At a recent staff meeting, a colleague of mine made the observation that each consultant at SEI is unique, calling us “50 Shades of Quirk”. The humorous and insightful comment hit home with me as she was right: SEI is a culture of individual differences that somehow blend together perfectly. Similar to one of those photo mosaics, at first you see a single image but as you step closer you see that the picture is made out of hundreds of tiny, different images. SEI is made up of a collection of different individuals with different perspectives, educations, career backgrounds, preferences, personalities, and yes, quirks. However, together, we create a common definition of culture that includes collaboration, servant leadership, and entrepreneurship.
Why does SEI value and appreciate individual differences? Our individuality enriches the consultant, which in turn strengthens our entire team. Each person is a portal into experiences that you may not have yourself. Everyone you meet can teach you
something new. For example, one of our consultants is a Tableau expert and uses their talent to train others within the firm and expand our collective skillsets. Another consultant is passionate about community service and often exposes different volunteer opportunities to the group. Their dedication to improve the communities we live and work in sets an example of compassion and inspires us to extend a helping hand. Another consultant volunteered as a judge and mentor for his local university’s Excel competition where students create data models to solve real business problems. But my favorite has to be our consultant who used to be a professional bull rider and is now one of the best project managers I know. Maybe there’s some skill overlap when it comes to wrangling an angry bull and a difficult IT project?
To find evidence of how our differences have made us a better company, look no further than SEI’s many awards, the many ways we’ve served our community, the way our consultants partner with clients to solve problems, and how we participate as employee-owners on a daily basis. For example, this blog was written by two different consultants with very different backgrounds. Angela is a program and project manager with a background in engineering and banking. Sara is an ETL developer and data analyst with experience in software and financial services. We have our own background, interests, and “quirks”, but together, team “SAngela” provides a glimpse into what makes SEI exceptional.
Some may wonder if so much variety would frequently cause disagreement or the inability to unify behind one idea or course of action. SEI does not suffer from this because regardless of our consultants’ differentiating qualities, we all share one very important quality; a deep commitment to our core values. While SEI consultants love a healthy discourse of ideas, what each consultant values even more is supporting the idea that best serves the greater good, not the idea that only supports themselves. Without our differences, collaboration would just become an echo chamber. At our staff meetings, it’s common to see a consultant offer a contrary view or challenge an assumption about our client work, hiring practices, or business strategy. Because we value integrity and excellence, each consultant knows that a differing opinion or a new idea is not only met with openness, but an eagerness by their fellow consultants to explore its potential value.
SEI’s foundation is built with a mosaic of different backgrounds, experiences, talents, quirks, and interests bonded together by a mutual respect and appreciation for each other’s value. We would love to see if your tile fits in with the SEI mosaic!