Your Goal is Mine, My Goal is Yours
He has a Chinese and Portuguese background and is fluent in several languages. As Backend Team Lead and Senior Tech Manager, deriving the optimal quality from a team consisting of people with very different cultural backgrounds is second nature to him.
‘Yes, you could say that in a way I am a typical employee of the European head office’, he says. Jieke Pan (36) was born in China, in a small village near Shanghai. When he was seventeen he moved to Portugal with his family and became the first Chinese student at the University of Lisbon. He studied computer science, subsequently worked as a software engineer at several large companies in Europe, is fluent in Mandarin, Portuguese and English, and speaks more than just a couple of words in several other languages, including Dutch.
Jieke Pan: ‘When it comes to the European head office, such a profile is not that exceptional. Around 120 people from more than 40 different countries work here, with many different educational backgrounds. So, and that is a very fascinating aspect of my work, how do you ensure it all functions optimally? After all, if three people have to climb the same mountain, you will soon see three different routes. When it comes to let’s say building a user interface it is no different. One person has ‘appearance’ as a priority, another starts with ‘functionality’ and yet another takes ‘user-friendliness’ as the starting point. The trick is to find the best in all approaches and use that to optimize the project.
‘Take for instance the Ugrow app for Philips, with which you can keep detailed track of how your baby is developing. You are working with a culturally mixed team here in Amsterdam, a team in India and people at Philips in Eindhoven; many, many different cultures, not working in a face-to-face situation. Step one of course is to ensure that the conditions are in order; top network speed, screen sharing and collaboration tools such as Slack and Screenhero. If certain problems need a team decision, methodologies like Mob Programming are very useful. But — in the end, most good companies can take care of that. It’s the basics, not something you can distinguish yourself with.
‘The big difference is in the Mindset. You have your task within the team — but what do you do when you are done? Of course you can find out what else needs to be done, or who can use your help? But, and I think that is even more important, on the basis of your specific knowledge and experience and what you learned working on the project so far you can also try and find ways to improve the final product. And for that we need and environment open to everybody’s insights, regardless of job title, role in the team, experience, or the number of years you work within the company. It is your goal is mine, my goal is yours. That is how individuals can grow, can learn from each other and get the best out of themselves and the team. And that is the beauty of the work situation at Mobiquity.
Why you do it
People have come here to better themselves, in an international company with people from all over the world. Just like me. And if bettering yourself coincides with working together in a team, learning from each other trying to achieve the utmost quality, there is no need for daily motivational sessions. And, and that is even more important — what we do, for example working on the Ugrow app has a crystal clear goal. In this case improving the life of parents with a baby. Life improvement, that’s what it’s all about. Everyone knows that and, well… those kind of circumstances are perfect for the development of an amazing company culture. You know what you are doing and why and which way you want to go. And with that you distinguish yourself, as an individual and as a company. In the words of the famous business guru Simon Sinek, ‘People do not buy what you do; they buy why you do it’.’
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