Uber, Soccer, and Keysight

2018-09-12  |  7 min read 

Recently, I had to take multiple Uber rides to and from the car repair shop. I was glad about working for a company that offers flexibility in the work schedule. The environment Keysight provides had been on my mind lately as we were recently recognized as a Great Place to Work. It brought to mind another key benefit I find working at Keysight: a unique duality that combines the magic of team performance and the brilliance of individuals, just like in world class national soccer teams.

And there it was - the painful memory of this Summer’s Soccer World Cup. The World Cup concluded two months ago, but as a German it took me that long to get over the depression about the early elimination of our national team, known as “Die Mannschaft”. While “Die Mannschaft” miserably crashed at defending their title, I was trying to analyze the makeup of the two finalists, France and Croatia, with France’s “Les Bleus” being the new World Champions. Thomas Hitzlsperger, a former German midfielder soccer player, recently wrote:

“Teamwork has triumphed over individual brilliance in the tournament.”  

When reading about the French team, characteristics such as youthful, diverse, and partnership come up. It seems like each player relied on a fellow team member that helped raise their level, rather than focusing on individual brilliance. And maybe “Les Bleus” also had the urge and passion for making amends for their 2016 defeat at the European Championships, a desire I hope “Die Mannschaft” will exhibit in their next championship. France succeeded 20 years after their first World Cup triumph in 1998. Congratulations.

Croatia’s media coverage highlights similar characteristics such as unity, teamwork, and resilience. Only about four million people live in this small and beautiful country, which makes their underdog performance so heartwarming; beating teams such as Argentina and England along the way. While they have a very strong player with Luka Modric, articles focus more on the team’s remarkable resilience, twice winning on penalties and fighting back in overtime. This team reminds me of Greece winning over Portugal in the 2004 European Championship; stunning the soccer world as an unlikely winner, who before 2004 had never even scored a goal, let alone win a match in any major tournament.

Teamwork and collaborative culture at Keysight

At Keysight, we are fortunate to have some of the world’s most brilliant individual players; with expertise in measurement science, technology, and amazing talent in all functions. However, I strongly believe that our teamwork and collaborative culture gives us an edge in our performance:

  • In the recent employee survey for “Great Place to Work”, 91 percent said that people care about each other. This caring, also referred to as “One Keysight,” makes us particularly strong players in competing in our markets. Our One Keysight value nurtures a united, adaptable, collaborative, diverse, supportive, and safe community. As we approach the one-year anniversary of the Tubbs fire in Santa Rosa, impacting Keysight headquarters as well as 1,500 employees and their families, employees pooled resources to help those affected, both monetarily and by taking on extra work to keep our business running and our customers happy.
Within 48 hours of the Tubbs fire devastation, a Keysight Emergency Response Center was established, distributing food, water, clothing, and more. CEO Ron Nersesian emphasized people first; response and resources second. #KeysightStrong
  • Keysight sponsors many activities that make the workplace enjoyable and fun. For example, the Colorado Activities Support Team (aka CAST) organizes family events such as picnics, Halloween trick-or-treating, and community outreach activities such as Habitat for Humanity projects. In Santa Rosa, a large garden enables employees to pursue their horticultural interests. The NextGen group helps new hires connect to their new environment, while the Hackathon program brings together software engineers to tackle today’s toughest challenges in a fun way. Keysight provides facilities and equipment for sports and recreational activities such as cycling, basketball, softball, volleyball, kayaking, and disk golf, to name a few.
  • On June 27, 2018, the day our German national soccer team lost, I had two visits at my desk in Colorado Springs. Luis, my Mexican colleague, offered kind words after Mexico advanced to the knockout stage having been in the same group as Germany. My French colleague Maëlle showed her empathy referring to the similar disaster for “Les Bleus” at the previous European Championship. The fact that we have many nationalities, languages, skills and cultural backgrounds at Keysight combined with the global nature of our teams contribute to our strength and ability to recruit and retain diverse talent. As CEO Ron Nersesian says,

“My vision for our company is to provide a thriving environment where top technology issues of the world challenge the top minds of our industry. A place where employees get to work together to grow and contribute at the leading edge of technological revolutions. Where employees solve meaty, exciting issues and help our customers be first to market and ultimately make the world more productive, connected, and secure.”

I hope you enjoyed this detour into the soccer championships.