| Carroll Moon
CloudFit Software Culture
The below content was sent to all CloudFit employees on December 13, 2021. CloudFit’s Executive Team realizes that our approach is worth sharing with the world.
We have happy customers and happy partners. We do unique work. We have a unique, patented platform. We have brilliant people who have real experience. But more than anything, customers and partners tell us that they love our folks as human beings. We truly are there to serve our customers with love. Customers and partners can “feel” that things are different with CloudFit. You can’t fake being genuine. You can’t fake actually caring.
Given our successes so far, I get asked a lot about culture. We really try to live out our People write books on culture, but ultimately, it boils down to five things:
- Hire good people
- Lead by example
- Earning trust
- Do the Right Thing
- Loving like family
1. Hire Good People
Being a good person isn’t about beliefs. Different people believe different things, and that is wonderful. Different people have different backgrounds, and that is wonderful. Different people look and behave differently, and that is wonderful. People are different. We love that. We encourage that. Diverse viewpoints enable better outcomes. We recognize that every human being is unique, and we want each person to embrace that. Be yourself. Be your truest self. Talk about your experiences and beliefs. Do not force your views on one another, but be free to be yourself.
We want people who are focused on “we” not “me”. We want people who care about other people. We want people who can give examples of where they’ve volunteered at some point in their life to help someone or something other than themselves. We are looking for people who will not “step on heads to get ahead”. We want people who will serve customers and serve teammates and really mean it. We want people who love everyone no matter what.
We want people who keep their word. We want people who see their word as their bond. We want folks who will do whatever it takes to make sure that CloudFit delivers on our promises to every customer.We want folks to will do everything in their power to help their teammates.
We want people who are loyal. We want everyone that works here to retire here. Obviously, that isn’t realistic, but that’s our goal. If you’ve bounced around chasing money or titles, CloudFit is not the place for you. At the same time, I don’t think we’ve hired anyone who came in making less than they made before. Both things can be true—make money and be loyal. Most people have the order flipped. We prioritize loyalty. And note, we also recognize that the company is an inanimate thing that is made up of animate people. People aren’t typically loyal to paper. Loyalty is earned, and once earned, people are loyal to other people.
2. Lead By Example
Human beings have great discernment and most people can easily spot a fake. Therefore, every leader has to live the values. (by the way, everybody is a leader, but that’s a different topic)
Would the company rather lose money on a project than not keep their word? Yes.
Would the company do everything in its power to hold on to the team during the lean months of the COVID pandemic? Yes.
Is the company perfect? No. We do not claim to be perfect. We do claim to have good intentions. We believe that we are doing the right work for the right reasons. Most people start companies to sell them. CloudFit wants to lead the “Cloud Revolution”. Of course, we want to make money in the process. A portion of that money has always been intended to go to KidFit, JobFit and other charities. A portion of that money has always been intended to go to our team members so they can further support their families and loved ones. A portion of that money has always been intended to do more good in our communities (e.g. we could have built a building outside of the City of LYH for less money, but our intent is to make a visible impact, and the restored, historic “Carter Glass” headquarters building is a testament that.)
3. Earning the Trust of Our Customers and Employees
One of the keys to earning trust is consistency. A mentor once asked me “if you shake up a soda, what comes out?” I answered “foam / fizz”. My mentor said, “No, it is still soda—if you shake it up, what is on the inside comes out. The same is true with people. When you shake them up / during tough times, what is inside of them comes out.” We have to be consistent in our messaging and behaviors internally, and we have to be consistent in our messaging and behaviors externally. If we quote a price, that is the price. If the price doesn’t meet the customer’s budget, the scope must change in order to reduce the price. If the customer has an outage on a holiday, and the root cause is due to the actions of another systems integrator, CloudFit still drives the Major Incident Bridge and works around the clock—with love, not bitterness—to get the customer’s critical systems back online. That sort of response must be on-point, and it must be consistent. It takes a lifetime to build a reputation, and it only takes a single “moment of truth” to ruin it—that is true for people and for companies.
4. Doing The Right Thing
At the end of the day, “doing the right thing” has to be the most important thing. We have to reward the right behaviors. We have to swiftly discuss the wrong behaviors. If the wrong behaviors persist, we have to take action. But the best answer is to hire the right people in the first place, and we have been very blessed on that front. Every meeting, every one-on-one, every discussion must be bathed in discussions about finding the right answer and then doing that. We often say “stop trying to be right and find the right answer”. Human nature is to argue to “be right”. There also has to be the recognition that what one person sees as the “right thing” may be different than what someone else sees as the “right thing”, and in those cases, we have to talk through it to find the best-right-answer. At CloudFit, we try to force discussions about finding the right answer. Hierarchy does not matter. We all have to be humble enough to 1) care more about the right answer than being right 2) help our teammates and customers 3) take help when it is given and 4) ask for help when it is needed.
5. Loving Each Other Like Family
One of the definitions of family as defined by Merriam-Webster is the following: “a group of individuals living under one roof and usually under one head”. In our case, the “head” are the mission, vision and SERVE values. The “roof” is virtual; the “roof” is CloudFit Software (the company). In families, people aren’t always biological relatives. In families, people don’t always share the same beliefs/look the same/act the same/etc. In families, there is a bond. In families, there is love. In families, there is trust. In families, there is responsibility and accountability to one another and to the family. In families, all of those characteristics mean that people are “real” with one another. There is a freedom in that realness—even tough conversations have to be had because of the responsibility and accountability for the family and to each member therein. At CloudFit, we try hard to be a family. At CloudFit, we try hard to love like family. And like a typical family, we aren’t perfect. But, in spite of imperfection, the importance of the family sustains the bond. Ultimately, the stakes are too high to not force tough conversations. We owe it to our customers. We owe it to our teammates. We owe it to the charities that we support. We owe it to our city. We owe it to the industry.
With all of that said, it is important to note the following:
- “We are not perfect, and we do not claim to be.” We are all human, and we make mistakes. We recognize that not every person on planet earth would thrive in our culture. We recognize that there may be some folks at CloudFit who do not love the culture. We recognize that there have been folks who have left CloudFit for various reasons. We do not claim to be perfect, but we do strive to be our best version of perfect in-line with the SERVE values and the culture ideals that are bulleted above.
- We are not trying to “sell” the culture to you. We are trying to write it down. Writing it down leads to great dialog. If we were trying to “sell” it, we’d be pushing the great employee and customer quotations to you. That’s not our goal. If part of our culture is being “real”, a big part of being real is going on-record with the “what”. That’s the intent here—to write it down so that we can take the next step in the dialog together as a family.
At CloudFit, we want to lead the “Cloud Revolution”. John Deere was key in the Agricultural Revolution. General Electric was key in the Industrial Revolution. CloudFit Software will be key in the Cloud Revolution. We’ve been blessed beyond compare—you can’t make this stuff up. Who wins Microsoft’s Partner Award two years in a row? And who wins that award two of the three years that the company has existed? We are unique. We are thankful. And our people are everything. Our customers and partners feel it.