The Back Story monthly interview features ADAPTOVATE employees from around the world. Each month we ask them 10 questions. Our team is the greatest asset we have, and it’s a privilege to share just a little bit more about who they are.
This month we are joined in conversation by one of our newer team members, Nikhil Josh, a consultant in our Toronto office.
First up – how long have you worked with us?
I joined ADAPTOVATE a few months ago. Feels longer but in a great way!
Why did you join us? Were you in the industry previously, or looking for a new career direction?
Working in consulting has always been one of my career goals. I worked for an established financial institution prior to joining. ADAPTOVATE offered the perfect blend of consulting and coaching which drew me in further. Not only do I get to solve tough problems (the consulting part) but I also get to forge great relationships (the coaching part).
How has your previous experience and career helped define where you are now? Would you have done things differently?
In my previous role, I was part of an Agile Transformation Office which eventually transitioned into the Agile Centre of Excellence. Seeing some of the challenges more established organisations had with Agile and business agility made me want to help other organisations solve them from an external perspective. I think my experience has equipped me with the knowledge to be successful now so I would not do things differently.
How do you balance your work life with your ‘real’ life – Do you have a good balance and how important is it to you?
Work life balance is very important to me especially now more than ever with the pandemic. Working from home 5 days a week can be challenging since there is no “clear break” from an office for the day. I try to set boundaries where possible and stick to them. Getting out of the home is one of the ways I try to replicate that distinction which may mean going outdoors for exercise or seeing a friend safely.
With so many of our team remote working, we always like to ask how do you have your home office/desk set up? Organised or chaos? Any top tips?
A mix of both… Maybe organised chaos is the most appropriate way to describe it. I try to keep my desk to just my devices, notebook and some reference material. Everything else goes away even if it is temporary. Pro tip which I am learning to get better at is minimising unnecessary clutter. It just adds a layer of complexity navigating that clutter when trying to work effectively.
Do you play music during your Agile workshops with clients? What do you recommend on your latest playlist?
I just started experimenting with it last week actually! I played music during the breaks and part-way through lunch as people were getting back. A few people actually enjoyed it enough to not stray too far from their desk. I think music helps break the session and in my opinion, is relaxing. I just selected a Top 40 playlist, but ensure it is a clean version of it. I may experiment a bit more with playlists moving forward.
How do you think technology has best helped humanity and do you have any concerns about our future?
Well if the last year has taught us anything, technology basically saved us. From technology aiding the creation of a number of effective vaccines in mere months to the fact that that it helped us connect with loved ones who we were, and in some cases still are, unable to see.
Although underrated, technology helped us work or attend classes relatively seamlessly which meant that people were able to continue to provide for families or not get behind on education. With all the positives they do come with concerns. I think the over reliance on technology has changed the way we interact and communicate with each other and not necessarily for the better.
I personally prefer face to face conversations ideally in person (not just on FaceTime, Zoom, Teams etc.) but in some cases, technology is replacing that. Although fine in certain circumstances i.e. during the pandemic, technology cannot replace physical human presence and connection.
Strategic Foresight allows companies to detect changes early and ensure action is taken quickly. Which companies have you seen able to change and adapt quickly? (and hopefully using Agile methods to do so)
There are probably too many companies that were forced to change and adapt rather quickly, especially over the last year. The two main industries that I have seen change in are retail (including grocery) and food and beverage i.e restaurants. All of them have had to move to some form of an online model where, in quite a few cases, they were strictly in person.
What does success mean to you personally?
To leave a long lasting POSITIVE impact on the people and the work you do. With every interaction or piece of work, you want to leave a relationship or organisation in a better state than when you came across it in the first place.
Finally – you’ve time travelled back to your 10- year old self – What advice would you give?
Between now and my 10-year old self, the world has been through so many immensely defining moments. I would tell him to never take a moment or interaction for granted and to never give up no matter the circumstances. I would also tell him to always treat people the way that you would want to be treated no matter what the world has thrown at you.
Special 11th question – how have you found working through life and work during COVID?
It was not easy at first but is getting better now. As a lot of my answers above highlight that I value interaction with others, COVID has changed that in a number of cases. In true Agile fashion though, I learnt to pivot and adapt to interact with people virtually. I am still looking forward to the days of meeting colleagues and clients in person where feasible.