Meet The Clouders – Book Lovers’ Special
21.04.2023 | 5 min read
Welcome to the most recent edition of the ‘Meet The Clouders’ series. Today, we’ll be talking to our Learning & Development Manager, Ola Szlachcikowska.
In her professional life, Ola spends her time helping our employees make the best use of their resources and supporting them to grow professionally. But outside of her day-to-day role, she’s also a huge book fan and a member of the 10Clouds Book Club.
Today we’ll be having a chat about both of these important topics – and in light of it being World Book Day, we’ll also be asking Ola for some great book recommendations!
So let’s start with Learning and Development. What does your role at 10Clouds involve?
When I think about the last two and a half years, I would describe my role as much broader than Learning and Development (L&D). I’ve been working across the L&D and HR areas, focusing on building a culture of continuous learning throughout the organization. This encompassed the role of coaching, feedback, leadership and ownership – and on the other hand making powerful transformations in processes, such as onboarding or performance reviews.
When it comes to professional growth I’ve always thought about how we could integrate Learning & Development activities in the flow of our work, so that our employees are able to grow as much as possible through shorter, more impactful and more integrated learning.
I would call myself a catalyst for many initiatives that bring meaningful change to people’s behavior. Learning these behaviors, and reflecting back on the changes that have been made, impacts on our output and ultimately on 10C’s business.
What might a typical day look like for you?
That’s a tricky question! I think I don’t have a “typical day” at work. The most typical days are those when we onboard new hires – that’s when we have a fixed agenda. Other days are shaped in a much more agile way. I often work on designing and preparing learning workshops, making summaries and reports of impact, supporting leaders in dealing with edge cases, preparing and launching employee questionnaires, running coaching or mentoring sessions, discovering places within the company where knowledge or skills are needed and arranging help.
My motto is to do meaningful things with purpose and full respect for others. I always want to see how we can improve and build on the things we already know.
Which learning initiative that you’ve developed at 10Clouds are you most proud of?
I would say: we’ve developed. Learning needs others’ perspectives to be shared, good questions to be asked, vetoes and contrary arguments and finally: reflection, to make the learning process really impactful. I would never be able to do this alone. I can only inspire, listen, give tips and share things I experienced in the past.
But answering your question: I think the onboarding and performance review process has undergone a significant change. It now includes feedback culture habits and leadership best practices that we’ve developed in the last months through workshops, education materials and procedures. Another key project is the DeFi Academy which is a learning hub about crypto and DeFi to which everyone can contribute.
Which book that you’ve read has left a lasting impression on you professionally?
It is always really challenging for me to pick one book. There are so many valuable universes we can touch while reading!
So I created criteria to make it narrow and I chose the book that helped me to understand IT developers’ minds and their motivators to work. And I chose Clive Thompson: Coders: The Making of a New Tribe and the Remaking of the World
When I read this two years ago, my mind was blown. I was hooked by the story of coders/ IT developers’ power to influence or even change the world. I really liked how the author outlines various personality traits and explores how coders think, what they like doing, and what motivates or annoys them. I learned what is the background of famous coders’ “sarcasm” and found the pillars that hold them accountable to coding: the desire for solving human problems, creating innovative and nice-looking tech solutions, and efficiency.
Speaking frankly, it used to be my guideline to work with IT developers! I was lucky to learn how to avoid the stereotypical perspective of coders as nerds, lonely geniuses, and introverts for whom communication skills are not their true call.
And what about fiction books? Do you have any good recommendations for us?
I have lots of them! I am a huge fan of Nordic culture and literature and I highly recommend reading books by such authors as Majgull Axelsson, Nina Waha, Karin Smirnoff. Additionally, nothing can stop me from recommending Douglas Stuart’s prose to you, especially Shuggie Bain and Young Mongo.
But if you would really force me to pick one special book to share, it would be Walk Through Walls: A Memoir: Abramovic Marina. With this book, you can explore the artist’s extraordinary personality, shaped by harsh childhood, severe parents and communism, her absolute freedom and the price she pays for it.
Art and life are coherent creations to Marina. Her unconventional breakthrough performance pieces are uncompromisingly driving readers to emotional and spiritual transformation. Marina pushes her body to its limits and uses her own physicality to connect with the audience and touch their hearts. I genuinely feel enriched by the understanding of her work and what she has succeeded to achieve. It’s this kind of art that sticks in your thoughts, makes you aware of your emotions and asks an inconvenient question about how much you stay faithful to yourself with your choices and way of living.
Why do you think that reading for pleasure is so important?
Neuroscience proved that reading for pleasure is crucial to develop our language, imagination, and creativity. It promotes better health and well-being, and helps build relationships and social connections.
I would add one important thing: it gives you the opportunity to explore your own internal world of emotions, desires and threats. Makes you understand who you really are and what is important to you.