by Jim Taylor | Nov 14, 2022
Here at Activo, we’re proud to work with some of the best in IT, networking, and telecommunications. Come with us to get to know our team members better, gathering insight into their career paths, what they love about Activo, and some of their passions.
Get to Know Cal Misener
Cal Misener is the newest member of the Activo team, joining us as the Director of TELUS CPS Service and Cultural Development. With over 25 years of experience in operations and leadership in the telecommunications industry, Cal previously worked for 24 years with TELUS.
What we love about Cal is what he brings to the table alongside his TELUS expertise – his passion for cultural development is remarkable and can be seen in all that he does. Extremely driven by making positive company culture and making “cool workplaces”, we’re excited to have him alongside us to help grow our culture and find ways to continuously improve.
We spoke with Cal to gather more insight into his views on company culture, his new role, and what he’s most excited about now that he’s part of the Activo team.
What motivated you to work for Activo?
It may seem philosophical, but I had a feeling. I had other opportunities, but the feeling I got from working with a smaller firm and a smaller team was appealing. I thought about how I could have a larger impact. The other thing I like about smaller teams is that there’s very little bureaucracy – I can talk to IT and get a keyboard or knock on the door and have a chat with the president. That’s remarkable.
I talked with Alex Thompson whom I replaced and have known for years, and he told me that the five years he spent at Activo was truly the best job he’d ever had. That helped me understand that I was making the right choice.
What inspired you to pursue the career that you have today?
For many years I was doing work that wasn’t fulfilling, and I did it because I needed a paycheck. It felt like I was drained and exhausted all the time.
Over time I told a mentor I was unhappy, and he asked me if it was work I was unhappy with or my relationship with my work. At first, I thought it was a pointless question, and then I reflected and thought – wow, what a great question to ask.
That led me to not only look at my career as a person with years of operational and leadership experience but also find my passion. My number one motivator now is to help people align their passion with their profession, get them excited, and help them with their growth and development.
How do you do that?
I often ask people not just about their career development, but real-life development. I ask, where do you want to go with your life? How can we help work align to that path?
In simple terms, we figure out together how I can help you do more of the things that you love. It’s called meaningful alignment, and it’s an important part of attracting the best people. You can pay people more, but if people don’t like what they’re doing, they’re not going to stay.
How do you encourage leaders to help their teams succeed in meaningful alignment?
The number one skill that I believe leaders need to have is coaching.
There’s been a ton of research, and while coaching can be a nebulous term, to me it means to ask yourself: how do I have the right conversations with my team and figure out what motivates them? How, as a leader, can I provide that for them?
Some people see leadership from the perspective that as soon as something is wrong you get involved, but to me, it’s way more than that. How do I know what’s important to my team? How do I make sure they’re getting that? How do I make them want to stay?
What is the best advice you can offer to someone who wants to join the Activo team, or this career path?
I think it ties into a lot of what we’ve discussed, but it’s very much an environment where everyone on the team feels like a family. It’s pretty cool to be part of an organization that bands together for the good of our clients and the good of our business. It’s important to be aligned with that feeling and understand that.
In a smaller organization you kind of need to be a jack of all trades and take an all-hands-on-deck approach. Some may see that as a detriment, but if you can see it as a massive opportunity that’s great. It gives everyone on the Activo team an opportunity to try some things that they are interested in.
Regardless of your job title or job description, we have a ton of things we need to tackle so if you have an interest in any particular area, the chances are very good that you can work on some things in that area within your current role. For example, if you are interested in Project Management but that is not your current role, there are definitely opportunities to manage a mini-project or get involved in an existing project with the team.
Maybe normally you need someone to talk to clients – being able to say, hey- I think I’m pretty good that, I’d like to do it. It’s important to be willing to redefine the duties you’re responsible for and what you can do. All you have to do is ask! I would suggest that if any Activo team member (or a future team member!) has things they are interested in that they currently are not doing, please do not hesitate to reach out to me!
What are you most excited about when it comes to working for Activo?
The ability to have a positive impact on an already great culture. I’ve asked many people why they like working at Activo and they say things like “it just feels like a family” or “everyone just works together, shoulder to shoulder, to make things happen for our customers”. Those are some very tangible things culturally and I look forward to helping do more of those things as well as look for new opportunities to make Activo an even better place to work!
What skill do you think everyone should learn?
Like I said, I think coaching is a big one. A lot of times people believe that it’s reserved for leaders, but it’s more than that. It’s important to understand one another and see what’s important to each other and what fulfills the people you work with.
By also asking those questions of yourself, you can see what’s important to you, and then ask to do more of that. I’ve been able to do amazing things in my career – the main reason for that is because I asked. People often ask, how did you get to do that? It’s because I asked. If you don’t ask, you don’t get. Here is a simple definition of coaching that I think every one of us can apply: “How do I stay curious just a little bit longer, ask questions of others and listen deeply to their answers?”. This approach can apply to work but also to every area of our lives.
Can you recommend a piece of media, and tell us what you enjoy about it?
Back to the idea of understanding that once you know what you want, it’s easy to accomplish, I have a podcast I’d like to recommend called The Successful Mind Podcast with David Neagle. It’s all about mindset. He told a story that stuck with me, his mentor told him, “If you know what you want, I can help you get it. If you don’t know, it’s going to be hard for me to help you.”
Again, if there is anyone at Activo who wants to chat about their next career step or anyone outside of Activo that is interested in joining our team, please do not hesitate to reach out to me directly.