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  • Writer's pictureSolo Kombani

What I’ve learnt building the Aiculus team

And just like that, we quickly approach the end of another year. We made plans; they met reality, and it was on us to respond to resulting opportunities and challenges. As I look across our operational functions at Aiculus; Operations, Cyber & Risk, Technology, Sales and Marketing, it’s quite clear that our success thus far has been a result of the quality of folks we have been fortunate to add to the Aiculus team.

Creating the right environment

Looking back, one of the best things we did before expanding the team was sit down and define a clear purpose and vision for Aiculus in this regard. What kind of team and talent did we want? What kind of environment would such people be attracted to?

We knew that not being able to offer competing salaries meant that we had to have compelling reasons for talented and intelligent people to choose Aiculus over other available opportunities. Reflecting on our own experiences, we knew that we had to create an enjoyable environment that also allowed each team member to apply themselves fully to the challenges of building an innovative, necessary, and value-adding business and product.

Working closely with the CEO and tapping into the experience of our board, we realised that an ideal environment would provide our team the space and support to learn, grow and continuously excel. So, it wasn’t just technical skills and smarts that we were after, we needed spirit and determination. We needed team members that would keep us standing through the toughest of times. With the chaos of Covid-19 affecting our business and many businesses around us, it was these qualities in our team that we relied on during the toughest of seasons.

Capacity to get the job done

I’ve really enjoyed the recruitment process we’ve used to build our team, especially interviewing candidates. Once we had addressed the candidate’s technical depth, we would delve into personality; finding out what makes them tick, their proudest achievements, their interests. We avoided taking snapshots of people and their current circumstances. In our environment, qualifications matter and so do the team member’s x-factors. We know this because we see every day how the right individuals provide the energy and mentality to help a team achieve things that some would label as impossible.

Long-term vision

We haven’t lost sight of the fact that we are building for the long-term. The organisation we want to be, the suite of products and services we want to provide, the impact we want to have as an organisation; all these take time to build. And these can only be achieved by the right team. This is why we make an effort to explain the big picture to the team, because their buy-in is critical to our collective success.

And so, for me, our team is our greatest asset, and for this year, one of our greatest achievements. As a leader at Aiculus, I have immense pride in this. We believe that by looking after our people, they will look after our business. We’ve also learned to appreciate that sometimes, success is better measured by contribution not by tenure. We’ve made mistakes, but we’ve also taken time to reflect and learn valuable lessons from each mistake.

As we prepare to step into 2022, we have a solid strategy in place, and this is good. But time and experience have taught us that when reality collides with the best laid plans, it is the people at Aiculus who will help us work towards our North.


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