It’s always been an interesting challenge explaining to a prospective hire all that they will get out of an experience at Vena. I can’t project the future for them, the levelling up it will do for their career, the excitement and challenges they’ll face. It’s something I hope they’ll have a chance to see for themselves.
Interestingly what’s been quietly forming in the background was a core set of values that the company had built for itself. No one forced these values; they came out of the leadership, out of the people we hired, leading and pushing us forward. In December I realized we needed to take a step back, observe the teams, the company and put these values to paper.
What came out of that was a presentation Nikola and I gave at our January 2016 kickoff. The presentation was spirited and intended as a celebration to what we’ve seen in our people. From that talk, and with input from Don and Rishi, I refined our observations to 6 core values. I shared these core values with Jonathan Woods from TechVibes and he called them “rocket fuel for the ambitious”. Here they are:
Lead by Example
Influence doesn’t come from managing, it doesn’t come from someone telling you what you can do. It comes from something much more organic, it comes from leading by example. Day in day out bias yourself towards action and make it so your colleagues can rely on you. That’s true leadership.
Think in Terms of 10X Improvement
Every morning when you get up, whether you know it or not, you have a choice. The choice is simple, you’ll either enter autopilot mode blindly trying to tackle what’s right in front of you or you can level up and stretch for what others may think unattainable. The choice for me is obvious, a life worth living is one where we shoot for stars, the worst that can happen is you hit the ground running.
Make Tough Decisions
The world doesn’t need more genius, it needs more people that aren’t afraid to make a hard decision. Leadership isn’t easy and it definitely doesn’t mean you’re managing someone. If a tough decision needs to be made and you feel you have an answer, stand up and make it.
Stay Calm in Stressful Situations
Things will go wrong and stress levels will rise but we’re all in this together. The key to getting through any challenge is empathy for each other and our customers. How we deal with these challenges, how we rise up together and meet them, that’s what will define us.
Inspire Others with your Passion for Excellence
This one may sound contrived but it’s not. It’s a core value in my life and a tenet for how I operate. Another way to say it is, don’t take the easy way out. Consider the road less travelled, if it was easy everyone would do it. Hold yourself to a high standard and inspire others to do the same.
Promote a Culture of Freedom and Self Discipline
We are not micro managers at Vena, you are given a task, a responsibility, a goal and you’re expected to self organize and solve the problem. This kind of environment isn’t for everyone, but it is an environment that builds confidence and strength in your ability to execute.
In terms of explaining what we do and our future and vision; that’s not a problem. It goes something like this:
Vena represents the next evolution of cloud services. Where a service like Dropbox manages your files, we manage your files and all the data within them. We do this by moving the data out of files and legacy systems and into our cloud infrastructure. On top of that, we lay the railway tracks for how these files and data flow from person to person. So when you’re done with a file, how it flows to me, if I accept it, and where it goes next is captured and facilitated by Vena. Finally when all of this data is organized in our cloud infrastructure, we help companies learn things they never knew about their data.
So to wrap it up to that prospective hire I’d tell them, people say there are no more good jobs in this world and to be honest it’s probably true, there are no more good jobs. But there are great jobs and a job at Vena is a great job. If this post resonates with you, reach out – we’d love to talk.