Steve joined Endava 15 years ago as a Development Programme Manager. Over the years, he has proven himself a key person in growing the business, bringing on board important clients as well as creating and growing excellent technical teams across Endava. Read Steve’s story and find out how playing a team sport for 25 years can turn you into a great leader and an even greater teammate.
Describe your professional path within the company
I joined Endava in October 2003 as a Development Programme Manager, working on the NewBACS programme. This was a very long-lasting engagement, involving long periods away from home.
When we decided to split up our business into verticals, I picked up the leadership of the Financial Services Business. I was part of a team that helped grow the business, bringing on board many clients who provided the relationships that have driven our evolution in this sector over the years.
During this period, it became clear that we were growing at a rate that needed a framework for our way of working. As a result, the concept of the Endava Adaptive Model TEAM was developed, and I was asked to pick up the leadership of the UK Delivery Organisation as well as the ownership of TEAM, and the disciplines and practices. We also started the concept of a global consultancy and leadership organisation within Endava. This aimed to help us understand how to work more effectively with clients.
In 2012 it was time for me to move back into a more business-focused role and I picked up what is now known as an AGU. I helped integrate the Belgrade business alongside the excellent technical teams we brought in.
In 2016 I was asked to take on the US organisation, and position Endava for growth in the region in January 2017; and I will be staying in the US until we have successfully integrated the Velocity Partners business and organisation.
Tell us something about our main drivers at this company
I am a problem solver, who is strongly motivated by teamwork; I’m always focused on building and working within an effective team.
What I have realised over the years is that it’s important to have an open mind with regards to technology, as there’s a lot of excellent tools and technologies out there; and while you can’t be an expert in all of them, what you can do is to focus on the problem (which is rarely a technical one) with an expectation that there’s a simple way to deliver the business benefits required. Sometimes the desired results can be best achieved with a “boring”, old technology solution, sometimes the best approach is to use a completely new technology. For me, the critical factor was that the team working on the problem is helped to focus on working together to successfully solve the problem.
For me, success in technology projects is first understanding and then solving the business problem in the most cost-effective way. Critical aspects of teamwork include openness, honesty and loyalty, which I am always looking for in people. I also value innovation in all things – identifying issues and thinking about how to improve something is a critical function of a team: on a day-to-day basis and within the framework of looking into the future. It’s that fierce desire to improve, that drives excellence in our work.
How would your colleagues describe you in one sentence?
Steve is a fierce guardian of Endava’s values; a creator and motivator of great teams; and a direct, knowledgeable (and sometimes amusing) communicator, who is sought out for his insights by clients and Endavans alike.
Name some books/tutorials/speeches that had an effect on your career path.
Recently I took the Accelerated Certificate in Company Direction from the Institute of Directors, which reminded me of some concerns identified throughout my years in business, helped me gain an understanding of how the business world really works, and provided me with some useful grounding in legal and financial matters. I think people build their careers in very different ways, and my thinking is that if you continue to do what you feel is right for you and the people with whom you work, then your career will build itself. I have always tried to focus on doing what I’m doing as well as I can, and I am always looking to learn new skills along the way.
Tell us more about yourself outside of work.
I spent 25 years playing football. The reason I did that is not just that I love the game, which I do, but also because I loved being part of a group of people who are all focused on one thing. We were a very successful club, which helped of course; but no matter if we won or lost, we always played for each other and never gave up.
I think that has contributed a lot to my professional life. I think I am a great teammate to have. I will always make clear what I think about things, I am always willing to discuss my views and I am prepared to change my mind and swing behind what the team agrees to do. I will spend extra time trying to make sure that people feel like they are part of the team. These traits have been sharpened by playing a team sport at a high level. I also apply these aspects of my personality to client relationships, so that clients can be certain that I have their best interests at heart, and that I will work hard to ensure that the task in hand has the right team in place.
Sport in general is a big part of my life; I cycle, run, hike, ski, play tennis and whatever else you can think of given half a chance. I also love reading novels, watch a lot of films and eat and drink well. I spend a lot of time with my wife and we both value our family very much, even if that has become a more challenging aspect of life to balance while living in the US.
What advice would you give yourself if you were starting work at Endava today?
My advice would be to focus on the job you have and to find a way to do that job in the best way you possibly can while respecting the roles and values of the people around you. Also be prepared to give and receive feedback, and always be interested in why decisions have been made – listen actively when things are explained (i.e. ask why, who, when, etc.). Try to look for the enjoyable aspects of a situation, rather than complain about the less enjoyable aspects – with the caveat that complaining and laughing together with your team can be the only enjoyable thing about some tasks. Last but not least, try to always speak up when you feel something is wrong, but never forget to show your approval when something is done exceptionally well.