Tricia Conyers sat down with one of our Business Partners - our “back office heroes”- to commemorate his 11th year with Evolve.
What's the best part of the Evolve culture? What does Evolve stand out for?
The best part of Evolve culture for me, is the safe environment to challenge each other. The ability to challenge others (in a good way) is a key difference for me in Evolve. I came from a very traditional, authoritative environment. This was very common in my field and the opportunity to challenge and suggest a better solution was not evident. Evolve is a safe place to challenge others and for others to challenge you. This behavior was very uncomfortable when I first started because I wasn't accustomed to people pushing back to build on my ideas. This give and take environment - challenging each other in a safe way and in a safe place - promotes better results and individual growth. This encourages me to challenge others, and to get more involved.
How do you stay connected to our culture and our business while working remotely?
My early experiences in Evolve (in the Trinidad office) showed me the type of environment that we wanted to have and it really changed the way I work. In my role, I make sure to always have a conversation with others and don't rely on email to solve a problem. And when I get others on the phone to solve their issues, I always spend an extra couple of minutes just chatting, connecting and inquiring, before jumping straight into the issue. I like to ask “where are you today” as I find this breaks down the perception that “I am just calling for IT support” and turns the call into a conversation with me and gives me exposure to what's really happening with the person. I find this immediately changes people's demeanor. Another way I stay connected is taking part in all of our internal calls. I make the time and space to sit in, to ask questions and to actively participate.
What is your favorite Evolve model and why?
I have two favorite models that we use in Evolve. I love VDKS, but the one I want to talk about is Difficult Conversations. When I learned about the difficult conversations model, it highlighted for me that in all difficult conversations you need to have them in a way that is respectful to the other person and to the issue. It forces me to look inward and think about if I am really seeing what is happening for the other person, if I am understanding and dealing with the issue at hand, and asking if I am creating a positive experience for both of us. This tool breaks down walls and allows each person to really hear what the other is saying. I used to have an issue challenging others, especially those in authority. I had a lot of self-doubt, and when I learned about this tool, I really internalized it and used it to empower me to have these conversations.
From: Ladder of Inference (Chris Argyris 1990)
Something people don't know about you?
I'm a very shy person. People always say “no way” to this, but believe me, it's true. I used to be pretty insecure and had a lot of self-doubt. When I came into Evolve, I felt my work and my opinion was valued. While insecurity is not a bad thing, I now use it in a positive way.