As a startup, Augury excelled in terms of market fit and a people-first mentality. Now as a scale-up undergoing explosive growth, COO Roy Eitan shares his vision on how to build that operational rocket that nurtures this expansion – while not losing any of the magic that makes Augury special.
“You need to stay agile and never lose sight of the customer-as-guiding-light,” says Roy. “And ultimately it comes down to communication.”
Roll Up Your Sleeves. It’s Time to Blast Off To A Whole New Level
In a previous post ‘Why I Joined Augury’, I marvelled at how Augury had already faced down its biggest challenge: having a customer-centric product market fit, along with the right people to take the market by storm. I also noted a new challenge awaits: building the processes and tools to further empower this dual magic as we grow.
This new phase requires recalibrating our people-first principles to make sure these are able to take in even more people and perspectives. It’s also a time to share expectations and vision, while figuring out how we are going to work together. It’s about connecting everyone under the North Star we’re all committed to: the customer.
Companies often think that transformation is about deploying new tools. Wrong. We first need to ask ourselves: How are we working today, and how do we want to be working in the future? Only then can you answer the question: What are the best tools for getting us there?
So, at this stage of the game, I’m spending 50% of time on people, 40% on processes and 10% on tools.
Complexity Kills. How Do You Kill Complexity?
For us to fulfil our mission while growing rapidly, we all need to be on the same page. One book The Founder’s Mentality really helped form my thinking around – and the ability to talk about – how to scale innovation through building winning ecosystems. Besides providing the basic concepts and vocabulary around processes to improve agility and customer-centricity in an ever-changing world, this book also explains why companies so often fail in achieving sustainable growth.
It comes down to the growth paradox: when companies grow, so does the complexity – and complexity kills those bullish startup ways that worked to make the company a success in the first place. Usually, the default path of scaling is that you do it at the expense of your entrepreneurship. And eventually you become a bureaucracy and die.
And that’s NOT part of our plan.
Fundamentally, it’s about maintaining that snarky startup attitude: mocking the status quo in the name of supporting the undervalued hero – the customer.
Fight The Good Fight
So the question becomes: How do you maintain and expand entrepreneurial spirit – aka ‘The Founder’s Mentality’ – across a company? The book puts forward three successful startup traits that a company should ideally have at every stage of its development: an insurgent mission, an owner mindset and front-line obsession. Each characteristic deserves a full book.
But fundamentally, it’s about maintaining that snarky startup attitude: mocking the status quo in the name of supporting the undervalued hero – the customer. At the same time, you need to rip up any red tape that gets in the way of this support.
Happily, when I evaluated Augury on its Founder’s Mentality, it scored very high. No surprise. And it also became apparent that our biggest barriers to growth and future success are internal factors not external ones. So, it’s down to us.
So, what should we do as we seek to increase our execution speed? I will simply advocate the power of talking and listening to our customers and to our front-line teams. Indeed, it’s all about focusing on people.
It’s about looping in the front-line and really understanding their situation, so the rest of the executive team and I can drive the right changes fast.
Looping In the Front-Line
My first 90 days at Augury were largely defined by many one-on-ones. I found it essential to talk directly with everyone on my team of around 100 people. On one level, it gives them a chance to be heard. And often we can quickly solve any personal challenges and issues they may have. More fundamentally, it’s about looping in the front-line and really understanding their situation, so the rest of the executive team and I can drive the right changes fast.
These one-on-ones have been humbling and exhilarating for me. I learned how diverse the team is – taking in everyone from many veterans who long served causes much greater than themselves, to asylum seekers from Cuba and Venezuela who went through immense challenges to come here. I was also delighted to learn how machine health has become a personal mission for so many, and how happy and empowered people felt working at Augury.
Company Growth Is People Growth
With a team like this, we can rocket to the stars. And with the insight they provided we are now able to move to execution. And April was indeed a strong execution month.
- We have established a logical and growth-ready new service organization based on the insights from team members.
- Augury’s Biz Ops implemented a new forecasting process.
- Our IT team consolidated our project management tools so we can all work better together.
- Our Information Systems team is now ready to launch our new CPQ tool.
- And the list goes on and on…
All of these strategic initiatives are taking place while the entire team is still making sure we deliver day-in-day-out value to our customers. This means delivering, installing and maintaining brilliant sensors, listening to hundreds of thousands of machines, and deploying the best ever AI engine. As a result, we can provide prescriptive insights, based on years of experience, that save our customers from disasters and enable their customers (you and I) to get the products we need and want.
And while we are building these infrastructures today to allow the company to grow in the future, we are also building them to stretch our capabilities as individuals. In this way, we can each continue to grow as people. And in this way, the circle continues to be round.
Read Roy’s previous post: ‘Why I Joined Augury’.