Francesco Corda and Noah van Kessel on their start at BlinkLane

07 July 2021 Consultancy.eu 5 min. read

BlinkLane Consulting is an advisory firm focused on organisational transformation with a focus on agile and digital. Recent joiners Francesco Corda and Noah van Kessel spoke to Consultancy.org about onboarding with the firm during a global pandemic, and the benefits of working with a mid-sized consultancy.

Prior to joining BlinkLane Consulting, Francesco Corda had already spent more than three years in the consulting industry. As is often the case with graduates entering the professional services industry, he joined a local wing of one of the world’s largest firms to learn the trick of the trade and and pick a specialism from many choices of projects at such a company.

Having joined Accenture in Italy as an intern, by late 2020 he had become an Agile Transformation Consultant – before he decided the time was right for a new challenge.

Francesco Corda and Noah van Kessel on their start at BlinkLane

“BlinkLane has showed me what it really means to work for a Lean-Agile company,” Corda said of working for the Dutch consultancy. “The size of the firm allows us to create a stronger bond with the company, reflecting its values as one community. What I appreciated the most is the “we are in this together” attitude, which made me feel immediately part of the BlinkLane family.”

Relocating from Milan to Amsterdam at any time would have been tough, but amid the continuing coronavirus pandemic, the challenge took on a number of new aspects. According to Corda, however, BlinkLane’s commitment to fostering solidarity between its team meant that he was well supported over each hurdle during his first six months in the Netherlands.

Corda recalled, “Relocating was tough… [but] I received help in finding accommodation when I was still in Italy, engaging in house visiting at my place. I was supported through the entire bureaucratic hassle process of registration. Finally, during the first two weeks more than half of my new colleagues connected with me to have “virtual coffee”, making me feel extremely welcome despite the mandatory working from home.”

The ingenuity which BlinkLane showed during Corda’s early days in the Netherlands also boost many of the firm’s interactions with clients, the Agile Transformation Consultant noted. While global consulting firms are typically governed by strict policies and rigid decision-making processes, BlinkLane focuses on fast decision-making, fuelled by peer-to-peer dynamic interactions.

One challenge this creates is that as soon as consultants arrive, they will need to be proactive, taking the initiative to serve its corporate partners. At the same time, however, this fuels further learning – something many recent entrants of the consulting industry hope for – as it encourages new arrivals to learn from other colleagues.

Corda stated, “My first and current transformation is one of the largest Agile transformations in Europe – if not in the world. It is indeed a challenging environment that pushes me out of the comfort zone daily. And this is exactly what I was looking for to focus and grow my skills”

‘Since day one, I have been really excited to see how high the level of experience and skills of my colleagues on the project is. We help each other with our challenges, we share our insights and best practices, we motivate and support each other to grow as professionals, day by day.”

Further reading: Christoph Stettina sets out to grow BlinkLane’s agile offerings

Agile thinking

While Noah van Kessel did not need to relocate to a new country to take up his role with BlinkLane, meanwhile, the Transformation Consultant did face similar challenges in changing jobs during lockdown. The typically face-to-face world of consulting has seen the vast majority of its work transfer to online interactions throughout the last year – but, according to Van Kessel, he was provided with a wealth of learning opportunities during his first five months at BlinkLane.

“My onboarding has been great,” he enthused. “Due to the new ‘BlinkBook’, all new employees get a complete overview of how BlinkLane operates, the position of the company and your position within it, and finally the possibilities BlinkLane offers. Additionally, you have a Mentor and a Buddy as partners to coach and help you, as well as a lot of colleagues that introduce you to their projects and their experience. Lots of information, but it helps you to get up to speed as soon as possible.”

In 2019, Van Kessel obtained a Master’s in Health Economics from Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam, and recently encouraged junior professionals to apply for positions with BlinkLane due to the further learning opportunities it offered. Urging graduates to consider the consulting industry as their next port of call, he noted that the main perks of the life as an Agile consultant were a combination of getting a keen understanding of theory and practice when it comes to innovative working models.

He added, “You can organise your company in an Agile way, but if the people’s mindset isn’t committed to working in an Agile fashion it still will not work… At the same time, Agile consulting provides opportunities to work in large international companies, as these are sometimes unfamiliar with agile or have difficulties making the change to agile working. Working at BlinkLane offers you these opportunities, while working in a very cooperative environment.”

Like Corda, Van Kessel also extolled the virtues of BlinkLane’s familial culture and the knowledge sharing it enables. By working with a team on complex projects, consultants are challenged to develop themselves, but also get all the support they need to learn, and still provide the most value to clients. Van Kessel illustrated this by referring to his earliest engagement at the firm.

He concluded, “My first project was quite intensive. We had to deliver a digital playbook for a large international client in just two weeks with a group of only 4 people. Here, the power of BlinkLane really shows; due to the tremendous team effort and assisting each other, when necessary, we made the deadline and pleased the client with our results. For me personally, this project was the perfect start where I learned a lot but also immediately felt useful to the company.”