Using Strengths to Achieve Your Team’s Vision

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

MichaelMy name is Michael B., and I am a team lead at Daxko. I lead a team of software engineers that monitors our production environment and squashes bugs for our customers. I started at Daxko in October of 2014 in an automation role on our infrastructure team and accepted an offer for my current team lead position in February of 2015. I love my job because I am inspired every day by my team lead and peers, and I am provided endless opportunity to grow and develop my career. 

At Daxko, we call our managers “Team Leads” because we place a fundamental importance on that person’s ability to lead their team in the right direction. One of the most important responsibilities of a team lead is our dedication to offering big challenges that require our teams to develop big ideas, instead of developing these big ideas ourselves. This is the definition of empowerment. Each team member at Daxko – whether they are a direct report, a team lead, or both – is empowered to make monumental contributions to their team and to this company by employing their strengths to push their team in the direction of its vision.  

My first realization of this principal was in my tactical role on the infrastructure team in 2014. My team lead, Matt C., recognized the need for greater visibility into our production environment and proposed this project to our team: “Build a monitoring infrastructure that provides increased visibility into our production environment.” That’s it. Our team spent the next 3 months implementing a framework that elegantly solved this exact problem. We implemented the ELK stack for shipping and aggregating web logs, Sensu for server availability and statistics, Graphite for collecting time-series event stream data, and Grafana for creating awesome graphs and dashboards that make sense to everyone from our tactical team members to our CEO. There was an inspiring amount of empowerment and freedom surrounding this project, and our team really felt that we were using our skill sets to solve an organization-wide problem for Daxko.

Instead of providing a structured set of rules for each project my team works on, I strive to provide the broader vision and let my team decide how best to accomplish that vision. This brews innovation and creativity on our team and allows team members to make decisions that force them to use their strengths when accomplishing a task. It turns out that this approach provides an astounding amount of opportunity for our team members here at Daxko. For example, a team member on my team realized she didn’t particularly enjoy writing code. She chose to contribute to the team in a way that accentuated her strengths around communication and collaboration. She dominated this role, solved some really tough problems, and has since accepted an offer for a promotion to a leadership role on our Customer Success team. In fact, in the last 2 years, we have promoted five team members from my team to different teams within our organization for seeking out opportunities and dominating them. This is a company-wide practice at Daxko. 

One of my favorite quotes is from Simon Sinek’s Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

“Great companies don’t hire skilled people and motivate them, they hire already motivated people and inspire them. People are either motivated or they are not. Unless you give motivated people something to believe in, something bigger than their job to work toward, they will motivate themselves to find a new job and you’ll be stuck with whoever’s left.”

I have this quote posted on the wall above my desk. As a leader, I know Daxko’s people are our biggest assets. If we hire motivated team members, provide them with a vision, and then inspire them to reach this vision, our team members will use their strengths to capitalize on this opportunity and accomplish great things for Daxko and their careers.  


Tech the Halls features posts from developers, designers, and engineers every Tuesday in December. Want to grow your career at Daxko? Check out our current opportunities.

In Tech, Every Day is a Learning Experience

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

Meet Jason Q., a developer for Daxko’s flagship operational software. Jason has been with the company since 2012.

JasonQWhen I began my career at Daxko as a production support engineer, my team’s primary responsibility was working in the database and identifying bugs in the code to send to developers. While working in this role, I was exposed to a number of new technologies as well as concepts that I had previously not heard of or had no experience with. I’d never heard of Git or the concept of repositories, I didn’t know what stored procedures were, and I was new to processes like indexing and performance tuning. I was very green to all technology at that point since I had previously been exposed to SQL for only a year and a half. After two years as a production support engineer, I moved into a developer role. As a developer, I am still continually coming across something new in my work, whether it be a new Javascript framework or new ways to write cleaner code. I am constantly challenged by my teammates to not work just to complete a project, but to complete it in a way that assures quality so that the next developer who looks at the code will not want to pull their hair out.

One of the great perks at Daxko is the self-directed professional development allowance each team member is given to learn something new or just to sharpen skills on a particular concept or technology. I have used mine over the years in several different ways, including conferences (JSConf, RubyConf, Great Wide Open) and online courses through Pluralsight, Code School, and Team Treehouse. Each opportunity has helped me increase my knowledge as well as contribute to the overall success of my team.  

Another great boon of working on a development team at Daxko is not really tangible like some of the aforementioned. My team, specifically, is very concerned with all team members having the knowledge to do their jobs well and enjoying their work. On numerous occasions, I have asked teammates to sit with me and pair so I could understand a concept or code a better solution. My team lead constantly challenges me to stretch myself to find other avenues for the code that I write and questions my thought process about the code that I have written. It is very refreshing to work on a team that cares not only for the code that is being written, but the person writing the code as well.


Tech the Halls features posts from developers, designers, and engineers every Tuesday in December. Want to grow your career at Daxko? Check out our current opportunities.

My Daxko Story

By | Culture, Grow Your Career, Life at Daxko | One Comment

One of the things I love about working at Daxko is hearing all our team members’ unique stories of how they came to hear about the company and why they chose to work here. I’d like to share my Daxko story.

I was hired in 2012 as a part-time Member Engagement Representative for the Impact Services Team. I was in grad school working toward my Master’s degree in English Composition and Rhetoric with the goal of teaching college-level English. I had previously spent a year teaching middle school, but I quickly realized it was not my forte.

I fell in love with Daxko instantly. The vibrant office space was a huge bragging point when I explained to friends and family about where I worked – I mean, we have rooms called Cotton Candy and Travolta! I was super excited about the free coffee and sodas and free lunch with the whole company on Fridays. I also became friends with my teammates immediately, and I felt like everything I did throughout the day had a purpose. When a full-time position for Impact Services Trainer opened up, I began to reevaluate whether I really wanted to pursue a career as a college professor. After a lot of consideration, I applied for the job… and got it! One thing that still sticks out in my mind to this day is while I was going through the rigorous interview process for the position, our CEO Dave approached me and said, “I heard you applied for the job, and I wanted to say thank you for putting your name in the hat.” This encounter really solidified how different Daxko is from other companies – our CEO makes a point to get to know team members individually. He hosts Friday morning Q&A sessions where anyone from the company can ask him any question (even tough ones), and he also hosts Communication Lunches where he takes 2 or 3 team members to eat and encourages them to give him candid feedback on anything related to the company.

I began 2013 in my new position and began revamping the training program for new Member Engagement Representatives. One of my first training groups had 14 people in it, so I really had to hit the ground running. The work I was doing was familiar – creating training materials and activities were reminiscent of my time as a teacher. But at the end of the day, I didn’t go home frustrated or with work that would keep me up late into the night. And I found myself looking forward to going to the office each day. Initially, I was afraid I might have a hard time integrating with the full-time team since I was the new gal on the block, but they made me feel very welcome and always had my back. That’s another thing I love about Daxko – we have a very rigorous interview process, including a peer interview, to ensure we hire the right people.

Impact Services teammates: Kayla Ann, Courtney, me, and Tara

Impact Services teammates: Kayla Ann, Courtney, me, and Tara

 

2014 marked the beginning of a new chapter in my career at Daxko. I joined the Launch and Education Team as a Software Trainer. This was a big step for me – prior to this position, I had never traveled on my own. Not only did I feel like I was making a big impact by building relationships with our customers while teaching them how to use our software, but I was also gaining a lot of independence by traveling by myself. I never thought I would brave driving through several feet of snow in Marquette, MI, trek through the Paradise wildflower meadow at Mt. Rainier, or see Andy Warhol’s grave by myself. Of course, I didn’t always have to travel on my own. Some of my best memories of being a trainer were touring Fenway Park with Philip Q., experiencing Manhattan for the first time with several of my teammates, and spending time in Orange County, CA with Lauren B.

View of Lake Superior from Marquette, MI

View of Lake Superior from Marquette, MI

 

After a little over a year as Software Trainer, I was promoted to Senior Software Trainer. In this role, I got back to my roots and handled more internal team member trainings while serving as lead trainer for some of our large customer launches. During this time, a position opened up on Daxko’s Marketing team. I had been interested in marketing for a while– as much as I enjoy teaching and training, I love writing and creative processes more. I was really nervous about applying for the marketing position because I knew if I got the job, I would have to step way out of my comfort zone. With a little encouragement from Lauren B. and my husband Michael, I took the leap and began the interview process. And here I am, now the Daxko Nation Marketing Manager. Now, I get to share my love for the company with my teammates, recruits, and many others.

As you can see, I’ve worn many hats during just three years with the company. I think that’s the thing I love most about Daxko – there is so much room to grow your career, and so many supportive people eager to see you succeed.

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Home

By | Community, Culture, Life at Daxko, Workplace | 2 Comments

I’ve traveled quite a bit over the past few months doing onsite training for our awesome customers. It’s been a lot of fun, and I’ve seen many new places, but even the best of us can get a little worn out when we’re on the road for weeks at a time. That’s why I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the concept of “home.”

Traveling not only makes me value being in Birmingham and spending time with my husband, family, and of course, my dogs. It also makes me value my time in the office. The Daxko Birmingham office truly feels like home after a long while of being on the road. It’s especially nice to see fellow team members who greet me with, “I’m glad you’re back!” or “It’s great to see you in the office today!” I am so grateful to work at a place with coworkers and friends who make me look forward to going back into the office after a training trip or even a vacation. This is just another example of the “Daxko difference.”

Janna B. is a Software Trainer who is begrudgingly becoming a morning person and wishes she lived in the late 1960s/early 1970s.