Insights / HTEC Culture / Notes from HTEC’s Annual Leadership Gathering: Marko Anić


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Notes from HTEC’s Annual Leadership Gathering: Marko Anić

HTEC’s recent history has been marked by growth and opportunity. Nowhere was this more evident than at the annual strategic offsite gathering of our leadership team, which took place in Banja Luka (Bosnia & Herzegovina) mid-May. Whereas last year the leadership team included 37 people, this year the number grew to a whopping 86! 

The gathering served to assess the company’s present state and align on the strategic goals for the immediate future, as well as to reaffirm the foundational shared values in the light of constant evolution and brainstorm the best paths forward in a variety of areas.  

Over the coming days, we will share first-hand accounts of the gathering’s biggest takeaways and impressions from a number of our leaders. We’re kicking off the series of interviews with Marko Anić, HTEC’s Director, Engineering & Delivery. Marko’s career path exemplifies HTEC’s growth, as he has had a front-row seat to both witness and shape the course of the company’s rise.  

What was your biggest takeaway from the annual leadership gathering? 

Just how crazy ambitious we are! Even though we already place great demands on ourselves, we keep finding answers and not only delivering on all fronts, but also committing to even more craziness. It’s hard to find words that can express the excitement over what we are doing and planning to do. There isn’t a single company in Europe where I would rather be right now than in HTEC. I love it. The amount of exposure that we’re getting here and the sheer excitement and the energy of all the participants at the event is unmeasurable and contagious. 

What were some of the key talking points at the event? 

Of course, we mainly discussed the future, what’s next for us, our goals for the next year and beyond. We tried to summarize all the impediments we see on that road and brainstormed how we could tackle them, just laying it out in the open and figuring out how we’re going to get there. Many other talks spawned from there, defining the OKRs for different departments and deconstructing the general discussion into specific streams.  

How involved do you feel in shaping the strategic course of the company? 

I believe I am involved as much as I can digest. With our pace of growth, there is so much information to process and I try to focus on what matters to my work, even though it’s sometimes difficult. We understand that we have to be a high trust organization in order to move forward, but we also understand the importance of having open communication channels in place so that people can latch on to streams they are passionate about and contribute. 

Marko with our Head of People and Business Partnering Bojana Sajlovic and our Banja Luka team

How has HTEC’s expansion impacted your career? How is your average workday different nowadays? 

There is no such thing as an average workday at HTEC. Every day brings new opportunities and experiences, where you don’t have the time to dwell too much on past opportunities.  

HTEC’s growth has accelerated mine by light years. The sheer concentration of challenges I need to tackle every day and the exposure I get by tackling them, it crams years of experience into months of real lifetime.

I’d like to elaborate on one aspect of my growth that might be relatable to fellow engineers. I started as an engineer, and I moved quickly into management, which meant that I had to let go of hands-on work in coding. Naturally, I had the same dilemma that every senior engineer I ever talked to in my life had at some point. I instinctively wanted to stay close to technology, and there was this fear of becoming irrelevant in the thing that employed you in the first place. I was moving so fast away from the core IT, and there were all these different thoughts in my head—if I change my job, will I be relevant in the market, etc.

At one point I realized that I had to make a decision—will I continue to put these things on my conscience and feel bad whenever I don’t code for a week or am I going to maximize this opportunity? I decided to lean into the managerial sphere and become more relevant there and use my technology foundation to help me. The moment I made that choice it all clicked in my head. I didn’t feel bad about losing touch with the latest frameworks and things like that. I can still talk to my fellow engineers about the fundamentals. I can still talk architecture, because those things don’t change every day. And I can also talk managerial and organizational business with more of my colleagues in the company and bring more value to the company that way. So, you don’t become irrelevant, you just evolve. 

Can you highlight one challenge and one positive outcome arising from HTEC’s expansion? 

The biggest challenge is getting the right people on the bus fast enough so we can keep up with the pace of new exciting projects we get to work on. We want to find those people fast. When we identify them, we want to bring them on board quickly and efficiently, while maintaining our culture and values.  

One cool outcome of our growth is this right here: someone putting us together and organizing the interview, you and I talking, someone posting this on the website and social media. Our growth is not only creating new opportunities for engineers, but for a whole plethora of other talents as well. We’re contributing to the communities that we operate in, and that’s the coolest thing for me. We’re seeing the change in our environment, we’re being the change in the environment wherever we are. 

What would be your message to someone reassessing their career and considering HTEC? 

My message would be to read my answer to the first question, just to understand how ambitious we are. And if that doesn’t scare you, and if you’re still considering us, then be ready to think on your feet, to innovate and figure things out with us. We’re perfectly aware that we don’t have all the answers, but we do care about our people, we do care about our customers, we do maximize every opportunity and, as part of HTEC, you should too.