Never stop learning – it’s what makes NTT Ltd. so unique

by Steve Nola

20 October 2020

A person working from home with their dog

Topics in this article

Trying to condense and articulate the amazing culture we have at NTT Ltd. is difficult because there are so many reasons why I have loved working here for 31 years. One thing that stands out for me though is how much I have learned. While we may think of ourselves as a technology company, I have always seen us as a people company because of the things that I have learned from the hundreds, if not thousands, of people who have contributed to NTT Ltd.’s journey.

Many of you, including myself in Melbourne, may still be stuck in some kind of lockdown and missing the day-to-day interactions with your colleagues and clients. But while these uncertain times have brought about a fundamental shift in how work happens, I’ve still been able to rely on amazing people around me to teach me something new every day. In fact, challenging times are when great culture really shines through, and I, like many people, have learned an entirely new way of working recently.

I first joined the business when it was a startup back in 1989, when we were known as Com Tech Communications. It was definitely a different time. Our office was a small room, I rented my desk and our main connection to our clients was a fax machine. It was the era before email and all the great technology we have at our fingertips in today’s workplace.

Over the past three decades, I’ve watched the organization weather the impact of many global historical moments; from the Black Monday crash in the 80s, to the dot-com bubble burst in the late 90s, the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, the September 11 attacks. From the beginning, the strength of our culture and our desire to keep learning from one another has made even the tough times constructive.

2020 has only served to further show that culture is one of the most important differentiators companies possess. With 2021 already nearly upon us, times like these present an opportunity to stop and think about what really matters to our employees and how we can make this a reality.

Here’s what we’ve learned about culture during times of uncertainty:

Always ‘stay in school’

Once the pandemic hit, the entire organization rallied together to make the rapid transition to remote working as efficient and as seamless as possible, and to keep the business going. In short, we had to innovate and learn fast. True learning comes in many forms, and for us it’s about finding the opportunities within the challenges and working together to identify the right solutions. The proverb ‘pressure makes diamonds’ rings true. Not until you’re under pressure do you truly realize your potential.

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts

If you think about a company as a body and the CEO as the brain, the people are the heart. Culture is the heartbeat that distributes vital blood (the people) to where it’s needed to keep the body functioning. Our culture at NTT Ltd. is made up of our people’s attitudes and behaviours, which reflect our shared values, experiences, and aspirations. We are committed to providing an environment which enables every individual to succeed — this includes bringing our empathy and compassion to support employees during the pandemic. However, our achievements are down to the hard work and commitment not just of one person – they are due to the dedication of each and every individual who works with us. From the start, we have been built by team players and this makes our successes even more rewarding.

Collaboration is key

Company collaboration is crucial to improving communication and making workplaces feel more transparent. Solving a problem or facing a common challenge encourages stronger bonds to form in relationships within teams — and this is crucial to fostering connections between colleagues, clients, and partners. Developing a collaborative business culture can help teams thrive, but it starts from the top. If you want employees to collaborate, you need to lead by example.

Amongst all the successes we have enjoyed and hurdles we’ve overcome during my three decades with the company, it's going to be the culture and the people that I miss the most. My final piece of advice? You have to love what you do. It’s simple, but I’ve loved being here and that has underpinned my desire to work with others to change and improve. Because NTT Ltd. is made up of people that love what they do, that makes us different in the market. It’s why our clients love us, and why great people choose to work with us.

Steve Nola