The Case for Being a People-First Business with Janis Machala
INTRODUCTION: Welcome to The Daily Bolster. Each day we welcome transformational executives to share their real- world experiences and practical advice about scaling yourself, your team, and your business.
Matt Blumberg: Welcome to The Daily Bolster. I'm Matt Blumberg, the co- founder and CEO of Bolster, and I'm here today with Janis Machala. Janis is a renowned executive coach based in Seattle, but she has done time as a tech operating exec, both East Coast and West Coast before becoming a business coach and exec coach. So Janis, welcome to The Daily Bolster.
Janis Machala: Thanks, Matt. I'm happy to be here. This is fun.
Matt Blumberg: So, you and I share a dedication to the concept of people first, and I know that because I know you and we've had a lot of conversations about it over time, and it was philosophy at Return Path. It's very much our philosophy here at Bolster, and I always just articulated that as people have to come first. If you have great, happy, engaged people, you'll have happy customers. If you have happy customers, you'll have happy shareholders. So my question to you is what is your take on that? It is people first, the right way to build a business. And I assume your answer to that is yes, but it's more sort of why.
Janis Machala: Okay. So first of all, there's a book that Thomas Eisenmann wrote, Why Startups Fail. Everybody should read that book, because it deconstructs this to completely, and it comes down to values and shared values. Because we all have these core values, and if we don't share values, there's going to be conflict. And if there's conflict, it makes it so much harder. So to me, everybody needs to be rowing in the same direction. And when you don't have values, you're not rowing in the same direction. Well, people say, " Well, how do you deal with that?" Or, " How do you figure that out?" Well, the first thing is, learn how to do behavioral interviewing, because people are hired for what they know and fired for who they are. I have that stitched in every one of my places I can possibly share that. Okay? The second thing is, if people don't know how to interview behaviorally, teach it to them. Because that is a core part of startups, because every person matters in a startup, every person for quite a while. So, don't delay firing if somebody's not a values fit. You can't have a turd in the punchbowl, you just can't. And you know that, and founders know that, but they don't act on it because their fear is, " Oh, if we lose them, we'll lose this knowledge." Or, " If we do something about this, it'll hurt morale." Actually, it will help morale. So that's the thing. And then the other piece of this is it's not enough to have core values and show those values. You have to operationalize the values. So then the norms come in, and that's where people know what's the lane that we operate in? How do we deal with things? So let me give you an example really quickly. Norms would be no assholes, right? No assholes allowed, or norms would be, everybody has a veto power on hiring, meaning everybody in the interview cycle, if one person won't hire them, we won't hire them, even if we're desperate. Because a bad hire-
Matt Blumberg: Especially if you're desperate.
Janis Machala: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. So that's an example of values. Another would be how we run meetings. So operationalizing values is where you really get the benefit of that with respect to people first. And what happens then is people refer people, and great people know great people. So you get this flywheel, and then people love working there, and it creates so much less friction. And I mean, I call it the ease and flow company.
Matt Blumberg: I love it. That's a great concept.
Janis Machala: There you go.
Matt Blumberg: All right. Janis Machala, thank you so much for joining me.
Janis Machala: You're welcome.
Tune in to today’s episode, where Matt welcomes renowned executive coach Janis Machala to talk about their shared dedication to a people-first approach to business. Matt and Janis discuss why it’s important to share values, how behavioral interviews can help you find the right people, and what it means to operationalize your values. Don’t miss this episode! Listeners learn how prioritizing people in your organization leads to business success.