Living our values: We-oriented [4/7]

Part four of a blogpost series on the InSites Consulting company values. 

Great organizations are more than just the sum of great individuals. There is no better way to illustrate this than by taking a look at the amazing things we can learn from nature. You may have witnessed it yourself: ‘living clouds’ created by thousands of starlings flying together, referred to as ‘murmuration’. What makes all the starlings suddenly change direction or speed as if they were a single entity still remains one of nature’s secrets. The reason behind this unique collective motion also remains unclear, with most scientists assuming it is to reduce predation risk. At some point in the past, two Michigan State University evolutionary biologists offered new evidence that evolution doesn’t favor the selfish. Lead author and MSU professor of microbiology and molecular genetics Christoph Adami said: We found evolution will punish you if you’re selfish and mean. For a short time and against a specific set of opponents, some selfish organisms may come out ahead. But selfishness isn’t evolutionarily sustainable.”

‘If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.’ – African proverb

Similarly, an organization’s strength, progress and resilience are determined by the extent to which its individual employees ‘fly together’, as if a single entity working towards a common goal.

A few years ago, I received the best compliment ever from one of our clients, supporting the value we attach to ‘we-orientation’. The client told me that whoever he is working with or talking to at InSites Consulting, the experience feels ‘similar’ in the sense that a common DNA seems to be shared by all of us. With over 600 employees across 18 different locations, uniting people around our values and driving group collaboration requires all of our attention. Below are a few examples of actions we undertake to protect and further strengthen our ‘we’ culture.

Celebrating success together

Recognizing and celebrating team success is an essential condition to build team orientation. Our profit-sharing practice ensures that everyone at InSites Consulting benefits from our collective success. Creating a feeling of togetherness also means just saying thank you. An example here is our ‘Employee Appreciation Day’, a token of appreciation and a thank you to every colleague for being part of our team, for giving the best of themselves every single day, and for making InSites Consulting what it is and what it stands for.

Embracing group diversity

Creating a ‘we’ culture also implies adjusting to local cultures. Making people feel at home is not just about uniting them around a shared story and culture; it is also about paying attention to differences. With 18 locations across the globe, we have many opportunities to learn from each other when it comes to cultural differences. For example, one small thing I learned about the Dutch is their habit to offer employees a ‘Christmas package’ at the end of each calendar year. Being Belgian, I was not aware of this at all. In our first year, the fact that our Dutch team members went home without a package definitely did not contribute to a positive ‘we-feeling’ (by now we have largely compensated for that mistake 😃).

Tapping into collective wisdom

Collaboration is our middle name. Several of our leading methods depart from a ‘we research’ philosophy rather than ‘I research’. By bringing together interesting and interested consumers into the Square, we benefit from a group dynamics and creativity which enable us to dig deeper and formulate better answers for our clients. Using our crowd-interpretation method, we involve groups of consumers in jointly interpreting visual stimuli, leading to fresher and more relevant insights. Similar to the platforms and techniques we use for tapping into the collective wisdom of consumers, we stimulate co-creation and collaboration among our team members as well. The Moderator Square platform facilitates cross-border thinking and collaboration among our community moderators all over the world, crafting the future together. Another great example is the yearly InSites Consulting X-Sessions, a live, digital, interactive and vibrant congress created for and by all employees across our business.

Facilitating people connection

Doing things together is the best way to build a great ‘we’ atmosphere. A hybrid working culture, MS Teams, Yammer, SharePoint: it all aims at contributing to more intense and meaningful connections between people. In a hybrid working context, making sure new joiners feel welcome and part of the wider InSites Consulting team is more important than ever. Instead of announcing new joiners ourselves, we ask them to share their ‘passport’ on Yammer, which acts as a great conversation starter!

You may have heard the expression “there is no ‘I’ in team”, which is totally nonsensical – if you take a closer look. Great teams are by definition composed of great individuals, and vice versa. The real challenge is to have everyone flying together in perfect harmony and positive spirit. We’re interested to learn more about how you are creating or witnessing murmuration at your company!


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