Symptai: A Culture - 21 years in the Making
In today's interconnected, circle of life, professionals spend their 24-hour days running from phone calls, meetings, school pick-ups, doctor’s appointments, business dinners and actual work; all in no particular order. What you do for a living is no longer confined to geography, time, industry or even profession, it is simply a factor of commercial exchange, the nature of which can occur at any of the events just mentioned at any hour of any day. What then should our approach to work be? what factors should frame the decision of where or how we spend our time (the best 8+ hours of our day) to earn; and be the supplier of some demand? Who are the people whose minds we can connect to ours to produce; to create; to have insightful conversations and meaningful interactions? We have woven a few answers into the fabric of Symptai [pronounced Sim-Tie] Consulting.
“Symptai was created out of a desire to work with people who wanted to work the way I wanted to work” a simple statement uttered over two decades ago by Andrew Simpson, (our Founder and Chairman), and one which comfortably lays the foundation of the core of who we are today. And who are we? A family of professionals hopelessly devoted to our culture of candour (speaking honestly and openly) and integrity (honouring our word).
The way we want to work is to enjoy our time together, to push each other relentlessly and demand greatness. This feeds into every failure and success, recharges us on demanding days and keeps us clearly focused. We know that good is the enemy of great. Our culture is the nucleus of our structure and is fiercely guarded by our gate-keepers. The whole person is genuinely and earnestly regarded, not just the person who puts pen to paper or mind to task to satisfy the client’s need.
"Getting out of bed to go to work every day is hard and the vast majority will tell you that they don’t do so willingly and were it not for some very practical considerations, they probably would not go at all. Most people naturally aspire to work in an environment that promotes creative thinking, collaboration, innovation, professional growth and personal gratification but only few will tell you that this is the reality for them. We the chosen few fall into the category of that coveted minority." Andre Palmer - Business Development Executive
The difference this makes is immeasurable but shows in the pace of our work, the collective resolve to grow, the passion in our voices, and the air of excellence we all inhale... and exhale. It is the difference that keeps us growing year after year as good habits breed and mediocrity is challenged by greatness.
"We are what a typical family would be with a lot of extraordinary people and moments. The diversity of personalities is unique, yet it all works together. Support is never ending as you are encouraged to be the best version of yourself whether by personal growth (continuing your education, employee wellness) or through the personal issues you face. We take team building to the next level with one-day and weekend retreats, boot camp, push-up challenge, book runs, games and other activities. I like the fact that we don’t have a strict environment and we address each other on a first name basis, it gives a feeling that no one is above the other." Lenesha Pindling - Office Administrator
At Symptai, leadership is contagious. It is a plural not singular concept that has an uncanny way of emerging when needed. We are unreasonable, we refuse any excuses that prevent us from rising to the demand of the day or reshape the current structure to get the job done, or wiping up the water you clearly see is spilled on the ground. ‘Leadership’ does what is necessary to achieve what is needed.
"Working here has been the complete opposite of my prior experiences in the corporate world. Knowing that I work for an employer that empowers me to make critical decisions, be innovative and challenge myself, and those around me to go above and beyond on a daily basis has been very enlightening. I enjoy going to work each day in order to see the coworkers that I consider to be friends, but also to gain inspiration from colleagues who are the best in their field. I am constantly surrounded by persons who encourage and challenge me to become a better consultant, knowing that we may never be perfect, but should always strive for perfection. Symptai is a place that recognizes that failures are as valuable as victories as we are allowed to be creative and challenge the norm in everything we do." Stuart Hylton - Manager, Advisory Services
We are leaders! In thought, value, quality, ingenuity, diligence, we are leaders in whatever we choose to do. If you do not want that, stay out of our space.
"I am motivated everyday by new problems that need solving. I look forward to having to find a solution that I may have never thought of before. Sometimes I will spend an entire day thinking about one problem I just couldn’t figure out and throughout the course of the day it remains in the back of my mind. I will even dream about some of these problems taking the analysis into my sleep until I finally get that eureka moment. When that moment finally comes it can be one of the best feelings and only makes me want to find a new problem that will challenge me even more." Rory Barrett - Business Analyst
When you invest in a harvest of curious minds, you are always at the brink of something new and if you are unafraid of failure, but learn to fail fast, and choose to dive head first into the thrill of risk you either reap the crop of success or birth lessons from your failures. At Symptai, this is the chorus we sing. It has carried the company through seasons of change, losses of mothers and fathers, cancers, tough separations and unpopular decisions but also through weddings, baby showers, and christenings. We have had our fair share of hard learning, some lessons more costly than others.
Do not be misled, work is work at Symptai but it is also great fun. This is because we really are a set of abstract seekers who dance around strange ideas of evolution, intergalactic forces, race, religion, politics, Dryopithecus africanus, push-up challenges, undiscovered worlds and a lunch-time favourite…the unexplainable and the absurd. It is interesting how a group of intelligent people who so drastically differ in personality can share in common nuisance and revel in senseless banter. This is a requirement here.
"This unique culture has a great impact on how we behave amongst ourselves and with our clients. It plays a big part in motivating me to work wiser each day. It produces a friendly working environment as we have quite a few things in common, similar to a large family. I admire that our executive leaders are natural mentors with so much positive energy and the emphasis on winning keeps the organization together. Since being a part of the Symptai family, I appreciate the emphasis on pursuing excellence in the various tasks I am working on as well as being well informed and prepared. It is also important to demonstrate personal integrity. Symptai values our personal growth, so it is important for me to work on improving my skills and professional knowledge as I gain experience." Abigail Brown - IT Consultant
What is also a requirement is the participation of the whole, for personal milestones, important family events, the (hated by many, loved by few) “vegetable” Tuesdays that are thankfully now extinct. We celebrate comradery, ridicule each other, and genuinely enjoy time together.
All of these elements are critical to who we are and who we choose to remain. Over the years, there really is not much that we have not questioned, with integrity and candour we create the space for interrogation. This has birthed important things like unlimited vacation leave, our green wall, paternity leave (long before it was in vogue), office showers (so you can exercise any time) and play space so our kids can be with us. It is the hallmark of who we are as a company and in our discipline, it has created the foundation for greatness.
So as we celebrate 21 years, all of which started with a mantra to ‘be unreasonable’ with our expectations, our achievements, our relationships, and our work we continue to mature.
"One of the most important things about working at Symptai that keeps me motivated and inspired, is the ability to effect change in a meaningful way through the work that we do with our clients. We are at the forefront of the business and economic landscape of Jamaica and the work being done now will lay the foundation for our future." Claston Brown - Information Systems Auditor