Recently, I was invited to join an episode of the Go to Market Grit podcast. The show features host Joubin Mirzadegan, business development and go to market operating partner at venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins, as he interviews sales and marketing leaders about business tactics, hiring, culture, and everything in between.
During the interview, Joubin asked some interesting questions about my path to Relativity—and what, exactly, goes into not just building a career in tech, but developing a leadership philosophy that can have a positive impact on your colleagues.
We’re including the embedded audio below, but in case you’re looking for a few fast takeaways, read on to see what stands out to me as I reflect on our conversation.
#1: Follow your passion, not just a paycheck.
I’ve been with a few companies throughout my career, and what I’ve learned along the way is that being intellectually invested in a startup environment isn’t enough. You need to bring some personal passion to the table if you want to get in on an idea from the ground up—because joining an early-stage company in a leadership role requires a lot of passion.
Additionally, it’s important to give your team the freedom to follow their passions once you’re in a leadership role. Particularly in the tech space, tenure is finite these days—it’s rare to get decades of it from any one person. So in addition to giving yourself permission to discover, develop, and follow your passions, you need to help your employees and colleagues do the same.
#2: Pause to appreciate the skills—and potential—in the room with you.
In business, it’s essential to recognize the talents of your colleagues as well as their promise. Because, as a hiring philosophy, the two endpoints of evaluating talent are skill and potential. When you’re hiring for a new role or giving stretch opportunities to your existing team, pause to consider whether proven skills or innovative potential is more essential.
You can develop an instinct for this by watching the leaders who are a little ahead of you on their career paths. The really good ones will exhibit both endpoints in their own careers, and encourage growth in each of them amongst their teams.
#3: Never compromise on authenticity.
All good leaders should align with this idea of first principles. Each of us should have guiding principles which help us distinguish between good and bad, right and wrong, how to solve problems—basically providing a decision tree that guides our actions without letting emotion or impulsivity get in the way of best practices.
But beyond just having those principles, we need to adhere to them in order to set an expectation around them for our teams. Arbitrating a business decision effectively means being consistent in this way even, and especially, when circumstances get tough. So good leaders need to set that standard, demonstrate it, and uphold it in others. That’s how you inspire confidence in your teams and help them grow in effectiveness.
To learn more, listen to the full conversation in the embedded podcast player below.
Peter Kim is senior vice president of sales at Relativity.