When I say the new success imperative, first and foremost, I mean that it is new for me, hence the subtitle for my presentation today. I’ve spent the most of my last 15 years professionally as either a senior finance professional or CFO of a VC backed start up of one flavor or another, and even as early as 2-3 years ago, the idea that culture and engagement can truly drive the success of a business in a quantifiable way was met (by me) with skepticism Let me tell you a little bit about my journey…
As I said, I I’ve spent most of my career in finance, and the last nine years (across three startups) as the CFO, including the last four as the CFO with Health Catalyst. I joined as CFO in 2011 when HC had four people total, and revenues were $1m annually. Since then we have doubled headcount and more than doubled revenues every year for the past five years. It has been a total blast to be the CFO of this company. However, two years ago, I sat down with our CEO Dan Burton, who is also a good friend, and we talked about the fact that we were likely headed for the public markets, and we decided that it made a lot of sense to bring in a CFO with much more public market experience, which wouldn’t be that hard, since I had ZERO public market experience. So, what would I do? It took a little bit of time and evolution to figure out what I wanted to do next. I knew I wanted to stay involved with HC, and Dan and the Board wanted me to stay involved, and so I started to think about and craft my new role. I was very involved in the people side of things, and through a series of discussions, experiences and evolutions of the business, we decided that my next role would be that of Chief people officer The responses have been interesting, funny, and a little bit of a sad commentary on broad perceptions of what people and culture can and/or should mean to the success of a company.
Our mission statement describes what we do and how we do it, but it doesn’t get to the why. What is our why?
We are completely a mission driven company. We believe that we have the knowledge, tools, and means to bring about change and improve outcomes. In fact we measure our success in patient lives saved or improved by our partner organizations. When patient lives are saved or improved we know we are successful. That is why we are in the business we are in.
One of the things that cannot change is our cultural attributes - smart, hardworking and humble. These attributes should be found in the core of each and every one of us. Let me define each of these attributes. Smart, Hardworking, and Humble.
Smart Smart people love to learn and is a lifelong student. They strive to master new skills quickly with limited direction and actively discover & pursue innovative solutions. They fail fast, recognize their mistakes and correct them quickly.
Share an example of a team member demonstrating the attribute Smart.
Hardworking Hardworking people make personal sacrifices, as needed, to get the job done. They pace themselves to avoid burnout (this is a marathon not a sprint). They stick to the task until the job is completed, then take on new work. They are always willing to contribute more than their fair share to a project and they recognize that not every part of my job will be fun.
Share an example of a team member demonstrating the attribute Hardworking.
Humble Humble people are grateful for what I have. They serve others without looking for recognition and recognize that good ideas can come from anyone. They assume positive intent and are open to and respond favorably to feedback and coaching. They are secure in their own abilities (humble self-confidence) and seek to improve themselves before trying to improve others. They ask for help when needed. They are excited when others succeed and always offers sincere praise. Overall, they put the success of the company above their own self-promotion.
Share an example of how Dan and Brent demonstrated the attribute humble with the selection of the CEO.
In everything we do we should ask ourselves the question, “Is my daily behavior consistent with these attributes?”. Now that we’ve talked about how each and every one of use should conduct ourselves, let’s talk about how our operating principles guide our decision making.
11 year study by Harvard Professors John Kotter and James Heskitt on Culture and Performance
Miami Best Places to Work Roadshow | Health Catalyst