Well, May is here for good so it was about time to move on with the next of the AK values in the list; this time, the value of the month is “Learn, Develop, Grow“, which may be further defined as follows:
We embrace change in our business with a view on learning and developing ourselves and our mission. We know that inside each team member there is more potential than we even realize. We work to constantly unlock that potential, both in ourselves and our co-workers. Everyone is open and looking forward to feedback.
Let me try to express my interpretation of this value here, decomposing the value in its three components:
- Learn: Working for AK provides a lot of learning opportunities; ranging from seminars & webinars publicly available, to project-funded training schools, hackathons and related events. On top of that, there are already a number of trainings taking place inside Agro-Know (which are to be described and elaborated in another blog post), as well as larger-scale training such as the Lean AKademy. Everyone is encouraged to participate to such events and attend publicly available learning opportunities which are relevant to what we are working on in Agro-Know. One also gets to learn from other activities, such as Workshops & Conferences; not only through the presentations taking place but also through discussions (both formal and informal) during these events.
- Develop: Using the learning (and training) opportunities mentioned above, it is up to each one to use it for progressing at both personal and professional level. Combining with the experiences gained from our every day work, participation in events and communication with colleagues and collaborators as well as the internal potential of each one of us, everyone can develop further, increase his/her skills and competencies and re-define his/her position in the company. I could describe my case as an example here: Started some years ago as a domain expert in (organic) agriculture, continued as a metadata annotator and validator, got actively involved in metadata management workflows and metadata integration processes, while I also got involved in linking vocabularies and defining small-scale ontologies. Apart from that, I was shortly a project manager of a few projects (thankfully this was only for a short period!) and I was responsible for the dissemination planning and activities of several projects; this led me to being responsible for several AK-related outreach activities, like the AK blog that you are currently reading, the AK twitter account and the AK Facebook page, always with the help of some colleagues who also like to share using social media. I am also sure that I have been involved with other activities that I cannot recall right now…The involvement of a single person might be confusing at some points, but it seems that there is a constant flow and adaptation, which usually acts as a safety net.
- Grow: Through the processes mentioned above, each one of us grows; not only physically but also professionally. Starting from a person who is constantly being trained in new processes and tasks as soon as he/she joins the team, we soon find ourselves in a well-defined position which includes a high number of tasks and activities that fit the specific person while at the same time leaving outside the ones that simply do not fit. We become better at what we are doing, helping also the rest of the team members to develop and grow, by sharing our feedback and experiences so that we all grow as a team as well.
The process is much more complicated than three steps but what matters is the outcome; a constant evolution of each team member and improvement in several aspects with the help of the team. According to the U.S. President Harry S. Truman, “It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts”. This is something that AK takes seriously into consideration, by providing the opportunities to everyone who wishes to evolve through a family environment, without asking too many qualifications from the newcomers. Each new team member is allowed to develop his skills within the company and define his role, leading him/her to further develop and redefine his/her role in the company based on what he/she is actually interested in doing.
It would be interesting to see what other AK team members have to say about the value of the month: In the comments to this post feel free to speak out your thoughts about the value of this month, express ideas, comments, give examples or even just upload a photo/picture that represents the way you understand the value.
As always, your contribution is not obligatory, but we would like to see 18 different comments (and even more, if possible)! Let’s try at least to perform better than the previous time… 😉