It has always been exciting for me to set out on a new business venture in the pursuit of making something truly unique. Throughout my thirty-five years in business, I’ve founded two startups with folks that see things a little differently. Folks who want to keep moving the world forward. Our shared drive to innovate led us to our own set of values and practices that guide me to this day. At the top of that list is respect.
For me, respect is about authenticity. It’s about being honest with your staff and with your clients. Being honest in your business interactions creates an unspoken bond among your people. If you’re inauthentic or dishonest, they’ll know instantly. In addition, honesty from a leader only creates honesty among their people. It is important to create a culture where this honest and open communication is possible. In those authentic interactions, trust is being built between them.
If that trust is broken, however, it’s difficult to rebuild. That’s why, at SailPoint, we take these bonds seriously. We’re dedicated to the commitments we make to each other and to our clients. We set a higher bar for ourselves because we know what it means to follow through on our word. In every interaction with staff, I’m as open as I can be about the inner workings of the business. I want my staff to feel that I respect them enough to know how we’re operating and what our strategies are. I’m open with my staff because I respect them and their positions on my team. I chose them because I trust them.
And that trust? It transfers over to our interactions with our customers, as well. Say I promise you something and I don’t deliver it. I’ve destroyed our trust by underdelivering. If I consistently underpromise and overdeliver, however, you’re really going to like working with me. I’ve earned your trust not through my words but through my actions. This is the type of behavior that leads to “delighting” our customers—an elusive concept yet one for which we constantly strive.
At SailPoint, we set our standards high, but still strive to surpass them. Our staff knows what success looks like because we tell them. This is true of other well-run organizations, too. Everybody in the organization must have a clear vision of your mission and how to complete it. Self-starting employees are often clear on that, right out of the gate. Indeed, keeping them in the gate is the challenge. So, the role of management is to be clear on the objectives and then let people run. When you free your people to conquer the traditional, they will create something truly innovative. Lastly, it’s important that when your people do exceptional work, you recognize them for it. It’s not only a matter of respect but also a recognition of good work. Words of gratitude speak volumes.
These values and more can be found in my new book, Joy and Success at Work. If you want to learn more about respect, authenticity and integrity in the workplace, I encourage you to check it out. When I decided to write this book, I wanted to make a practical management guide that felt like an authentic distillation of my thirty-five years of experience. By following my manual, you can help me in my life mission of building organizations that don’t suck the life out of people. Respect is contagious. Spread it around your office today.