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Lesson 4: Finding and instilling the right DNA

We have always taken great pride in our product. Today, we take equal pride in our ability to create satisfied customers as well. We have created a customer success team” to make sure our customers are happy and stay happy.

They point out a new way to receive value from the product. A new tip. A new tool. And often, they find ways to achieve additional sales. Perhaps there’s an upsell opportunity. Or perhaps there’s an inroad to another department or division in the client’s company who can benefit from our products as well.

This has required employees with an entirely new ?DNA” to our previous hires. We need people who really ?dig” technology. They are proactive. We need creative thinkers who are fully invested in the company, in their customers and in the success of their actions. We no longer have a suitable place for individuals who are waiting for step-by-step instructions or checking off the tasks on a list.

The new sales team is indicative of the changes we ve made company wide. Yes, the company’s transformation left a fair number of our original people in shock. (“You can’t change the terms of my employment!?) But in a successful growth company, the kind of transition we ve made is essential.

For some of our employees, the transition spelled opportunity. Nate Bowler our CTO has successfully made the transition from hands-on coder to technology leader. He now manages the company’s entire team of programmers and hasn’t written a line of code in two years.

As I look back on our past three years, the only thing I can liken our experience to is re-tooling a plane, in mid-flight. We managed not to crash and the effort is now bearing great outcomes. However, it has also been an experience that carried more than a fair share of drama with all of the accompanying highs, lows and pain.

For our current and new employees, the stress we face is invigorating. Yet again, we re creating our next set of new expectations. We re not complacent, and we ll continue to evolve the complexion and the nature of our workforce as the company grows.

Will we be the next $1bn company” Time will tell. But I am certain we will continue to benefit most from the lessons that were most hard won, when economic times were the hardest. Managing for growth during the down economy may be the best preparation for success in a strong economy that we could possibly gain.

Scott Johnson is the CEO of AtTask

Readers can contact Scott and read his additional articles on management at www.attask.com/sjblog.

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