IT Leadership

The year of crazy amazing people

December 15, 2022

With more than 75% of our team in Ukraine since the start of the war, it is natural that supporting our people safely through this Kremlin induced madness has been a very big part of our focus for the year. Nevertheless, we have been able to do far more than that.

We became a gazelle growth company for the 4th time, grew our revenue by 25% year on year, placed two highly original solutions in Microsoft AppSource and completely reinvented our digital face to the market with a new super-fast headless website. We organized a training academy and engaged five new interns. In addition, we began a second hub in Bucharest with more amazing people.

So, we think it is fair to say that 2022 has been one hell of a year. This post is about how that came to be.

The hearts of lions

Our Ukrainian team members have family, friends and colleagues fighting the war – at times with fatal consequences. They, themselves are participants in an economic war. The foreign income they generate is important for the country and for the businesses where they shop. Often their income is also important to support their extended families and the war effort through the many donations they give.

This is likely one reason why the saying “if you take care of your people, your people will take care of your customers” feels much truer this year. Apart from the early days of the war, people have stepped up and found ways to keep their customer commitments – during the current rolling blackouts, some people even move to petrol stations to benefit from their power, coffee, and internet.

Realizing that “courage is not the absence of fear, but fear walking” (Susan David), may help describe our experience.

"It simply is a remarkable feat of emotional agility that people forced to flee their home can still operate on a high level, work with customers, and grow the business. Day in, day out, the team has managed to put one foot in front of the other and kept moving forward."

- Nicolai Krarup, COO at Global Mediator

A holistic focus

We have always been a company with an inclusive, non-toxic culture that greatly values the community we are part of. Often, we focus just as much on our culture as on our business performance. Still, we have come to realize that running a business in war is different than doing it through natural disasters, revolutions, pandemics, and financial crisis.

At the beginning of the war, people's safety was the primary concern. Next, we worked on stabilizing the organization in the new reality that we found ourselves in. It was only then that we returned to our traditional orientation of corporate culture and performance. What is interesting is that after nine months of war, these elements of safety, stability, culture, and performance have now grown together, and we see that we cannot have one without the others.

The result of this modification of our DNA is somewhat astonishing. While being much less focused on outcomes in all geographies we are in and much more focused on bringing our organizational community safely through this period of illegal aggression, our performance as a team has improved as we hold ourselves to different standards.

Getting to know you

We have always appreciated the welfare of the team with respect for its individual members. We have our series of reviews, team member talks and social events to help ensure that people feel safe in their work environments. But during this year, a new element has been added as “mental health” has taken on a new level of importance.

When you run on adrenaline, you do not process emotions too well. You save it for later. However, this is not a smart long-term tactic as the sum of all experiences will eventually weigh you down – you need to off load. So, we encourage people to talk with each other about how they feel and use the resources that are available to us. In the process, we have found that we now know close to a 100 people better than we knew 50 pre-covid – and they know their community better.

Open-mindedness also facilitates mutual support. And while hardship can move people closer together, it is simply amazing to see how the team has managed to be there for each other, sharing experiences, sometimes sharing accommodation, organizing ride sharing and raising money for charities to support people in need or in the front lines.

The year 2022 has been one of extremes - and of crazy amazing people

Dancing with the stars

Stepping into 2022 we already had a trust-based relationship within the team, a secure cloud-based IT infrastructure and great customers that have been beyond supportive this year. In addition, COVID-19 taught us to work remotely in a way that was unpleasant at the time. Without that solid foundation, the foregoing would have been more difficult.

In addition to being a year where we expanded on the above basis throughout our European organization, the year 2022 has been one of extremes – our understanding of human behavior has been pushed to extremes. On one hand, we are disgusted with the imperialistic and the deeply criminal behavior we see displayed from the last European dictators. On the other, we are deeply impressed with the resilience of our colleagues in Ukraine and the human values they display.

Thanks to a strong team effort and a common desire to take their community through these historic times, we have together outperformed any expectation we had for the business in March. In the process we have learned a lot from these “crazy amazing people” that we have in our community – and we wonder how many challenges in the world could be overcome if our planet had more “stars” like them.

With all the desires for a peaceful 2023. Slava Ukraini!

Subscribe to Global Mediator newsletter

Stay current with the latest insights from us