Sendgrid is a fast growing Company in the Communication Industry. Most of us do not know of their existence, but they hold platforms in e-mail marketing, as well as in communications. They boast a staff complement of more than 400 employees. They process about 19 billion e-mails per month and have clients like Uber and Airbnb.
Focus on People
Sendgrid’s CEO firmly believes that the foundation of their success is based on ‘Focus on People’. The company bases its ethos on four key value systems – Happy, Honest, Humble and Hungry.
The CEO maintains that the increase or decrease in productivity is an indicator as to how aligned his team are to their ethos. He says that “I deeply believe that the CEO’s job is as much about being a Chief Cultural Officer than anything else. So it’s important for me that I do a good job of continuing to reinforce and protect that culture. I view that as one of my responsibilities.”
The value system flows through to the core of the company and influences every aspect of business, including recruitment of staff. For example, as part of their interview process, the interviewer counts the number of times that the interviewee said ‘I’ opposed to ‘We’. This is a good measure of their humility. Sameer attributes much of their business success to how closely they align their strategy to their value system and focus on people.
Being Values Driven
As entrepreneurs, we often have a clear vision of how we see our successes unfold and how we need to direct our steps to achieve them. In our mind’s eye, we can even taste how sweet success is. However, it is my firm belief that success will only be achieved if built on the right values.
In business, our values represent our train on the rail track, our strategy defines the next train station and our vision defines which route our train is going to take in order to reach our destination. Our values determine who we are as people, and goals accomplished are measured by our value system.
Jose Ortego Gasset once commented: “Tell me what you pay attention to and I will tell you who you are.” What do you pay attention to as a leader and as an entrepreneur? What are you measuring? What value system have you distilled into your business? Are your stated values established in your life, or within your business, or are they simply vague ideas on your website? What are the actual tracks your business runs on?
Pondering these thoughts, I remembered a quote by Mahatma Gandhi which reads: “Your beliefs become your thoughts, Your thoughts become your words, Your words become your actions, Your actions become your habits, Your habits become your values, Your values become your destiny.”
Defining the Souls of Men
Jesus Christ, in Mark 1, is described as walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee. He comes across two fishermen, Simon and Andrew, casting their net into the sea. Jesus speaks to them and says: ‘Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men” (vs. 17). I love this statement, it’s short but has huge impact, because Jesus defines the fact that He values the souls of people. He also defines a bigger purpose for these two, sadly the world would view them as lowly fishermen of little worth.
Jesus called His disciples to something far greater than they could ever have comprehended. Our role within business is to define the culture of what we want to see in our business. We also need to define the culture that we would like our business to deposit into the world and need to call our teams to see a bigger purpose. We also need to define the train tracks of our business and ensure that we reach our goal.
What are your values? Are you living your life according to your value system? Are your value systems flowing through to the life blood of your business? What is the bigger purpose you are calling your team to fulfil?
Lastly, should anyone criticize you for reaching for the stars whilst being deeply flawed, remind them that Scripture was written for sinners and that mankind is born imperfect.
About the Author: Dr Alan Louis is a third generation entrepreneur in a family with a 100-year business history. He devoted his life to Christianity as a child. Awarded a PhD in Commerce, is an Ultra Ironman Triathlete Gold medallist and was inducted in the IBC Hall of Fame for entrepreneurship. Internationally he has served on more than 100 private corporate boards, and has experienced the trials and successes of commerce for 3 decades.