Taking Time to Connect
By Dennis van Rooij and Tim van Tongeren
When we started DT back in 2014, we knew it had the potential to become a substantial company. With both our parents having been entrepreneurs, setting up and running lasting companies themselves, we also knew what starting a company and growing it meant to the family including the work-life balance trade-offs and pressures. Equally, our studies in international business and administration provided foundational, yet textbook, perspectives of how different disciplines of managing an enterprise interact with each other.
What we didn’t know then, and what we weren’t told by parents or academics, is the degree of importance – not to mention the complexity – of finding the right approach to setting culture. So, we forged our own path to create a unified set of values, expectations, and practices that guide everyone at DT on what to do and what not to do. Fast forward to 2022, and we enjoy spending significant time upholding our culture and values. It has been an incredible privilege, as founders, to see the pace at which our talented team is growing and how our culture is taking shape, with its unique character attracting people from around the world to join the team. Several ‘moments’ recently really brought this home to us.
The first one was when we joined an all-hands three-day event hosted by our consulting team at Indegene’s HQ in Bangalore, India earlier this year. We realized – for the first time since the start of the pandemic – just how valuable it can be to take the time to connect in person. While we celebrated and had team building activities offsite, we reserved ample time for training, to work on adjusting certain processes, and to ensure everyone was given the opportunity to give their input on our growth plans for the next two years.
The second event was in the beautiful, restored 16th century Citadel of Cascais, Portugal, where we held our offsite for the European and US teams in September. It was a time for some colleagues to meet face-to-face for the first time and for all to celebrate our stellar growth over the last two years.
We combined some long awaited, in-person team building with engaging sessions on what will be needed to achieve our 2025 growth ambitions, and how we can collectively keep building a company with solid foundations and a strong sense of future innovation. We also opened the floor to discuss our values, to ensure we are not losing sight of DT’s culture. That session turned out to be the best-rated one of our offsite. What was really remarkable over those two days, was how everyone – no matter of their seniority, tenure, background, or function – connected to each other, helped each other, and stood up to share different perspectives and ideas with the rest of us. We walked away from the offsite realizing that we’re progressing well to give everyone at DT a sense of belonging across the board.
Finally, and more recently, we spent two fantastic days in Philadelphia with our US team, bringing them together to ensure the outputs and future plans from Portugal are refined for the needs of the US market. While we got lots of clear next steps out of it, for us it was the energy and dynamism from our youngest team that stood out. As one example of this, they also proactively stepped up to develop our CSR plans and their place within our internal roadmap – arguably another indication that some of our values already shine through, even to those who joined DT most recently.
The last six years have provided plenty of real-life examples of how our company is special, but none are as affirming as those provided by our people and the moments when we can all come together. Moving into 2023, we will continue to support our culture. Already, we have been investing lots of time in developing practical ways to ensure the business excellence we seek for clients has a solid grounding in our values. One of the ways that we will be doing this is through our new Learning and Development team and their work on pathways that support fair and transparent career development so that everyone knows exactly what is needed for them to keep progressing at DT.
It’s our amazing talent that made our magic moments in 2022 by embodying our culture and values, and we look forward to continuing to bring the DT community together as we progress to the next chapter of our incredible growth story.