By Julie Ziemer | Project Manager
Integrity: No games and no hidden agendas. Honesty defines our relationships with our people, clients, and partners.
At Akili, we do what is right for our clients and our employees, even if it means we lose revenue or have to say goodbye to a teammate. As a result, we have gained and maintained valuable, high quality, and meaningful relationships, which translates to more lucrative clients and employees in the end.
Integrity is one of my top personal values. I have been with Akili for close to ten years of my career, and have witnessed many difficult conversations with both clients and employees, and I am continually impressed with the conversations and outcomes. If you want a “yes company”, we may not be your best bet. We do not take the easy route. We take the right route.
Of course, the integrity of a company is only as good as its weakest employee. Warren Buffet once said, “In looking for people to hire, you look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence, and energy. And if you don’t have the first, the other two will kill you. You think about it; it’s true. If you hire somebody without [integrity], you really want them to be dumb and lazy.”
Akili does hiring right. We have exceptionally bright, hard-working, fun (and often quirky) employees who are not afraid to speak their truth. Management expects and rewards that. In fact, our CEO has a rating scale for employees calling “bull $ it”. If you do it well, with solid truth and convincing content, you are rewarded. If you don’t speak up in a difficult situation, it’s likely that you will not last. We do not have time for people who lack integrity, and our team will not tolerate it.
Ask any of our clients what they like best about working with us, and my guess is that the response will be something around performance, fun, and integrity. That, in a nutshell, is why I love and am still working at Akili.
“To give real service you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity.” – Douglas Adams
By Josh Fadley | ERP Practice Director
- The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.
- The state of being whole and undivided.
“Integrity” is a term often used when describing upstanding interpersonal qualities, however to fully understand its meaning and practical application as a core value at Akili, it is critical to understand both of its defined meanings.
While its first definition refers to the inherent state of being honest, Akili’s view on Integrity as a core value takes it one step further. We dedicate ourselves to not just being honest, but being openly truthful – “no games and no hidden agendas”.
Over time, this value has demonstrated itself on multiple occasions. Back during “Akili Version 1.0” in the 1990s, Akili had signed its largest ever engagement to date with a focus on developing a custom solution for a client. During the initial project preparations, one of our consultants discovered a product already in existence that would provide the requested functionality with reliable quality at a much more cost effective price point. Akili approached the client and offered to tear up the contract in order to do “the right thing” by them. This was a financially painful decision but it was ultimately the right decision – it was not just honesty when asked a question, but rather it was actively seeking out and offering truth beyond what most expect.
When viewing integrity from this perspective, the second definition of integrity, “the state of being whole and undivided”, is not merely an alternate meaning of the word but, rather, an inevitable consequence that comes from living out the first definition. When members of a tribe are not just honest but overtly truthful, the natural result is a group that inherently trusts one another and forms a true team.
At Akili, the results of embodying both definitions continue to play out a thousand ways each and every day, from our internal culture, which is shockingly devoid of people “playing politics” to healthy and lasting relationships with clients that span decades, industries, and economic climates.
People often refer to Akili as being “just different” – that’s OK, we know we’re different in quite a number of ways. And our clients invariably trust us because of this difference.