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The Back Story – Steve Walton

ADAPTOVATE MONTHLY INTERVIEW SERIES

Our Monthly interview with one of the ADAPTOVATE team. Each month we ask one of our team from around the world to answer 10 questions. While not in the same league as The Proust Questionnaire – we think it’s a great way to share our stories with you.

To celebrate July 4th in the US, this month we are speaking with Steve Walton, our project lead in our New York office.

Ok! Our ten questions.

1. First up – how long have you worked with us?

18 months

2. Why did you join us? Were you in the industry previously, or looking for a new career direction?

I was in the corporate world, managing enterprise data warehouse and analytics platforms. I wanted to take a new career direction where I worked more directly with people.

3. How has your previous experience and career helped define where you are now? Would you have done things differently?

My previous career included being part of an industrialised project management system. I was always the rebel, seeking ways to do things differently. It became natural to implement Agile processes and mindsets whenever I could. My reputation was one of: *Strong prioritisation – to ensure we focused on the most valuable work by removing distractions of work that would never be done *Removing waste – Identify what didn’t need doing and simplifying process *Extreme visibility – showing the status of all our work to drive conversations about progress and blockers I would have spent more time talking about why I was making the changes. Consulting has taught me about the importance of bringing a wider group of people along the journey of change.

4. How do you balance your work life with your ‘real’ life – Do you have a good balance and how important is it to you?

This year my life has been crazy in the most exciting of ways. I am someone who gets immersed in the work when they enjoy it and see the benefits of their effort. The last year and a half I have worked with some exciting clients doing things that were going to change their thinking and internal interactions in a way which would enrich the working lives of their staff while simplifying their businesses. During the day I am fully present and work long days. I balance the long days with leaving my work behind when I finish the day. Spending time with those close to me is important to me. I am very thankful for video conferencing to let me be with them when I can’t be there in person.

Steve out and about in New York.

5. 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?

My home office is neat and tidy! I have a large monitor in the centre of the desk and usually a couple of different laptops surrounding me depending on which clients I am working with. Spending time to organise your chargers and cables is my tip to making your desk feel neat and tidy. That and make sure you have room for your cup or glass as you stay hydrated.

6. Do you play music during your Agile workshops with clients? What do you recommend on your latest playlist?

I always favour some daggy 70s tunes to welcome people in, and some 80s disco to get people moving [editor: we found this ‘daggy’ playlist and this 80’s disco playlist on Spotify!  Steve takes no responsibility 🙂 )

7. How do you think technology has best helped humanity and do you have any concerns about our future?

I think technology enhances everything. Enhances the negatives as well as the positives. We can have too many gadgets or use too many tools and make our life difficult. My recommendation is to stay aware of what tools are out there but changes only every year or so to let people get used to using them. The concern I have for the future is that we forget to bring everyone along. We have a huge potential to develop a future in which technology enables greater social inclusion, as we simplify interfaces and potentially make access to services less expensive.

8. 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)

I am interested in the digital-only brands being launched by banks, insurance and telecommunication companies as a way to migrate customers off legacy products and systems. Often their parent companies have systems and organisations so complex they have failed to succeed in simplifying their offer. The approach of offering a cheaper product using simpler and more scalable systems means they can develop a lower cost offer through a lower cost business. If your business model is going to be disrupted, I say be that disruptor yourself.

9. What does success mean to you personally?

Success means the ability to do what I love with confidence and being in the position to choose what some of those things are.

10. Finally – You’ve time travelled back to your 10- year old self – What advice would you give?

Be more confident. I am at my best when I am relaxed and enjoying what I do.

 

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