July 17, 2020

Meet Philipp Flenker - who got the ValuesAmbassador award already twice

by OpusCapita

Philipp Flenker

"Together we make it", "Passion to Succeed" and "Customer at the Center" are OpusCapita values and those are the base for building our company culture. We truly believe that those are not only the slogans invented by someone, but we do put those into action in our daily work. In 2017 we introduced the peer recognition program called ValuesAmbassador .

Who are our values ambassadors? Let's meet Philipp Flenker - who got the award already twice!

Can you please share more about your job in OpusCapita?

My name is Philipp, I am currently located - as most of my colleagues - at home in my home office. Normally, I would go to the office in Dortmund, so I am based in Germany.

I started at OpusCapita in 2017, formally as a Product Manager in the Product Information Management (PIM) Business Line, but I quickly discovered that I could contribute much more as the 'agile coach' of the business line. In 2019, this became officially part of my responsibilities when I assumed the role of an Engineering Productivity Manager within the Source-to-Pay business line.

So what is Agile Coaching? In a nutshell, we all tend to think about a company as a huge machine with all kinds of cogs and wheels, where every resource in that machine does specific steps in a specific order with specific results. However, our work is more complicated than that, so we need different processes, different ways of working and ultimately, different mindsets to achieve great results. My job is to guide people towards that.

You’ve been awarded with the ValuesAmbassador title in June 2020  for your active involvement in people’s development activities, can you please share more about that actions? 

In theory, my job involves telling people a lot that they are wrong. No, that is not how you should be working. No, that is not how teams work together efficiently. No, that is not how to have an effective meeting.

The thing is, I don’t like being told what to do or how to behave, so I assumed that everyone else feels the same way! I came up with a set of training, workshops, coaching and so on which all do not revolve around how to not do things, but instead did two things: acknowledge the positive things which are already there, and show what would be possible if we amplified this. So the main theme of my work was "Yes!". Yes, that idea is great, try it out. Yes, how you are doing this is great, tell others how you did this. Yes, if you try out these ideas, you might see positive results.

This was well received, and my colleagues were so kind to reward this with the title of a ValuesAmbassador.

Where are you taking the ideas for the activities from?

I am experimenting a lot, I collect feedback a lot  and I am reading a lot. For instance, one of my early trainings during the Corona crisis was very content-heavy and not very interactive. I had read in one book about learning (Make it Stick by Brown, Roediger and McDaniel) that a simple quiz can go a long way in terms of learning - even if that quiz comes before the actual content. I remembered that during one company event, we were having a quiz which could be played by cell phone. So I combined the problem, the idea and the tool and provided a short 10 question quiz at the beginning of my next training. Not only was this training much better received than the other one (though this session had less content - I had to make room for the quiz), but the learning effect was also much higher.

What is the most important for you in helping other people in improving their work?

Transforming the way people look at their work is important. Are frequent changes in requirements a nuisance to you, because you have to redo stuff all the time - or do you treat them as a sign of being able to deliver high quality work to a demanding customer? Do you feel frustrated because an emotional conflict has surfaced during a meeting - or do you feel relieved because now that things are finally out in the open, they can be discussed and ultimately solved?

We all can choose how we look at what we do and who we want to be, and the right mindset sometimes makes all the difference.

Which of the OpusCapita values is the most important for you?  What do you value the most in OpusCapita culture? 

Shortly after I joined OpusCapita, we had a business line gathering in Tampere. I went there with the usual buzz in my head that everyone who has ever started a new job knows: Hundreds of names and people, phrases, tools, places and so on to learn! However, before the first official item on the agenda started, I was approached by a man who shook my hand and welcomed me to OpusCapita. He asked me how I liked it and how I was, so I told him about the first few days - then I asked him what his role was. "I’m Patrik", he answered, "and I’m actually the CEO of OpusCapita!"

This openness, this down-to-earthness, this friendliness and, ultimately, this culture of "being in it together", which resonates in our value of "Together we make it",  is what I value most about OpusCapita.

This is the second time when you get the ValuesAmbassador award. How does it feel? 

It feels great! It’s one thing to try something new, but that is always risky - and every idea that was successful is the result of countless other ideas and experiments which fail, sometimes epically. I value the feedback from my colleagues more than anything else, since the impact I have on their work is the main focus of my own work.

Do you have any advice for other employees or future OpusCapitans how to become a ValuesAmbassador? 

I am going to use an overused quote, at the risk of sounding presumptuous: Gandhi said "Be the change you want to see in the world". In other words, be the colleague you want to have in the company. Be the boss or subordinate you want to have. The reason why I am bringing up Gandhi now is because this approach has led me where I am now: As a Product Manager, I discovered we needed an Agile Coach more than a Product Manager. So I started to be the coach I wanted to have in our business line, having the meetings and conversations I wanted others to have with me and so on. This was rewarded the first time with the title of Value Ambassador, and now, with my role officially containing the responsibilities of an agile coach, it was rewarded again.



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