B2B Revenue Acceleration
B2B Revenue Acceleration

Episode · 2 years ago

53: Protecting Culture During Growth w/ Thibaut Ceyrolle


All companies say, “We have a culture,” but that’s not really true.

Some companies are just a workplace.

(Which could be why Millennials keep switching jobs--because they’re looking for an authentic culture.)

I got to interview Thibaut Ceyrolle, GVP EMEA at Snowflake, about why old leadership is broken and what it means to hire based on culture.

“You have companies that will focus only on execution and numbers,” he said. “You have companies that now are focusing on culture. And you have companies that can combine the two without being fake.”

You were listening to bb revenue acceleration, a podcast dedicated helping software executive stay on the cutting edge of sales and marketing in their industry. Let's give into the show. Hi, welcome to be to be a revenue acceleration. My name is Audiam, with you, and I'm here today with Tibos at all VP MEA at snowflake. How are you to day table? I'm very good things and very appy to attend your podcast. How are you, audience? And, by the way, area and your English accent is way better than mind, from what I heard. It's a shame that we are regarding a podcast, we won't be able to give audience sub title on that one. We'll try to speak quickly. I do have lots of French clients and business partners and sometimes we know that when we get excited we can speak very quickly in English. So let's try to. Let's try to not get too excited, but there you go. So Tabo, today we want to speak about the old leadership is broken, as the topic that you selected today, and I think it's an interesting one. It's linked an article that you posed on Linkedin is disruptive. Is exactly what we like. But before we get into the topic, would you please just introduce yourself quickly to audience, as well as the company you represent, snowflake. Sure, so, in a couple of worlds. So my name is t bo say. Also, I'm French, but I leave in the UK for five years now a leading different EMA organization and software. So I started working for snowflake in March two thousand and seventeen. I'm working for the software industry now for a fly twenty years with different leadership positions and with companies like as a voice, with a digital marketing software company, BE ABC software or or HP. So snowflake is the first that our that our house that has been built for the cloud. So sink and build for the clouds. So, for people who are not familiar about what to be, our house is doing is where you store and when you where you will process your data. It's like an engine for a car. So where where you will have so we are not a visilation tool, we are not a bi tool, but they need to access to an etics database and this is what snowflake is doing. So we are and just to make this simple, I try to take the energy of sales force. What they did on see I'm or service now, what they did on service management. They were solutions seeing for the cloud and they became a solution de facto. They were the most disruptive and this is what we try to do for the market of that house. So I was the first employee outside the US. So it's a company based in San Mateo, close up San Francism and so first employee. I started alone in a very small office in the small we work and busy activity from there. All we are now in Europe. So in two years and half to anoid people. Wow, ten in ten different countries and and so the company is producing fast. So we have a we have a gross office three weeks company wide and we are we are formed persons of growth your over year for Yema and we just signed our own three hundred customer yesterday. So it's it was about in store recreation. Guys. Thank you. What congratulation to the company and to you, you know, starting on your own, two hundred people now it's it's pretty impressive. So yeah, it's a fantastic johnnity go. So coming back to the topic of the conversation and, as I mentioned, the article that we quote, our attention on Linkedin U. I light through your experience that companies needs to adapt the management style, especially in a fast growing start up. And clearly, as by your introduction, you are in a very fast growing startup. Okay, and one of the statements that caught my attention was that, and I quote you, a company culture is hard to put to protect during growth. So...

...can I pay as few to elaborate into what you mean by that? Statements and and and also, how do you think that the company or what the company should do in order to protect the culture during growth? Yeah, so, as I said, I'm working in this space for like, for like twenty years. I went through mini company and I have an extensive network on software company. So what you see right now is on the market. You are pretty kind of companies. It's not only software, but it's in general, but mainly for software, and I hiper gross companies. You have companies that will focus only on execution and numbers, so this will be their strategy. You have companies that now are focusing more on culture, culture, and you have rare companies that can. So this is a sird category that can combine the two without being fake, because the problem of culture is everybody saying I have a culture, but are not necessary real and and I think that's one of the reasons I choose to start working for some flat was because they were able to combine the two to the right execution and the right culture. So most of the Times the problem occurs with growth and lack of good behavior, and unfortunately this can come from the sales people. So so you you can with the experience I have on this on this specific market. It's very important to the bad behavior or can come from the cell side, because they are anger of succeed for success and they want to make sure that they will do the more that they can do, and sometimes they think about them selves instead of thinking about the company. So the first thing is a cuture needs to come from the top, with humble leaders. Is Very important. So the humility is something extremely important. Also attracted me in these company. So it's coming from our fonders. They are extremely humble and they try to tend to apply this in the in the company. And the first thing and priorities that you need to have is the quality of hiring, because the culture is depending on the people you hire. And so advise is to never compromise on hiring and when I started, I try to put a in place what I call a no asshole policy. I ring. So what does it mean? It means that I want to make sure that the guys we have plenty of different men and women, coming from different organizations, but we are trying to make sure that they are not selfish, only thinking about themselves. They don't don't only become for the money, but they are also good people for the team and for the team worker. When we do in you, we ask a lot of example. For example, I ask some questions arning example of integrity. integrility is, it is for me, the first what it is that people needs to have and and I asked examples and during during the drings, interview process, and also regaining the team work and and after that we backed with this like three of for for references. But we need to be realistic. It's tough. It's our job. When you hire, and usually when you hire more people and and everybody can do mistakes, and I did, and the more you grow, the more difficult it is because you meet so many people and sometimes the human nature, you can cut corners and you can think, okay, this guy as an extensive network. You will, you will bring me a lot of deals short term, but I have something in my gut that is not necessary, necessary good and see something that you will always pay back badly after. So one thing will always try to think is when they meet people, is if there is one dubbed, there is no doubt, and this is something quite quite important, that to make sure that we will when you hire somebody's intil you needs to be simple. So it's a simple conversation. As soon as as its complex, it's cities agree, I think. I think one of the firs is interesting. So if I look at at what we're trying to do at operatic, so we don't grow as quickly as you guys grow, think we will struggle if we are...

...growing by almost reex your own here. But we also have this business. We are people, let business and obviously we as we grow, if we grow by fifty percent or if we grow by on the person, we'll have to double the team or add, you know, Alph of that amount top of what we've already got and what we always try to say or what we try to do. What actually, what's the most important for me is ready to speak to people who are looking for carrier versus a job. And and I think if they're looking at a carrier and when you have the chance to be an organization like yours, with evolving very quickly, superfast space on organization like us, which would like to believe is growing quickly in the Inter segment we operating in, you don't have the opportunity to create opportunity for promotion and people can get promoted to roles, they can take on more responsibilities, they can really develop themselves, and that's what we've done here to proactics. And I think I'd like to say, and maybe I won't be by my team on saying that, but I'd like to say that we created a very strong culture. But that culture has come at a cuss, which is maybe we have slow don our growth. Maybe we'd have been quicker for me to not promote that gay to a manager position but get a manager that I don't know as MBA in in cells and marketing and could come with lots of a distexperience and cost me a little bit more money. So we've really made the decision to really promote from within and actually, apart from our finance department, absolutely everyone in the management team has come from the bottom and we do believe that that that create a very strong culture, and did. But you know, the cost of that is probably a little bit of a slower growth, a little bit more learning by mistake. But you know, I think culture, like you painted is, is very important for the gross of a company. And the last point I will make with you know, to drop up the topic, is I think culture is also important when you've got a newcomer into the team. So if you have a team that you've got the same level of people, the same as you mentioned, level of integrity, humility people, we've got a good level of teamwork, and you've got a new start up coming in, you've got someone who just come into a lovely environment where they can really benefit work with the colleague lean from that colleague, and I think that's actually critical in helping new starters to really get going and get to roven you quicker. Yeah, it's a very good point. To your point, things that is that try to use on one of my producement or say that, and I will remember this all my life, is never confuse the title and an opportunity, and this is something that, especially with new generation, right now they tend to go after you, the the title instead of you opportunity too quick. Yeah, he's some to remember. I agree with you. You know, I had the conversation actually yesterday with one of our clients and we're a converstion about promoting Medea people. So, you know, people would just doing pipe and generation that sort of activities to feel sales rape or to channel cells, rap, Exeter etcter and and basically what we what we talked about, is there is a change in time of the mentality and some people call them the millionaires, some people I would just call it a younger generation, you know. And what we used to see in the past you could get someone and say, look, you're gonna go and do that for me for three months, six months. If you do well, I'm going to give you the title all, I'm going to give you the pay increase and of you go. You know you're going to be you're going to be a new person, and that was working pretty well and people who actually work really hard to get to the milestone to actually get the opportunity. Now the feeling out of God is that you go to people and you almost need to give them the role the pay package and everything before they can even demonstrate the ability of taking care of the responsibilities. So I think there is I think you're perfectly right. There is a there is a bit of a shift...

...of mindset sometimes within the the younger generation, which can make decision a little bit more difficult because obviously, if someone has proven themselves, it's but easier to give them responsibility rather than someone with was just speaking about being good. Basically, yeah, but it's the only things that I want to say, because I don't like when people are bushing too mature millionials. Why? Because I think this generation, and young generation right now is but probably is the most talented. So yes, they are these this attitude of having those things very fast and to switch and not necessarily the same loyalty that we had by the beast, but with all the business schools worldwide and with now we have a lot of very, very good quality people. So our responsibilities to to go those those people. But I'm Littali price retally impressed now with with very young people, on what they can do. But they can produce and if you trust them and if you build the team in a marital catech way of working, its process absolutely, and we need to adapt. You know, this is the I think the people at will suffer and the people at will complain about it. Other people had Anna tree to adapt and adapting is important, but talents are key and retaining talleences is critical. Funny Business. So another statement that caught my attention in an Indiaticle is when you mentioned that negative works biencies often results or more complex structure of management the world. There is more iarchy, which often facilitates a judgmental, imposing style of leadership that can also lead to pessimism and fear in the team. So how do you see this model changing into a more flexible, open source style of leadership, and why is this change so needed in a first grand company? Yeah, so on that specifically. So, as I said, I work in very fast pace with a lot of pressure, endurn mental my carry on. So I don't have any any column with the specsure, but some fast groups, when you are in Fast Green Company, obviously you have most of the time you have pressure behind. So I learned a lot close to great leadails. But what I learned quite quickly working with them it's important to remain yourself and to not imitate somebody and those letters, those leaders. So we can be extremely a caressmthe where everything is leaded by them are unique in a sense and you have a lot of very good examples of very strong, chismatic leader. We are extremely good bust A. Steve Job is one example. But what you have, and especially in Software Company and software sells, you have some people that are below and that are promoted and they can have the tendency of imitating them because of the charisma and the carrier track that those leaders have. But they don't have the same experience, they don't have the same talent and the problem it leads sometimes to confusing situation and possibly inappropriate compartment because they they think they need to control everything and if they will be tough, this will be positive and people will follow and do what they ask. But coming back to new generation, as I said previously, they buy into challenge, they buy into how you respect them and how you will make them go in their career on. So this is something they are switch generation. They can today's it's not complex to have a job in a software company as soon as you have a proper track record. So with a number of startups that are popping up and the number of company in the market. But the problem if they're not working with the right manager, if they're not working with the right company, if they don't learn enough, they will switch. So what we mean with opens is import source managements. It's not everything needs to come from this top leader and not only one person in the company. So this needs to come...

...from different talents in the team and different titles. And you don't have to be shy or you don't have to be restrain of having people that will share some Adias, best particies, instead of tactic that taking everything yourself. And, for example, I try to give a lot of responsibilities to first line managers in my team and they will take the leader on the specific subjects, like I plan generation, or two weeks ago I did two days would comp off of training of managers that I lead. But I did that with the first line manager and you was you was teaching the other use are manager in the team. So what we mean by open source management is really the talent side. We're try to take benefits from them and not try to control, e. listen everything yourself. Of course not. Makes Perfect Sense. That makes perfect sense. So my next question is really around, but really also something that you you mention your production is is your journey within snow flake. So we've been speaking about about the culture of the company. We've been speaking about Titlelya key that opens source leadership type of management. Obviously, as you mentioned, you start yet snowflake as employe number one. Now you've got around two hundred people working with you in Europe. So what I'd like to also is from your own experience, how do you could you, could you just tell us how you've been adapting your management style? You know, did you feel it going from fifty two hundred one? Praise was a big difference, but is there any specific step of the journey in which you found it more difficult to adapt, as the different stages of gross of Snow Fleas in Europe? Yeah, so creating, creating Ami from a from scratch for US company is like sometimes creating your own company first, because of the US. In some hocy schools they wake up at it's like three cirty pm for you or four PM. So it's quite difficult because it means that you need to adapt yourself. And sometimes what does it need? It means that quite quickly you need to autonomy on decisions. That's you, that you need to take. But you already mentioned that in many podcasts that I hear already. And where AMA is not only one country like the US, it's multiple countries, mult people language, but people cut turn and you need to you need to teach the US also on that. So at the beginning, and I will say like for customers when you start. So first you need to want to do that. So I was your only enough to say, okay, I'm okay to be to start again from catch being sells again, to sell the first project myself and after that I will attract the talents. I was link, the one that had one. I forty people before draining and I I start team. But I was ready to do it. And what you need to do at the beginning in term of progression and at the beginning we need to find risk, risk takers. So not only for customers, but also candidates. And when we launched, people thought that I was setting ice cream. So true stories of people, littals. When you are when you are because you are living in London. I think oil and London you have like snowflake ice cream shop. So people were thinking that I was like a fortunate the music like that truck. So it was not that. And so now, obviously is the notoriety and the successes help to attract the talents more easily. But at the beginning and the problem we have, it's exactly when you have a first manage management role, you need to be careful to not do things too fast. So now we are working on operationalizing things everywhere and we are quite in advance compared to everything I saw before in in term of company. But at a beginning you need to be a Swiss life and you need to do the cells. And I remember I had some picture where I was buying the first turniture in Ida that I that I that I did in the in the office. So obviously you have dens into the team racing on operationalization.

We are data driven company to all decisions that we are taking. At the beginning it was expansion. Now we are focusing on the main market. We are we open and we need to rasionalize every every function of the organization. To your question of is their difference dom of size, I would say there is a big difference when you are the old too, like fifty people. Yeah, and after that, and and so I don't see between one hundred and two let people necessary a big difference, but they auto. History is very is like a family, so you work altogether and you have dedication and and everybody's is like super crisis and the energy is at the beginning is extremely important. But you need to do everything and you need to need to a flexibility at the beginning, when you start, but when you when you grow after but this is the time where you start to say no to certain things, and this is something that that's is able being. The most important thing, whatever your size, is to remain approachable whatever you do and have an open door policy. So everybody needs to feel free to talk problems, about behaviors, certain things where they need help and see the kind of mindset that we try to have within the team. Okay, and you think there is people at a better at one stage of growth versus an knows are. So, for example, you may say, I consider that guy is the sort of get will take a company from zero two hundred million. Yes, this petty. You know, it's do you believe in that, or do you think that people can also adapt as well as the management to to grow within a company? Yeah, it's you know, it's a very good question. Why I think we are a little bit disruptive, because because of that also, I will say, yes, yes, I know. So what I mean is, for example, the crow that we have was the first man on the ground and is now leading the all the sales organization worldwide. But yet, yeah, yeah, the potential. So you grow, you grow with the company and I think it's changing a little bit. I don't like necessary is the idea and assistant come also from from Vic when the invest in your companions. Okay, you have this gap, now you need to change your team. But they realize that we were over performing and and it was able to adapt and be be the right guy. So obviously I try to do the same. But also the teams that I have now are people get that cant and go with with the company. So it's not necessarily one of a person to the reality is that we need to change. The only thing that I will say is when I started, I needed some specific resources with specific market background. That I that we need less now and the core qualities of cells are more important now that the market that the market competencies, and it is. But at the beginning you need knowledge and you need to share up with the team. So this this is the listen lean, I think. Okay, makes sense. Or thanks for that and let's that's that's my last question to you. WHAT WE BE? The one advice that you would give to leaders that are managing that team in a fast growing environment, if you had to sum up, what all the things we discuss, what you believe is the most important? The first one we will need to remain yourself and work on your strengths. So too many times we try to do, to do what what some somebody else is doing. At the beginning. Don't put too many processes straight away. You need to lead by example. You need to shoot with everybody that if you do it as we will respect you at the end. Especially nugien generation. They need to understand that you need you fight for them and you win hearts and mind before going straight to operation or to operation, and you need to be a problem solver for them. So this is a would say, yea, it's a long and swear. Focus on your strengths, be yourself and be a problem solver and lead the lead by example. Okay, but that makes all sense. That I think. That's there are three very important piece of advice. So amongred person behind you on that one. Thanks for your insight, t Bo are we appreciate...

...you to the time. I know it is. Today is the last day of the quarter, so appreciate we can do the call today. It probably means that you guys have had a very good quarter if you if you're limit time to speact to you today. So probably congratulation for that. But the stage of the podcast we always have the same question. So we have some of our audience that like to take conversation offline with some of the people we invite. But we also we may have some people at may be interested to know more about snow flake, the company actual reprism. So what is the best way to get in touch with you, T bo, if anyone of her from our audience wanted to to connect? So so the best is is to you who used to use a linking them. Yes, I think I still have like forward the invitation spending it. But if you have the right message and the right I will always like said and base the way you will or you know yourself just as you enough when you contacting me, and I seen times all back you immediately. So it's if you're writing you on inking, I realize, be the basic way through to get in contact. This detail. That the other French name. Yeah, but no, Mane, you didn't catch these immediately. It was more the contents of operatics. Listen. That's QUA's great to a thank you very much for that. Many thanks again. He was great to have you on the show today. Thank you're operatics has redefined the meaning of revenue generation for technology companies worldwide. While the traditional concepts of building and managing inside sales teams inhouse has existed for many years, companies are struggling with a lack of focus, agility and scale required in today's fast and complex world of enterprise technology sales. See How operatics can help your company accelerate pipeline at operatics dotnet. You've been listening to be tob revenue acceleration. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time,.

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