We hear over and over about the importance of culture, focus and alignment, but I believe that most people miscalculate and underestimate how important these points are, the nuances needed and the discipline it takes to execute. Culture is not bean bag chairs and drinks on Thursday. Focus is not getting your elevator pitch right and alignment is not just a recruiting or firing tool. These are each a minor result of precise, foundational execution done with discipline. More discipline than you think you’d ever needed.
The never ending stream of posts on how great leaders do “this” and bad leaders do “that” are superficial at best. Speaking with inspirational figures like the ones I met at Boston Fintech Week illustrated a fact that many of us already know: building greatness takes trial and error. Messing up a whole bunch or falling square on your butt is a detour, not a stop sign. It’s those that have the will to continue and the intelligence to figure out what the correct course of action that will succeed in establishing a great company culture.
Speed of change is key here which is where culture and alignment comes into play “fast and focused”.
Another key takeaway was recognizing the similar mental makeup of the people I met. These are individuals who commit, who have purpose in everything that they do. They aren’t about looking busy; that’s ridiculous notion for such highly motivated people. Effective and efficient individuals can get more done in one hour than most people do in a week while looking relatively at ease. They know what they want. They know, and Mike Massarospecifically touched on this in detail, that hiring correctly is one of the most important practices a business can maintain.
Finally, I noted that each of these fintech impresarios had an acute attention to detail. They could each talk about the tiny details of their operation; its culture, product, funding, etc. This is key because it’s not just as a function of their jobs, but because they really enjoy where their journey is headed. It’s very hard to do something well that you hate. I doubt they all love culture and funding, but they do love what the right culture and funding can create.
I enjoyed the insights shared throughout all my interviews at Boston Fintech Week and I think you will as well.
About John Siracusa
John is the host of the bi-weekly “Bank On It” podcast recorded onsite at Carpenter Group. He is a fintech, venture capital and financial services enthusiast and connector at the center of an ever-innovating fintech ecosystem.