Integrity: Empowering Our Employees to Do the Right Thing

As you’ve seen in my previous blog posts, SailPoint’s core values are not just lip service. They’re a way of life for us, and I’m positive they’re a key ingredient in our continued success. This is certainly true for our core value of integrity. Initially, we had a lively discussion among the founders about whether integrity was simply another word for honesty.  What we decided was that honesty was foundational to the concept, but not sufficient for describing what we wanted. All healthy working relationships certainly start with trust and honesty, because it’s very difficult to do business with those we have difficulty trusting.  But we wanted to go beyond that idea. So, the way we define integrity at SailPoint is simple – It means delivering on the commitments we make, whether that’s to our coworkers, partners, customers or the greater community.

When we started out, it was much easier to see how integrity was playing out among our employees (especially when we were all sitting in the same room). In the same way, our leadership team had very regular and direct interaction with our early customers and partners, so we could monitor how we were doing on a daily basis. But now that we have team members around the globe, it’s a challenge to be sure that everyone in our community understands how critical sticking with this value is. This becomes even more complicated as we expand beyond the walls of SailPoint to partners and customers. Ensuring that our commitment to integrity stays core to who we are requires a coordination of efforts both within and outside the company.

Internally, we focus on being clear about the commitments we’re making, and making sure we deliver on those commitments, whether that’s with regards to project deliverables or having a tough, but necessary, conversation about someone’s performance at the company. We empower our employees to do the right thing and place a high value on open communications, so every person who works for SailPoint knows they can depend on us to do what we say we’ll do. As we continue to scale the business, it’s imperative that we’re doing the same thing with regards to all aspects of the business, both internal and external.

At first glance, this core value might seem difficult to hold onto in such a dynamic workplace, but in my experience, it’s not. You can always hold people to the standards and commitments they intend to keep, but sometimes resources and situations change. We’ve all had an experience when a commitment we’ve made just can’t be met despite our best efforts. We realize that the business is dynamic, and this is a realistic part of our existence. As a result, we believe that no matter who you are or how you’re involved in our business, the most important thing is to be transparent when you’re not able to deliver on a commitment you’ve made.

Granted, it’s not an ideal situation when a commitment can’t be kept, but the last time I checked, everyone in our circle of employees, partners and customers is, in fact, a real, live person, so most of us recognize that this is just a part of our human condition. Technology is a tricky business, and sometimes things don’t work out. Business conditions change, software “breaks” and personal issues show up in the workplace. But if SailPoint has made a commitment that can’t be kept, we’re honest with our employees, customers and partners about it. What we’ve learned is that people can accept changes if you give them visibility into the situation. And, the sooner you do that, the better. This is a humbling, but critical, lesson we’ve learned, sometimes by doing it the wrong way at first.

As we grow, and our team gets larger and more dispersed, this core value will become more and more important to our success. I believe it’s one of the most critical facets of why we have such high customer satisfaction and retention (and such an awesome SailPoint Crew!). For me, it’s simple. At the end of the day, if you’re open and honest with your employees, customers and partners, (i.e. if you treat them like adults), they’re willing to stick with you, even when things aren’t perfect. And, since I’m pretty sure we’ll continue to be a company of hard-working, incredible people, who are also imperfect, I’m confident that as long as our leadership team is fortunate enough to lead the SailPoint crew, this value will never, ever change.

Editor’s Note: Read more on Mark’s insight into how SailPoint’s core values have evolved in the decade since the company was founded. See part one here.  See part two here.