Leading by Example: The Trickle-Down Effect
“Leading by example” takes practice. It’s like muscle memory – when you repeat something over and over, it becomes second nature. As a business leader, I take this form of “exercise” very seriously. If I want my team to embrace a new way of thinking or to re-commit to an existing cultural value, I want, and need, to show them the way by living and breathing it myself.
This desire to lead by example has been important over the last year or so while the world around us was anything but predictable. A few examples:
- If I wanted my team to show themselves some grace during the work week, I needed to show them the way. This is one of the reasons we introduced “Free2Focus,” a practice that Abby Payne and her team conceived and rolled out across the business last year. Twice-per-week, the SailPoint Crew is asked to avoid booking meetings for a couple of hours. Not only does this attempt to address Zoom fatigue, but also gives our crew the chance to catch their breath in whatever way suits them best, whether that’s taking a walk, helping with their children’s schooling, or just turning off the camera for a bit.
- Similarly, one of my biggest goals during the pandemic was to make sure our crew stayed connected and team-oriented. This was pretty challenging as the old methods of hallway chatter, in-person “meet and greets” and happy hours weren’t possible. I made a focused effort to be visible as a leader – joining team meetings on Zoom, engaging in Slack in the various channels we created specifically for connecting and lifting one another up (SAILon, for example), hosting “View from Mark” video snippets to let crew members know what was going on around the company, and finally, scheduling specific times to simply reach out to folks for a chat.
- And finally, showing intention with how I, as a business leader, and we, as a company, support and step up to make progress together towards social justice and racial inequality. In addition to our own internal efforts around diversity, inclusion and belonging, we also partnered with the National Urban League and Notley Tide by signing an open letter as part of Austin’s technology community. And most recently, I am proud to announce that I have formally joined over 2000 organizations by committing to the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion program.
On this last point, leading by example is hugely important to me. And while much of this falls into the camp of the “SailPoint Way” – we appreciate and embrace our people, every single person matters – I personally feel very strongly about this one. It’s only when we open the door for our people to be their true, authentic selves, that we get the full benefit of what each individual brings to the table. And that’s what makes the SailPoint Crew so incredibly special – it is full of talented, smart, humble and hungry people who bring a genuine desire to leave a mark, make an impact, and enact change. And that is most certainly not something that happens overnight, nor does it happen without leaders who walk the walk, leading by example every step of the way.