believe the answer is Discovery Hub. The technology leverages the power of automation to help business remove manual, redundant, repetitive tasks in favor of automation for coding. It provides a single, integrated platform to help organizations benefit from ‘one version of the truth.’ The more companies that learn about Discovery Hub the more our business continues to grow. We expect this market leadership to continue today and into the future. And we’re exciting about our prospects.
It’s inherent within our corporate DNA that we believe that people do business with people, and with that focus, we will always strive to maintain our resiliency, and to have a sustainable organization, so that we can be the best we can be for our partners and customers that we serve.