When I started as a Management Trainee eight months ago, I had ample experience with working in a large organization. During our one year as Management Trainees we get to work as project managers on five different projects. As each project progresses, we learn something new about ourselves – we gain new confidence in our skills, and we learn what skill-sets we would like to explore further. We get to pave our owns paths, and to discover what we are really good at – and what we’d rather not be working with at all.
Dipping my toes in the challenge-pool
At first, I was a little unsure of what I could demand in return from my project owners – I was unsure of how far could I stick my head out before I was just an arrogant annoyance. When I started feeling like I needed bigger challenges, I began carefully dipping my toes into the challenge-pool, to see at what point the managers and project owners would start getting bothered by my presence.
To my big surprise, that point has yet to be reached. During my first two projects, which were about communication and market research, I had several times when I felt like my tasks did not properly reflect the challenges that I would like to be exposed to. Sometimes it was because I did not yet have access to the proper tools, sometimes it was because I did not demand enough time from key personnel, and other times it was because my project owners had overestimated the time needed to complete the project tasks.
Each time I approached someone about my situation, I got more comfortable about going forward the next time – because each time I did, the confidence in my own abilities grew, and I noticed how Visma’s confidence in me grew as well. The only thing stopping me from getting bigger, harder challenges was my own ability to address the need for a challenge in the first place.
Learning how to swim
On my third project, the very enthusiastic Commercial Manager for the Accounting Office industry in Visma had applied for a trainee for a Business Intelligence project. I was given access to the corporate data warehouses, along with a license to the data visualization tool Tableau in order to make standardized reports for the Accounting Office industry. My project owner had great expectations of me. I knew nothing about Business Intelligence, I knew nothing about Tableau, and I knew nothing about data warehouses. Boy, was I in for the learning-curve of a lifetime. At this point, Visma shoved me off the deep end into the challenge-pool without a second thought and said “He’ll be fine, he knows how to swim”.
Now, four months after I started my third project, I have been getting increasingly difficult tasks relating to data, numbers, business intelligence and decision making – I love it. I get better each and every day, understanding things I did not understand before, and doing things I did not know how to do before. The people around me trust in my ability to generate results, and if I want to do something I have not done before, they trust in my ability to learn how to do it. I get to take part in strategic decisions through the analyses I have created – my coworkers have confidence in the things that I present to them.
My place in Visma
Here in the intersection between strategy, technology and finance is my place, and as long as I get to keep diving into the deep-end of the pool without anyone trying to strap a life jacket to my back, it will continue to be my place – the place where I can grow and produce value both at the same time.