In our industry, the word identity is thrown around a lot. At SailPoint, identity is not just an industry term, but a critical part of our core values as a company.
SailPoint has gone from less than 100 employees to almost 700 around the world in a relatively short span of time. Our workforce is driven, diverse and talented. It has always been and always will be in our best interest to hire people who are good cultural fits. But what does that look like?
I’ve drawn a lot of inspiration as we scale from Patrick Lencioni, whose book The Ideal Team Player outlines what it means to hire, well, ideal team players. The book is so closely aligned with our own goals at SailPoint, and it has helped us expand on what we strive for in our hiring process.
If you’re looking for a job a SailPoint, the main thing we want is someone who is eager to make an impact now and to continue to develop into an even more valuable player over time. Our hiring process is rigorous in that we focus on getting the right fit for not just the job, but the company as a whole. At the end of the day, we can hire a lot of people who can get the current job done. But our goal is always to hire someone who wants to stretch himself or herself so that they can become even more effective, and make a true impact at SailPoint – and in this industry.
I’ve always said that it’s easy to find really smart people who are also arrogant. What’s not so easy is to find people who are really smart and really humble. And, it’s probably worth noting that humble people don’t always fit the stereotype of a “doormat”. In fact, my favorite definition of humility comes from C.S. Lewis, who said that “humility isn’t thinking less of yourself; it’s thinking of yourself less.” The kind of humble people who work at SailPoint are highly competent and highly impactful. What sets them apart is that they are focused less on getting recognized for their individual contribution (although we do that a lot!), but on what the team can accomplish when we all work together, bringing our unique skills and abilities to bear on a challenging issue.
It isn’t always multiple degrees or even tons of experience that make a person qualify for this tenet. We are certainly interested in hiring people with reasonably high IQ’s at SailPoint, but we are careful not to overweight IQ vs. the newer concept of EQ, or Emotional Intelligence. In this sense, smart is more about the ability to work well with others, recognizing that often, the best solution comes from an amalgamation of the best ideas of many smart people. Smart can be about learning new ways of doing things, and leveraging what you’ve done during your time in the industry to approach a new problem with a proven approach. Smart is knowing when you’re wrong and apologizing when you lose your cool so that a team stays “healthy”. Smart is understanding that sometimes a collaborative approach can yield the best results, despite your own personal strengths.
Our focus on “Individuals” is what makes the rest of our values work day in and day out. We recognize that we are working with “real people”, not just robots with skills that we need to complete a task. I sometimes refer to the “whole person” when I am interviewing potential candidates or talking to new employees. I want them to understand that we value them as a person, not just an employee. That means we care when they’re hurting or facing difficulties at home, and we want them to feel supported when they need extra help to get through a challenging issue, whether at work or at home. When people feel valued, they bring their very best, and that’s all we can ask.
In our tenure in this industry, SailPoint has changed a lot. Our people and our culture, however, have not. Not in the traditional sense, at least. Many of our people have been with us since our first year in business and have since moved up into strategic, executive roles in the company. Others might be much newer to this industry or to SailPoint but they still embrace and exemplify our values. This is something that both Kevin and I are extremely proud of. No matter what has changed in our company from size, scope, geography, technology, etc., our people, our values, and our culture all remain intact – evolved perhaps, but intact. I believe that this is a big reason that our company is in the place that it is today: as an industry leader and innovator, full of people who are excited to come to work every day, ready to do their best to meet the needs of our customers and partners, and ready to take us to the next level.
Read the rest of the Four ‘I’ Values series at the links below.