Have you heard of the software company Atlassian?
They’re an Australian business that is currently valued around $50 billion. The founders, Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar, were recently on the podcast How I Built This. If you haven’t checked it out, you should. There is a lot you can learn from Atlassian.
You might be thinking that you’re not in the software business or that you’re not a founder. But that’s not the point. There are lessons these founders learned that you can take away and implement in your role no matter what position you currently hold or future role you apply for.
1. Create an Environment You Want to Work In
Both Mike and Scott had worked in corporate environments in Australia, and it didn’t take them long to realise that it just wasn’t for them. While it was the safe bet where they could get a guaranteed salary, super, and other corporate perks, they wanted more out of their life.
When they founded Atlassian and started employing staff, they thought about their corporate experience. They tried really hard to create a work environment that their team actually wanted to come to. It also needed to be a place they wanted to work at. Both the founders have been there for almost 20 years and have no desire to sell the company or move on.
Think about your environment. Do you like coming to work? If not, how can you alter it so that you do enjoy it? If you enjoy coming into the office, then maybe your team will feed off that and be happier as well.
2. Set Your Expectations
One of the lessons Mike and Scott learned early on was they needed to set expectations. When the recruitment team took over and hired new staff, the people they employed did not fit the culture at all. Mike and Scott didn’t blame recruitment or anyone within the company. Instead, they said it was a lesson that they didn’t explain the type of staff they wanted.
It was a good exercise in communication. They needed to not assume that others knew what they wanted. If there hasn’t been a conversation or nothing was communicated, then there is a chance it won’t go well.
So before you blame HR or the recruitment team for not hiring good people, ask yourself if you have communicated who you’re looking for and what your expectations are.
3. It’s Ok Not to Know Everything
Mike and Scott got a little nervous when they brought in employees because suddenly they were the boss. Neither had any leadership experience. They were both just really good software developers.
Both founders admitted that they’re still learning how to become good leaders. But they think they’ve done ok so far. They’ve learned from their mistakes and continue to strive to do better.
It doesn’t matter what role you’re in. Just continue to improve on the day before. Learn from Atlassian and from your mistakes. Don’t aim for perfection. Aim to improve.
4. Just Because You Build It Doesn’t Mean They’ll Come
When the boys first founded Atlassian, they realised that just because they launched a website, it doesn’t mean that suddenly a bunch of customers will rush to it. They needed to be the one to make phone calls, meet with developers, and network at every opportunity they could.
They’re now at the point where they don’t need to chase anymore. Atlassian is somewhat of a household name within the software developer and project management community. Scott and Mike were actually happily surprised to find out that even marketing teams enjoyed using their software.
However, the hunger for networking and chasing sales is something that should never die down. A good salesperson will always pursue no matter how much it’s worth. Just because you work for a big brand or a mega-corporation, it doesn’t mean sales don’t matter. Companies collapse every day. Don’t rest on laurels and make sure to chase every lead down.
5. The Best Way to Resolve Disagreements
Mike and Scott eventually built Atlassian so big that they needed to get some lawyers in. As they owned the company fifty-fifty, there needed to be a way to resolve arguments. The boys came up with a simple yet effective solution. Rock, paper, scissors.
One of them regularly won the game, so the two knew that they needed to come to some sort of compromise otherwise one would have the advantage.
Disagreements are going to happen in business. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in. Find a way to resolve your conflicts, even if it’s a simple game like roshambo.
Learn From Atlassian and Other Founders
You should take the time out of your day to listen to the How I Built This Podcast so you can learn from Atlassian. There are also a ton of episodes with other founders such as Instagram, Reddit, Dell, and Slack. Listening to what these founders went through might not sound too dissimilar to your situation. So use their experiences and learn from them.
You can also learn more from the Better Boss Blog. It contains tips, tricks, and ideas from real-life experiences as well as researched trends from around the world. Continue your learning by following pwf services on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook, so that you never miss a post.