Shared responsibility parenting at Exa Product Development

Sitting down with WORK180, Nick Wadsley reflects on leadership and shared responsibility parenting.

It’s often (incorrectly) assumed that flexible work is just for women. Which means it’s assumed they do all the child care at home. But for Nick Wadsley, sharing the responsibility – and sharing the care – is extremely important. He uses Exa’s flexible working benefits to be an active and present parent.

Flexibility fostering families

Nick’s number one passion used to be snow skiing. Working in product development in Australia and overseas, he spent 6 years attacking the slopes in Switzerland and a season as a ski instructor in Austria. But that passion has some strong competition and got knocked from top position by his young son. 

Nick uses the flexibility Exa offers to collect him from school on certain days and build their relationship.

“As a single parent this time with him is invaluable.” 

That flexibility is one way that Exa demonstrates its people are the most important thing. And the fact that they actively encourage men to take it shows they are committed to equity and diversity within their teams. 

“I knew I’d made the right decision to join Exa from the beginning. The team were so supportive and welcoming. It is such a positive and supportive place to be. The people in the company really do come first – before clients and even before profit.”

Exa values diversity in their teams, and the benefits – such as flexible work options – help make it possible for a broader range of people to participate fully in their workplace. 

“The company celebrates diversity in terms of gender, culture, and background. In my software team of five people, we have two women and three people from overseas. Diversity brings different perspectives, and we learn a lot from one another. It also promotes understanding and respect.”

Exa’s people really matter

Exa have an open, communicative culture, with a daily all-of-company ‘stand up’ to discuss wins and goals, as well as frequent formal and informal updates. They are focused on removing silos and barriers to people working collaboratively together. They celebrate the little wins alongside the big ones, and value friendly catch-ups to build relationships. 

Nick also told us about a couple of specific benefits that really set Exa apart for him. He’s passionate about personal development and becoming the best person he can be, and Exa’s benefits specifically enable that for him. 

“The OKR (Objectives and Key Results) is where each team member has their own specific learning and development goals that benefit both them and the business. An “Investment Day” (like an RDO) on the last Friday of every month is a great way to recharge and set aside time for things you don’t normally do.”

Exa provides plenty of support to its people to set them up for success, and that trickles down through the organization. In fact, Nicks’ most recent compliment from a team member was for doing additional work to set them up for success while he was away on leave.

“I think the company is changing the world by walking the talk on its culture and demonstrating that you can truly value your people and the world and still be successful.”

Exa also puts its money where its mouth is when it comes to the work they take on, with all projects having a focus on sustainability or other positive impact. 

“I think the fact that we are such a positive place to be would surprise outsiders. Many businesses struggle with politics and a challenging company culture. At Exa, we work hard to flip this dynamic and make it a positive and welcoming place to be.”

Why a supportive culture matters

The supportive culture at Exa isn’t just about giving everyone the warm and fuzzies, it actually makes a difference to performance. When people know they can grow and take risks in a safe way, they stretch themselves more and the business directly benefits.

“The company motivates me to succeed by providing as much support as I need along with a lot of encouragement. This makes it a place where I feel like everyone has my back and I have theirs, so together we can tackle the challenges ahead of us.”

This culture where it’s safe to speak up means that Exa welcomes change and challenge. They don’t do things the way they’ve always been done, but rather invite everyone to suggest improvements and innovation. 

“I feel like the company is very open to and welcome of change and I have changed quite a few things in the short time I’ve been with Exa.”

In his role, Nick is involved with project acquisition and management, alongside supporting his team to be successful.

“I am the interface between a key client and our team and when I have some spare time am looking for ways to make my team’s lives easier and Exa an even better place to work.”

Nick loves challenging himself, both on the ski slopes, in his self-development and in the workplace. His biggest career tip is to take some chances and expand your horizons. 

“Keep an open mind and embrace challenge and change. The more willing you are to explore your boundaries, the more you will discover them expanding.”

This article originally appeared on WORK180.com

Want to learn more or chat with Nick? Reach out to Exa Product Development — contact or connect with us!

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