Last week I completed QlikAcademy Introduction Week. QlikAcademy is five days of intensive training in company values, business processes, best practices, internal systems, and products. It's also a networking opportunity; new hires create relationships with each other as well as with the seasoned managers and executives who serve as our trainers, and with our colleagues who work in the Lund, Sweden office.

  • Building: From trellis charts to cured salmon. A small group of new employees spent five days together at the site of QlikView's heritage: Lund, Sweden. We travelled from Canada, Germany, Spain, the U.K., and the U.S. Throughout the week we attended presentations by executives, engaged in role-playing sessions, earned our basic QlikView certifications, and worked in teams to build QlikView apps and present them to "customers" in mock Seeing Is Believing (proof of concept) events. And-one of the highlights-we cooked a fabulous gourmet meal together in an industrial kitchen under the watchful eye of the head chef at Malmö's horse-racing track.
  • Learning: From how we strategize to the way we organize. One of the biggest eye-openers for me was learning about the ins and outs of QlikView's customer-centric selling process. Teams of account managers, pre-sales consultants, and technical experts work in tandem to deliver proof of value to prospective customers. I also learned how to build a (very, very) basic QlikView application, and gained insight into how the pieces of this 600+ person global organization fit together.
  • Investing: QlikTech is its people. I am part of class #59 -that's 59 intensive week-long classes held over a period of about six years. Each week is a substantial effort in time and resources. You're probably wondering why a software company, especially a public one, would go to this level of care and expense. Anna Kjellberg, our VP of global HR and people development, said, "We see this as an investment because over the years QlikAcademy has paid for itself many times over. This and the company's annual all-hands meeting speed up processes and decision-making. Quality face time creates synapses among us, resulting in a vastly more powerful 'group brain.'"

How many companies can you think of that send every new employee, from entry-level to C-level, to Europe for a week of training? How many companies take managers and executives away from their day jobs (even during the busiest quarter of the year) to give their undivided attention to a bunch of newbies? Not many, that's for sure.

On my long flight home from Europe I watched a cheesy movie about a street dancing team, and one of the lines in the movie has stuck with me: "We will win because of who we are." That, in a word, is how I would sum up what I took away from QlikAcademy. (Are you intrigued? QlikTech is hiring.)