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About a year ago, we started the journey to articulate Online Tech’s purpose. I’m a big fan of Verne Harish and his book “Mastering the Rockefeller Habits” and we’ve been practicing most of those habits at Online Tech since I joined the company in 2008.
The one habit that had been elusive to us was capturing our “purpose” into a succinct (less than 10 word) statement that is easy to grasp and remember. In fact, before we started the journey, our mission sounded more like a long winded value proposition:
We help our clients dramatically reduce costs compared to managing their own data centers. We reduce our clients’ operational risks with our experienced staff and repeatable processes. We deliver a level of operational excellence in the data center and managed services with metrics, accountability and visibility rarely seen in-house.
With the substantial growth that Online Tech is experiencing, Yan and I agreed that one of our top investments of time as Co-CEOs needs to be spent on our culture. We set out to articulate our Purpose with the goal of defining “true north” for the entire team that works at Online Tech. True north in the sense that it provides a compass & direction for the hundreds of decisions that our employees are asked to make every day in the best interest of our clients.
We started the process by bringing in an outside consultant to interview all of our employees and answer a couple of key questions such as:
“Why do you work at Online Tech?”
“What do you like about working at Online Tech?”
“What are you passionate about?”
We received some really interesting feedback from this exercise. One of the products was compilation of all of the interview results as a word “cloud” that shows each word in a size proportionate to the number of times it was mentioned in all of the interviews.
We were excited to see “Win-Win”, one of our core values clearly resonates across our team. Other words showed us what our team truly valued about working at Online Tech and what they believe we stand for.
From the interview results, the management team took the next 9 months working to craft a purpose statement that reflects what our employees are telling us. Why 9 months? Well, as Mark Twain once said, “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.” We wanted a concise purpose statement and decided to take our time to get there.
As we reviewed the feedback from our employees, two key themes really came through loud and clear:
1) Our employees really enjoyed working with their high performing teammates – some of the best sales, marketing and technologists in the industry. We’ve gone out of our way to hire exceptional people – just ask anyone who has been through the Online Tech interview process. We hire people with a passion for what they do, how they take care of our clients, and their eagerness to learn and growth with the company.
2) The experiences we deliver for our clients is something we take pride in – and something we focus on every day. From the time a prospective client comes to our website, how we follow up on their inquiries, to their visits to our data centers, or the deployment process with our clients, how we answer the support hotline, to the experience through our client portal, our focus has been on delivering an experience that clearly reflects our commitment to our clients
So after months of crafting our purpose statement, it seemed to “pop out” at us.
Of course! We have exceptional people that come to work every day focused on delivering exceptional client experiences.
Exceptional People Delivering Exceptional Experiences
This isn’t a secret formula by any means, but it is the drumbeat of our culture. It’s where we focus our energies and what we work on improving every day.
Exceptional People & Experiences. It’s an intentional culture that is difficult to replicate and makes Online Tech unique in a number of ways.
He also explains Online Tech’s 19 year old history, from starting as an ISP (Internet Service Provider) to shifting into a managed data center operator. Focusing on colocation, we evolved into managed servers and then eventually cloud computing.
Klein also discusses Online Tech’s purpose and core values, including an emphasis on quality people, thus – “Exceptional People Delivering Exceptional Experiences.”