(this post was first published on July 5, 2017)
Once or twice in your life, you are in the midst of a moment and you realize “this is special, I cannot take this for granted.” For the past 8 years (and nearly 5 years before that), I knew my time at Intuit was special. I learned so many valuable lessons on how to be a better leader, better teammate, and a better human. I wanted to share my Top 10 Lessons from Intuit with you. It’s kinda my teachable point of view on what makes working for Intuit such a rich experience.
Embracing the values: essentially it boils down to integrity without compromise, give back, respect your peers, love your customers, and push the boundaries of your limitations with passion. I saw examples of Intuit values every single day, in every single meeting, and every document produced. Embracing the values keeps everyone on the right path.
Let the people in: Ohhhh, it’s the people. I am so grateful for the thousands of people I’ve met over the years. A few of them are my best friends today. Prior to Intuit, I did not think it wise to intermingle friendships with work. Intuit taught me how to open my heart to the people I stood beside. Wow. What a blessing.
The only constant is change: one of the first people I worked with, Richard Phelps, taught me his approach to change, “Just wait, this will change too.” Whether the creator or the recipient of change, it takes patience and courage to move with it. And, once you relax, it is even easier.
Listen then Talk: active listening is a very tricky thing… first off, you have to pay attention. Secondly, you actually have to be vulnerable enough to absorb what you hear. Thirdly, when you open your mouth, it’s best to add to, clarify, or refine the thought, not defend your assumptions. Everything becomes more interesting when you are actively engaged.
Learn-Teach-Learn: Everyone at Intuit is accustomed to being the smartest person in the room. What is a genius to do when they are in a room full of savants? See 1-4 above. Assume good intentions. Be brave enough to learn and teach in every conversation. And lighten the hell up; we are in the midst of an amazing life, even when we are in the valleys.
Go for it: if you have an idea, sketch it out and go for it. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just needs to show its benefit. There are literally hundreds of people who will help push an idea or agenda when something makes sense. Don’t let your job title or experience level get in your way. Good ideas and passion are where the magic happens… we have room for that.
Be an apprentice: there are few places where you will work with leaders who are so accessible and generous. From Day One with Brooks Fisher to my last with Olga Braylovskiy, the leaders of this company inspire me to work, live and play with more confidence. This is a special shout out to just a few who touched me deeply: Brooks Fisher, Lorrie Norrington, Jennifer Hall, Rick Jensen, Rich Hillebrecht, Bill Ihrie, Bill Mirbach, Brad Smith, Kiran Patel, Anna Meyer, Eric Dunn, Olga Braylovskiy. Thank you. I am blessed to have worked with and for you. There are literally a hundred other names to add… I’m saving space.
Lead with compassion: Yes, use all the brainiac tools to make decisions and drive results… but establish an environment for people to be themselves. Accept people for who they are and who they can be… not who we want them to be. Skills and talents are addressed every day in one-on-ones. Kindness and compassion is witnessed moment to moment.
Bring your whole self to work: bring it on! But please, keep your third eye open for your own foibles. We humans are completely wacky and it’s amazing we don’t weird-out each other 24/7. Embrace all the crazy people in the room. You are in the same room… could be they are embracing the crazy in you.
Savor the surprises: you know you’ve grown up when new information, new behaviors, and new ideas come flying at you from all directions… and you giggle, relish, and delight at learning something new, gaining a new perspective. This is the way of the world, an ever-changing eco-system of ideas, beliefs, technology, and climates. Enjoy pushing the edges of your brain and emotions.