AvidXchange, a long time Rhythm client, recently told me a story about how their culture made the difference in accelerating sales. A prospect was considering AvidXchange’s AvidPay solution along with other competitors. Then they visited AvidXchange and met various team members from different departments who would service them if they decided to work with AvidXchange. After their visit, they decided that they were ready to go with AvidXchange. They were very impressed with the people and the culture. “We can’t wait to work with your team and cannot imagine being serviced by a better team!"
Rhythm Blog | Core values
by Patrick Thean and the Rhythm Team
How do you define success when buying a company? People buy companies for a number of reasons: to increase revenue growth, to acquire new customer accounts, or to gain access to special technologies or patents. These are all reasons that support the common goal: to grow the company. The goal is simple, but why do over 70% of mergers fail to improve share holder value?
I recently attended the 2014 Secret Service Summit all about how to create a customer experience that is so valuable that price becomes irrelevant. In my opinion, one of the best speakers was Chuck Runyon, CEO of Anytime Fitness. His main premise was that we cannot expect our customers to love us if our employees don’t. The world class customer experience starts with designing a world class employee experience.
Congratulations! The search is over! You went through the long process of TopGrading to hire the right person for the job, and you now have another A-Player to add to your A-team roster! Finding that person took months. Keeping that person is going to take years.
The elements of your core strategy (your Core Purpose, Core Values, and Core Customer) are foundational for your success. If you don’t have this core firmly established and embedded in your organization, how can you expect to grow with purpose?
Purposeful growth depends upon having these elements of your strategy come to life in your company rather than discussing them once in a strategy planning session only to put them on a shelf or display them on a wall somewhere, never to be thought about again.
Do you spend more money on going away parties when someone leaves the company than you do welcome parties when someone joins? This was a question posed by Jack Daly a few years ago at one of the Fortune Growth Summits. Our team really connected with the idea of treating a new employee’s first day like a celebration, and over the past few years we have created an internal process called “Great First Day.”
We started taking a very intentional approach to how we onboard new people into the company (just as we take a careful approach to hiring the right people). A week or two before the new hire’s first day, we create an hour-by-hour plan for their first day or two. Every employee who has joined us over the past two years has shared in this wonderful experience and now looks forward to paying it forward when someone new joins us. The “Great First Day” really is a celebration for everyone in the company, and as a result, people feel welcomed, appreciated and planned for. This practice has become a way that we live one of our own Core Values, Be Appreciative.
“I work with some of the top executives in the world and none of them read. And then they pay me to talk about what I read – which really seems the wrong way around.” – Margaret Heffernan
Keep Smart is one of our core values. It’s a rhythm that we cherish, encourage, and one in which we invest heavily. At the Fortune Leadership Summit in Orlando this year, Margaret Heffernan, author of Willful Blindness, was sharing details of the 2006 trial of Ken Lay and Jeffrey Skilling of Enron fame. Below I’ve encapsulated her ideas with my thinking and experience. In the 2006 transcript of the Enron trial, one reads near the end that, just prior to jury deliberations, District Judge Simeon T. Lake, III, instructed the jury on a legal concept called willful blindness.
If there are things that you could know, and that you should know, but somehow manage not to know, then the law deems that you have been willfully blind. As a result, you must be treated as if you had that knowledge. This is a very high legal standard. It means that legally, as leaders of an organization, we are literally expected to know everything that we could know, and should know.
As leadership guru Jim Collins tells us, organizations go from good to great when personalities step aside and let purpose become the focus. Essentially, great organizations are purpose-driven versus leader-driven.
So how can you be an adaptive leader in your organization, and still stay purpose driven? First you must understand these adaptive points:
- Adaptive leaders create change incrementally.
- Learning can be painful, so you should anticipate and counteract reluctance.
- You must continuously connect change to the core values of the organization.
So what can you do to embrace adaptive leadership?
On February 2, 2013 I frantically tweeted, “Tony Robbins got it wrong this week about ‘understanding your employees’ work strategies.” Instead, I believe you should run your company’s training like a business. Although I appreciate Tony’s thoughts regarding understanding people’s work strategies, it‘s wasted effort … unless you measure business success in “feeling good.” Let’s get serious Tony, we measure business success by a different scoreboard.
Although I see an increase in awareness of how strategy and training can connect in success, author David Vance puts it succinctly, when he states:
“Corporate learning is a $200 billion per year business, and it should be run like one. Unfortunately this is often not the case, which means there is significant opportunity for improvement."
If you've ever visited a cliff known for its echo effect, you'll remember easing to the edge, taking a huge breath, and – with all the power and volume you can muster – shouting out. Perhaps it was "Helllloooo!" You'll also know the anticipation of waiting for that moment – your own voice booming back that very same "Helllloooo." But, what if there were no echo, no return of all your energy and effort? You'd be disappointed, you might even feel cheated. Imagine how disappointing to muster your big room voice, send out the message with great energy, wait...wait for it...and then discover that your voice had not returned. How disappointing would that be?