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Leading with Intention: Innovation

As the saying goes, change is the only constant in life. When I co-founded SailPoint 15 years ago, we were a startup where it felt like change happened every minute of every hour. To meet change head on, along with its challenges that tag along like younger siblings, innovation was the answer.  

Innovation is what we set out to do at SailPoint all those years ago, and, frankly, what we still set out to do every day.  But, as you might have guessed, our interpretation of how to think about innovation has, itself, also changed.  

When we got started, we committed to deliver innovative products and solutions to our customers as part of our core values- innovation is the second of our company’s “4 I” values. While that remains true, as we have grown as a company, with over 1,300 crew members in 26 countries, I’ve come to believe that innovation is about much more than technology. Innovation is now part of everything that we do, from company culture to how we approach the trials and tribulations life throws our way, together.  

Over 100 days ago, SailPoint had to adapt to the change happening across the globe as we all collectively dealt with the ramifications of COVID-19. We went into lockdown mode along with everyone else. That meant a 100% remote workforce. While we had hundreds of employees already working remotely, it still was an incredibly dramatic shift for our company. At SailPoint, it is no secret that we like each other (generally speaking J). The disruption to our routine of collaborating with colleagues over a coffee or stopping for hallway conversations proved to be a difficult adjustment, one shared by millions of others in the workforce who experienced the same disruption. 

To create some normalcy during this hard time, we rolled up our sleeves and put our heads together. Innovation doesn’t need to be groundbreaking new technology; it can be a simple solution to help manage the tensions of some problems that are unsolvable for the time being. That’s when the #SAILon initiative was born—our response to external factors that were out of our control. This was our rally cry to keep on going despite the tough times. To me, this was an example of innovation is at its finest, trying something new for the greater good.  

Through a dedicated #SAILon Slack channel designed to make virtual connections meaningful, we are working harder than ever to feel connected. I’ve seen this initiative take on a life of its own, as we’ve seen our crew organize fitness competitions, build standing desks for each other’s homes, share their thoughts on “Feel Good Fridays” and, not surprisingly, post a cute pet/child picture or two (million…😊). Now that we’ve innovated in this way, I’m confident we will be carrying forward some of what we have learned along with us. For example, I mentioned that we already had a number of remote workers before COVID-19, and now we are seeing ways to make them feel more included when life goes back to ‘normal,’ whatever that means. But with our culture well-grounded in innovation, I am confident that we will continue to figure it out as we go.  

When “that’s just how it’s done” goes out the window, you have to have enough confidence, and innovation experience, that you can figure it out, especially when you work as a team tackling challenges that we haven’t faced in over a century. Innovation only works when we are in it together. So, since the constant of change won’t be going away anytime soon, our team at SailPoint will press on, constantly innovating along the way.