Follow the Leaders
This year’s VACEOs Annual Retreat program was chock full of outstanding speakers. After we were inspired by Rita Gunther McGrath’s “MarketBusting” session, we didn’t miss a beat and kept the energy flowing straight through lunch, where we asked Matt Blumberg, CEO of Return Path, Inc., about everything from fostering the right culture to choosing the right board members.
I saw heads nodding and a few “Aha!” expressions as I looked around the room while Matt spoke. And I couldn’t help but think that at least part of his success must be due to the fact that he regularly revisits his work-life checklist.
Several times a year, he asks himself:
1. Am I still learning?
2. Am I having fun?
3. Am I being adequately financially rewarded?
4. Am I having an impact?
If only two boxes are checked, he says it’s time to address the issue.
During lunch, I made note of several of Matt’s major points, including, “Culture is about being deliberate about it, and everyone plays by the rules.” And the biggie: “You, as CEO, must be ALL IN.” (I couldn’t help but love the way this message tied into our Retreat theme this year.)
I wonder, do you connect the dots between your vision and your employees’ daily jobs? Matt does — with frequent town hall events, scheduled meetings with his management team, and a weekly recognition and reward program.
Transparency, flexibility and learning are pillars of his company’s culture. Ask him about his “people team” and his internal training program and watch his eyes light up. Don’t like feedback? Don’t work for him. He’s passionate about performance reviews, so you can expect several each year. Yet another pulse check to keep him on track.
What are the pillars of your culture? As the CEO of your organization, do you embody the message — or shy away behind your desk and expense reports?
About Return Path, Inc., and Matt Blumberg, Chairman & CEO
Matt Blumberg founded Return Path in 1999. The company is now the global leader in email intelligence, helping businesses build better relationships with their customers and improve their email ROI. Return Path also assists ISPs and other mailbox providers enhance network performance and drive customer retention. Return Path has made the Inc. 500 list of America’s Fastest-Growing Small Companies multiple times and was listed as number 11 on Fortune’s “Best Companies to Work for” list in 2012.
Matt is the author of Startup CEO: A Field Guide to Scaling Up Your Business, based on his popular blog on entrepreneurship, Only Once. He is also co-author of Sign Me Up!: A Marketer’s Guide to Creating Email Newsletters that Build Relationships and Boost Sales. Among many other honors, Matt was an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year finalist in 2012.