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Community at Santex, Rethinking what it Means

According to the dictionary, the definition of Community is: “a unified body of individuals with common interests or characteristics, or linked by a common policy”. But what does that word mean in our company?

I have been thinking about that definition and would make a small addendum to the meaning of the term that, in my opinion, ends up completing the definition of the word Community: in addition to interests, Communities also share principles and values.

It is this “shared sense” which ends up defining and redefining what a Community is made of and the DNA of the group of people.

The Community at Santex

Who makes up the Community? What is a software company made of?

Santex’s main objective is to “create Community”  and it is under that premise that we go about our daily activities; Generating community is at the very heart of the organization, and consequently it is manifested in every action we take.

At first, I considered the Community at Santex to be made up of current and former employees, clients, suppliers, and the families of each of these parties.
But there was a moment that, personally, made me rethink the conceptions I had about the community.

It made me reconsider which people make up the Community and I wondered what happens to the other groups that do not “fit” this definition. But what about someone who is not on the list above, someone who is not a current or former employee, client, supplier, or family member of any of these “groups”? Could they be part of the Santex Community, if they are not, and have never been, part of one of these groups?

It sounds like a tongue twister, and it may sound “absurd” or “weird” to answer that they can indeed be part of our Community. I too would have said that it was not possible, had I not personally experienced it.
Community

The "Aha!" Moment

In order to understand how all these questions popped up in my head, I would like to describe what I like to call my “Aha!” moment.
It was February 2020, and we needed to put together a new team for a project we were working on. I actively participated in the selection process. After several interviews, we selected one of the candidates who met, in our opinion, all the requirements and whom I was personally able to get to know very well. That person had the necessary technical profile and above all fulfilled the set of soft skills and personality profile that we had been looking for, so we stopped interviewing new candidates.
We presented the candidate to the client, but unfortunately, they decided not to go forward with the project due to internal issues, so we could not confirm a start date. The candidate, understandably, could not hand in their notice at their job at the time without this confirmation.

Two months went by, and during that time the candidate kept in touch via WhatsApp to see if there was any progress regarding the decision. He really wanted to work at Santex and that desire led him to communicate with us on Saturdays and sometimes even on Sundays. I always thought that this contact was to demonstrate their interest in the opportunity, and that this was why he continued to wait.

I didn’t mind answering messages on Saturdays or Sundays, since we had a common interest- I also wanted that person on the project. During that time, the candidate received other approaches aside from Santex, and as we all know, if you don’t accept those offers, another person will. The project was still unconfirmed and through a WhatsApp message, they told me that they had decided to accept “another” opportunity, and asked to speak to me on the phone.

When we spoke, far from being annoyed, I thanked them for their patience – which I understood had been a lot – and for having contacted me to inform me of their decision.

And far from being upset, the candidate also thanked me for considering them, and told me that they hoped to have the opportunity to work at Santex in the future.

The Santex Community has a new member

So far, if the story had ended there it would have been, perhaps, similar to many other stories in other companies- but it did not end there. The relationship with the candidate was maintained, they kept writing to me and sending other candidates that they considered “ideal” to fill the position that they could no longer take, in case the client ever decided to move forward with the project.

Far from leaving Santex, that person, without having ever worked a single day with us, is part of Santex, part of our community.

Several weeks later, the client decided to formalize the commencement of the project and one of the people referred to us by the candidate began working with us, filling the position that they could not take.

Where is the Santex community?

This experience led me to realize that, when thinking about who is part of our Community, we cannot stop at those “anonymous strangers”, who after connecting with us and forging a relationship are no longer anonymous, and are with us without necessarily fitting what the definition of presence requires us to be.

Perhaps this last statement sounds absurd, but I like to think that the absurd exists, that strange can be normal, and that creating Community is much more than an objective, it is a way of life.

And I know it because I lived it: Community is created even when we don’t realize we are doing it.

Jose-Agile

About the Author

José Meyer is a talented Project Manager and very experienced in working with teams of diverse sizes and backgrounds. He has excellent planning and communication skills, and specializes in Agile Methodologies. José is a strong leader with a great work ethic.

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