2nd edition | 2017
Disclaimer No part of this book may be reproduced in any form without written permission from AIMMS. The personal views of our employees presented in this book do not carry the legal effect of our company policy or promises. ÂŠ 2017 AIMMS All Rights Reserved
Hello Another year has flown by and we are welcoming you to the second edition of the AIMMS Culture Book! As we continue to grow, we wanted to ensure that we examine and understand what makes AIMMS culture unique and a great place to work. We hope this book provides insights, ideas and inspiration about who we are as a company.
Introduction ‘Culture eats strategy for breakfast’ is a frequently quoted phrase by Peter Drucker to illustrate the power of a strong culture. At AIMMS, I believe our unique culture is playing and will continue to play a decisive role going forward. Not only in achieving great results and providing a fulfilling place to work, but also in attracting and retaining great talent and customers. Therefore, it is with much pleasure that I write this introduction to our AIMMS Culture Book. As may be expected, the discerning cultural aspects of AIMMS are close to the way I think about people and organizations. In this introduction I take the freedom to share how I see our culture more than how I experience our culture. In practice the two should be very close to each other when I walk my talk. That verdict is up to you, AIMMS colleagues, customers, suppliers and anyone else connected to AIMMS. At AIMMS, we work with quiet determination and resilience towards achieving our plans. We take a long-term view and choose integrity over short-term gains. We are open-minded and act in a non-conformist manner when it makes sense. At AIMMS, we aim to unleash the full potential of our colleagues, our teams and our customers. We respect differences in people and we value that everyone has specific talents to bring to the table. We believe that self-organization and a sense of purpose are important elements to unlock our full potential. We work in a humane way, though we don’t shy away from taking tough decisions when needed.
We value the power of dialogue over the power of hierarchy. Ego-based behavior is rarely seen at AIMMS. We have an intellectual culture of discussion, deep thinking and looking at things from various perspectives. We are aware this may lead to a slower pace than desirable for our decision-making and action-taking. We have a culture of improvement. The improvement steps we take are anchored in how we think, not determined by the hype of the day. We have a culture of acting in an ethical way towards all AIMMS stakeholders. Anyone at AIMMS can stop any (sales) process or assignment, when it is asking us to act in an unethical way, no matter what amount is at stake for AIMMS. We have an open culture. We value deep listening, not only to what is said but also to what is felt. Mindset is the determining factor for what we can and do achieve. At AIMMS we have the courage to unlock our mindsets and to face the fears that stop us from growing towards our full potential. For me personally, this may be the most discerning part of our AIMMS culture! This culture book laying before you is the collection of the unedited views on the AIMMS culture of AIMMSians. Reading the contributions of my colleagues, I am all the more grateful that I am part of AIMMS with its unique AIMMS culture!
Gijs Dullaert CEO AIMMS
Culture in one word The culture book is a collage of unedited submissions from AIMMSians sharing what AIMMS culture means to them. To start, we asked ourselves the question, if you could choose one word to describeÂ our culture what would it be?
g n i v gi n a h o -M
ionsh ips - Heid i
HONE - Kim
EMPOWERING - Gertjan
d e x a l e R - Gijs R.
y t i r g e t in
- Chris G.
Dedicated - Gloria
ng i r e w
Empo ro d n a e L -
- Patrick D
Holacracy at AIMMS At AIMMS, we practice Holacracy to structure, govern, and run our organization. This has helped us to faster adaption to changing circumstances and empower all our people to pursue our overall company purpose through self-organization. It is a new way of achieving control by distributing power.
Kickoff 2017 has been the first full year of operation to become a fully purpose-driven self-organized company. An exciting event in our organizationâ€™s history!
Our Mission and Purpose Bringing the benefits of criptive Analytics to society Pres
We see it as our purpose to put the power of optimization in the hands of people. With technology, we aim to make the application of Prescriptive Analytics increasingly valuable and enjoyable for you. AIMMS exists to provide you with the technology and capabilities to successfully apply Prescriptive Analytics to create value for your organization and to transform your way of operating.
Our Values In our work, we are guided by five values: • • • • •
We act with integrity towards others and ourselves We start from trust, communicate openly and listen generously We deliver results for our customers and for AIMMS We take a long-term view in our daily execution We act as a team
From our AIMMSians LEANDRO (2017) You realize it very fast. Working at AIMMS means you get to reach full potential. There are no barriers between you and the best you can be, there are several incentives instead. You can just work on what you do best. That is a huge benefit for the employee but is an even bigger benefit for the company. AIMMS gets better and improved employees every passing day because the company is always improving on the fly. It also feels that I have a great number of new friends in the company. I have been treated so well since day 1, it is almost unbelievable. AIMMS is empowering, welcoming, satisfying to work for. Those are the reasons the company is so successful and why it will only increase its success over time.
MARCEL R. (1995) For me AIMMS culture is ultimately about people who, from their own motivation, use their talents to take responsibility for a particular domain, for the good of AIMMS and its customers. If you do so, you’ll find little in your way to grow into the roles where you heart lies. In my eyes, it’s that particular thing that makes AIMMS such a great company to work for, because it brings out the best in people, and nurtures the loyalty that we all experience in each other every day. And even though it is now an explicit part of anyone’s personal development path, I feel that, from the offset, we’ve always implicitly encouraged people to find those roles where they can excel and assume responsibility. For me, that also make Holacracy such a good fit with our culture, because it formalizes what we’ve already been doing informally from day one.
From our AIMMSians TRUSHA (2014) AIMMS is a company where multinationalities work together towards the same goal. Working at AIMMS means wonderful environment with flexibility and ample of opportunities to learn and grow in person. Its a place where you will surely blend with others from the day one. What makes AIMMS different for me is a unique culture with trust, honesty and loyalty among each other.
LINLIN (2017) AIMMS is never afraid of change. She always aims to bring the product and the whole organization to a higher level.
KOOS (1995) I have been with AIMMS for quite a while. I saw the company change and grow in a positive direction. AIMMS shows a genuine interest in the personal development of its employees and the input of every individual is respected and valued. I especially value the open, honest and respectful atmosphere in AIMMS and I really feel that we make designing, improving and selling AIMMS a team effort. Working with my colleagues is fun, the work itself is creative and intellectual challenging and the result is something I am proud of. We continuously challenge ourselves and our colleagues to come up with the best approach to tackle a problem, making AIMMS the great product that it is. I hope we will continue with all of this for the many years to come.
From our AIMMSians VIMITHA (2016) AIMMS has a very open culture and embracing Holacracy has just made it even more explicit that the power to change things lies with everyone in the company as opposed to a few power centers. As someone relatively new to AIMMS I find this makes it a level playing field for everyone to make a meaningful contribution in the journey of the company.
ROEL (2001) The main thing regarding AIMMS culture is trust; the freedom (i.e. responsibility) to decide when to work, how to work and what to do is placed to great extend at the employees.
PAULINE (2004) AIMMS to me is “what you see is what you get”. No political games, no hidden agenda, no drama. People can have a disagreement, but keep respecting each other. I feel a deep sense of acceptance towards one another. There is an open, non-hierarchical atmosphere. When you ask a question, you get an honest answer. I really enjoy working at AIMMS. This environment makes me happy.
CHRIS (2014) AIMMS is a company that is serious about advancing client’s and colleague’s outcomes. While lots of groups say this, we really walk the walk which makes for a meaningful and enjoyable atmosphere to work within.
From our AIMMSians Jan Willem (2013) The AIMMS culture, values and beliefs were a key reason for me wanting to join AIMMS. And almost five years later they still make me feel so privileged being able to work in AIMMS. Probably because they feel very similar to my own values and beliefs. And I often notice how dearly I hold the AIMMS culture, values and beliefs. I want to look after them, defend them when needed and continuously bring them into my work and talk about them with colleagues. I think for me the first two values are the most important: (1) integrity towards ourselves and others and (2) open communication, starting from trust and generous listening. In my perception and experience these are also the hardest to stick to in challenging situations. The long term is often automatically served when respecting these two. Although not explicitly stated, the values and beliefs appear to have an implicit consequence: â€˜little or no egosâ€™. Lovely. That saves us so much waste (of time and energy). Specific about the last 12 months?
1. Introducing Holacracy at times seemed at odds with our culture. “If Holacracy ‘does not care about people’, how can that be in line with our culture?” some asked. To me at a deeper level, the value of open communication and starting from trust served us well in this challenge. But that is of course not the same for all. 2. Spontaneous Holacracy-powered reorganizations and changes were unsettling for some and may have challenged for some their ability to trust a good outcome. But I think by-and-large we managed to look after each other (‘tribe space’ in Holacracy speak). 3. I think in a couple of sales and recruitment projects our culture was the key to success, touching prospects and applicants with our love, openness, trust and integrity. 4. This year we ran for the first time our internally developed ‘Communicate’ training course (3 times in fact). It proved ‘open communication, starting from trust and generous listening’ skills training at its best. Wonderful to see and hear what it did to the students (and trainers for that matter). Two more items before I wrap up: I like it a lot that we seem to be proving that an organization can really be culture-driven, making it not only a better place to work but in the long run also more successful (afer all ‘culture eats strategy for breakfast’). Reading Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits I was struck how Habit 4, ‘think win/win’, is an automatic consequence of living our values and I started noticing the evidence. That’s enough, if not too much. I am looking forward to see our new culture book, being able to share it with people new to our culture and experiencing their responses.
Tribe Space During tribe space, we meet to relax, get to know one another, challenge and support each other in life and in work, as well as build each other up. This is a work-free space.
From our AIMMSians GLORIA (2013) Since I started working with AIMMS in 2013, Iâ€™ve felt like a part of the team. In these past four years, AIMMS has gone through an exciting transformation and itâ€™s been my privilege to see it happen and participate in it. For me, AIMMS culture is synonymous with integrity, teamwork and grit. I value the opportunity to be part of such a dedicated team.
PAUL (2017) I really like the fact that AIMMS combines being a viable business with more lofty ideals like bringing the benefits of prescriptive analytics to society, and not being embarrassed by this. Purpose means a lot at AIMMS. I also get a real feeling that respect for others, be they clients or colleagues, is a crucial part of the AIMMS fabric. This is visible on a day to day basis, and not just words on the corporate wall. I also really like the fact that people are free to extend themselves and excel at what they are good at, there really are no inhibitors for people to be the best they can be. AIMMS is made up of a great bunch of highly dedicated and talented people, and itâ€™s great to be a part of it.
From our AIMMSians KIM (2016) When I first stepped into our office in Haarlem I immediately felt it; something great is happening here and I want to be part of it. I got the job and soon I found out that the sensation I felt the first time continued to stay with me and originates from deep inside, the roots of the company: the AIMMS Culture. To me, AIMMS stands for inspiring each other, becoming the best possible version of yourself without internally competing with your colleagues, but by stimulating and respecting each other. At AIMMS we donâ€™t give up, as thereâ€™s more than just a plan A and we allow ourselves the freedom to experiment. With full dedication we all ambition to achieve the next level of success. Do I need to say more? AIMMS is the place where I want to further develop my profession and bring great technology to market.
SERGII (2013) For me, AIMMS culture is the mix of being the company with the long and successful history and the startup atmosphere. From the company with the history comes the clear vision of what and why needs to be done. From the startup atmosphere â€“ freedom to implement the things in the way that you as an engineer want them to be and the permanent steady improvement.
Patrick D. (2016) For me the AIMMS culture is about the possibilities to be whoever you want to be and to go wherever you want to go. Company values and purpose act as a gentle and wise tour guide.
Workshops and Trainings Both customers and AIMMSians are given the opportunity to further grow and develop on a continuous basis. This year, our rocking Customer Support team has given numerous workshops and trainings for which they developed new materials! One of this year’s highlights is the birth of AIMMS University, which kicked off with the first two modules: “I cope” and “Communicate.”
From our AIMMSians
Kees (2016) Working on the promise of making meaningful improvements at the best companies around is really challenging and fulfilling. This is where technology meets action: familiarizing people with technologies to explore new concepts to help them take action. Trust is a key factor here. The answer to one question generates many other questions, which eventually will lead to something great. It takes dedicated effort to make this happen, and when it does it generates lots of energy with individuals and teams. This summarizes the journey of our customers and we are on it with them. The complexity of the things organizations are trying to achieve combined with AIMMS’ mission to get them there with cutting edge technology calls for a uniquely diverse team in terms of competencies and personalities. Challenging and intense at times but also very fulfilling, especially when things are coming together. The AIMMS culture is very much about trust, dedication, care and development. On a daily basis, I experience a fine balance between respect for individuals’ wellbeing and exposure to challenges with real accountabilities. Yet humbleness is promoted and exercised at all layers… if there would be any layers to speak of really. This is probably what it takes to keep things going and make it last. AIMMS provides a 360° deep dive in many ways. Every day!
From our AIMMSians Gijs R. (2016) When talking with friends or acquaintances about my work at AIMMS I always mention how special I think our culture is. Especially the lack of hierarchy is what stands out most to me. Even though I’m only a working student, I’ve never been treated as anything less than equal and I’ve always felt that my opinion matters too here. Next to that, everyone is incredibly helpful and really takes the time to help me and think along with me when working on my project. At AIMMS there simply is no mold that you have to fit. You can for example decide for yourself at what time you start your day and what you will wear to work. All of this together results in a very relaxed work environment, which makes the overall working experience really enjoyable.
Christophe (2011) Already in the first hiring meeting with new potential colleagues we get feedback that AIMMS is a different company. â€˜I donâ€™t know what it is but you just ask different questions, I feel it is more about meâ€™. In order to build strong effective teams to support our growth and ambitions, we believe that people are key and most effective when they know their purpose, strengths, beliefs and personal development areas. Frustrations and friction prevent optimal performance and always start from a feeling so we encourage and stimulate everybody to speak up and share their feelings as soon as possible. It creates clarity, removes negative energy and leads to better results. The end result is that we work and live in a trusted culture not based on fear, ego or hierarchy but on integrity and positive intentions to deliver exceptional results for our customers.
From our AIMMSians Megan (2016) I have never worked for an organization where I’ve felt more empowered. AIMMS has helped me to realize my full potential and given me the resources to achieve it. I truly enjoy my job and collaborating with everyone within the company!
Mischa (2000) I could write a whole lot more than these lines about the AIMMS culture, but in the end I came to the conclusion that it just comes down to this: being an AIMMS employee means that you’re respected as the person who you are. With all your good qualities, but also with all your peculiarities (should you have them too). This may sound a bit as a cliché, but when it really matters (and as I’m writing this, it has been quite a turbulent week here, emotionally), I’m very grateful for such a caring company culture.
Heidi (2010) I am incredibly grateful for my position at AIMMS because AIMMS is so much more than just “work”! My colleagues are my extended family. We care deeply for each other and invite one another in to be a part of our lives well beyond the office. We work closely and cleverly together, play wildly together, deeply feel losses together, and ecstatically celebrate happy occasions together! We have an outward focus that regularly includes more listening than speaking, intense curiosity, trust, openness and honesty, humility, and courage. We aim to inspire happiness in ourselves and each other and, when needed, to lend it out. We believe in one another and in ourselves. It’s not really “work” when the people around you inspire you to be a better person in and out of the office!
From our AIMMSians
LEI (2012) I joined AIMMS in July 2012 in Singapore office. It has been a fruitful journey for me. The special moments that inspire me such as our 1st Global Sales Meeting at Heineken Shop nearby the historical city center of Amsterdam, discussing our Go To Market strategy while tasting 15 different type of beer, the cozy but elegant wood lodge hotel where we celebrated our 25 corporate anniversary in Salzburg and the nice walk besides the breathe taking lake at Bellevue. There are always intense discussions during these gatherings, sharing different opinions by different functional teams while our goal is the same, to bring the benefit of optimization to the society. I enjoyed very much working at AIMMS, not only because of the smart brains and various backgrounds of people but the momentum and energy flowing around to make things happen, the power of collective intelligence to bring us to the center of the era of advanced analytics. I look forward to an exciting journey ahead together with my colleagues!
On the Road
To bring the benefits of prescriptive analytics to society our teams hit the road to meet with new people at conferences, give presentations and visit customers to learn about their processes. Connections with great people and great companies are made on these trips!
From our AIMMSians
GERTJAN (1995) Next to being very aligned with the mission of AIMMS and the way this is advocated in everything we do (challenging ourselves each time on whether we bring the customer value), what I enjoy most at AIMMS is the respect we have for one another. Next to feeling very appreciated for anything I do and feeling respected for my contribution to AIMMS on a regular basis, I also experience AIMMS as a very safe place where I can express my feelings and relate criticism. My colleagues are caring, forgiving, and non-judgmental and want to learn about what’s going on, understand how they can support me, so I can be the best I can be - every day. Since we started practicing Holacracy at AIMMS in October 2016, I have learned that I have underestimated the power and drive that is available in all of us. Becoming a self-management organization with a clear purpose allows everyone to do what they do best and requires everyone to rise to the occasion. Moreover, it creates an organization that learns and adapts continuously and develops a basis for growth of AIMMS and the people in AIMMS in ways we can’t yet imagine. The changes so far are very promising! I’m proud to be part of a company that is really putting the power in the hands of all its employees.
From our AIMMSians Deanne (2008) AIMMS is a group of people working on sophisticated problems with young attitude. By young, I mean here you can find idealists, dreamers, optimists… people who don’t compromise on what they believe. AIMMS’ culture embraces differences in people’s background, skills and preferences. It trusts that people are self-motivated on micro tasks and are united on macro goal, like rivers, creeks and streams run its own path forming the ocean. In the team, people dare to be straightforward on their opinions, yet with respect towards one another.
Anna (2016) For me AIMMS culture is something that the more I stay in AIMMS the more I like. I tried to summarize my experience until now below: What makes AIMMS different for me is that it acts with forethought in all aspects of activity: with regards to the development of business as well as development of its employees. If some decision is made, you can be sure it is deliberate and well thought out. And speaking about the most valuable trait of AIMMS culture, Iâ€™d mention my feeling of being the part of the team where each member is respected and listened to, and that from the very first day!
From our AIMMSians Laura (2014) To me the AIMMS culture is more than the day to day activities that occur in the office. It’s about the connections we make with our coworkers, partners, customers and soon to become customers. It’s about mutual respect and genuine interest in our work, goals, opinions as well as personal sharing about hobbies and families. It’s about camaraderie and teamwork and learning from each other to raise the bar so we can each do our best work while having fun and building something great together.
Patrick V.G. (2014) AIMMS means a lot to me. Because it is so much more than a company. It is a place of belonging where people feel at ease. No matter what background you have nor what degree you have. AIMMS is the environment to flourish and establish connections between the introvert geeky mathematicians and our customers driving their business to the next level. At AIMMS we listen respectfully, rather than tell and judge. Take out hurdles to perform optimally, rather than stay put. We love to solve complex puzzles for our customers. We are passionately seeking solutions and optimize reality. Not taking â€˜noâ€™ for granted, go the extra mile to provide the best technology for customer solutions, optimizing our world.
Cake Time We take moments to recognize the achievements of our hard-working team. To celebrate our efforts, milestones and winning moves, we usually order a special cake. Needless to say, we’ve had a lot of cake this year!
Run Club But we can’t eat all that cake and stay fit, can we? That’s why we started the AIMMS run club this year! “Combining sport and work is fun, healthy and rewarding... especially with great colleagues.” - Christophe
From our AIMMSians Richard (1990) I have the feeling that all people at AIMMS like the work that they are doing and there is no competition between colleagues. People are happy with the positions they have, they like to grow and gain experience, but not with a goal to achieve a ‘higher rank’ within the company. But perhaps that is because there are hardly any ranks within the company: there is of course some hierarchy but I don’t feel any restrictions because of that. I like that AIMMS has an open and honest communication with our customers, we do not make big promises just to sell licenses, but instead we try to help our customers with the problems they have. I really feel that my (and all others’) opinion counts, this helps in the perception that the product AIMMS is not the companies’ product but really our product. Although we listen carefully to what our customers need, how we are translating that into features of AIMMS is the result of our collective creativity. The product, the people, the atmosphere, the way of working… it just makes me proud to be part of it.
Mohan (2017) In addition to being around very smart and highly qualified, inspiring people, what makes me really glad to be a part of AIMMS is that being honest, kind, and compassionate does not hamper your development here, but enables it. You are encouraged to be yourself, which is very important to me. I feel that there is something to learn from everyone around me, be it technical expertise or a great work ethic.
From our AIMMSians Gijs D. (2003) My beliefs AIMMS’ culture will be influenced by the beliefs that my colleagues and I have, because our beliefs influence our behavior. Though there may be collective beliefs at AIMMS, I feel more comfortable sharing my own beliefs below: Love I believe love has a place in business, and specifically at AIMMS; Scott Peck has provided a great definition of love in this sense: ‘the will to extend one’s self for the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth’ Wholeness I believe in the power of turning up with all we got at AIMMS, using all our ‘senses’: our thoughts, our intuition, our feelings, our deeper wisdom; connecting our head, our gut and our heart
Connecting I believe that AIMMSâ€™ success will ultimately be closely related to our ability to connect in everything that we do: our ability to connect Descriptive Analytics with business value, our ability to connect with all stakeholders on a professional and a personal emotional level, our ability to connect ourselves as colleagues whatever our roles or origins are, etc. Unlocking potential I believe that unlocking the potential of ourselves through personal growth, team development and professional skills training is essential to our current and future success. I believe mindset and overcoming our personal fears are key to reach our full potential. Unleashing collective intelligence I believe that collective intelligence outperforms individual intelligence; Iâ€™d rather put my money on our collective intelligence to solve a number of complex business problems than relying on my own intelligence. Continuous improvement I believe lessons come back until learned and that we will be happier and more successful by always looking for the lessons and opportunities present in a situation. Doing the odd thing I believe in taking unconventional measures and decisions when the situation demands us to do so, unafraid of acting out of the ordinary and not held back by conventions. Choice I believe I always have a choice how to act in a given situation, how to respond to a situation.
Happiness and Productivity This year has been a rollercoaster ride for AIMMS. We expanded our team. We were recognized in a record number of analyst reports. We launched a new product that helps organizations democratize analytics with technology everyone can use. We belong to fastest growing companies in the Netherlands and were selected as one of Washingtonâ€™s Best Places to Work for. Our company culture has been key in creating happiness, increasing productivity, and making people want to come to work!
n o g n i v o m r e h t o n a to ! r a e y t grea
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Another year has flown by and we are welcoming you to the second edition of the AIMMS Culture Book! As we continue to grow, we wanted to e...
Published on Dec 20, 2017
Another year has flown by and we are welcoming you to the second edition of the AIMMS Culture Book! As we continue to grow, we wanted to e...