How to Scale the Team but Keep the Team Spirit: Lessons from Julien Morali

Interview
 
13 December 2017 966

Strong and balanced successful eCommerce business of medium scale is not necessarily built on extensive financial means or an expert staff’s number. Individual and unprejudiced approach to each employee and thorough communication with them can provide surprisingly beneficial business growth.

 

Julien Morali is a CTO with former long-running career of web-developer that manages the workflow of a successful, established e-commerce website. He applied most of his web-developing skills working for Telecommande-express.com - eCommerce website specializing in selling of remote controls of various types and purposes with an enormously long history of 11 years. When Julien joined the company, the team consisted of only seven people. Now, 45 people work in order to support a renowned medium business website.

The people you work with surround you in the moments of critical decision-making. When they realize their own importance and how much appreciated they are, they form a properly functioning team. A team that consists of professionals eager to help each other out and commit to the common success.

Rapid growth

“Throughout 11 years there has been this single website and we are proud to still work on it.” says Morali. “Initially, it was an establishment for both individual and professional customers.”

 

The business developed surprisingly fast, Julien and the team did not need to raise any money for internal investments because the establishment started to bring profit almost from the get-go. The project managed to gain the leading positions among the French e-commerce websites. Based on that fact, the decision was made to expand. The web-store was eventually established in such countries as Germany, Italy, Spain, and Great Britain.

Mr. Morali was committed to the establishment for quite a long time, and, according to him, the rapidness of the business’s growth has never stopped to amaze him.

“When you hit 40+ employees you become significantly bigger and need to change the workflow accordingly.”

“During the seven years of work on the project, I saw the company’s rapid growth first-handedly.” - says Morali. “That was really the thing that I appreciated the most. We started small and achieved bigger status all thanks to hard work.”

 

The general business management challenge for Julien used to include the ability to remain independent financially. The biggest challenge currently is to hold the achieved positions. The business grows larger each day and so do requirements. Standards of a modern successful eCommerce resource change dramatically with time and they must be adhered to in order to keep up with the times.

 

“When the team starts to include more than 40 people, you change the dimension.” - our hero notes. “You used to be a small business with 10, 20 or 30 people in the team and got used to work with that.

When you hit 40+ employees you become significantly bigger and you have to readjust the organization, reorganize teams, and ultimately change the workflow accordingly. The biggest challenge at that is holding positions and staying in shape to be able to stand out among competitors.”

Importance of personal qualities in business

Julien’s ultimate advice to actively growing companies is to prioritize communication among employees. According to him, when the company becomes much bigger, the main thing is to “keep people talking to each other directly”. That way, healthy debates and discussions are going to take place, which can boost the business’s performance significantly.

“Healthy communication is crucial”

“Healthy communication is crucial.” - notices Julien. “Collective activities can help adjust it. For instance, once a year we have what we call an annual interview with everyone. We all gather for a couple of hours to define the goals and targets for the year to come. There are many aspects, it can be technical goal, to acquire skills in PHP for example.”

 

Our hero considers the kind of people he works with to be a major factor in business management. The people that surround you during your workflow must be trustworthy, motivated and always be ready to help and share wisdom.

 

“I try to employ people solely out of human consideration. I choose some or other person because I know that they would fit the team and they would be able to learn what they doesn’t know yet. The human aspect is fundamental for me.”

Present state of things and daily routine

Currently, our hero’s daily working routine includes monitoring and coordination of development teams’ activities, project management, interviewing and many more.

“I write specifications, discuss them with the technical folk etc.” - Morali tells. “I have a day by day schedule and I have to keep the status of the projects updated at all times. It depends, you know, sometimes I have to do interviews, sometimes I have to meet technical material suppliers or network suppliers and so on.”

 

Julien takes active part in coordination and management of the projects and helps the rest of the team accomplish various tasks.

We have to not keep up, but work faster and more efficient than competitors.

“Anybody can get stuck with certain task.” - notices Morali. “That's why we make daily stand-ups every morning, just to check what is not going good, what blocking points are there. I try to help as much as possible. Usually, if a task is too complicated, there are enough minds in our team to figure it out collectively.”

 

Our hero considers that the optimal working schedule must be balanced and personal life should not be overshadowed by work. However, the work that takes place must be as effective as possible and thorough commitment is important.

“We have to not keep up, but work faster and more efficient than competitors.” - our hero points out. “Otherwise, it would be very hard to hold the positions. Being flexible, however, helps balance things out. We let our employees work from home time after time, so that they can work in their personal professional environment for some time and gather their thoughts.”

The ways of doing things. An individual approach

According to Julien, the best way to learn new things is through communication and discussion. Talking through some technical aspects with various experts would never hurt. Our hero also believes that the best way to help someone in accomplishment of the challenging task is making them understand what’s wrong and fix it themselves.

 

“Rather than giving a huge number of suggestions to choose from, try to direct an employee to the optimal way of solving particular problem.” - Morali recommends. “Once they complete the seemingly impossible tasks by themselves, they will realize how much more potential there is in them.”

 

When Julien employes a new person, they complete a set of stages in order to familiarize themselves with company’s peculiarities.

“Once they complete the seemingly impossible tasks by themselves, they will realize how much more potential there is in them.”

“We have our own rituals.” - our hero tells. “First, I give a global presentation of what we do and who we are. Just to indicate who the person is in this company what will his general responsibilities be.

 

Then, it’s a welcome breakfast, after which the person would go through meeting different managers of different business units. They would have a quick look at what people do and how they do it. After a few days, we all have a welcome drink. We all go to the bar and greet our new colleague.”

Humble conclusion

An interesting thing about Julien’s personality is his modesty. He believes that some people are born with keenness and ability to endure the directorial tasks and some are not. Julien himself is very humble in that aspect and stays content with his current position.

 

“I know for sure that I don't want to build a company.” - Julien notes. “What I like in work is technical challenges, to work with people, to evaluate with people. All the parts, the administration parts, the pressure that you have when you are the top, I don't really want that. That's not for my personality.”

 

In conclusion we can say that inspiration can do wonders. Any business manager can be an inspiration for his co-workers. Transparent, active communication and collective way of figuring things out can pave the way to the greatest heights. And if you happen to come across numerous obstacles on your way to success, be sure that they are only temporary and there is nothing impossible to accomplish.

 

Some inspiring words from Morali himself:

“The other day my daughter told me that the real limits are in your mind. She told me that the real boundaries and the real walls are in your head so most of the time it's you who sets any limits…”

Author:
Petro Borysov

Digital marketer, content writer. Living the life, writing articles, getting things done.

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