I spent my first 12 months at Accenture making myself redundant.
It sounds strange but that’s effectively what I did.
I had spent 10 years working at a Digital agency, Reactive, managing the hosting division, IT, tech and infrastructure. After 10 years we were acquired by Accenture and I spent the next year migrating all of our systems over to the Accenture systems.
Essentially I spent a year dismantling the hosting division that I’d spent 10 years building. So although it was quite a cathartic process – I was making myself redundant.
When the transition was complete, I had absolutely no idea what my new role would look like at Accenture. With long service owing, I tied up a few loose ends and booked a trip to America for a month.
When I got back, I sat down and thought, what do I do now?!
During the process of migrating all of our systems over to Accenture systems I managed to learn a lot about Accenture’s policies and processes and meet a lot of people along the way.
Everyone gets a mugshot… Super handy when there are over 100 people in the team and you need a sneaky reminder what someone’s name is…
I found myself in a good position to know how to get things done inside the Accenture framework. Being able to deliver what we need in a way that stays inside Accenture's policies and requirements and didn't upset the applecart. So I found I became a key tool or an asset for getting stuff done for everyone across our different offices.
That's when I sat myself down next to a new desk mate, Rosie who is now part of the Talent Brand marketing team. Rosie happened to be preparing for a number of events that we were representing at. The previous year I had purchased Nao, a Humanoid Robot, for the team. Rosie asked me to get him out, get him working and get him ready for the show to display on the booth. Initially I was just supposed to be the on-hand tech expert but ended up manning the booth. I was given some talking points and let loose.
After that any time a booth would come up, I would be on it whether it was a SAP expo or Service Now. I was there to get people’s attention and then hand them over to subject matter experts.
Left: Nao makes a much anticipated appearance at the inaugural bring your kids to work day… The funniest thing would have to have been the Dad's dancing along to Nao. Right: One of our first gigs, showcasing Nao around the Adobe Symposium.
And from there I started carving out my new role at Accenture. I became the go-to-guy-to-get-things-done within policy.
A year ago, Accenture opened its new Auckland office. I was sent to Auckland to close the old Reactive Auckland office and move them into the new Accenture office.
There was quite a bit of nerves about everyone moving into the new Accenture office with a lot of uncertainty and fear. But because I'd gone through it before in Melbourne and Sydney, I knew what to do.
Left: The Zen room is looking a little bare during the move in to the new Melbourne office… Top Right: The new Sydney office has great bones, this is just before we started the fit out of the new Accenture Sydney office Bottom Right: It’s a momentus day when the removalists rocked up to relocated us from the Reactive Fitzroy Studio to 161 Collins St.
My strengths are culture and community building. I assisted with all the moving and setting up the environment in the new office and instigating some institutions that we had running at Reactive for many years such as breakfast on a Friday morning and catch-ups on a Friday afternoon, to hear what people are doing and working on during the week.
Big Breafast, every Friday, in our new Melbourne digs
It takes time for cultures to join and settle in. Some people do really well with change and others don’t.
So whether you’re starting with a new company or part of a merger and acquisition, the transition period can be tough. Here are some of my tips and advice for those trying to settle in:
Play to your strengths
As a kid I was technically gifted. I spent my days taking apart machines, whether it was a VCR or radio. I was always running up and down the street fixing neighbour’s TVs. At school I was always to go-to person to sort out the AV issues.
And in some ways my new role at Accenture has morphed into my neighbourhood role as a kid – fix what needs to be fixed!
Early on when I realised I was making myself redundant, I didn't panic. Instead I looked at the positives that would come from it. Managing a hosting business is very stressful, I was always on call. I thought to myself, you know what, whatever happens I'm no longer in that position with so much responsibility resting on my shoulders. I was happy to not have to do hosting anymore and I felt liberated. So I focused on the positives and said let's see how the cards lie.
I consider myself to have a generally optimistic and positive mindset and if I see something that needs to be done I do it. That proactive attitude has led to various different people and departments giving me roles and jobs.
The importance of culture
During my time at Reactive I learned the importance of a strong culture in the workplace. We had a really strong culture that felt like a family unit. Lots of life-long friendships were created at Reactive over the years, and this has carried over to Accenture.
One of my strengths is building a good culture and community building. So I strive to create a positive, inclusive and collaborative culture where people are happy coming to work and thus to their best work.
I'm helping to spearhead an initiative called "A Place to Thrive" to leverage the community within Accenture to make the space more inclusive, productive and a great place to be.
Also I helped facilitate "Bring your Kids to Work Day" which is two days when parents could bring their kids to work. The parents worked from our Rumble room, while the kids socialised with each other, watched movies, played with VR tech and had a visit from Nao, the humanoid robot.
These community building initiatives may seem like small things, but combined they make a huge impact on people's day-to-day working lives and overall a happier place to work.
Left: I always say it should be said with flowers! Top Right: Our farewell Fitzroy party was a very glamorous glittery affair… Bottom Right: Did someone say #RadSki? Our generally annual trek up to the snow… Beware the Billy!