The jump from a small company to a large one can be intimidating, but it can also reveal a whole new world of opportunity. Kenzie Haynes, Interaction Design Lead at Fjord, part of Accenture Interactive, wasn’t sure what to expect when her design company became part of the Accenture family. She shares her expectations versus the realities and her tips for taking charge of your own career success.
My strategy during the transition was to go with the flow, and see how it evolved. I anticipated increased career growth opportunities and access to interesting and impactful projects, but I also feared a loss of culture as “corporate domesticity” took over.
As expected, the projects have gotten bigger, and it’s nice to consistently have resources for critical exercises like research and testing. And my day-to-day work remains laser focused on strategizing optimized digital experiences for our clients.
From Small to (Really) Big
Imagine going from a close-knit 150-person design studio, where the answer to any question was a couple of desks away, to a 400,000+-person global company, where the answers could be several time zones away. While we needed to scale our operations and mindset, the intimacy of working for a smaller company was replaced with a stable business, large budgets and competitive employee benefits.
It may feel a bit weird and bumpy at first, but if you’re willing to “go with the flow,” there’s a lot of opportunity at a larger company to do whatever you feel most inspired by or passionate about. As I always say: If you’re not growing, you’re dying!
My biggest breakthrough moment was when I stopped viewing our Accenture project team as a second client, and I started treating them like true partners. It’s important to take the time to get to know one another as human beings and to understand everyone’s goals and how they plan to achieve them. Be transparent and “lean in.”
Right after we joined Fjord, I worked on a financial advisor mobile app for one of the biggest banks in North America. Now I’m working on a health care exchange for one of the largest state exchanges in the nation!
The work we’re doing is the perfect mix of mind-bending complexity and warm, fuzzy feelings. “Nobody knew health care could be so complicated” is a great summary of how I feel most days, but the possibility of real, positive impact trumps any mental discomfort I may have with the subject matter. I also happen to work with a small team of incredibly smart, dedicated people that share the uncanny talent of making the impossible possible, every day.
I now have access to opportunities to learn and grow in the ways that I choose. Because Accenture has a finger dipped seemingly in almost every pie on the planet, whatever new technology, industry or specialty I want to explore, I have that path open to me. With this sort of weight behind the work I do, I feel that I have access to projects with major potential for positive impact.
Remember that it’s no one else’s job to understand your value. Trust me, they don’t (it’s nothing personal). You have to know your own value! #bold #underline #italic
Then, when you do, educate others. That’s just part of the job. No design speaks for itself, no one understands what you do or how to do it. You must constantly seek and maintain that shared understanding. So get good at it!
To be successful—at Accenture or anywhere—find a mentor that you trust and admire, solicit frequent feedback from people you respect, and find those situations that bring out the best of what you have to offer. And don’t hold back.
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