Back in 2012, I experimentally started a company with the goal of bringing leading HR practices to mostly HR-less start-ups, to help them bypass the turmoil they experience at certain predictable points. I had seen the patterns at several companies already and knew many of the solutions: goal alignment, structural clarity and career roadmaps, the math and science of people operations - but the tricky part was recruiting, since I knew that at least half of my business would be about helping clients scale their teams.
I wanted to work with companies as a third party, but operate as if I were part of the company - I needed total alignment. The agency recruiting model is full of conflicts of interest and bad competitive dynamics - I needed a playbook that would make my interests and my clients’ interests exactly the same. So “100% Alignment with Clients” drove the model and the relationships, and is still our first principle, that sets us apart and drives our decisions every day.
A year in, I also realized that while I had built a small group of great clients and was lucky enough to have the beginnings of my own scalable thing, I had also spent a lot of time doing things that had no obvious tangible benefit to my business - mainly because over the years I’ve connected to a lot of people and I like to help them out when I can. In my career, there were a handful of people who helped me out at important times, just to help me out, and I know how meaningful these professional acts of kindness can be. And while developing my business I met a lot of smart business leaders who weren't yet ready to be full-fledged clients, but just needed some advice - so I've helped them when I could as well. I’ve come to believe strongly that it’s a good practice to just do good things - and that the universe is appreciative and will eventually return the favor.
Over time it became clear that sure enough these acts of goodwill were actually leading to new clients, new candidates, new ideas, and ultimately new members of my team. Practicing Karma is playing the long game, and it’s been a critical part of our business model. I am convinced that if I’d been relentlessly focused on profitable work, we would not be where we are today.
So creating alignment, and good Karma, have driven our business. We are a values-first company in a true sense. Recently we’ve been working on refining and articulating our Team Values, which we’re now finalizing and will post in a few weeks. Stay tuned!