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It's all about the people

The interview was conducted via email by Sandro Groganz, eZ Systems' Chief Knowledge Officer.

What's so special about eZ Systems?

We like to say eZ Systems is all about the people. We are a unique team of dedicated people working together for something we believe in.

The strategy of eZ Systems is based on four critical success criteria:

With this as the basis, everything else follows naturally. When you have a team made up of some of the top people in the world, working with the most demanding customers, together with dedicated partners and an active community, great software will be the result.

And this is what is currently happening at eZ Systems. We attract some of the most demanding customers in the world and our partners and community are growing in dedication and numbers. We also attract, motivate and grow some of the leading brains in this business. We work together as a solid team and we are successful in what we're doing. That is a great feeling!

What's the internal structure at eZ Systems like?

With our core values of openness, sharing and innovation, we strive to keep a flat and open structure at eZ. We are of course organized in teams and structures, making sure we have the efficient reporting and decision-making processes that are necessary for any organization of a certain size.

But information and ideas flow freely throughout the organization, not following strict hierarchical structures. We strive to involve everybody and all important decisions are taken after open company-wide discussions.

We also have a management philosophy at eZ that management is there for the crew and not the crew for the management.

What is it like to be the CEO of eZ Systems?

It is extremely interesting. There is so much positive energy coming from the open and innovative spirit of this team. I seldom have to take on the role of the strict boss, but feel that I am part of a team with my set of roles.

How do you cope with the responsibility you have for the team?

As I already mentioned, my job is to be there for the crew. My main job is of course to make sure they are able to do their jobs, but also to make sure they are all doing well and are happy. I care about the people and the rest follows naturally.

How do you control what is going on within the company?

I don't and I have no intention of doing that! I do of course follow all important projects and have close communication with the crew. But I believe that when you dare to let things loose, trusting in people and giving them responsibilities, things start to happen. I have had many experiences where great things happened at eZ that were not because I said they should, but because people from our talented crew by their own initiative made them happen.

We do however have one rule: freedom with responsibility. This means you do not have anybody controlling every move you make - you have your role and responsibilities and act accordingly. But the responsibility part is not only that you take responsibility for what to do, but that you also take responsibility for what not to do - and if there is a problem you bring it into the open.

At eZ we are all people and we all make mistakes, and we are allowed to make mistakes, but we are not allowed to try to hide the mistakes. I do not care about who made the mistakes, I don't blame people. That is destructive. But I care about getting it solved and learning from it so we do not do it in the future. So if there is a problem, solve it, and if you need help to solve it, well - ask for help!

How many people are part of the eZ crew now and where are they from?

We are currently 70 people, and we will probably be around 100 at the end of this year. eZ Systems has ambitions to be a global player in our business and thus we will need to have a strong dedicated team carrying this out so we will probably not stop at 100...

How does the eZ crew relate to the eZ community and partner companies?

By being an open company the borders between the eZ crew, partners and community are not as clear as they normally are. Our crew is encouraged to be open and active with community.

What are the future plans for the eZ crew?

As eZ Systems grows, the eZ crew will be the basis of our operation, and a key success criteria. We will grow to be a major global player, but we will still share the core values and philosophy we have today. Even though we all will evolve both as people and as a company, I will not make any compromises on who we are, who we serve and why we matter!

What are the major challenges of a growing, international team?

The biggest challenge is communication. Since we're no longer 30 people at one location, we really need to work hard and have good systems and procedures to be able to be an open, involving and innovative organization. To show the importance of this we have hired a dedicated Chief Knowledge Officer...

How do you deal with personal problems within the team?

There are never any simple solutions to such problems, but my experience is that most, if not all, problems can be solved if you just take time to sit down and talk. Good communication and a positive, open and constructive discussion have been very successful for me in the past, and they continue to be my formula for the future.

If you look back in time, what did you learn from the eZ crew?

Being part of the eZ crew I have learned that it is the people that really matter, the positive energy of dedicated people doing what they love to do. I have learned about the power of the human mind and the power of openness and teamwork. I have also experienced the results you get when you dare to give first before you get. I am also sure I will learn a lot more from this amazing team in the future. Thinking about this really makes me look forward to every new day with this team.

What do you expect from those applying for a job at eZ Systems?

We are looking for dedicated team players with a genuine interest in what they are doing. In interviews, I always say that the goal is to find out two things: one, if they are a fit for eZ and two, if eZ is a fit for them. I am looking for people whose ambitions match the ambitions of eZ.

Of course we expect relevant higher education and preferably relevant job experience, as well as a positive, open and ambitious state of mind, but the most important thing we are looking for is matching ambitions, as we have found that people doing what they love to do do a great job!

What can they expect from eZ Systems?

Being part of the eZ crew is not just a job. You are part of a family where people care about each other and work together as one team. Of course we work hard developing software and serving our customers, but we also have lots of fun. We do what we love to do and we are successful at it.

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It's all about the people