My first three and a half months at Team Academy. Wow what an experience these have been, from Romania to Amsterdam and everywhere in between.
I must say what has been made very clear to me during my time at Team Academy is that Dutch people are pretty mad, or at least these Dutch people are pretty mad! The first thing we had ever done all together, was to go camping in the freezing cold not to mention the rain as well. I mean I come from the country with just about the best weather in the world, and even there in South Africa I don’t go camping. Now after having travelled 12 hours just to find myself freezing and wet inside a make shift tent on a rugby field with 50 other students. Nietgedacht. That week also made it pretty clear that I had indeed made the right choice about joining Team Academy despite being freezing cold and wet.
Bags fully packed and bursting with Stroopwafels, we left on our very exciting adventure to Romania. I know that you are wondering why we would take around 120 packets of Stroopwafels all the way to Romania? I mean surely they have food in Romania? You know what they say… you can take the person out of Holland but you can’t take Holland out the person. The real reason why we had around 120 packets of Stroopwafels in our bags was that that is exactly how my team and I were going to make our money goal. That is not only the best way to get in touch with the Dutch culture but it is also the quickest and easiest way to make 1000 Euros in a foreign country.
Me: “Alright Niels, that’s good. Send it!” Niels: “Sent.” Who would have thought that that simple conversation would be one we would never forget. This is what happened; we had only 2 weeks left and were missing a small amount from our money goal so we think to ourselves who is going to buy the rest of our Stroopwafels? Well how about ING who have offices in Romania… So first we give them a call and they said they would think about it but if we could please send an email with the details they would get back to us ASAP. So that’s exactly what we did, we sent them an email explaining how many Stroopwafels we had and how much they were etc. However even after one month of being in Romania and doing business there we had still not gotten a handle on how exactly Romanians do business. You see, in Romania, you first have to trust someone and gaining their trust would depend on the person, it could take one phone call, one meeting, and one year – very unlike how you do business in other parts of the world where no one really has time for the trust part and you just go for it and see what happens – what we were used to. No response to our email. Sigh. Next we found ourselves in our team session with team coach Patrick: “So you guys are trying to sell stroopwafels to ING? Just checking, is it nothing more than 100ml in your hand luggage but in the hold luggage it’s fine?” Everyone looks at each other very confused, how did Patrick know we were doing this? He then gets out his computer and reads us an entire chain of emails which had been sent by people within ING Romania and finally an email which was sent to the CEO of Team Academy, accusing us of being too straight forward and that if they wanted to they could have reported us to the authorities in Romania and we all would have been arrested for fraud! Imagine?? It gets worse… turns out that ING Romania is a major investor in Team Academy Romania and now we had just made them pretty angry. Thankfully we quickly formulated an apology email and sent it off almost as fast as we had sent the first email. We are happy to report that ING Romania is still a major investor in Team Academy Romania. What a relief.
Since we have been back, Team Academy has been like an idea factory! Every day we come up with new and exciting projects, from apps to a new type of tie to, you would never guess it, but more Stroopwafels. Not only are there many new and exciting projects in the works, but there is also a team of dedicated and motivated students who have joined the Sales Team and are now recruiting new students for next year. This means we have to attend the Open Doors evenings and answer questions potential students may have.
Something that is worth talking about is our team sessions, now those get interesting. Basically the idea of a team session is that we all get together and discuss stuff. What stuff? That can range, we often keep to discussing legal business and current projects but once in a while we get onto these unbelievable topics that make our creative juices run wild. One team session we had an in depth discussion about selling drugs in South America and how we could be the next Pablo Escobar was only for a short while until we were brought back down to earth by our coach who reminded us that he was present and perhaps this was a good topic for another time in a less formal setting.
I never would have thought that I would have become so close to eleven other people in such a short space of time. In only three short months I could basically call the eleven others family, I know they will support me throughout and I would do the same for them. We are Team Impact and we are here to stay. As corny as it may sound… my team has had an impact on me. 🙂
Innovation, Motivation, Passion, Ambition, Creativity and Team-work. Team IMPACT..