6 things I’ve learned as CEO & Co-Founder of Voxpro:
1. Be relentless about uniqueness
A couple of years ago I rewrote our company values. One of the five read: ‘We’re relentless in the pursuit of operational beauty’. I remember presenting it to the board – they thought I was on drugs. Everybody swore they would never say the words ‘Operational Beauty’. The easiest thing would have been to just give up and replace the word ‘beauty’ with ‘excellence’, but I was determined that we had to be unique, so I persisted. Three years later everyone in the company says the words regularly. I’m now thinking of trademarking them!
2. Never put the goods ahead of being good
Last year we were looking to launch our second centre of excellence in the US. We were considering Raleigh in NC, but suddenly the State introduced a law that compelled transgender people to use the bathroom matching the sex listed on their birth cert. We immediately pulled out. Good business is all about respecting and celebrating people for who they are – this philosophy has ensured the Voxpro family is as high-performing as it is diverse.
3. Always act like a small company
Voxpro started with 6 people in an office above a pub. By the end of 2017 we’ll employ 3000 globally but I still have the mentality that we’re 6 people. The day you start believing you’re a big company is the day you close your doors, because you lose the competitive advantage of agility. Oh – and if you’re starting up, do consider office space above a pub, there are obvious benefits.
4. There’s no business without show business
Huge colourful events, visually striking offices, and a constantly changing work day – that’s Voxpro. A great place to work is one part business, one part show business. People need entertainment in their lives.
5. Throw yourself off the cliff and assemble the airplane on the way down:
If I had said ‘Sorry no, we can’t do that’ when Google or Airbnb approached us all those years ago, Voxpro would still be a local Cork company. Once you commit to the impossible, you’ll constantly surprise yourself.
6. Enjoy the wins
When I achieve something, my natural instinct is immediately to look towards the next thing and to start working on it straight away. My wife and business partner, Linda, always tells me to take some time to enjoy the wins instead of immediately looking for the next ones. And Linda’s rarely wrong, so I listen!
This article originally featured in Cara Magazine on September 1st 2017.
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