Building InterWorks Australia: Start with Rambo, then Form Voltron

Culture

Building InterWorks Australia: Start with Rambo, then Form Voltron

There’s a unifying thread among InterWorks employees that you might have noticed in blogs, tweets, Facebook posts and more: We really like this company, we really like the people we work with and we really like all the amazing stuff we get to do each day. And the amazing stuff I get to do each day?

My job is to bring InterWorks to Australia and New Zealand. Our focus is helping companies leverage their data for actionable intelligence and insights. The good news is that InterWorks, from humble beginnings in a small university town in Oklahoma, has spread across the United States and Europe while maintaining the same commitment to the vision of our consultancy. My path for success, my blueprint, is one that has proven its worth again and again.

Step one? Rambo.

Phase I: Rambo

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer.”

– Harriet Tubman

Whether it’s client work that brings us into a market or we make a strategic choice to discover new lands, typically it starts with a single person. A single person with a lot of passion about building something. Back in 1997, that person was Behfar, our founder and CEO.

In the early days, we looked different. We did different type of work. The one thing that was the same back then as it is today in every InterWorks office around the world is that we have a commitment to our work, our clients and our team that has never changed. Now this plan falls apart if you don’t send in the right person.

Enter Rambo.

“You don’t seem to want to accept the fact you’re dealing with an expert in guerrilla warfare, with a man who’s the best, with guns, with knives, with his bare hands. A man who’s been trained to ignore pain, ignore weather, to live off the land, to eat things that would make a billy goat puke.”

– Colonel Trautman

I promise this is not part of InterWorks onboarding process. We save the torture for Oklahoma Freewheel.

There are three secrets to InterWorks. First, we only hire people that we think are amazing (and I mean amazing). Not just good. Not the best available. Amazing. Imagine what you could do with a collective of truly amazing people? That’s the whole experiment. Every single person at InterWorks is Rambo – from Alyscia in accounting to trainer Steph K. to Matt in account management. Don’t believe me? Here it is directly from our CEO: It’s Hell Yes or No.

Here’s the second secret: Rambo isn’t actually alone. There are a ton of people behind the scenes from that one consultant or technician that you might see onsite. What do I mean? Let’s take my own example. I was made into a Tableau consultant by the care and commitment of our enablement team – Carly and Katie just to name a few. I like to write blog articles, so Garrett and MKTG take my chicken scratch and make it work. Any questions I have on data, networking, Tableau Server, Jamaican rum, cooking recipes, Game of Thrones fan theories – I have 200+ experts ready to help.

There are so many people eager to help with so much knowledge, because … yep, you guessed it: They’re amazing!

And now for my final secret: I never really notice how hard I’m working because I’m having the time of my life doing it. I had a dream that I made into a goal. I wanted to bring InterWorks to Australia. InterWorks empowered me to chase that dream. This has been such an amazing adventure and I’m doing it with such an inspiring collection of people, many of whom are among my closest friends.

Phase II: Voltron

“If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”

– Isaac Newton

Rambo has been doing Rambo things. Phase I has been working perfectly. We’ve been doing the hard yakka all over the country, building opportunities and converting prospects into clients. There’s a critical mass now. It’s time to build a team on the ground.

Now that’s not as easy as it sounds. Our hiring process takes a lot of time and energy as you might guess. We’re only looking for Rambos in every position. Bringing people together isn’t easy, either. Teams can go tragically wrong in two basic directions.

The first is that only a few people do amazing things and everyone else stays under the radar. The second is when you have a lot of amazing people, but they don’t hear the same music. They don’t dance to the same beat. When you have five individuals all doing their own things, often they work to each other’s detriment rather than benefit.

That’s why we’ve gotta go full Voltron.

Individually, each of the robot lions is quite impressive. They have teeth, lasers and a boss paint job. Against their greatest challenges though, all five lions might fight side by side and still not have enough to win. Only when they completely commit into forming one thing, when they form Voltron, do they realize their full power and potential.

That’s when they are unbeatable.

This takes time and investment. That’s why InterWorks spends so much effort on building friendships, bonds and memories within the team. I loved seeing new employees have their light bulb moment at our 2018 week-long holiday party back in the United States. Yeah, I said week-long. Kickball tournaments, bowling night, wine bars, karaoke, feasts, Sunday breakfasts, the gangsta-rap party bus and more. I routinely have people come to me during the final night at our big celebration flabbergasted. They can’t believe that a company like this actually exists.

Well, it does, and not by accident.

Behfar (CEO) and Staci (CFO) spend a lot more time and love than other companies do on the little extras. If you judged your company by a collection of spreadsheets, these expenditures would be the first to be cut. Not at InterWorks. Why? Because they know that’s how you get Voltron Force. That’s how you take amazing people and make them into a “One” rather than a “Many.”

What’s Next?

“Surrender? Don’t be bloody silly, we’re Australian.”

– Anonymous ANZAC Soldier

InterWorks is in Australia. It’s with a great deal of joy and pride that I write that. From the Rambo days to Voltron, it’s been a pleasure to find so many people in the Tableau and data community both as colleagues, partners and clients. We’re taking the essential aspects of our business, the things that make us special, and combining them with the Australian character to create something unique.

Our goal is not to be the biggest. Our goal is to be the best. If that means that we grow, then great. Growth will never be the goal in and of itself. If you need a Voltron, let us know. Our amazing consultants are implementing amazing solutions with data every day from Melbourne to Sydney to Perth to Brisbane and everywhere in between. There’s no one better.

And maybe, just maybe, I can get Behfar and Staci to add a cricket match to next year’s holiday party.

Join the Team!

We are looking for space lions to join our cosmic defender robot. If you’re driven by data, have an energy that contagious and an earnestness for doing awesome stuff, then we would love to chat. Check our Careers for exciting opportunities throughout Australia.

More About the Author

Robert Curtis

Analytics Consultant | ANZ Practice Lead
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