Measuring growth with lunch tables

Earlier this Spring, SRT Solutions was awarded one of the Michigan 50 Companies to Watch award. This award goes to 2nd stage companies that have been experiencing significant growth. We invited the entire SRT team to join us.  Not everyone could make, but those that did helped make the night more memorable.

We learned a lot that night.


Dianne Marsh is pretty bad at Jazz Hands. She prefers the more traditional, business like pose:



But, that doesn’t work for Chris. He felt a Stanley Cup style pic was needed:


In all seriousness, these people are the reason we could earn such an award. We have super smart people working here, and we also really like working together. The collaborative nature has been, and will continue to be critical to our success. Everyone wants to work together.

One simple way to see that is in our large training room (where we host several user groups). If you walk into the office on a regular business day, this room isn’t setup for a user group.  It’s the company lunchroom:


Depending on the day, some folks bring lunch, and some get food from one of the many excellent lunch restaurants in downtown Ann Arbor. But, almost always, people bring the food back to the office to join their coworkers and friends.

Like many of the traditions and activities around our office, this one just sort of happened.  I don’t even remember how it started. I just remember folks starting to eat together. Whenever someone new joins, they get invited to join in. Early on though, we used one of the other spaces (because there were fewer people).

We might have had a few folks at the conference table in the office Dianne and I shared:


Or maybe the original conference room:


I think this started because for many years before opening our space, Dianne and I worked out of our homes. Opening an office became as much about the social aspects of a workplace as it did about the work. It still is.

We build software collaboratively. Our company works on many different projects all the time. It’s not uncommon to have one project team get stuck and get help from someone on a totally different project. Something clicks about a problem, and a new perspective helps.  That can’t happen without the social aspects of our workplace being strong.

We believe in this part of our culture so much that many of our interviews are scheduled to include lunch with the team. Prospective hires will get the chance to interact with everyone, see if they want to belong, and see how easy it is to fit in here.

That culture, and the camaraderie that we share is a key reason awards like the Michigan 50 to Watch are important to us. We get to share it with the best, most talented, and coolest software development team around. And there’s still room for a few more lunch tables in the big room. We’re not done. And now, Michigan is supposed to watch us.

Created: 5/31/2011 6:20:58 PM

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