Being a consultant at CTG for 17,5 years…

Being a consultant at CTG for 17,5 years…

Yesterday, we had a team meeting at work and Jochen, our unit manager, had a great idea. Why not tell the public how much you like your company. This is indeed something we should do more often.  He put his money where his mouth was, and did it live on LinkedIn.

I’m going to do it my way… this will end up on LinkedIn anyway 🙂

What does CTG mean to me? Well, obviously a lot, because I have been working there for the last 17,5 years. I have seen many colleagues come and go but I always stayed put and believed in them. Why? There are a lot of reasons, but the main reason is the way they treat their people.
A lot of organizations show off with fancy certifications and awards and you can (and should) be sceptical about these things. CTG also has some… we have been part of The Best Workplaces in Belgium for many years. We have been Investor in People for a long time.

Every year, on my career appraisal, my manager asks the same question… Are you still happy at CTG? And I always respond with the same thing:
If I get to a point where I go to work unhappy, I quit. It’s a simple as that. And this is something I literally mean.

So, what makes me so happy at CTG? It’s a combination of things.
The culture is one thing. We have a very open culture.
In my long career as a consultant, I talked to a lot of people and it amazes me how many organizations are out there that have a culture where people work against each other as part of internal politics and internal competition. I can’t imagine myself working in such an environment. And this is what I like about CTG. People are not working for their customers and their personal gain. They are working for OUR customers and to grow on a personal level but also to grow and mature the company.
Most of the time, I’m working on site with customers. But when I have a day where I’m going to the office, it feels like coming home. You immediately feel the positive vibe. People enjoy what they are doing. It’s difficult to describe this feeling… you need to experience it to understand it.

Another thing is that everybody is trying to help each other. When I started at CTG, there was a thing they called a SIG (Special Interest Group). These SIGs were groups of people getting together occasionally to share knowledge on topics they were passionate about. Fast-forward 17 years and these SIGs have evolved in Centres of Excellence (CoE). But at the core, it’s basically the same thing. Beside these centers we also encourage knowledge sharing by organizing Masterclasses en learning on the job by hosting regular Lunch & Learns where people get together during lunch to discuss specific topics of interest or have a small workshop. These L&L sessions are short, to the point and they work. They enhance the interaction in the different teams and encourages people to share their knowledge. The internal communities are like small ecosystems that live independent from each other but regularly bond and interact to join forces when needed. Not only on a professional level but also after work, these small communities get together to have some fun.

On a personal note, CTG meant a lot to me during one of the most difficult periods of my life. In 2015, after 9 years of trying, we were finally expecting our first child. But we lost our little boy during labour. After the initial shock, I notified my manager and unit manager that I was taking all of my vacation and that I needed time to process this. They immediately acted and relieved me from all administrative burdens. Family comes first. My customers were notified, and colleagues took over some my most urgent assignments without any hesitation. The sheer number of messages I received the first day from colleagues, office staff and management was so overwhelming, it took me 2 days and a lot of courage and tears to get through them. It took me 2 months to find enough courage and energy to go back to work. I was a bit worried I would see a lot of people trying to comfort me and I was not looking forward to those awkward moments. I didn’t feel like talking about it very much at that time. But to my surprise, none of my customers confronted me with this… which meant that CTG handled my absence with the upmost discretion. And I respect that. Says a lot about a company and how much they care about the wellbeing of their employees. They understand it’s the people that make your company, not just numbers and figures.

I currently have the role of Service & Technical Owner (STO) of the Business Productivity Solutions team. This team focuses on Office 365 and SharePoint and assists our customers in setting up modern workplaces or assist customers in transforming their traditional collaboration environments in modern collaboration workplaces. This is a very challenging role because Office 365 is a constantly changing platform where services come and go. Being an STO involves me on a higher level in decisions which are made to grow the company. Our management believes firmly in the importance of having senior consultants in these roles as they have a solid knowledge of their area of expertise and can be a bridge between the management and the people who are doing their best every day to build and expand the services we offer to our customers. This emphasizes the efforts the management do to involve the people in decisions which might affect their professional lives.

No bad memories, no times where the dark side tried to lure me away? Sure, there have been times. I’m not going to lie about it. Everybody has those moments of frustration and irritation. But then I think back to those past 17 years, what are the chances I’m going to find another great company like that? Lots of colleagues left, but a lot of them also came back because they missed CTG and its unique culture. That says it all.

If you want to be part of this family, don’t hesitate to drop a line. Our doors are always open, and we are always on the lookout for people who fit in the organization and are talented in what they do.

To grill or not to grill… The SharePoint team at CTG knows the answer!

To grill or not to grill ? Een vraag die je niet moet stellen aan het SharePoint team bij CTG! 😎

Elk jaar organiseren we een BBQ die we zeer toepasselijk hebben omgedoopt in de ShareBecue. Na 3 edities begint het al een echte traditie te worden. Zowel partners als kinderen zijn welkom. Dit maakt van deze BBQ een echt familiegebeuren waar naar uit wordt gekeken.

Het toffe aan deze BBQ is dat iedereen een handje meehelpt en dat we daar zelfs niet achter moeten vragen. Maakt het toch één van die gebeurtenissen die aantoont dat we bij CTG een team hebben dat zeer sterk aan elkaar hangt en dat het tof vindt om ook naast de professionele contacten, ook de persoonlijke contacten te onderhouden. Ook worden deze initiatieven ten volle ondersteund vanuit het management van onze unit… die ook voltallig aanwezig waren met partners en kinderen. TOP zeg ik!

Ik krijg geregeld de vraag waarom ik met mijn capaciteiten geen andere oorden op zoek…
Ewel, dergelijke kleine zaken maken het verschil. Het menselijke aspect is voor mij een pak belangrijker. We zagen en klagen soms wel eens, maar hei, dat doet iedereen, nietwaar!?
Maar weten dat je een team en management hebt waar je wordt geapprecieerd en waar je naast de louter professionele contacten ook eens mee een pint kunt gaan drinken na een CoE meeting of eens een BBQ mee kunt doen… wat moet een mens nog meer hebben? Centen? Een dikke auto? Is ook nie alles hé. Fun, respect, collegialiteit… daar draait het voor mij allemaal om.

SharePoint Passion

SharePoint Passion

A few months ago, a colleague of mine launched the concept “SharePoint Passion”.​ It was in the concept of end-user adoption and how fast and far one can take end-users from hating SharePoint to embrace and love it.
One of our pre-sales picked it up and described it like this…

I thought it was hilarious. The word, not the concept. SharePoint Passion. It either sounds like a cheap perfume, a massage oil/lubricant or some other dubious product one can find in a night shop. After a few laughs though, the words kept sticking on me.  The more I talked to people at CTG the more I realized that there is indeed a whole lot of passion on SharePoint. And that’s a marvelous thing. Why? The magic starts when a lot of people all start thinking the same thing. Things can happen that not one person can accomplish.

And for me that’s our primary strength as a group and what keeps me going: the passion.

So let’s keep talking to each other and share our ideas. It will be a challenge to implement them all, so we’ll have to make a few choices. But this way we will build further on what’s an already great service at CTG.
So maybe it is a lubricant. Because it will make things happen. If you’ll excuse the analogy. 🙂

Because the rest of the SharePoint team at CTG liked this concept and wanted to evangelize it, we needed a nice graphical teaser for it. Geert Maurissen took the lead and together with Nico Mombaerts, a new logo was created.

This logo was introduced yesterday on the CoENight where the whole team was wearing brand new SharePoint Passion shirts and giving away SharePoint Passion T-Shirts for anyone who updated their My Site. This initiative was a huge success. We handed out a lot of t-shirts and people were actually wearing them and not just taking one to have some fabric to clean their windscreen with. 😎

SharePoint_Passion1 SharePoint_Passion3 SharePoint_Passion2

Many thanks to Nico Mombaerts who was willing to create this logo.

ShareBecue 2012

Gisteren was de 2de editie van de ShareBecue.

De SharePoint crew van CTG komt jaarlijks samen met partners en kinderen. Zoals vorig jaar was het ook dit jaar weer in Wieze te doen. En helaas wat het weer ook hetzelfde als vorig jaar. Fris, regenachtig en winderig. Niet dat we ons daar aan hebben gestoord. Er was een afdak, dus geen probleem.

20 volwassenen en 10 kinderen… het was een geanimeerde namiddag 😎

Fotootjes…

CTG SharePoint Team Dinner @ ChuckWagon BBQ

Omdat CTG met de “So You Think You Can Demo” wedstrijd van Microsoft de eerste plaats had behaald, mochten we op kosten van Microsoft gaan eten met het volledige SharePoint team. Dit hebben we dan gisteren ook uitgebreid gedaan.

Place to be: ChuckWagon BBQ in Tongeren.

Daar hebben ze simpelweg de beste burgers van’t land en daar wordt niet over gediscussieerd. De Texas Longhorns. Stokbrood van 26 centimeter met 5 hamburgers tussen, garnituur, saus en frieten on the side. Hoppa!

Om 18h was de harde kern reeds present om in te pilsen… druppelsgewijs is de rest binnengekomen. Allemaal uitgedost in de CTG teamkleuren. Zo hoort het! Proud to be part of a winning team!!! 🙂

2u later zaten we voldaan en lichtjes ongemakkelijk buiten op het terras te genieten van een digestiefke. Om daarna nog een stukske american cheese cake naar binnen te werken voor de liefhebbers.

Kortom… een geslaagde avond en voor wat mij betreft… zeker voor herhaling vatbaar!

Foto’s? Uiteraard!