Kasasa CEO Gabe Krajicek was recently a guest on the “For You Leaders" podcast hosted by Kirk Dando and Chip Hanna. In Part Three, Gabe discusses our company’s four Patch Values.
|Core Values: How to Develop Company Values That Deliver Results – Part 3|
|Kirk Dando:||As the organization has grown, how have you made sure that the culture grows with the organization?|
|Gabe Krajicek:||That's incredibly difficult, and it feels like waves. It was so easy up to 50 people. Then we got to 100, and it was like all of a sudden what I used to do didn't work. We try a few new tactics, and then we get to 200 people, and then that doesn't work anymore.
I don't know that the way that we're doing it is the right way, but the way that we've tried to approach this is just like, cover every single base that there could possibly be. We wrote out our values in a 40-page book that absolutely says what they stand for. There's a test on it that you have to take. You get a few tries, but if you don't pass, you don't keep your job. We do War College, which is an onboarding program for new employees where we spend the whole day going through these Patch values.
I talk about the Patch at virtually every all-hands meeting, and I just think that what it is is consistent, consistent, consistent repetition through a variety of touch points, and also being willing to fire people that don't adhere and to hire people that do. The thing about culture that I've really learned, and this is another that's like one of those pride-prickers; I think if I were to go back to my earlier years as a CEO, I kind of believe that I had enough charisma and persuasion that I could talk you into feeling a way about the company or the values that we stand for. There’s a quote that I heard some time, "You can't put into a person what their parents didn't." It's really hard to get a person to choose to feel a way. The thing about values, it is a choice. I could make you do your job or fire you, but I can't make you feel it. So it's just so much easier to hire people that naturally feel that way and then fire the ones that don't. Then have constant reinforcement so nobody forgets about what we stand for, and that just requires lots of repetition; always being on message, and when you screw up, acknowledging it immediately.
|Kirk:||That’s great. Real quickly, can you tell me the four values; just the words?|
|Gabe:||Sure. It's Interdependence, which is basically about teamwork. Actually, these values — let me back up for a second. The way the values are structured is kind of neat. They're all in internal conflict with each other, and it's designed to create a balance in the way that the employee behaves, because there's rarely one type of behavior that's always right. You have to think about what's the right way to respond to different situations. One of the values is Interdependence, which is about getting team results. We have another value that's about Five-Star Leadership, which is about thinking of yourself, always, as a five-star general that's accountable for results and authorized to challenge anything and anyone in their way.
If you just think about those two values, if you were one or the other only, you would be ineffective, because if you only cared about your team results, you would be a servant to the team, but you might not get your job done. If you only thought about your job, then you might not be a helper to the team, and then the company suffers, so those two kind of balance each other. The other two values are more of emotions. One of them is Love, which stands for, "love the company, love your coworkers, and love our clients," and kind of balancing that one off is one that I would have called "excellence," but John Waupsh – he's our chief innovation officer – said, "Oh, everybody calls it "excellence. What I really hear is, you just want to work with a bunch of badasses that play to win every day." I said, "Exactly!" He said, "Why don't you call it "Badassitude?" Which I can't believe we do, but we do have a value called "Badassitude," which basically means that there should be a palpable sense of intensity in the way that we do our jobs, and we shouldn't bring a product to market unless we believe that it is unique in some way that really differentiates it.
You've got Interdependence with Five-star Leadership balanced, and then you have Love and Badassitude kind of balancing each other on the emotional spectrum. I think that as employees think about those values, there's different times to apply each one depending on what the situation calls for.
|Kirk:||That's awesome. Yeah, you guys have a conference room named "Badassitude.” I remember having a meeting in that. I was like, “That is —“ Yeah.|
|Gabe:||We’ve got a conference room for every value, and then we have a whole bunch of conference rooms that are named after Greek battles, because we use the Spartan helmet to represent the idea of interdependence, because the Spartans fought in a phalanx that was inherently interdependent.|
|Kirk:||Well, Gabe, I know you need to get running. You've been incredibly generous with your time. Tell people listening where they can go find out a little bit more about Kasasa and a little bit more about you.|
|Gabe:||Kasasa is www.kasasa.com. Twitter handle is @GMKrajicek.|
|Kirk:||Well, thank you very much, Gabe. Got a ton out of this. We're going to do this again soon; I still have a lot more questions that I want to ask you, but I really do appreciate your insight, and I know people got a ton out of today, so thank you.
I hope you really enjoyed today's podcast with Gabe. I wish it would have had some more time; there's a lot more questions I want to ask him. In fact, this won't be the last time you'll hear from Gabe. We'll have him on again for sure. I want to make sure that you subscribe to “For You Leaders” podcast. You can do that; you can subscribe at ForYouLeaders.com. Once again, please subscribe at ForYouLeaders.com, and make sure that you don't miss any future podcasts. We've got some exciting guests coming on. A CEO of a publicly-traded company, someone that is part of a higher educational institution; these are all really exciting leaders in their industry and can provide great insights.
What did you learn from today? Ask yourself. How have you made sure that your culture grows with the company? It's kind of a unique thing to think about. Oftentimes, we think we set in values and we set in culture and it stays stagnant, but it grows like the organization grows, or at least it needs to. So how have you thought about doing that? Also, how will you know that your culture lives beyond you? Is bigger than you? Lives outside of you? That it isn't dependent on you being there? You heard Gabe talk about that, and it was one of the realizations he had coming in to Bancvue and now Kasasa.
Think about how you’re operationalizing the values; how you're getting it down from a 30,000-foot concept down to the ground level where people can really attach to it? It can be part of your process as how you hire, how you promote, and the values that you really care about. It really is one of the ways, maybe one of the key ways of how Kasasa is not only taking on the Goliaths of their industry, but they're winning. I want to know, what did you think of this episode today? Gabe, no doubt is a very insightful, very smart guy. Chip and I want to know what you thought of the episode, more importantly, want to know what you think of these podcasts. Good or bad? Would you please go to iTunes, leave a review for us, and we will take that very seriously and incorporate it into future podcasts. I hope you enjoyed today's “For You Leaders” podcast, have a great day.