Bobby turns to video games for unique connections at work
Bobby Chadha started playing video games when he would have competitions with friends on his Nintendo. Now, he turns to his Xbox or PC for games of Call of Duty, FIFA, and Civilization. He finds it’s a good way to relax and unwind after work and even creates some fun connections with other gamers at work. He’s even been known to play a game of FIFA on the office Xbox while conducting an interview!
In this episode, Bobby and I talk about how the culture is conveyed to a new employee from the moment they are recruited. The onboarding process is also a way that firms and companies really struggle to make an impact. He says, “Set the expectation that this is a culture of openness and we’re here to be ourselves and bring our whole selves to work.” One example he gives is having each new hire share a fun fact about themselves at their first monthly all staff meeting. Bobby finds that he is always collaborating with others, so taking the time to get to know others makes that much easier in the long run.
Bobby Chadha is a Senior Manager with Deloitte in the UK. He’s also been a Virgin StartUp Mentor since 2015.
He received his BA, Money, Banking & Finance from Middlesex University. He later received his Certificate for Financial Advisers, Finance and Financial Management Services from ifs University College and his ACCA, Accountancy to become a Chartered Certified Accountant.
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Welcome to Episode 148 of the Green Apple Podcast. This is John Garrett. Each Wednesday, I interview a professional who just like me is known for a hobby or a passion or maybe an interest outside of work which makes them stand out ironically enough like a green apple in a stereotypically boring red apple world. To put it another way, it’s encouraging people to find their “and” as in my guest Bobby Chadha is a consultant and is a huge gamer. It’s really neat to hear how Bobby’s gaming has created some unique relationships at work that otherwise would never have happened. I’ve got a quick favor to ask.
If you liked the show and are listening on iTunes or your favorite Android app, please don’t forget to hit subscribe so you don’t miss any of the future episodes, because I love sharing such interesting stories each and every week. This week is no different with my guest Bobby Chadha. He’s a senior manager with Deloitte in the UK. You may remember hearing him from the episodes I did at QuickBooks Connect last year. And I’m so excited to have you back on the Green Apple Podcast, Bobby.
Bobby: Thanks, John. Great to talk to you again as it’s been about seven, eight months since QuickBooks Connect. Yeah, looking forward to our conversation.
John: Yeah, it was so fun hanging out in San Jose and having you be a part of the shorter episodes that were there, the man on the street style. I was like, I got to get him back and I’m so glad we were able to make this happen.
Bobby: I appreciate it.
John: Absolutely. Before I get on a plane and fly over to the UK and we create our own new civilization. I do have my 17 rapid fire questions that I’d like to run you through, because I’m sure we’ll be playing for a long time. Let’s make sure that we’re compatible. Let me fire this thing up here and we’ll have some fun here, have some fun. I’ll start you out with an easy one. Favorite sports team.
Bobby: Manchester United.
John: Yeah, Man U, of course, there you go. How about do you have a favorite number?
Bobby: Number seven who was after Eric Cantona who was a Man United legend.
John: There you go, nice, very cool. Are you more Star Wars or Star Track?
Bobby: Oh, Star Wars. Hands down.
John: How about when it comes to computers, PC or a Mac?
Bobby: Oh, that’s a hard one. I’ll say Mac.
John: How about more pens or pencils?
John: Pencils, nice. How about a favorite color?
John: Blue, all right. Least favorite color?
John: Green, interesting. How about more Sudoku or crossword puzzle?
Bobby: Crossword puzzles.
John: All right. I know you travel quite a bit. More planes, trains or automobiles?
Bobby: Trains for me.
John: Yeah, trains are pretty cool. How about, what’s a typical breakfast?
Bobby: Egg white omelet with toast and a masala tea which is like normal tea but with a few Indian spices.
John: Nice. That sounds so healthy, man, really healthy. When it comes to financials, more balance sheet or income statement?
Bobby: Income statement.
John: Now, this is an interesting one. When it comes to toilet paper roll, more over or under?
Bobby: Oh, no. It has to be over.
John: Over, yeah. Absolutely. There is a wrong answer to that one and that is correct. How about when you’re on an airplane, more Window or aisle seat?
John: Window, all right. How about a favorite ice cream flavor?
Bobby: Cherry brandy.
John: Wow. That’s fancy, man, really fancy. How about, do you have a favorite actor or actress?
Bobby: Robert De Niro.
John: Yeah, that’s cool. Two more. More of an early bird or a night owl?
Bobby: Oh, I’m a night owl.
John: Well, you got to create your civilization sometime. Last one. The favorite thing your own or the favorite thing you have?
Bobby: At the moment, I’m really liking my Sonos speakers. They’re pretty cool.
John: That works, man. It’s hard to argue that, because Sonos speakers are pretty awesome indeed. Now, to the serious stuff though, Bobby. When you’re not being a senior manager at Deloitte and working on innovation and some other cool products, what hobby or passion do you love to do outside of work?
Bobby: Two things really. My passion, my number one passion is design. I love designing things and building things. Anything from designing software which has got nothing to do with my job or the products. I’m working on all the way to making, designing tables, chairs. And I made a really cool telephone table as well for my apartment. I designed it and a good friend of mine, who is a carpenter, he helped me and we made a really cool table. I like that.
Bobby: That’s my first thing. A second thing, I love video games.
John: That’s awesome.
Bobby: Me and my Xbox and my PC. I love gaming. I just like to relax after work, put on my Xbox and just game up, play Call of Duty, FIFA. When I really want to no doubt and forget about the world, I play games like Civilization which are extremely, extremely bad for your health because you will literally forget what day it is because the damn game is so long. So I love gaming as well.
John: That’s hilarious. Civilization, is that in real time or is there a way to accelerate it?
Bobby: No. There is no way to accelerate it. Once you start the game, you’ll have to set the pace of your time. With me, I always start off liking something ridiculous like 10,000 BC, and you have to lead this tribe and build up your civilization and oh, my god, it’s so nerdy. But it’s a cool game. I’ve been playing that for so many years. I love that.
John: What year are you on now in your — have you approached Jesus time yet or are we still —
Bobby: I’m way passed on that. My people are actually on the moon and we’ve got a space shuttle and we’re doing pretty good.
John: That’s awesome.
Bobby: Yeah, we’re doing pretty good at the moment.
John: It sounds like you’re not getting out of the park, man that’s fantastic.
Bobby: There is a couple of other countries who are pushing me right to the edge, but we’re trying to be diplomatic and keep peace in the world and on the moon, so let’s see what happens.
John: That’s awesome. I didn’t even know that was possible. That’s so cool, man. That’s so cool. So then when you leave work, you’re like, you know what, that’s it. I’m out. I’m going to the moon. Have you done video games since you were young? Or was it something that came on later?
Bobby: I think most people, when they go through a phase when they’re a lot younger, when they get their first Nintendo, they will game up. For me, that was awesome, and I did that. However. I always found it as a really good way to just relax. I liked playing games when I was a lot younger, probably more than the typical kids. I would enter into the odd competition, never won any unfortunately, but I would enter and I’ve always thought I was pretty good at it. But nowadays, the kids are just incredible.
When I play Xbox and I’m playing against a 12-year old, they’re embarrassing me on Xbox live and I’m like damn, I can’t even play against these kids. They’re on a different planet right now. But I found a really good way to have friends around. When your buddies would come around after school, you will just chill in front of the TV, put the game on and use multiple player gaming and just have a good time really. I suppose my circle of friends will all have similar interest. For us, it was just a really cool way to hang out with each other.
John: Yeah, absolutely. I remember the first Nintendo. We lived overseas in an Air Force Base. So it’s hard to get and yeah, it was the Super Mario Brothers / Duck Hunt.
Bobby: Awesome, yeah.
John: And I still have the original NES. I still have that machine and —
Bobby: Okay. It came with a light done. I remember that, like an orange kind of gun or something, right?
John: The gun doesn’t work on flat screen TV’s though, so it’s really annoying. But I will say Super Mario Brothers and surround sound on a flat screen TV is pretty incredible. Now, there’s even places that — because technology has advanced so much that the chips can hold so much information now where in the past it was one game per cartridge. There was one cartridge that has 100 games on it.
Bobby: Wow, yeah.
John: It’s all in one cartridge.
Bobby: Oh, wow.
John: Right now, I have one cartridge which is — that’s all I need to play everything. I haven’t grown up to the Xbox or anything like that, I don’t — more than two or three buttons, I’m screwed.
Bobby: They’re getting more and more complicated. But no, it’s just a cool way to just unwind after work. Even to this day, I have — my friends come around. We just put on FIFA or we’ll put on Call of Duty. Yeah, we’ll just game up. It’s just a really cool way for us to just hang out and have a bit of fun. Interestingly though, when I was working at Intuit for — gosh, I was there for about six years. I was known in my team at times conducting interviews whilst playing FIFA with the interviewee. So I would have like a really informal conversation. And I will ask, “Hey, are you into games?” Because into it, they had everything. The PlayStation, the Xbox. And so they’ll be like, yeah, I played foosball or — oh yeah, I play FIFA. I’m like, “Hey, you know what, let’s pause. Let’s just go there. Let’s game up, and let’s just have a chat.” It’s incredible, the amount of information, people share with you when you take them out of the formality of an interview to just hanging out in gaming.
John: Yeah, that’s really cool, man. Because it’s almost like, “Oh, really? You play? Well, we have one right here. Let’s do it.” The whole time, the interviewee is like, am I supposed to beat them or not?
John: Will I get the job or not? That’s really cool. Because clearly, it came up at work in conversation or how did people find out that — because not everybody I find is willing to share especially something like video gaming or something that has absolutely nothing to do with your job you would think. How does that come up with your coworkers?
Bobby: It’s really interesting. If I use an example again of Intuit — from the moment you stepped through the doors at Intuit, you are presented in all hands. So you have to share a fun fact about yourself and it could be about anything, work-related or outside of work or whatever. It’s a great way for people to learn more about you as a human being and as a person versus you as a Product Manager or a marketer or the CFO. And everyone does it, regardless of what level they come in from the MDs to VPs, all the way to my colleagues in the trenches. It’s a great way, number one to find out more about people.
But also I think it breeds that really openness. If someone knows an interesting fact about you, it’s a great talking point when you see them in the kitchen or hey, man. I really loved when you said X. Y, Zed and I found that pretty funny or hey, here’s my point of view on X. Y. Zed. It’s awesome, and it’s a great way to just break the ice really with people. So I really like that approach and I think a lot of other companies could learn a lot more from the way they are on board employees to set the expectation that this is a coach of openness and we’re here to be ourselves really and bring your whole selves into work versus hide behind your desk or hide behind the clothes that you’re wearing in effect with the blazer you’re wearing. That informality, you really want to break off and you really want people to be themselves. So I found that pretty cool.
John: Yeah, that’s such a great idea because it just shows everybody from day one that this is what it’s like here. There’s nothing that’s off limits or nothing that’s — just because it doesn’t seem like it’s work related doesn’t mean that you can’t talk about it.
Bobby: That’s why I think in our industry especially in accounting, when I talk to smaller firms all the way to the largest in the world, I think because our industry is still quite traditional in its approach. If you think about the whole concept of the way we build clients, typically time sheets whilst there is a revolution happening right now to get rid of time sheets. They’re still used. Primarily, they are the primary use for consulting engagements and also accounting. If your time is precious and you have to record your time, then those conversations that you’re going to have with your colleagues, those Xbox games or playing foosball with them or playing a game of pool or snooker with them isn’t really going to happen.
And so I think in our industry especially, there’s a lot we could do to make the environment we create for accountants, bookkeepers and our other colleagues. I think we could do a lot more. I hope it’s going to change direction and turn into an environment that you want to be in, that you want to be open with and want to share what you’re doing outside of your project that you’re working on.
John: Right. I agree wholeheartedly. What would you say, do you feel like that having those relationships with people that you’ve connected with, those relationships are stronger and different and maybe better?
Bobby: Oh absolutely.
John: Or how do you feel like it’s enhanced were?
Bobby: Yeah, 100%. I think they’re better and they do help you when you’re working on a project or on a client. A great example is within Deloitte, my team actually — we’re actually based in a we work office which is a shared office, a collaboration space.
John: Sure, yeah.
Bobby: In our office, we have the product teams. I have got my designers and developers. In the same office, we also have an accounting firm, a small business accounting firm within the same office and we’re all in together. So they collaborate together and they get to speak to each other just by turning around and oh, they could come to me. If they had a particular query about a particular product or a question I can help them with. So you try break down some of their silos by taking people out of an environment which is quite structured and formal into an informal environment where it’s all open. The space is open. The environment is pretty cool.
We all wear Chino shorts, T-shirts. We look very different from what your stereotype might be over a top four employee or a top four fan of an employee. That’s really important. But I’ve also noticed on projects that you’re working on, when we build products for our clients, it’s super important for me as a product manager to collaborate with designers also consultants, SMEs, the people in finance, people in the legal team to ensure that we’re all moving into the same direction.
If you’re co-located — if you know each other well when you’ve collaborated beyond the realms of work, it makes it that much more easier for you just sometimes shoot a Skype message across or pick up the phone and call them directly versus book an appointment to make it more formal which you typically see in a lot of these organizations. I do think having a collaboration piece in place does enhance your output and it most definitely enhances your relationship with your colleagues.
John: Yeah. No, that’s fantastic, man. Really, really cool. How much do you feel like it is on the organization to create that tone at the top versus its arm maybe an individual to just maybe create it within their own circle or at least be open to jumping in?
Bobby: I think the organization has to work extremely hard to create that environment. That starts from everything to the way the people in the ivory tower, you’ve seen your partners for example, the way they communicate down to the rest your colleagues and to the moment where you are recruited as a new employee into the firm. That moment, the environment saying starts at the point when you’re contacted by somebody in HR to actually get a job. At the moment you walk into the door then, into your new office, it should continue.
And so I think there’s a huge, huge focus that should be there for the company and the structure of the company to create that type of environment. 10% is on the individuals where I think you have to be mindful that everybody’s different. You’re going to be working with people who are extroverts, introverts. You have to be extremely mindful of the team that you’re working, the people you’re working in and it’s up to you as a person to own it. So if you want to improve the way you collaborate with your colleagues in the team that you’re in, own it.
Do things. Get your P card out, get your credit card out and take your team out and get the donuts in. Have a moment every single week where you could all relax. For example, at the moment, we’ve got the football going on with a football world cup and you guys call it soccer. Yeah, it’s up to the individual as well. But I think primarily, it’s up to the company to create that type of environment and allow people to be themselves.
John: Right. I think the big takeaway that I’m getting from this is that that collaboration and that relationship building and whatever doesn’t happen in a formal work setting. It happens when you let down your hair, when you relax, when you go outside the office. When you’re around the TV watching soccer, when you’re eating donuts. Yeah, but the thing that’s so frustrating to me is I talk to some people or I have the anonymous survey at greenapplepodcast.com for some of the research I’m doing behind a lot of this. And I’ve had quite a few respondents. It’s amazing. I’ll ask, what are reasons people don’t share and they’re like well there isn’t a charge code for socializing. We don’t get paid to get to know each other.
John: I would argue that we do and maybe there should be a charge code for that.
Bobby: Yep, absolutely.
John: Because that’s where the real magic happens. That’s where it’s at.
Bobby: I was just going to say as well, when I have worked really closely with smaller accounting firms, some of the things that they could easily do when they onboard a new employee, even if somebody comes in for an interview is to introduce that person to the rest of the team. It’s really interesting. I always ask this from many of the accountants that I speak to in the UK and actually in the US around the culture that they create within the firm. Like the first question I typically ask is how is the culture like? What’s the vibe like of your firm? A lot of the times, people will be like well, I’m not quite sure. We just got our work done and —
John: It means that’s not good.
Bobby: Exactly. It’s not good or there is nothing there which bonds their colleague together with them. It’s not from the moment you introduce somebody because it’s the equivalent I think of when you walk into a shop, and if your shop is decorated really well and it’s inviting and the shopkeeper has got a smile on his or her face and they welcome you in really warmly, you feel great. Now, think about when you walk into an office for an interview. If you come into an interview and you’re sitting in a waiting room and from there, you go directly into the office to be interviewed and then you leave and — okay, it depends upon what stage of the interview you’re in.
But if you’re not introduced to your potential colleagues, if you’re not shown around the office and you’re not showing all the cool things you’re doing in your office, then it’s not a great first impression and you’re setting the expectation at that point that you are going to be, as a potential new employee, you going to be working in silos and they expect commission is that you know you may not even like the person you’re sitting next to. But hey, we don’t care. It’s just head down and do your work. So I think it’s a lot of things, not only the large organizations could do, but actually some of the smaller firms out there that they could do to change the culture and how they onboard new employees.
John: I love it, man. What a great takeaway for everybody listening and a perfect way to bring this episode to a close. Thank you so much, Bobby, for being with me today on the Green Apple Podcast.
Bobby: No problem. Thank you for having me. It’s been a blast.
John: Wow. That was so fun. I loved how Bobby said right from the new employee onboarding “Set the expectation that this is a culture of openness and we’re here to be ourselves and bring our whole selves to work.” And I love the example he used and how he points out that all starts when you’re recruiting the top talent. So don’t forget that each interaction matters and it’s a way for you to show them what the culture is really like.
If you like to see some pictures of Bobby or connect with them on social media, be sure to go to greenapplepodcast.com. And while you’re on the page, please click that big green button and do the anonymous research survey about firm culture. So thanks again for subscribing on iTunes or whatever app you use and for sharing this with your friends, so they get the message that we’re all trying to spread, which is to go out and be a green apple.