Getting the very best out of people

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Getting the very best out of people

My aim is to go to bed feeling that I’ve made a difference in the work I do. My job requires a good deal of interaction with others, and my aim is to help my colleagues and those I coach get the very best out of themselves, giving them plenty of food for thought along the way. If I can manage to do all that, it’s mission accomplished.

I get energised by stimulating my team members and helping them discover their own talents Afshin Rezvani Afshin Rezvani Run Team Lead Digital Integration

I think it’s safe to say that my own personal drive and ambition stem from my background and upbringing. I was born in Iran and came to the Netherlands with my parents twenty-eight years ago. My father gave up the high position he had there in order to give his children a better life in the West. Leaving everything behind for an uncertain future takes an enormous amount of courage. I’m so grateful to my parents for all the sacrifices they’ve made and often think about them whenever I’m faced with a difficult decision. After we came here, I had to assimilate quickly, making the Dutch culture my own. I think that experience really moulded me – I adapt quickly to new situations and don’t stubbornly cling to ideas or convictions. I’m more flexible as a result of that early experience.

Helping people develop their talents

My Iranian heritage makes itself felt in other ways, too. You might say Iranians are more in touch with their feelings, or more willing to talk about them at least. As a manager, I suspect I take a more personal approach one-on-one than others do. My background also helps when I liaise with our programmers who are based in India. I’d say Indian culture feels a bit closer, emotionally speaking, to my Iranian roots than to my Dutch side, and I feel it’s important to convey this to my team. I really enjoy stimulating my team members and helping them discover their own talents. I think it’s fine if that happens outside the team as long as they make the most of their personal strengths and qualities.

The bank’s power strip

My team and I are responsible for overseeing a range of IT processes powering applications like online banking, which relies on processes such as login, accessing and displaying a client’s bank balance, or linking a client’s account number to his or her name. That’s why I sometimes jokingly refer to our department as the bank’s power strip. A lot of the work my team and I do focuses on smarter ways to organise and program processes like these. It’s all about discovering which links can be eliminated and what parts of the process can be automated.

Managing new apps

Our work also involves monitoring how new apps are managed, which can be a real challenge sometimes. Developers and the business want to launch new apps ASAP. After all, the competition, which includes lots of trendy newcomers, aren’t exactly sitting on their hands. But if an app fails to meet the bank’s standards, it’s time to step back and regroup. After all, it’s in no one’s interests if the bank launches a new service, only for it to crash when a lot of users try to access it all at once. Thankfully, most stakeholders see the upside to our approach. As far as Agile and DevOps are concerned, we’re now involved earlier in the development process for new apps and features, meaning we’re already part of the discussion and don’t have to slam on the brakes at the last minute. The result is faster, more reliable delivery.

The Colourful Top 100

This year I made the Colourful Top 100, a list of influential, colourful people in the Netherlands. It was an interesting experience. I think diversity in the workplace is important, and it’s nice to see that the bank is becoming more and more diverse. I believe diversity makes us stronger as an organisation, since all those different backgrounds give us more opinions, ideas and insights, as well as a broader view of the world. And that can only mean better products and services!

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