“It was a day like any other, we all got to the office ready to start our jobs…but instead we found stickers and bananas on our desks. We didn’t know what was going on, but it was immediately clear it was going to be different!”.
Valentina had started off her career in Spii just few months before: when she signed her contract, she had no idea the Company she was about to start working for was planning something pretty out of the ordinary.
We have talked a lot, here in these virtual pages, about SPII Evolution in the past months: it was a path we wanted our readers to take with us, because we believe we are a pretty special company, and this adventure surely contributed in shaping who we are today.
But who is “we”?
A Company is made of its people, so it’s only fair to ask them their opinions, don’t you think?
A day unlike any other
“It all started with stickers and bananas, a giant puzzle and unexpected new signs all around...so the reaction was just a huge question mark on everyone’s face”, Valentina recalls.
Few things had been thrown in earlier as a “hint”, but no one had a real clue about what was going to happen.
At Fabio’s speech, later that day, they understood what it was all about: SPII was about to embark on a journey towards change, and everyone was being asked to take part in it.
“Everyone felt involved, it was very inclusive: for maybe the first time we were all together as ‘SPII’, not ‘this department’ or ‘that other’ – just one big family”, Vale remembers. “I kept thinking: ‘wow that’s cool’. I had heard of team buildings and this kind of activities, but never thought I would experience them”.
The beginning of a path
Sure, someone was worried: after all it was an extra effort the company was asking. But it was clear it was going to be an opportunity for growth, not only on the business side but also at a personal level.
“It was a project to carry on within company time, not extra. The grumblers are always there, in any situation, but most of the people, even those who found something to complain about, were happy to have their voice heard, something they may not have felt so strongly before. It was a space for people to express their opinions“, Simona recalls.
The groups were formed randomly, getting together people that worked in the same company, but before that may not even have had a chance to talk, to truly connect.
This was something many people felt, and that’s why among the suggestions that emerged from SPII Evo, one of the first ones to be implemented was the Evo Room – a dining and rest area where everyone could enjoy lunch, a cupo of coffee, or just some chatting. A place to live.
Simo had been there long before SPII Evo, and could definitely see the journey in its whole length.
“It all started from there, it was the moment we began this path of growth and innovation. Surely it was there before and continued after that, but that was the starting point of something more ‘real’.
I’ve been with the company for 8 years now and I’ve noticed this sharp difference, a before and an after. A change in the idea that we had of ourselves before, in the corporate culture”.
What came first, the chicken or the egg?
When you visit SPII today, you can feel this vibe.
It may be the giant “comfort zone circles” sticker that meets you on the first floor, at the entrance of the office rooms, a constant reminder of that happy experiment. Or just the way people talk and behave.
What you breath in is the aftermath of SPII Evo, and the path it started.
So how does something like this “emerge”? Was it always there and it just needed some watering to blossom, or it was the project itself which created it?
Simo isn’t sure about the answer.
“It wasn’t all immediate: SPII Evo was a first step, something different, that allowed for a change in perspective. It’s not that is wasn’t there before, it’s just that you don’t really feel it within you until you directly experience it.
As I said it was a path: from there, the human-centered vision also started to take form, as a piece of mold that had always been there but no one previously had actually turned into a recognizable shape.
When we all were asked to do so, the whole company was influenced, people felt they were part of this like never before”.
Probably the answer stands in the middle, then.
In everyday life, all caught up by your own things, you don’t even think about suggesting a change. Complaining it’s much easier: it’s always someone else’s fault, someone else’s role. It’s the “depends on me/depends on others” dichotomy.
It’s not an egg: it’s a seed
Once you force people to take action and responsibility, you push them into a “depends on me” mentality.
That is, you plant a seed, you water it and then you confidently wait: this is how everything changes.
“SPII Evolution was a physical space, an actual stage, with everyone listening to you. Really listening.
But also a mental space, a strong, explicit message.
If the management had just asked people to point out what they wanted to change, without the whole experience surrounding it, it would not have happened. It was the whole process that led us here“, Vale eventually suggests.
So the vision was already there: SPII Evo was the medium to make it real, give it structure, and get it across the company, to everyone.
“Ultimately it was a moment when the company said, ‘you are important, help us, we need you‘. It’s not something you can give for granted, ever”, Simo wraps up.
The courage to risk
When the day of the final event came, everyone was ready. Simona was in one of the “Water” groups, Vale instead was a member of “Air”.
And she laughs thinking that, just 6 months after arriving at SPII, she came to her workplace dressed all in yellow, with plastic bags and cleaning gloves on as she didn’t have any yellow piece of garment.
“At the beginning of SPII Evo, none of us would have thought we could ever get on stage dressed like that, in front of all of our colleagues!
But once we got to the final event, it was natural. It felt ok to open up, to laugh, to get to know each other, to put ourselves on the line, to RISK“.
A new way
In the end, there wasn’t just one winning project: many different ideas were born during SPII Evolution and then were applied.
It was a twofold improvement, both with the culture and the operations, such as with the production process.
And then it eventually turned into a new way altogether, a tension towards continuous change and improvement. Recently, for example, they have changed what the Reception looked like, and before that they introduced “break areas”, a water purification system, and so on. Small changes that feel like a continuous improvement.
To date, the process of changing the company, facilitating people, boosting appearance, functionality, etc, is always in progress, and it started from there, Simona is sure about it.
“It could have been something that didn’t really last, or went downhill, but no: despite any initial difficulty, it has continued to grow over time”.
See you next time,