I was supposed to be a railway guy, and probably a lifer at that. My first post-education job landed me within the Shipment Management group of CP Railway. But after one head office corporate relocation, and considerably less than 6 degrees of separation, I found myself thrust into the document space working for a 5 person consulting company alongside a former CP Railway IT architect. I remember feeling like a stranger in a strange land – no bulk commodities to worry about, no fine tuning Dijkstra’s algorithm to recalculate shortest routes, no railway strikes to plan for – just print and plenty of it.
I say document space because statements, bills and letters were like background noise to me up to that point in my life. My name is Steve Biancaniello, and I look after the Professional Services team at Prinova. Fast forward 14+ years. I believe Prinova and many of our clients now thrive in this same document space. I hope to use these blogs to share with others why and how from a services perspective.
CP Railway left many indelible marks on me. I met Nick there – my business partner and co-founder of Prinova. Nick passed my original ‘service excellence’ litmus test on so many dimensions – the direct accountability, the ‘write it down’ approach, the spontaneous brain-storming, the elevated passion meter readings, the sleep-deprived commitment to hitting deadlines, the ability to bend but not break, and of course, the love of wine (celebration) to recharge after a job truly well done.
CP Railway also taught me my most important lesson about professionally serving others – it’s all about the people involved. The team. Your team. They had an amazing IT recruitment program that would select individuals from all backgrounds. And then they invested heavily in them. Right from the day one on-boarding, reinforcing corporate values, promoting a buddy system, adhering to appropriate delivery methodologies, encouraging interactions with managers, and forcing us to face the fear early on of being on-call to support ‘our’ real production scenarios. They encouraged a diversity of perspectives – no tunnel vision – fitting, for a company literally obsessed with navigation and routing.
The front cover of Copy 6 of the original Prinova business plan was emblazoned with a quote from Tom Peters: “Advantage comes not from the spectacular. Advantage comes from a persistent seeking of the mundane edge”. This became my inspiration during the incipient stages of building the original Prinova services team to do battle in the document space. To so many people, documents (printed or electronic) were/are boring. To become world-class in serving this space, you need to invest in people, wherever you can find them, who naturally get excited, actually obsessed, about the million boring (or beautiful) things you have to do right each and every time to ensure every customer gets his/her intended, relevant document or message.
Over the years, that mundane edge has not lost its beauty to me. And happily, trains are still beautiful in my world. Just ask my 3 year old daughter – Thomas the Tank Engine rules!