I was recently given the honor and privilege of bringing OneLogin, a hyper-growth Silicon Valley SaaS company, to the Atlanta market. It’s a moment that I had been working toward for many years and while I knew it would be a challenge, the opportunity excited me for a multitude of reasons. As I thought about the task at hand, one thing became clear — building the team was the top priority — if we couldn’t do that effectively, nothing else would matter.
To that point, here are 3 important reminders that quickly surfaced during our market launch.
#1 — Treat people with respect, and you may be lucky enough to work with them again. I learned one of the most important lessons of my career from my CEO at Silverpop - you can be an effective leader and be humane at the same time, and if you treat people respectfully and empower them, they will be loyal. As we set out to build the team, I had key rock star sales people in mind that I was hoping to bring onboard — I felt it was important to get people in early that I trusted and respected, so that they could help me set the tone for what we would become. As I reached out, I was delighted to learn that several of them were interested in the opportunity. I’m not narcissistic enough to think that they were interested because of me, but I am confident that poor leadership and a lack of respect can cause disinterest. You hear it over and over again — people leave bosses, not companies and the same principle likely applies to hiring.
#2 — Hire for attitude. As I was thinking about the profile of my ideal hire for this team, the culture and vibe that we wanted to create was front and center. I knew that our mission would require people that had a positive, can-do attitude and that’s what we looked for during the interview process — it was the number 1 requirement. We’ve all seen first-hand what a toxic element can do to a team whether sports, business or another setting and as I’ve progressed in my career my tolerance for that has gone to nearly zero. I’m happy to report that the OneLogin ATL team is now at full strength, and our culture is taking shape — we have a killer office dynamic and I couldn’t be more excited about the road ahead.
#3 — Stay very close to the recruiting process. Your team is everything. I’ve seen too many hiring managers completely hand the process of identifying and evaluating candidates off to HR and Talent Acquisition — it’s your team, so don’t simply play an active role in the process — take the lead and be a true partner to your recruiting team. From November to January, I was on the phone almost every single day with our talent team as we made our push into ATL. We had meetings early on to discuss my top priorities, key requirements and the end state that we wanted. Our challenge was to get the team in place quickly, but we didn’t want to sacrifice quality for the sake of speed. In the end, we were able to build a team of A players who are ready to take the market — if I had been on the sidelines during the process, it’s unlikely that things would have come together so quickly. It’s been an incredible journey so far, and we’re all looking forward to seeing what this newly formed team is capable of.