Nogibogi visits B2B Soft: «Running and teamwork have a lot in common»

How the company builds running culture and how it affects its employees.

In Ukraine running evolves not least thanks to the corporate programs and the companies encouraging their employees to run. But what is really a «corporate running culture»? What does it look like in practice and how to start implementing it in your company?

To figure this all out, from time to time we will be showing the experience of the companies that have made running part of their DNA. The first in the series of these materials were the guys from Interpipe, whose plants we visited last year.

Next in line is the IT-sector and the company that has created a product, being used by 11000 stores in the USA and Canada.

This is B2B Soft, an American company, whose development is based in Kyiv, and which makes software for mobile phone stores. Simply put, if you purchase a cell phone in the US, the sales and payment process is most likely to be made with the help of the system, created by B2B Soft.

In 2015 managing directors of the company decided to popularize running within the company and took part in Kyiv marathon (one of the stockholders flew in from New York specifically to run with the team). And it worked!

Now, according to Natalya Novachuk, the administrative director of the Ukrainian office, running is in the DNA of the corporate culture.

«Now we don’t need to persuade the people to participate. They know that the running event is approaching and get ready to run their race, the length of which also increases with the time: we started with five or ten kilometers and now our colleagues mostly run 21 km and even 42 km».

Participation in the running events allows you to discover new sides of your colleagues, see them not in the familiar office atmosphere but at the race, where you can give and get the support, being side by side with your team. That’s when human bonding takes place.

«Running and teamwork have a lot in common: in both cases, you need to set a clear goal and work hard to achieve it. And the result often depends on the people beside you: either in a project or in a relay».

We went running together and then visited the office of B2B Soft, whose employees became keen on running while working in the company and now get ready for the races within Nova Poshta Kyiv Half Marathon.

Alexander Zinoviev, Delivery-manager. Tries to find joy in running

At work, I am responsible for overseeing the development process. We create software, which our American clients use to make sales in their stores. Simply put, if you purchase a cell phone in the US, the sales and payment will be made through our system.

For my staff running is one of the tools for bonding and creating a strong team.

I’m not a big fan of running, I’m more into eating. But such love and the lack of training led to my losing the shape completely.

However, over the last 4 months, I got a grip on myself and managed to lose 13 kg. I go to the gym and sometimes go running because in our company it is difficult not to run, a lot of people are into it. We even take part in Race Nation. It seems to me, this is where all the power of teamwork really shows.

I don’t set any definite goals in running, but for one – to reach the finish line without coughing my lungs up.

Vladimir Zavyazun, Quality Assurance Engineer. He has run three marathons and is getting ready for the Ironman

My job consists of making sure that our software meets all the requirements. Someone may say that it’s a boring job, but I think that the job you really like cannot be boring. I have a mindset of a person, who wants to check everything and make sure it works properly. That’s why I really like what I do.

I started running long distances in the army. After that, I continued running regularly for 5-10 km. Gradually the distances became longer and I ran my first marathon. I must have not been prepared well, because after the thirtieth km it was really hard. But nevertheless, I finished the race and realized how important preparation was. Since then I have run two more marathons.

I think that sport helps to mold a strong character and overcome difficult obstacles and this is a really valuable skill in our lives. I cannot afford to be complacent and I plan to make full Ironman.

Darya Zhuryk, Implementation Specialist. Started running over again

I help people learn how to use the system, which is developed by our company. I used to like running at school. I used to like the team spirit of the relay races, I enjoyed traveling to other cities to participate in the competitions and I enjoyed meeting new people. Having grown up, I stopped practicing sport actively and now I am a «newbie» in running yet again.

When they started forming running teams in our company, I didn’t hesitate to join. I don’t set any ambitious goals, just want to reach the finish line, that’s my small mission. But I’m serious about preparation, I train regularly. I went out for a run once and started off on the right foot. Training went smoothly and easily, tracker went from 3 km to 5 km, from 5 km to 8 km, from 8 km to 9 km.

And then I thought: “So what, I will run 10 km for the first time now? And how will I live without my goal?” And I didn’t finish these last 500 m, just to leave the goal for Kyiv marathon.

In fact, for me running is the way to put my thoughts in order. Every time I finish the run I feel that I’m no longer preoccupied with the thoughts and problems that have piled up during the day. That’s a great way to clear your brain.

Marina Soboleva, Implementation Specialist. Has registered for mini-marathon

I help our clients figure out how to use the program. We conduct training and online lessons for them. Due to the fact that our clients are Americans, we mostly work at night to adapt to their working schedule.  

I used to hate running at school, I would always try to skip this activity.

When we were offered to put together a relay team in our company, I agreed, but not sure why. Probably I wanted to feel part of the team. I promised myself to get ready, however, in the remaining 3 months before the race I didn’t go for a run even once, somehow couldn’t find the time.

Of course, the race was really difficult for me. But I was so impressed by the support of the crowd that it boosted my energy. The atmosphere at the running events is incredible. People, who don’t even know you, cheer you up, wave the posters and it really inspires. Having finished, I decided that next year I will run 10 km and then maybe half-marathon.

Sergey Bezkorovaynyy, programmer. Is going to run 10 km and Race Nation

I am a fullstaсk developer, I write some parts for our application. We have a big team of developers, everyone is responsible for his or her task and after putting all these parts together we get the final product.

I like working on this particular project mostly because it’s so complex and many-faceted. And the more difficult business logic of the project is, the more interesting it is to dig into it.

Despite the fact that all my childhood and adolescent years I had a very active lifestyle and went in for sport, it was my daughter who inspired me to start running.

Once we went to the stadium together and while she was playing I decided to make a couple of roll-ups on the bar, as I used to. But I couldn’t. At this very moment, I realized that I should change my lifestyle. Otherwise soon I won’t be able to go roller skating with my daughter or go up the stairs. I will only be complaining about my health.

To cut the long story short, I started training. I and my colleagues are getting ready for the Race Nation and we need to concentrate on muscle-strengthening exercises. But it is boring just to be lifting weights in the gym, I enjoy running more.

I have run half marathon without any preparation recently but it was quite an unfortunate experience. I started suffering after the 18th km and it struck me that I shouldn’t underestimate running events.

Now I am training responsibly. I want to start with 10 km, after that run half marathon well and only then run a marathon.

Igor Senchenko, co-founder and co-owner of B2B Soft

When I was 17, I went to live in the US. I used to have a friend who opened a small cell phone service store. When there were 6 shops in the chain he wanted to take his business to the next level. We decided to open an IT product company with the office in Ukraine.

We started off with a small office with 4 employees and now we have 150 employees and a great number of clients in the US: 11000 stores use our product.

I entered the running community thanks to Dima Chernitskyy. He would always take me for a run, and now I’m a co-founder of Kyiv marathon. And at some point, I thought to myself: «Why don’t we make running part of our corporate culture? Running and business co-exist in harmony».

When you participate in running events it is unlikely that you will win the race, but you will definitely conquer yourself.

In my opinion, the ability to conquer yourself is one of the qualities of a successful person. Running teaches us not to be afraid of difficulties, to become stronger, to support each other. These are valuable qualities for the team.

However, I didn’t want to impose running initiatives in the company. As the experience with the community work days shows, this is not effective. That’s why I decided to start with myself. I registered for a race, one of the colleagues supported me and we ran together. Being inspired by our example, every year more and more members of the team join the races.

I like the way the Kyiv marathon is organized. I live in the US and I train there, but I come to run races here. Although many Ukrainians do quite the opposite.

For me running is a challenge. Sport comes hard for me, and every time I have to make an effort to force myself to go running. But when I do go out and start running – it always makes me happy. Especially if like-minded goal-oriented people run by my side.

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