Don’t shoot me for such a cliché but I keep wondering that it’s already December and we still have so much to do. Time flies when you are having fun, as they say. Well, most of the time we were having fun I think, but at the end of the day what we do here was and is indeed serious work, and we did perform a lot of that in 2019. What we have learnt, I think is more of an interesting topic, as well as how we are utilizing that through our work and life also.
Our internal operations have improved dramatically in the last 9 months. We have restructured a couple of things and made alterations to existing roles and proposed new ones in order to have a lot better understanding of each position and their related responsibilities. Also, we deliberately battled all those situations where one single issue/problem/request/inquiry is addressed on numerous channels and/or platforms to avoid double or triple tasking. Probably the most detrimental impact of the previous practice was that it took no time until basically all incoming matters landed at the table of the top management with the hope/expectation of being resolved faster than the normal business manner just because simply keeping matters to the person who is fully competent in dealing with such requests seemed to be more difficult. We realized this in the beginning before it exacerbated and chose to further empower our colleagues to deal with matters autonomously/on their own. In the meantime, we also educated everyone around us how communication towards us is to be handled in these cases. After an initial phase of frustration from external partners, we were able to reduce unnecessary stress within our team, thus we delivered better results for those clients/partners who inquired or required assistance in any form. This also helped our colleagues demonstrating competence on every level or department, regardless where they stand in the hierarchy of the organization.
In addition to all above, we succeeded in standardizing a vast amount of our processes. These factors have significantly contributed to the founders’ ability to be dealing more with strategic matters, rather than operational requests.
Why is this important? For several reasons, I think. First and foremost, there are better people within BlockBen to manage daily operations. Second, even though our founders will always have some roles within the company operations (everyone in their respective field obviously), leaving the majority of time and focus for things we are heading towards is crucial for setting right directions. Leaving us stress free as much as possible enables us making the best possible decisions in other, non-operational questions.
Through this year we have succeeded in empowering competent managers within BlockBen, who basically help us run the entire organization. This will continue in 2020 since our team keeps growing and a lot more complexity will be introduced in the months to come.
Knowledge transfer and education were my personal favorites in 2019. Hard topic, a very complex problem to handle with heaps of risks around when setting up systems. In my view, the dilemma is where to draw the line and what to tell, communicate, or teach to whom when it comes to innovation and continuously changing elements. You want to make sure no one is left blind or gets confused by too much information but also want to be certain that our guys get enough info to be able to perform their duties and not having to rely on coffee break chats.
Based on the enormous work everyone put into BlockBen this year, I am happy to say that our team is very stable. We had a marginal turnover on staff this year and we kept on handling human resources on a strategic level. We’ve always had a great cultural fit, but I think we have brought that to the next level. Whoever had to soften, softened, whoever had to become a bit more organized, became more organized.
This year we were constantly approached with hundreds of business and project ideas. We listened as always, and will continue to do so, but as previously discussed, our main task is to set clear priorities and deliver projects in accordance with that. We must keep our feet on the ground and pick up what we need, so that when navigating through all these ideas and proposed projects we can make sure we don’t lose focus and we arrive at pretty much where we have originally planned.
I did not want to get into listing our completed projects of 2019. We achieved a lot this year and not only am I very proud but also very thankful to all our Clients, the BlockBen Team and to most 😉 of our suppliers and partners.
What do we have ahead of us in 2020? We still have a lot under delivery even as we speak, but I will let Attila share his thoughts on that in the following weeks.