Recent years have reshaped the way we think about the place where we spend most of our time: work. With it, team culture has become a hot topic of discussion.
But why is building team culture important for a business?
It boils down to one reason: productivity. A team that trusts each other, that works well together, and that believes in the company’s mission is a team that will perform well. In order to achieve increased productivity, leadership must adapt to new norms and be deliberate about how they form their team culture.
On this episode of Evolved Sales LIVE, host Jonathan Fischer sits down with Doug Camplejohn, an accomplished tech executive and start-up investor, to delve into the secrets of creating a top-performing team through intentional team culture.
Don't forget to follow us on LinkedIn for more engaging sales insights and discussions! Happy watching!
Doug Camplejohn is an exceptional tech entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience working at companies like LinkedIn, Microsoft, Salesforce, and others. Today, he's the founder, CEO, and Chief Fun Officer of Airspeed, a digital platform designed to connect and celebrate employees over Slack.
Check out the transcription of this webinar episode below!
Jonathan Fischer: [00:00:00] Welcome back to Evolve Sales Leader. I'm Jonathan Fisher. Well, the success of any company is directly correlated to the effectiveness of its people that calls for teamwork. So how effective are your teams? No matter where you would score yourself, today's guest has some insights that'll help you level up your game when it comes to your people.
Doug Camplejohn is actually an accomplished tech executive, an entrepreneur and a startup advisor with over two decades of experience working with companies such as LinkedIn, Microsoft, Salesforce, and many others. He's a founder and CEO of Airspeed, a platform designed to connect and celebrate employees digitally.
He's also an active investor in several early stage startups, and on the show today, Doug will be sharing the secrets he's discovered that the world's highest performing teams use to create next level results. Doug, fantastic to have you on the Evolve Sales Leader today. Welcome.
Doug Camplejohn: Thank you. Great to be here.
Jonathan Fischer: So what is it that makes you so fascinated with digital culture? And maybe you could give us a little bit more about your background before we jump into today's topic.
Doug Camplejohn: Sure. I've always kind of been a culture junkie. So I started out my career. I was an electrical engineer, started out my career at Apple.
Obviously a great culture. And so there's a lot of just like learning through osmosis there. And as a, one of my current investors and my former colleague at Apple reminded me when I left Apple, it was after we had done QuickTime, this amazing [00:02:00] project. He's like, why would you ever wanna leave?
And I said, I've kind of learned how to build products. I wanna figure out how to build culture. And so I joined a couple startups and watched how to do it and not do it, and then did a few of my own. And in the meantime, also through acquisitions and other moments, got to go witness it at much greater scale at companies, as you mentioned, like LinkedIn, Microsoft, and Salesforce.
And so, to me it's a kind of fascinating to see what works and what doesn't, and. Because work is so much of our life my philosophy has always been let's have the most fun we possibly can doing it. And part of that is getting the right people, aligning them on the mission and really building this trust layer.
And so you, you build a, you're kind of all row in the same direction. And that trust layer is really, to me what culture is about, who you hire, who you fire, and how do you build that sense of connection.
Jonathan Fischer: Well, and I really like the fact that you used the title Chief Fun Officer which is way better than what c f o normally stands for with all due respect to our financial geeks.
But they played an important role. But so I mean that's, that kind of says a lot about your focus on the kind of company culture, the people. Aspect of business, which is at the center. So it makes me think of this. I mean there's been a lot of changes when it comes to people being in, been in business for just a minute or two myself, and there's been a lot of change the way that we would hire fire, build teamwork, the way we operated our companies.
So many dramatic changes. We're all aware of that. But maybe it'd worth looking back a little bit. Where, I mean, the digital revolution we're in it to my eye at first, has kind of fragmented that a little bit. Maybe talk about where the tearing happened and maybe how the same factor is now causing us to maybe regroup and build teams in maybe an even better way than before.
Give us a little bit of background on
that, if you would.
Doug Camplejohn: Yeah, I mean, I think we all went through this worldwide experiment called Covid. And I think the thing that everybody thought is like that was the invention of remote work. And the fact is remote work has been around since work started. Just those of us who mostly worked in headquarters or large offices were [00:04:00] just less sensitive to it.
So we always had remote sales teams, remote development teams, you know, people who were working or e as I used to say, if I was at Salesforce and moved from the 13th floor to the 12th floor, I might as well be remote as well. So I think the, these challenges exist, whether you're a five day a week in person or a five day remote company or anywhere in between.
Covid just made us a lot more sensitive to it. And I think that one of the things that I. Took away when my last company was acquired by LinkedIn, and so we went from like a 30 person company to this 10,000 plus person organization. And the, one of the most fascinating things to me was watching how deliberate the executive team was in cascading communications, so they would say you know, hey, we have these messages, you know, about our strategy or, you know, our mission, all this, and we want to kind of cascade this.
It was a very deliberate process coming from Jeff, we, the c e o, to the executive team, to the leadership team, to all the employees in regular all hands. And it was a very deliberate, and I think in the past we've treated culture much more as a. Just casual, like it'll happen, you'll meet each other in the lunch room.
We'll have some team dinners and some offsites. And I think that COVID has made all CEOs and leaders aware that they have to be much more deliberate about culture as well as their communications. I.
Jonathan Fischer: Well, and I think it's a really valid point that there's been a real removal from the leadership to the teams and it seems like there's been a real flattening culturally in, in terms of how we lead rather than a top down kind of, of a notion of leadership.
It's more of a leading with. More of a right there on the same level. And I think that's really a good thing. It's sort of, sort of a democratizing of the workforce. There's some downsides to it, maybe some we need to reformulate how you know, what leadership looks like and that, you know. Accountability requires some authority. But that's a that's for, that's for another episode. So what are some of the ways that leadership, let's start with that is, is beginning to adapt. Right now, it seems to me that there's been a bit of a dragging of feet. Like you, I've been working remote for a long time.
But yeah, some, I think some folks still need to make a shift. What are some trends you're seeing out [00:06:00] there and do you think that there's beginning, there's sort of a new consensus that's arising among leadership in terms of, you know, remote versus onsite, whether it's a hybrid, like talk to us about
Doug Camplejohn: Yeah, I
think, you know, listen, like any huge transition you know, the pendulum's gonna start here. It's gonna swing to the other side, and then we'll find out like where the middle is. So I think there's a lot of. People who were forced to embrace, you know, fully remote work. And then a lot of people were like I feel uncomfortable about this.
I want to kind of reign in control again. My, my viewpoint is always like, trying to control your employees is not the right approach. I think productivity is a byproduct of having amazing people who know what they're doing and have the resources to go do it. And, you know, having this trusted relationship with them.
And so I think, you know, we're gonna have a bunch of. Whiplash, I think still for a couple years where people, especially people who are sitting on large real estate holdings or log large leases, are saying like, no, no, no. We need you to kinda like take advantage of this and come back into the office.
But the question I always ask is if the office didn't exist, would we invent it? So imagine work was all remote. Would we invent the office and if so, what? It would look, what would it look like? I guarantee you it's not a bunch of cubes where sit, people sit and go on Zoom calls all day. I think it's a lot more about, Hey, let's have shared experiences.
Let's have obviously, you know, food and beverages and, and you know, brainstorming workspaces and things like that. But I think, and, you know, daycare for kids and like, it's more of like, this is a better experience for me than working from home. 1, 2, 5 days a week or whatever the the right answer is.
And I think that's where the office goes to. I don't think the office goes away, but I think the office has to change. And I think there's a huge role for architecture and just like, you know, how we think about that, that work style, because forcing somebody to come into an office three days a week to sit in front of a laptop with their headphones on the same zoom calls they could do at home is just not, not worth it.
Jonathan Fischer: Yeah, I think you make a lot of good points there. I mean, there are pros and [00:08:00] cons. There are a lot of studies that show that overall remote workers can be more productive. But that's assuming the old approach to how offices are built. So it'll be interesting to see how that might evolve in, you know, years ahead of us here.
So, Talk to us about this. Now, Doug, I mean, as a guy who's been a startup founder yourself, you, you're an investor in some startups right now. How do you build teams today? Like, what's the state of the art? And obviously there's a digital element to that. Maybe give us break it down by a, like a list of, of key points and then let's maybe go deeper from there.
Doug Camplejohn: Yeah, so I'll give our own example. So airspeed, we're, we're a young company, we're fully remote. We decided from the beginning say, Hey, listen let's take the money we'd normally spend in office space and put it into travel. And so what we do is once a quarter, we put everybody on a plane and go somewhere fun.
You know, we're going to Vancouver next next month. We are we've been to some very fun spaces and those offsites are very little work. It's really like we're getting together at a place where we'll do kind of two, three hour sessions and the rest of it is we're volunteering, we're doing something fun.
We are just going out for some nice dinners and things like that. And I always, I always used to say back at Apple where I started my career, when we do these ski trips, like more work's probably getting done in the drive to and from Tahoe and on the chair lifts than it's probably getting happening if we were spend the same amount of time in the office.
I found that to be true. So I think fully remote is really hard, right? You need some kind of, you know, personal connection. And, and you know, it, as we scale, that'll become harder. Like we're still a small, small team, less than 20 people. So as you scale, I think you'll get to the doing this in a more regional basis, and maybe you get everybody together once a year instead.
And as you get more density in certain regions, maybe you've got the ability to have some local offices that look more like what I described. We also give everybody a co-working space allowance. So you're like, I need to get outta my house. I need to go work somebody. I'm much more productive in an office.
Being around other people. You can go do that. But it's allowed us to hire just fantastic people around the world. We've done employees in five con continents, [00:10:00] and you know, Time zones we're very sensitive to. But like that ability of remote has really worked for us. In fact I'll tell you the funny thing is at Salesforce I started in February of 20, 26 weeks later, the world looked like this.
We're all remote. When I left to start airspeed A fantastic woman, TNA took over for me and as a general manager or leading the sales cloud team. And we recently had lunch. And the first question I asked her, I said, I have a really embarrassing question. I said, have we ever met in person?
And it took us like five minutes. We were like, of course we have. And then we realized, no, we've never have, we had this, we had an amazing connection over Zoom and we just worked really well. So I think it's very possible. I think people underestimate how possible it is to have connection and productivity remotely, but I do believe that there's a balancing act and making sure that you are taking a very conscious approach to how do you make sure people are connected?
People are, are not just going in back to back Zoom meetings.
Jonathan Fischer: Yeah. Well, let's dig even deeper on that. The, I, and I can attest to that. I have some wonderful colleagues that I still have not actually been in the same room physically, but I feel like I have, like, I would totally see them from a, I could probably see 'em from a hundred feet away.
I'd know exactly who they were. But what are some other keys to that? I mean, is that something that is just, I mean, people connect because they just do, or could we, can we bring some intentionality to that? You mentioned obviously these trips. That's pretty powerful. What else would you say
on that front?
Doug Camplejohn: Yeah. So, you know, I'll describe kind of how we did it in person and then when, you know, my previous company we were together, and then there's obviously digital tools, including ours, that, that help you do that digitally now. So take everything from like, when an employee starts. We used to take everybody out to a company lunch.
And you'd, we had these like handful of questions like, what was the first concert you went to, what's something you'd be surprised to know about you? What do you like to do for fun? Et cetera, most embarrassing moment. And it was really a fun way to get to know that person at that lunch. The problem was if you weren't at that lunch, you know you were outta the office or you joined [00:12:00] afterwards, you never knew those person's answers.
And that person also had no chance to get to find out where the answers all the people gave before them. So now there are digital tools where you can kind of, I. Ha effectively create a database of that stuff. Over time, as people are joining, they can go introduce themselves, they can answer that set of questions, and over time you can say, okay, you know, who else likes to do X Or who else, you know, what was you know, X Y Z's, you know, most embarrassing moment.
So it's a great way for company to come together. So just like introducing yourself that way. I'll give you another example. So at LinkedIn we used to do this thing called shout outs and personal wins. So we'd go around the, we'd start our weekly you know, product leadership meeting with shouts and personal wins and go around the room and you give a shout out to somebody, a person or a team that was really Impactful for you In the past week?
I, the ironic part was oftentimes that person or team was not in the room, so they didn't even hear the compliment. So it didn't, like the people who were on that team heard it, but the recipient didn't even know they were getting a compliment. And then the personal win was something like, you know, I, I got a new puppy, you know, like, you know, I just, you know, completed my first marathon, whatever.
Again, if you weren't in that meeting, you missed it all. And it took a long time. It was like, if we had 15 people, let's say in a room, it might take half an hour to go around the room and verbally do all that stuff. And there's no record of it. So again, in the digital world, you know, we now use our own product icebreakers.
Where in Slack you're getting a question the day before, like, what's a personal information from last week? People can also post videos and post photos. You're getting like a visual of what the new puppy looks like, or you know, the new house. And we spend five minutes. You know, in the beginning of our weekly team meeting and I just pull up Slack, we go through the answers.
We talk a little bit about them, and I've learned more about people I have worked with in the last 10 plus years in the last four months since we launched these.
Jonathan Fischer: That's really cool. I like that a lot. Quick reminder to the audience, those of you listening live and watching Don't forget, we are doing this live for a lot of great reasons.
One is you get to ask your questions so you can go ahead and put those in the [00:14:00] chat right now. No need to wait and we'll bank those and we'll circle back here at the bottom of the half hour and get you some Ask me anything time with Doug Campbell. John I. So Doug, it sounds like you've got some real intentionality behind what you do there.
And I wonder if that bring, the next question I have is, is that one of the, what's missing in a lot of companies do, does there need to be a you, whether that's actually the c e o or maybe there's somebody that, maybe that's where the buck stops for them, that they help lead company culture and 'cause for me, company culture, and I don't wanna get too deep in the weeds on this, can almost take on a Like current events, current issues type of feeling, rather than just people relating like this.
I think that's how I'll state it and I'll leave it at that. So, but relating it with people, does someone need to take, carry that ball? Would that be important?
Doug Camplejohn: Yeah, I mean, I think it's, I think there are culture champions inside at any company that could be the c e o and often as the c E O could be the VP of the head of hr.
But oftentimes it's somebody who's just really passionate about this inside the company. So I think one of the things that we're trying to do at Airspeed over time is actually. Make, you know, find these people and highlight them. One of the things we wanna do on our blog is really make champions of the culture champions and start to do awards around that, et cetera.
And because I think those are the folks who are really having a huge outsized impact on you know, the company productivity. And. It's funny, like I was talking to somebody earlier today who said, you know, a lot of the HR platforms in boom times are talking about culture and, you know, employee happiness and all that kinda stuff.
And in and in bust times they're all like, productivity, productivity. But it's all a virtuous circle, right? You can't have the productivity without the engaged and happy employees and vice versa. So I think that it's interesting how that all plays out that way. So.
Jonathan Fischer: Well, and that, that's a, that's a really good segue to my next question, which is what, so if we come at this from the curmudgeon side, Hey, this is about business.
We're trying to make revenues here. I just need my people to do what they need to do and then go home and have a life. So at the opposite extreme, I mean, make the case. Why did, why would it be important? Why don't people just do their [00:16:00] thing? It may or may not like it. Who cares? It pays the bills. Like, talk to us about why company culture is so important from a like you, you call it the virtuous circle.
Doug Camplejohn: I think the problem is that like, it's a very short term approach. I mean, like, if you really think about, if you, I mean if you ask any c e o, if you say, what's your intellectual property? You're like, it's sitting in my employee's brains, right? And very few companies is this sitting in inside of a, you know, a set of patents or something like that.
It's the people who walk out the door every day. And what Covid made us really aware of Covid and plus Zoom was like if my day's just filled with back to back Zoom meetings and it, it's kind of with a bunch of, you know, nameless people or people I don't really know well or don't feel a connection to, or don't feel a connection to the mission, I'm just gonna rent myself out to the highest bidder.
And so I think a lot of the big turnover that happened was people going, I. Okay. You know, like, I, somebody's offering X more or, you know, y additional benefits, I can just go there and do that. I don't have a personal, you know, feeling of loyalty to this. So I think that is really important. And it's not just about connection to, you know, there's lots of studies obviously about like the importance of having work friend and, you know, connections at work which I'm a, I'm a big believer.
I I don't believe by the way, that like, you know, an employer's job is to help you find friends. I do believe, you know, my job as CEO E is to kind of build the, you know, the, the Chicago Bulls, the LA Lakers, you know, like what's the winning team and the best people in that team.
But part of having that team is that they actually trust each other and they operate as a team. And that to me is culture. Culture is not about, I. Words on a plaque, right? I used to, you know, I, because I care so deeply about this, I give every new employee I meet with at all of my previous companies in this one, I will sit down and give the culture presentation on their first day.
And one, one of the things I say is, you know, you have to live your values. If you look back at the lobby, there's a photo somewhere of the lobby of Enron that had one of their values was integrity, right? Obviously bullshit, right? Because you've hired the wrong people and you, they're not living those [00:18:00] values.
So the values are not about words on a plaque, it's about who you hire and equally importantly, who you fire if they're not matching those values, right? Because if you suddenly let somebody get away with stuff, then your, then everybody knows your values are crap. So I think that's really what culture comes down to is how do you bring those people.
And then what do you reinforce? What do you reward? So I think that's the, that's the biggest factor that I look at when I'm thinking about culture. I'm not trying to say, here's some employee handbook for culture.
Jonathan Fischer: Well, I think that's important to note. Yeah. So there, there's the next question that comes to my mind is, okay, so hiring and firing based on company culture.
How do you formalize that? So if it's not the things you said, so how do, is it, do you form a document with your team or like where, where does that exist, if you will? So there's a template that you would hire against, I.
Doug Camplejohn: Yeah, so, so we do, you know, we have high levels and what we try to say, I say to everybody is, everyone, the culture is made up of all of you, right?
In the company. So we will start with one of, some of the things we believe in, and I'm not, by the way, I know like companies like Amazon have these, you know, here's our 15 cultural principles. I'm like, you know, I'm a human being. I'm like, I can remember three things, right? So we call it polar, you know, passion, learning and results.
So for us it's like, Are you passionate about what we're working on? If you're not, if you don't care about our problem space and just want a job, you're not right for us. You know? And hopefully you're passionate about like the work that you do as well, and you care about the quality there. Learning is this mindset of like, you know, I'm not a victim.
I'm always trying to figure out how to get better. I'm constantly trying to get new data, new inputs, and grow, and we support, we I always make sure that's, that's budget that's easily spent. Like, you wanna go to a conference, you want to go learn something? Great, we'll go cover that. And then finally, result results.
Like we're all on the, you know, we're a venture funded company, so we're on the hook to our customers and our investors at the end of the day to say, how are we delivering results? You know, how are we delivering engagements in our applications? How are we delivering revenue and [00:20:00] ultimately a, in the long term return, a great return for our investors?
So that's what we do. So we, for example, like, again, you know, you can do this in lots of ways in the old world and there's lots of digital tools now. We use one of our app shoutouts and like, you can actually say, here's my company value. So if you're giving somebody a shout out you can say, this person accomplished this.
This was the impact on the company and here's the value or values that represents. And what's nice about that is like when we're going into like a quarterly review, you know, like with the team how do we did, I can go pull out from that and I can say, What were the employee or employees that best, you know, demonstrated the value of results or passion and things like that.
And so just, you know, it's it makes that whole process better. But I think the, the broader theme of that is if you've got those things articulated, make sure everything ties back to that. So if you're doing all hands meetings, you're doing that kinda stuff, call out people who are really embodying those values and make heroes outta them.
Jonathan Fischer: Okay, so I've gotta ask the obligatory question that is, lately I have to ask every podcast. You could probably guess what this is gonna be. Ai Yeah. What is its impact on team culture and the way humans are interacting with each other.
Doug Camplejohn: Yeah, I think, you know, I, it, I've been in tech for over 30 years.
I've seen obviously the internet, mobile phones social media. I think this is bigger than all of it. I am more excited at this stage in my life about what's happening right now than any previous stage. And I'm saying a lot. And I think that, you know, Microsoft's positioning I think is really good in the terms of co-pilot, 'cause that's the way I think about this.
Think about if every employee had a chief of staff, every employee had an intern. Whether it's a programmer who basically has a pair programmer, somebody who's doing a lot of work for them, a marketer who can write copy. An HR person who has somebody just constantly like in the background saying like, you know, where do we have issues?
Where's room for improvement? And I think that the productivity gains we're gonna get out of that is just phenomenal.[00:22:00] And there's so much data that's actually sitting in the systems that we use every day, whether it's, you know, Google or Microsoft or Slack. Zoom, et cetera. And in fact much more, much more signal coming from those systems and new apps that allow you to just be much smarter about how you are having an early warning system about problems that could come up.
And also just areas for improvement. And when we think about like our application suite, we think about a lot like, you know, Facebook in the early days, you know, before they got to where they're today. Mark was really trying to say, here's a toolkit to help you build your personal relationships.
That's kind of how we think about it. We think here's a toolkit to help you build your work relationships. The byproduct of that is we're getting a lot of data and a lot of signal that's ultimately gonna help leaders do a better job of being leaders.
Jonathan Fischer: Are there examples where you see AI really working out there? 'cause it feels like from all the conversations I'm having, I think everyone's still kind of in the sandbox with this thing and just not sure. Are you starting to see some you know, some, some use cases that, where it's been fruitful?
Doug Camplejohn: Yeah, it's it's, it's amazing. Even just you know, my marketing, I have a small marketing team, you know, two people and they are able to, I think, I think chat GT and perplexity of two AI engines they're using right now to compare and they're just taking, they're basically taking transcripts from my podcasts and putting it in there and saying how I answer questions and effectively giving you commands of saying like, Hey, if you could go turn this into a series of tweets or LinkedIn posts and stuff like that, and they basically pre-populated the spreadsheet for me that I then can go in and obviously, It's never perfect.
I put it into my voice and, but I'm trying to post more. I'm trying to get out there and I'm not a writer. I hate writing. I like having written, it's like running. I like having, having jogged and finishing that. So it's, it makes me so much more productive, makes them so much more productive to be able to have the engines doing that.
So there's a [00:24:00] lot of real stuff that's happening right now, and I think that the level of. Of change, you're gonna see, 'cause people are building all these things right now. I mean, remember this just really hit our collective consciousness last November, right? So we're just a few months into this revolution and the amount of stuff that's gonna start coming out, 'cause people have been heads down building is gonna be pretty amazing.
Jonathan Fischer: Yeah. I mean, we really are on the cusp of something and we all know it. Anyone's guess what that it might look like in half dozen years or so. I'm curious, where would people best begin to maybe inculcate a better culture? Just a quick minute of advice, how people would maybe start to shift some thinking, especially if they're maybe a middle manager of some kind.
What could they do to improve culture?
Doug Camplejohn: I. Yeah, I think I, I think a lot of it is you know, I mean good, good leadership in general is servant leadership. I always say, you know, if you're doing a great job and a lot of people struggle going from individual contributor to manager and really being a leader it is not about micromanaging people.
It's about saying like, okay, I always think about it as I hire somebody. I've made the assumption that you're better at doing this than I am. There's probably a trust but verify window where I'm gonna like, maybe have you shadow me and then I'll shadow you. And usually within 30, 60, 90 days, I'm like, tell me how I can help.
Right. You know, you've got this. Tell me how I can help. In fact, one of the things that we do that I kind of worried about at first, but I've done this now in multiple companies, is when somebody joins one of my companies, we put a meeting on the calendar 90 days out. 'cause I have found without fail You kind of know, both parties know within 90 days.
So if it's not working out, if it's really like, it's not like firing on all cylinders we basically say goodbye. So we're pretty, we're pretty ruthless on that. And we, when we hire, we use what we call, what I call the awesome test. So I've used all kinds of systems in the past of like, Hey, scale of one to five, thumbs up, thumbs down, whatever.
What do you wanna go do? And the, [00:26:00] and what we do now is we go around the room and we look saying, can you say this person is freaking awesome? And if you can't say that without hesitation, then we just move on. And there's something about that word. So anyway.
Jonathan Fischer: Wow. Okay. I like it. I mean, it's, I like it for a lot of reasons, not least of which is it's keeping a really high standard, right?
Yeah. We wanna run with some eagles here, fly with some eagles, not run with the turkeys. Did I just say that? I guess I did. Well, I wonder if we could help our audience also by letting 'em know how they could take your insights further. You have a wonderful. Application that actually would help people listening to do what we've been talking about today, have better teamwork using an app.
You can app. We're already probably using Slack. If you don't know Slack, I don't know how you're doing business right now. So tell us a more about your solution. And I think we have a special link for the show here. I'm gonna put that up while you talk. Go ahead.
Doug Camplejohn: Sure. Yeah. So the mission of Airspeed from the beginning has been how do we help employees feel more connected and appreciated?
And the way that we finally came upon implementing that is a family of Slack apps. And these Slack, there's six, six apps all free right now. That will always be a free forever tier we'll start charging for larger organizations at very low cost, like, you know, a fraction of what you pay for Slack.
And they're meant to cover all of these moments of culture. So we have. Intros as I mentioned. How do you introduce yourself to a team? Celebrations, how do you put kind of birthday cards and working anniversaries on autopilot icebreakers? How do you kick off a meeting in a really fun way? Shout outs.
How do you not only give recognition directly, but how do you maybe say, Hey, I wanna recommend somebody else. Give some recognition. 'cause it'll be more effective coming from that person. We have maps so you can see where everybody is on a team. So if you're like, Hey, I'm traveling in New York City.
Who else is there? I want to go organize a meetup or we've had HR teams say, Hey any region that's got more than 10 or 15 people, I'm gonna go give them a budget so they can do their own local meetup stuff. And then the one we just launched is called Coffee Talk, which is how do you. Facilitate meetups with people that you might not interact with much in the organization.
So you can say things like, I wanna meet other people on my team that I don't have a regular meeting [00:28:00] with, or I want to meet people outside my departments. And we'll kind of help facilitate those things and even give you icebreakers for people to start that conversation.
Jonathan Fischer: I. It sounds really, really useful.
I mean, let, yeah, like Slack on steroids, so I think that's a fantastic thing. So we've got the link right here. We'll put those in the show notes. For Evolve sales leader listeners, you can go check it out for yourself. Is this sort of a what's your, what's your pricing model on this, by the
Doug Camplejohn: So, again, this year we're in early access, so everything's free. So right now it's really about engagement. We just launched the first app in March and we're now over a thousand companies using it. Like, you know, we're over 85,000 people, you know, employees on the apps and growing really rapidly.
We're seeing usage that's north of 65, 70 5% weekly usage. So people are really engaged and loving the apps. And so right now we're just trying to tune and tweak. We're doing the same thing Slack did where they had private beta for a while, public beta. Then we'll start charging and anybody who's in this early access period, we'll give, you know, some financial benefit to, as well as a thank you for coming in, in on this journey with us early.
But to give you a little bit more flavor, we'll probably be in the kind of three to $5 per user per month once we go live for the entire family. And the higher tier will include things like HR integration, so you can just automatically sync with your HR system.
Jonathan Fischer: Well, I like it. It looks very cool.
I, I've been clicking around leading up to today's show and it looks really neat. So I encourage you, the listener click on that, check it out, and maybe add a little extra octane to your Slack usage. Well, it is now time to do our live q and a and I think if, for a lot of our listener, it is their favorite part of the show.
When we get to post your questions and get some answers, let's check out what's been going on over here in the chat area and flash a couple of these up here. Operator error. I better find the captions. They're somewhere around here.
There we go. Okay. So, this is an interesting one. So, I mean, levy Pop Pack is asking, you know, it seems like company culture often gets into political issues. And so how do you recommend handling teams where there's a stark diversity of political opinions?
Doug Camplejohn: Yeah, I think it's very interesting because I've seen this done, [00:30:00] I assume you mean political as in like, you know, our political system in the US as or Yeah, corporate politics.
Well, I assume I, yeah, I know Lavy, so I assume so. Yeah.
Yeah. I think that. You know, I, one is, I think it's really important that you have a diversity of opinions. I think great teams happen when you've got lots of, lots of different opinions coming in. But I think there's a line between I.
Kind of where you bring that in. And it was interesting. I watched Jeff Weiner, the c e o at the time of LinkedIn and Mark Benioff, the c e o of Salesforce, do it in slightly different ways. And so Jeff's viewpoint was, Hey, internally I'm gonna talk to you. Like here's where I stand and here's how I feel about certain issues and here's how it's affecting me.
And we'd have a very candid conversation and people could like, you know, almost have a little therapy session in some of the executive team meetings with things that were going on in that landscape. But. Externally, we knew our audience was across the political spectrum, and so Jeff didn't, as a leader, decided not to take a very strong stance externally on that in many moments.
Mark, as you probably know, is a very different mark is like, you know, when they were outlying gay marriage I think it was in Indiana, he's like, we're pulling out of Indiana, right? Like, we're, you know, you're in infringing on our employees' rights that are there. So he's very vocal about that.
And we've had issues. You know, I've had issues in the past with employees where, you know, it feels like this is becoming a, a sore topic. And I always, the litmus test I use is I. Is that, so if an employee feels unsafe expressing their opinions or being who they are, then you've gotta figure out how to go address that.
And that's when we've kind of sat the parties down and said, here's what's going. And there's lots of obviously great resources about, you know, microaggressions and, you know, just making more people more politically sensitive. But, you know, I try, I, I often compare it Facebook and LinkedIn, like, you don't wanna work culture that looks like Facebook.
You want a work culture that looks like LinkedIn and if you're on LinkedIn, you know, and you start spouting off about Democrat this or Republican this, you see [00:32:00] that stuff get shut down pretty quickly. And so I think you, that's kind of the right balance in the work environment as well.
Jonathan Fischer: Yeah, I would agree.
I think LinkedIn has a good tone because some of that stuff gets into some negativity and we don't want that in our workplace. You know, that doesn't get, that doesn't get a whole lot done. Doesn't be a lot of fun. And you're the chief fun officer. So there we go. Well, Jason's asking a question that I think he's, I think you definitely have spoken to this a little bit, but maybe you could make it even more personal to Jason.
Sounds like he's actually a startup founder himself. He says this, A lot goes into company culture. It's much easier when you have a physical office, but as a new c e o and a startup with a hundred percent remote team of less than 10 from different parts of the world, what things can I do to improve our company culture?
What would you say to Jason?
Doug Camplejohn: Yeah, I think a lot of the things we talked about and like, you can't just install software and have a culture, right? So I'm not gonna try to say that, you know, we obviously I selfishly. Helped build and design a lot of our apps for things that I wanted to do to make me more productive as a leader and as a manager.
So we had the same situation. I mean, like when we started we were less than 10 people we're on five continents. So we've got a fully remote team and a lot of that is I. How do you kind of have these traditions, which can be just, you know, manual processes or supported by software. So how do you make sure, like when a new person joins that company, how do you make sure that they leave that first day more excited about the company than even when they came in?
When some, you know, I often think about, like, I'll ask employees. This is, there's no technology involved. I found the retention test is I just ask people when I see them in person, are you having fun? I found people are really bad at lying about that. And so if somebody like pauses or their voice goes up in octave, you're like, okay, there's an issue.
Let me poke on this and sit, figure out what's going on. And then I think that you, you know, it's hard to say, but you've gotta let people go who are not, who are dragging the culture down. And that's really a difficult thing. But Netflix years ago had this phenomenal culture deck that the.
C H C H R O at the time had done and it was called the keeper [00:34:00] test. And so the question you ask yourself of anybody on your team is if that person came to you tomorrow and said, I'm leaving for an equivalent position in another company, how hard would you keep not fight to keep them? And if the answer is not that hard, you probably should be actively managing them out now.
And if the answer is, oh my God, I would lose my mind if that person left. Think about what you would do in that situation. Would you offer them more salary, more stock, more you know, responsibility, bigger title, and any of those things that you can do today do right away. So hopefully it doesn't become an issue down the road.
Jonathan Fischer: Yeah, like that. I wanna bring up this question from Lindy. She asks, do you find that there are a lot of cases of pushback when building culture within an already established organization? If so, how do you navigate that pushback?
Doug Camplejohn: Yeah, I think that, you know, as I said, you know, culture is not, culture is something that ultimately comes from the people.
So a great example of that is like when you get acquired, you know, where you're acquiring somebody, like how does that culture, you know, preserve and maintain, and I. And lots of people screw that up, right? I mean, we I would say for example, Microsoft has shown both how to do it and not do it In the past, they've acquired companies like Skype and Nokia and effectively said, great, you're all gonna become Microsoft employees now, and we're gonna effectively evaporate the old culture that you had.
And that's not the way to do it. I mean, if you look at what they did with LinkedIn, I think it's one of the most successful acquisitions in, in recent history. And it was because Satya basically was like, don't fuck this up. Right? He went to Jeff and said, here's the keys, right? Tell us what we can do for you.
Don't let anybody ask what LinkedIn can do for Microsoft. And it was tested a number of times. We had one big deal. I was running the sales navigator team. And we had one big deal with a huge Microsoft customer who was used to very deep discounts. 'cause they were such bought in such volume and they wanted like this massive discount on sales navigator.
And Satya was like, that's up to LinkedIn. [00:36:00] And it went all the way up to Jeff Wiener and Satya and they and Jeff was like, no we don't discount. We have a very fixed discount schedule. You know, we're not making an exception for you. And. And Satya backed that up. And that was a great example of saying, Hey, listen, we've bought something that we know is working really well.
We think we can accelerate it with our resources. And we also think that they can teach us a lot about how to improve our own culture. I. And I think that mindset going into it was really helpful. But, you know, if you're trying to, if you're trying to change a culture inside of a big company whether you're coming in through an acquisition or you're just a, you know, kind of a solo champion you've gotta have willingness on both sides.
So that's a challenge
Jonathan Fischer: I. I love it. You might have a someone looking for a job here. Cynthia mentions, how do I join the idea of traveling versus going to office. Sounds good. So there's just a quick comment. Thank you, Cynthia. Thanks. And who wouldn't wanna work for a chief fund officer?
Right. O Neil asks a question here, does culture dilute as the company gets bigger and what happens when you merge into a bigger company? So his question follows right along with what you were just talking about. Maybe go on, you know, share that aspect of your experience there, if you would.
Doug Camplejohn: Yeah, and I think that As I was saying earlier, I think you, as you get larger, you need to be more deliberate about these things. So I mean, like when you're a small company, you can say, Hey let's get together once a week as a team, like either in person or remote or some mix and we'll just kind of run down like what everybody's working on.
And you kind of like never get more out of touch when you get into a larger organization. I mean, LinkedIn. Jeff used to do biweekly all hands meetings, and the last 10 minutes of every meeting was open q and a. Any question that's on your mind, but it was very much about like, how are we highlighting some new employees?
How are we focusing on a part of the business? How are we like? There was a very good structure to it, but there was this like lots of emphasis on repetition and you knew he was giving the same message. Time and time and time again because you knew that you had to do that in order for it to cascade and really stick.
And what you really want is you should be able to ask anybody in your organization, what's our mission or what's our main goal for this year? And [00:38:00] get a consistent answer back. And that takes a lot of work. And I think you have to be, the bigger you get, the more deliberate you have to be about communication and the more deliberate you have to be about culture.
You can't just leave it a chance. So, for example, when we got acquired, my last company Fliptop got acquired by LinkedIn. They were really great at saying like they actually had metrics for the business development team or the corporate development team of like, You know, how are employees feeling?
Like they would do surveys, you know, they would find out, you know, have we met the goals of the acquisition? You know, it, it was very much not a, Hey, we're gonna acquire you and just like, like, you're gonna all get LinkedIn email addresses. So I think that was a big part of saying, Let's still allow you to have, bring some part of your culture in.
And I, what I've seen at Salesforce, like when they've acquired larger companies like Tableau or Slack, it's even more important for them to kind of say, Hey, listen, you know, we know you had something that was really amazing here. We're not trying to break that up from day one. Love that.
Jonathan Fischer: Well, here's a great question to end on.
Joshua was asking where does your passion for better teamwork and fun come from? You know, is there a story or a set of experiences behind that?
Doug Camplejohn: Yeah, I mean, I was as a, you know, kid and a college student. I was a huge Steve Jobs fan, and so I got to unfortunately go to Apple after Steve had left.
So I wasn't there when he left, but his spirit was still in the hallway. And, you know, the way he talked about, you know, what we do in tech is very different than, you know, Painting the Mona Lisa or the Sistine Chapel, it's not something that, you know, lasts forever. We are effectively leading this sedimentary layer.
Like so if, you know, if I handed you a floppy disc, you wouldn't know what to do with it. If I handed you a V H S tape, you're like, I don't know where I can go play this. But those led to the next set of evolutions. And so for me, I've always been fascinated with technology and building that.
But I, I saw at Apple and then I've seen subsequently at other companies how. Teams that are really, have an amazing culture and a very clear mission, just way [00:40:00] outperform anybody else. And so that's why to me, you know, kind of fussing those two things together has always been important to me.
Jonathan Fischer: Well, love it.
Well, Doug, it's flown by. You've added a ton of value to the listener today. Thanks so much for being here on the Evolve Sales Leader and making it such a valuable short time spent together.
Doug Camplejohn: Thank you so much.
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