Credit: Quicken Loans
Lots of companies have corporate goals and mission statements and even go to the trouble of printing them on laminated pocket cards for employees to stick in their wallets.
Detroit-based Quicken Loans, which is Computerworld's No. 1 Large Best Place to Work in IT for the fourth year in a row (and was also No. 1 in 2013, before the Best Places rankings were divided by organization size), has its "isms" - 19 principles at the core of the online mortgage lender's creative, collaborative and rigmarole-free culture.
Many Quicken employees seem to know the isms by heart. What's really striking is how many say they live by them, not only on the job, but in their personal interactions with family, friends, neighbors, service people and whomever else they encounter in a day.
"I know it sounds cheesy, but I am a different person than I was on the day I started working here," says Kristina Kolbas, 39. The isms, she says, "are such a positive mindset that it ultimately changes how you feel about life."
Take, for example ism No. 12, "We'll figure it out." In her 15 years at Quicken Loans, Kolbas, who rose from a report writer for the mortgage banking group to senior vice president of client platforms, says it has "done a 180" on her approach to any and all challenges, at work and outside.
"It's no longer a matter of if there is a solution, but of pulling in the right folks or of asking the right questions. There's always a solution to everything," she says.
This mindset was especially helpful during the three years Kolbas worked on the Quicken Loans "mousetrap machine," a sort of internal SWAT team that infiltrates different business areas, studies their processes and technologies, and then recommends changes for the better. That maps to yet another one of the company's isms - No. 5: "Obsessed with finding a better way."
Kolbas says that one of the changes her team suggested was creating a project management office to coordinate the many business and IT projects that came out of the mousetrap machine's work. She eventually went on to help build and lead what blossomed into the current project management office.
Senior vice president of client platforms Kristina Kolbas hosts Talk IT, a quarterly live-stream show that keeps technology team members updated and spotlights team accomplishments. Credit: Quicken Loans
At Quicken Loans, she says, "any time I make a suggestion, I better be coming up with how I can drive it forward too."
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