Getting Past the Hype – Green Living is Easier Than You Think

By | Community, Culture | No Comments

You’ve heard the buzzwords – going green, eco-friendly, sustainable, carbon footprint, etc.  The green movement is a trendy topic, and a Google search on such will throw you into information overload.  Yet, for all that’s being discussed, there’s not a lot of action (at least around our beloved Magic City).

Earlier today, DAXKO hosted a brown bag (made from 100% recycled paper, of course) lunch discussion on living a little greener.  Natalie Kelly, found of MyGreenBirmingham.com helped us cut through the trendy clutter and educated our group on what’s real and faux when it comes to being green.  She offered these eye-opening stats…

  • If everyone in the country elected to buy one package of 100% recycled napkins instead of the non-recycled variety, that act alone would save 1 million trees.
  • If tap water replaced bottled water in the U.S., it would save about $8 billion and prevent 60 million plastic bottles from being discarded everyday.
  • A single fast food order of a hamburger, fries, and soda take 1,500 gallons of water to make.
  • One live nighttime concert event can burn as much electricity as 700 households use all year.
  • The average food item in a grocery store travels 1500-2000 miles to get to store shelves. Locally grown produce usually travels less than 150 miles.

If you’re looking for a credible resource on the topic, check out MyGreenBirmingham.com.  Their articles, links and tips are practical (not fanatical) and smart.  Become an empowered ‘greenie’, get engaged locally, and learn to live a little lighter each day.

Surviving SQL Server Boot Camp

By | Culture, Grow Your Career, Professional Development, Technology | No Comments

If you’re going to grow the company, you’ve got to grow your people.  Words to live by at DAXKO.  To that end, we’ve put a lot of good development stuff in place for team members.  One of those is the annual Professional Development Allowance.  That’s right – money.  In fact, it’s money to spend on any professional opportunity you fancy – books, conferences, memberships, subscriptions, seminars… you get the idea.  The cool thing is that the training doesn’t  have to relate to your current role at DAXKO – the world is your oyster.  So here’s another installment of our “Dough to Grow” series.  Love it when we can weave in some shameless plugs for the team… 

Handle: Trent

DAXKO Team: Software Engineering – Production Support

What I want to get better at over time: Everything

What I dropped the cash on this time: SQL Server BI Boot Camp

How I found out about this learning opportunity: My teammate, Ming

I give this event a thumbs UP because… It was very intense and informative.  Learned a lot in a short amount of time.

My top 3 takeaways: Knowledge, professional connections, books

Some cool people I met: The instructor was cool.  His name way Guy.

Something fun I did while there: In class 12 hours a day, so eating was fun.

Why I would or wouldn’t send my software engineering buddies: I would definitely send them for the amount of knowledge you walk away with.

Team Notes: DAXKO’s software engineering crew works in small teams  with rockstar technologies.  No other team at DAXKO is as diverse or as skilled at cranking out quality apps for nonprofits.  These guys… well, they make the world better one click at a time. 

Square Peg, Round Hole – Can The Traditional Organization Afford to Focus on Strengths?

By | Building a Company, Culture, Talent | No Comments

Is performance management upside down in Corporate America?  Here are a couple of quick observations:

1.  Jobs are structured for the company, not the employee.  I’m not saying that’s wrong, just outlining the facts.

2.  90% of the time we spend talking about performance is about how to manage negative variance.

3.  We don’t spend a lot of the time evaluating how we can continue to maximize a person’s strengths.  We’ll tell them they are doing great, give them an “exceeds”, then move on to how they can improve their “areas of opportunity”.

4.  The combination of those competencies, that create “jobs”, are pretty inflexible in corporate America.

With that in mind, it should come as no shock that while we love to read books like “Now Discover Your Strengths” and nod accordingly when discussing, we pretty much go back to the coal mine and expect people to fit in the traditional spaces we’ve defined.

Scott McArthur talked awhile back about the power of positive, strength-based psychology in the workplace.  From the sweet rundown at McArthur’s Rant:

“Positive psychology suggests that by focusing on people’s strengths rather than on their development needs we can transform wellness at work and as a consequence improve organizational performance.

The notion behind the work that is being done under the banner of Positive Psychology is to enhance our experiences of love, work and play and by doing so encourage wellbeing. This is in contrast to the traditional ways of thinking in both psychology and business where the focus is on finding what isn’t working and trying to fix it.

Techniques such as Appreciative Enquiry and Strength Finders as well as writers such as Csikszentmihalyi in Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience have been extolling the value of adopting this approach for some time. In Gallup’s case they have produced some strong statistical evidence that it works..”

Scott acknowledges in his post that while focusing on employee strengths is a powerful tool, it’s problematic for the traditional organization to figure out how to do it.

Here’s my take.  The power of focusing on strengths in corporate America is probably best used in a combination of performance management and engagement.  The smart managers know that they can’t adjust a role to fit the employee’s strengths with a 100% match.  But with the right amount of praise, coaching and organizational flexibility, they can create an environment where the employee understands that the more efficient they are in their formal job, the more they can chase what they really love to do, and maybe even innovate and create stuff on the way.

And that would be a pretty cool thing…

Making the Move from Service to Sales

By | Culture, Professional Development, Talent | No Comments

By now you know that DAXKO believes in promoting from within.  In fact, over half of our team members aren’t in the same role as when they started.  We like giving folks opportunities to grow, take on more responsibility, find a role they love… and rock at!  There’s lot of those kinds of stories here at DAXKO.  Here’s one…

Sally, Product Specialist
DAXKO Claim toFame: Now in her third role at DAXKO, Sally first rocked it on the customer service side of the house and now works to promote our products and services to future customers.

Q: In your first role as a Trainer, what did you most enjoy?

A: I LOVED seeing people ‘get it’ – seeing it ‘click’ and watching people realize how our software can fundamentally change the way their business runs.

Q: After almost 2 years as a  Trainer, you moved into a new role.  Tell us about that move.

A: I was seeking a new challenge and looking to take on more responsibility.  I became DAXKO’s first CRS – Customer Relationship Specialist (now called Adoption Specialist).  I worked with our customers to better understand their needs and to help them fully adopt and optimize our solutions.  Since then, that team has more than doubled in size (now 3 people).  The company has seen positive results from creating that role and is continuing to invest in the vision.

Q: What did you learn during your time as a CRS?

A: One of the most important skills I learned during that time was how to ‘triage’ a situation – gather the necessary info, delegate tasks, and put out the fire.  I also learned how to step back and allow others to handle those delegated tasks.  That was hard for me, but I feel like it helped me develop some self-discipline that was missing before.

Q: A year and a half later, you joined the Sales Team as a Product Specialist.  Are you glad you made the move?

A: Moving teams was the absolute best thing I could have done for my career!  While I enjoyed my time in Professional Services, moving to an entirely new team within DAXKO broadened my horizon of how a company should operate, how teams should work together, and the importance of sound businesss processes, accountability, and metrics.  I feel like the move helped me to grow professionally and better understand what I want to do long-term.

Q: How has your role as a Product Specialist evolved?

A: I’ve definitely brought some structure and accountability to the role.  I’ve also taken on two additional products – DAXKO Accounting and MobileFit.  In order to help my team operate more efficiently, I’ve thrown myself into their environment, even taking on some admin responsibilities with our internal CRM system.

Q: What’s your favorite aspect of your current role?

A: I love supporting the Account Executives that sell our products and services.  The Account Executive is like the quarterback.  My position varies based on who we are facing defensively.  I’ll play wide receiver, tight end, or running back… whatever it takes to help my quarterback score the touchdown!

Q: What does the future hold for Sally?

A: That’s a good question!  Currently, I’m working with my team lead and an experienced mentor to figure out where I want to go professionally.  We’ll see…