At ThoughtWorks, we are proud of our Collaboration & Competence Culture. They are our key differentiators today, both for our clients and our people. As we continue to grow and evolve, we’ll continue trying to keep the best of these cultures alive. With that being said, we’ve also come to believe that we need to invest a great deal of energy in strengthening our Culture of Cultivation. We see brilliant flashes of it in action at ThoughtWorks from time to time. But we aspire for more.

We want Cultivation to become a bigger and more consistent part of life at ThoughtWorks. We are growing more convinced by the day that this is the kind of culture that will set us up for long term success.
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We want to invest in strengthening our culture of cultivation

Let’s talk about why we have come to hold such a strong conviction around this idea.  

ThoughtWorks' purpose is "To create an extraordinary impact on the world through our culture and technology excellence." A key lens through which we see ourselves creating meaningful impact is through the Client lens. Our aspiration is to "Be an awesome partner for our clients and their ambitious missions". We help our clients solve complex and critical problems for their business with our technology and consulting skills. Our key differentiator in this work is that we communicate and collaborate exceptionally well within our teams and with our clients. The other ingredient is our relentless focus to consistently apply solid software development principles in all our work. And thus we say that collaboration and competence culture are key for our continued success.

But we have to note that the technology and business landscape that we operate in changes rapidly. The rate of this change seems to speed up further every month. Also, as we build deeper and longer term relationships with our clients, their expectations from us increase as well. Besides solving their key technology problems, they expect us to help identify the biggest areas of opportunities for them to focus on.

So the definition of what it means to be a partner is changing for us and our customers. To meet expectations in this evolving landscape we must strengthen our ability to build new capabilities. The rate at which we learn new technological skills and scale up our consulting skills has to match with the rapid rate of change in the world around us.

And how do we keep building and enhancing our capabilities as a collective? It's not enough to hire new ThoughtWorkers with these capabilities, since the capabilities we need keep changing and evolving all the time. We have to constantly learn contemporary skills and capabilities individually as well as collectively. That means that we need to constantly keep learning from each other - and the system needs to be set up in a way that it makes it really easy to do. A culture of cultivation does exactly that!

Another lens of long term impact we are keen on is Technology Community Lens. We want to "Foster a vibrant community of diverse and passionate technologists". Our aspiration to make ThoughtWorks the home for the best knowledge workers. Here too, a Culture of Cultivation can provide wind to our sails. A culture where every ThoughtWorker feels that people around them champion their growth. A culture where every ThoughtWorker sees their own growth in the growth of people around them. With this we will make ThoughtWorks an attractive organisation to join in and a compelling place to stay engaged with for the long term.

So far we have made the case for focus on Cultivation with logical and organisational reasons. But there are also some personal, emotional reasons that pull us towards the Cultivation culture.

When we recollect our proudest moments in our journey at ThoughtWorks, cultivation stories spring to mind.

Like when a team helped a ThoughtWorker transition into a new role that matched with their interest and aspiration and how that helped unlock their true potential over the next couple of years. Like when timely feedback to a ThoughtWorker from their team members helped them become not just a better professional but also a better person. These stories inspire a sense of pride and a sense of responsibility in us to keep creating more of this impact.

What if we can build a culture where people live and experience these kinds of Cultivation stories all the time? It will make this community so much more compelling and inspiring for everyone.

So we have adopted two long term goals for ourselves. One, to strengthen our culture of cultivation at ThoughtWorks. And second, to keep sharing our lessons with the industry, with the hope that it helps them further their own cultivation journeys.

In other posts, we also discuss our approach & model for our first goal - strengthening cultivation culture at ThoughtWorks.

Acknowledgements: Thanks to Akshay Dhavle who has been our partner in shaping this message about the significance of the Cultivation culture at ThoughtWorks

Cover image credit: Red Zeppelin at Unsplash

Schneider model illustration: by Our Culture Cafe

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