Translation is people business.

At Yamagata Europe, we do not only spend a lot of time with our customers, but also with our colleagues. Today, the Yamagata Europe team in Ghent (Belgium) has 40+ people; our Bratislava (Slovakia) team has 10 people.

When you spend an average of 40 hours per week with people, it’s a good idea to figure out how you can get along. More than that, it is worthwhile to see what your shared values are as a team and how you can work towards a common goal. When every nose is in the same direction, the team commitment is higher. And it is clear that higher commitment results in better work for our clients.

Getting together in Bratislava

On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of our company, our team from Ghent recently got on a plane for a city trip to Bratislava, where we met up with our Slovakian colleagues. During this team event, we grabbed the opportunity to look at our company’s core values. More specifically, we wanted to find out how we could translate these values into guidelines for collegiality.  

What does it mean to be a good colleague? How do we like to work together? What direction do we want to head in as a team? That’s what we wanted to find out during the event. We relied on the expertise of Belgian team coaching consultants Ligand to put a workshop together. The goal of the workshop was to develop a charter of collegiality for our company.

Boring be gone

When people enter an organization, they are requested to sign a contract, that refers to some kind of code of conduct. Typically, this is not a very stimulating read and it gets shelved rather easily. Most codes of conduct are boring, one-directional pieces of communication that impose a set of rules on the employee. That’s not what we were after with our charter of collegiality.

Based on a team brainstorm, we wanted to introduce a stimulating set of guidelines for our employees. During the workshop in Bratislava we divided our team into different groups and asked them to express the values they found most important. This resulted in a huge list of values that were presented to the entire group. Next, each group picked two values for further discussion. Finally, we translated the values into guidelines for working together.

This brainstorm resulted in a set of 11 principles, which we now proudly call our Yamagata Europe Charter of Collegiality:

  • We say “Hi” and start every day with a smile.

  • We live up to our commitment.

  • We speak our minds in a respectful way.

  • We approach everything and everybody with an open mind.

  • We accept that things don’t always go as smoothly as we wish.

  • We admit our mistakes and don’t punish others for their honesty.

  • You get the respect that you give.

  • We are creative and have fun, we keep our inner child alive and in check.

  • We imagine walking in someone else’s shoes.

  • We trust it will be okay.

  • May the passion always be with you.

Better team, better results

We are very proud of the team charter we have created. It is nicely laid out and framed on our office wall for everyone to see. And yes, it is often referred to and quoted in meetings and discussions. This charter really shows how we want to work together as colleagues. Because in the end, we know that happy colleagues mean happy customers.

The exercise of creating this charter is definitely a good way to bring a team together and to reach common goals. And when new people join our team, we immediately have a not so boring document to show them what is important to us.  

Do you have questions about how we work as a team? Let us know.