BitBean | CEOs Speak, July 2020 – Lisa partridge of XYPRO Technology
Is there a particular book that you read, or podcast you listened to, that really helped you in your career? Can you explain?
I have lost track and count of the books about “motivation”, “frog eating”, asking for the deal, etc., with post it notes sticking out of the 2–3 chapters I made it through before moving on to something else. As I took on company-wide leadership responsibilities, practical books like “The Essential HR Handbook” proved to be lifesaving when navigating the complex waters of employee supervision — what to say, how to say it.
In more recent years, as corporate identity, mission and culture became more of my focus, I homed in specifically on improving overall company performance and employee engagement. I relied on books like the history of Tandem Computers and “Leaders Eat Last” that really stressed concepts like servant leadership, employee investment and company cultural identity.
I haven’t really transitioned from books to podcasts, but I do enjoy NPR’s “Hidden Brain”. Recommended by my Dad who is in his mid-seventies, it’s not necessarily a “how to” career helper in the traditional sense but serves the self-reflective, contemplative brain exercises that are necessary to be the type of leader, and everyday human, that I want to be.
Extensive research suggests that “purpose driven business” are more successful in many areas. When you started your company what was your vision, your purpose?
I didn’t start XYPRO. I took the helm when the founders retired. My purpose felt and still feels like it is to ensure I don’t screw up and fail the business the founders put their life into starting.
Finding our “Own” vision for the business took my partner and me some time but we have done that and made it our focus. Because I am the CEO, I also had to find a cultural vision that felt natural, benefitted the employees and ultimately the company. I have found in my personal experience that those things go hand in hand. We have enviable employee engagement.
Our expectations for performance are high but we also make honest efforts to have a positive, supportive, innovative workplace. From employee benefits like paid parental leave and ½ day summer Fridays to career path guidance, leadership and mindfulness training and free onsite (now remotely hosted) yoga. We know happy employees work hard and support the cause. The result is a blue-chip customer base with near 100% customer retention rates.