I had the pleasure of hearing Victoria Ransom speak about her experiences of corporate culture – starting and then selling Wildfire (with her husband) to Google. Wildfire offers social marketing software to enterprises globally.
Victoria and her husband (both Kiwi’s) started Wildfire from their lounge room in Silicon Valley and one of the main challenges they faced as they grew was finding good, qualified staff that fit their culture. Wildfire was competing with the likes of Facebook and Google for the best talent available; unfortunately as a start-up competing against the Google Plex is somewhat difficult.
Victoria felt one of their keys to success was their company culture and how important it is to make your values sacred. What attracted talent to Wildfire was just that- the culture was fun (you could skateboard through the office), relaxed (to the point where customer service team members were able to answer calls from a hammock!) and full of thank you’s.
Victoria highlighted the simple truths:
1. Say Thank-you
A simple email or post it note on their monitor – any type of thank-you makes a BIG difference
2. Celebrate the Wins
3. Be honest and transparent
When things are good – GREAT. When things are not so good – don’t try to hide it. Your staff are not stupid (that’s why you hired them in the first place!). Share and rally together. Often acknowledging the problem is all it takes.
4. Gather Together
Dress up days; one of her funny stories was about the entire company dressing up like a person they worked with waiting until they noticed. Team trips and team drinks are also great ideas; the list goes on.
Victoria’s view on leadership really made sense to me and as Victoria was talking about the amazing culture they had created at Wildfire, I was thinking wow – I am not sure I am really that FUN – how would I create something like that?
Her view is:
There is no one perfect leadership style, all kinds of leadership styles can work but you must be authentic
Steve Jobs was an incredibly successful leader with a very unique leadership style, but would that have worked for Victoria and Wildfire, NO. Would it work for me and Booking Boss – NO – and that’s okay. Find your style and be true to yourself.
That is what counts – true blue leadership (and an awesome culture to boot).