Bishop & Co., the innovative IT startup company, is celebrating its 4th birthday this week. I have known Zoltán Kevei, the founder of Bishop since 2016. We first met when a common acquaintance introduced us and the topics, such as the innovative and transparent organizations, were among the first ones we discussed with supreme, common enthusiasm. I am happy that I could see Bishop & Co’s evolving from the start and I am glad that I could be part of this improvement since the beginning. Hence, I thought that the 4th anniversary would be a perfect occasion to ask him about his experiences in how they managed to create an innovative company culture.
In this interview, we collected a few leadership takeaways from Bishop & Co’s history which can be an example and an inspiration if you work in the IT sector or if you are about to build an innovative organizational culture.
Lilla: As I know your company from the beginning, I know that you have always been fully aware of the impact of authentic collaborations both inside and outside of the company. You know from the start that without a cohesive team and a powerful, common mission you cannot maintain a high level of productivity and performance. If you had to name just one thing that makes your company unique, what would it be?
Zoltán: It’s easy… 🙂 THE TEAM! To be more specific, our team is special because we all share the desire to use our unique set of competencies and talents to serve a bigger purpose. The internal reward is more on the great results and honourable purpose side than chasing only financial goals. This perspective also helps to create better connections with our partners. After 4 years, we have reached the point where we can say that we mostly focus our energies and resources on IT projects in the life sciences domain. Not exclusively, but we assist in developing IT solutions to clinical research and medical issues so we trust that this way we can create more value to humanity and/or society.
Another fundamental element which I would highlight is business ethics. Though it is not competence, but a principle and a common value we share. Straightforward communication and transparency are highly appreciated too, and provides an exceptional base for trust.
We are proud, that after the first projects, customers continuously come back with further inquiries.
L: How did you know it is time to start your own business? What was your trigger four years ago?
Z: I’ve always loved creating value for others and I saw a need in the market, as well. Having worked in the IT sector for several years, I was disappointed that I saw a massive fluctuation among software engineers. I met very talented, experienced, inspiring colleagues. I met people with very nice personalities and with a common goal to improve, but if a project cannot be finished with the same team it was initiated with, then it is a significant loss regarding the efficiency. That impacts the quality of the job delivered to clients, obviously. I knew we could make a difference in this. I strongly believed that with a loyal, motivated, cohesive and professional team, we can create magical things. I wanted to prove this. It was my trigger 4 years ago. Now, I can happily say, we succeeded.
L: Is this motivation still with you? Or has it changed, evolved since?
Z: I’d rather say it has transformed a little bit. Without real colleagues, back around the time of the foundation, it was a bit more like a plan and a strong internal motivational factor. Now, together with real names and faces, it is much more a real, living thing. A living concept. We have a beautiful and diverse team with different people and lots of stories to tell. Skills and experience are not simple resources on a spreadsheet anymore.
L: Can you highlight a story where you used your unique set of competencies to overcome a challenge successfully?
Z: Sure, luckily there are several. There are some big companies among our clients who create great value to society. Behind the scenes, you can find us, as we contributed to these companies’ innovations with our IT services. It is a pleasant way to be appreciated when our clients are appraised.
I remember a client with whom our first discussions were rather difficult. It was an „offline” business at that time with traditional organizational culture and perspective. Not much to do with any IT solutions in the past. After a few consultations, we managed to introduce them relevant user stories, technical solutions, simplified business processes, to get prepared to beat the 21st-century challenges. I would say, we successfully dragged their core concept out of the offline world. The second phase of further development is already on its way.
L: When somebody goes to a job interview to Bishop & Co., the candidates are always introduced to some principles and motivating thoughts that inspired you in the first place. What are these, and why do you consider important to share these principles?
Z: We make great efforts in finding the right people. It is not just about technology and professional skills. Actually, the commitment to quality in general, and the willingness, the enthusiasm and the ethics are the basics. People grow, learn and change by time and I believe that the fundamentals are more important than a certain technology skill – which you can pick up on the way. Moreover, in Bishop & Co., we also provide the resources to learn and improve both professionally and personally, too. I am not afraid to ask for help when needed. I listen to the inputs I receive from the team and I continuously improve myself as well to make the best in out of any situation. The decision-making coaching session, I had with you, was also useful on how to step forward in a concrete company culture situation. I try to tell our story and make the background visible and transparent to anyone who is interested in our company. I think, to a person who wants to become a member of our team it is important to understand the basics. It is essential for all of us to understand the “why”s …and of course and I like to see when people are interested in it. 🙂
L: I assume there will be some celebrations, knowing that you really take care of your community, keeping the spirit high in your team. How will you celebrate? What do you consider your (or your company’s) greatest achievement up to now? What are you most proud of that you will definitely commemorate during your birthday party?
Z: If once we will quit this COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, I will celebrate the effort which we invested in the team spirit and the cultural foundations of the company. As I can see, it helps a lot for each of us to remain a very good team even if we are isolated from each other physically. It is amazing how we managed to keep daily contact, everyday fun, and synergy within the company during these past 2,5 months.
L: What do you think this COVID-19 lock-down will bring you? How will it impact your business? What type of changes do you expect?
Z: IT systems and online solutions are becoming more important parts of any businesses . More than ever before. I trust that companies recognise that IT development cannot be stopped but it can be done effectively even remotely. I believe that the pandemic circumstances made business leaders more open and more flexible towards cost-effective European IT outsourcing entities, and I hope that we will be one of them they will eventually choose as partners. Our understanding of the life-science business domain is continuously improving which we combine it with the above-mentioned human touch, agile and authentic attitude. I am quite optimistic about the future.
L: Congratulations and Happy B-day Bishop & Co.!Thank you for your time. Hope to hear about further success stories soon!
Z: Thank you, we hope too! 🙂
If you are an IT startup company and considering to initiate some changes in your company, don’t hesitate to contact me on the e-mail address below to schedule a coaching session or click on the Contact menu.