Teambuilding: climbing the highest mountain in Sweden!

This past weekend, Derivco Sweden together with some fellow colleagues from Isle of Man, London and Ipswich flew to Kiruna (located in the northern part of Sweden) to climb Kebnekaise, the highest mountain in Sweden. Once at the airport in Kiruna, we all took the bus, 66 kilometres to Nikkaluokta, a small Swedish Sami village and the gateway to the mountains. This is where we started our 14 kilometre long hike on a rocky terrain, to Kebnekaise mountain station in three teams.

During this first hike we had a magnificent view over the Lappish landscape where autumn’s beautiful yellow, orange, red and brown colours splashed across the valleys, hillside and mountains. People were already so full of excitement and you could feel the energy and hear the team spirit rising as people were talking, laughing, encouraging and supporting one another through every step of the journey. This energetic team spirit and trust, accompanied us the next morning when we embarked on our even more spectacular (and terrifying) 12-hour long journey up towards the south peak of Kebnekaise.

Support, trust and friendship

One can reach the top via the Western route or the Eastern route. The Western route is a longer, steep hike with rocky terrain, although it is less steep than the Eastern route. The Eastern route is much steeper and includes crossing the glacier and some via ferrata climbing. If you are scared of hights, the eastern route is not for you! However, some climbers did choose that the scarier route. “I never thought that I’d make it, due to a heavy cold and my fear of heights,” said Marie Hedström, HR manager at Derivco Sweden. “But with the support of my fantastic colleagues it was possible. The highlight of this trip was that I overcame my fears and actually made it to the top. I feel so proud,” she said.

One thing Marcus Adolfsson, General Manager at Derivco Sweden will remember most is the feeling of seeing the mountain top in front of him. “On our way up, the cloud and mist suddenly eased up and the daunting summit of Kebnekaise made its first appearance. I suddenly thought… ‘Shit, that’s bloody huge!’,” he said.

Derivco as a company is one team and our mission for this journey was to prove that together we we can reach our goals, together we can build a worldclass Sportsbook product, together we can reach the top. Many of our employees witnessed that the support of others was the main thing that kept them going, that kept them from turning back.

“Without the people around me I never would have made it,” said Marie Hedström, HR manager. “They made all the difference. Whenever I started freaking out or got really low on energy they cheered me up and made me believe I could do it. It was amazing – I feel so thankful and happy to have such great people in my daily life,” she said.

Marcus Adolfsson, General Manager at Derivco Sweden feels that this trip has given us trust in each other. “By helping each other, conquering the fear of heights, and pushing each other to make it all the way creates trust in each other,” said Marcus. “For me, trust is the single most important factor for great teamwork. With trust, we will do that little extra to help each other, and to ensure success of our product. Trust also creates friendship. Proof of this friendship is already evident with the planning of further training sessions together, outside of office hours, to be even more prepared for our next adventure. These training sessions add to our already existing joint paddle tennis sessions, game nights, movie nights, tech talks, frequent open discussions and feedback on how we can continue to improve. All these things help us maintain our team spirit,” he said.

 Dedicated team members working with application support

“The feeling of chipping in together across studios when we worked on production support is one thing I’ll remember most,” said Marcus Adolfsson, General Manager. A group of people stayed at the mountain station to work on production support on Friday when the majority of us climbed to the summit of Kebnekaise and it didn’t stop there. They volunteered to work the following day as well and if this doesn’t count as team spirit then I don’t know what does.

 

Chris Luo, Team Lead and Software Developer at Derivco Sweden was one of the team members chipping in to work on production support on Friday. He actually got a second chance from Team Nordic Trail, the organisers and team that accompanied us to Kebnekaise, to hike alone with one of their guides to the top of Kebnekaise. And it wasn’t a hard decision for him to say yes.

“I really appreciate that Team Nordic trail offered me a second chance to try and climb the mountain. It was perfect. When I reached the top, the sky was clear. Even though I was alone with the guide, the team’s motivation from day one played a crucial role for me to set a strong mind for this challenge,” said Chris. “And when I got back, I got the warmest welcome by the whole team.”

Derivco Sweden Together to the top

This was an intense weekend with a packed schedule filled with hiking tours, teambuilding activities, workshops, quiz walks and production support. We had early mornings and late nights and we spent about 16 hours a day in each other’s company. There was a lot of pain, sweat and fears as well as a lot of laughter, team spirit and trust. Team spirit is well established at Derivco Sweden and we have a culture of open communication, trust and feedback. This trip has both given evidence to that as much at it has strengthened and deepened it.

“Strong team spirit is developed when everyone works for a common goal, and when all people need to participate to reach that goal. Team spirit is when you can trust each other and know that everyone has the same goal at hand as well as wants the same thing,” said Marie Hedström, HR Manager. “I also think strong team spirit comes from having good communication and an openness as to what you need from others to be able to perform your best. To dare to be honest to yourself and to your colleagues is a good foundation in order to build a strong team spirit,” she said.

When Marcus Adolfsson, General Manager was asked what he hoped Stockholm Derivkens take with them from this teambuilding, he said: “A feeling of gratefulness and trust. Not gratefulness for the trip itself, but to be part of a great team where openness and trust is in built. With trust in our own achievements, may it be from conquering a mountain or writing code for a world class sportsbook, or the trust in others to give their assistance when you’re in need; then I’m sure we can do more great things together.”

Now that we are all back in the office and our everyday lives we will still face rocky roads, valleys, climbs, uphill struggles and days when we reach what feels like a summit together. This is part of daily life and exciting challenges that we face at Derivco Sweden when we continue building a world class Sportsbook.