by Mark McClain
I’ve been an entrepreneur for many years now (check out that gray hair in my picture on our website!), and in my experience I’ve learned a lot about what it takes for a company to succeed and grow. Now you may be thinking it’s surely all about the right product at the right time, or adequate funding (and those things certainly help), but I truly believe that the best companies succeed over the long haul because of their people and their values. Look at Southwest Airlines, the nation’s largest (and arguably most successful) airline, and a company that wholeheartedly puts its business in the hands of its employees and their track record of incredible customer service. Sure, they make sound business decisions that help the bottom line, but Southwest Airlines will be the first to tell you they’re nothing without their people and values.
Likewise, I firmly believe SailPoint’s success is directly tied to our Core Values, also known around here as the Four I’s:
Innovation: We develop creative solutions to real customer challenges
Integrity: We deliver on the commitments we make.
Impact: We measure and reward results, not activity.
Individuals: We value every person in our company.
These are values that my co-founder Kevin Cunningham and I both believe in wholeheartedly, so much so that we’ve used them in previous ventures and continue to pursue them at SailPoint as we grow and evolve. These core values are the cornerstones of our corporate culture, and will continue to serve us well as we grow.
With more than a decade in the identity governance industry, SailPoint is large-scale, high-growth, pre-IPO company. We’ve seen many changes from the days of when we hosted company meetings around a small conference room to our truly global workforce of more than 650 team members spread around 20 countries. There are many, many new faces interspersed with the folks who’ve been around awhile as I walk around the office today than there were even a year ago. With these changes and rapid growth, it’s a daily challenge to manage a rapidly expanding workforce while maintaining our company values and culture.
As we continue to scale our business, there are complex operational issues that can’t be hashed out around the pool table. We’re working with employees across the globe, necessitating more systems and processes. As we make these necessary changes to facilitate our growth, there’s a temptation to take our eyes off the core values because there are simply so many other logistical and strategic challenges to manage. It’s in these times that the core values become more important than ever, because they provide clarity into “how and why” we make the decisions we make. I’m thankful our executive team truly believes in these values, because we hold each other accountable to them when making these important business decisions.
Our desire (and challenge) is to continue leaning on these values as we scale our operations, with a focus on not losing the personal and emotional connection we have as a company. When I visit our employees in Pune, India, or Tel Aviv, Israel, or New York City, I want them to feel the same connection to the SailPoint culture that our employees do at our headquarters in Austin. As we continue to grow our business across the globe, we have to make sure our values are being felt and implemented across the company.
In short, it’s a work in progress. We developed our core values to be independent of scale, and they have served us well from our early days as a startup to a global, complex enterprise business. The challenge is ensuring that our core values are consistent and relevant to all of our teammates as we move into our second decade as a business. Our growth isn’t slowing down any time soon, and my goal is to make sure the Four I’s feel just as right and real and true as ever to our people and our work.