Protecting Culture During Growth


Aurelien Mottier
Reading Time: 3 minutes



Protecting Culture During Growth

Aurelien Mottier

CEO at Operatix

Thibaut Ceyrolle

GVP EMEA at Snowflake

I got to interview Thibaut Ceyrolle, GVP EMEA at Snowflake, about why old leadership is broken and what it means to hire based on culture.

When he joined Snowflake in 2016, Thibaut was the first employee in the international office. Now there are 200 others with him.

“The company is progressing fast. Company wide, we are at 400% of gross, and we just signed our 300th customer yesterday,” Thibaut said.

He credits this success with a management style and a company culture that fosters growth.

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This new generation, they buy into challenge. They buy into how you respect them and how you will make them grow in their career.

Thibaut Ceyrolle – GVP EMEA at Snowflake

How to Protect Culture During Growth

With 20 years in software, Thibaut has seen plenty of companies doing it wrong.

“You have companies that will focus only on execution and numbers,” he said. “And you have those that now are focusing on culture.

Most of the time, the problem with growth and lack of good behaviour comes from salespeople.

Before you get defensive, think about it this way: They’re highly driven people focused on success.

Just, sometimes they’re focused on their own success instead of that of the company.

Thibaut explained three things companies can do to combine growth and culture authentically.

1) Humble Leadership

“The culture needs to come from the top with humble leaders,” Thibaut said.

That’s what attracted Thibaut to Snowflake. The founders were extremely humble and tried to apply that trait in the company.

2) No Hiring Compromises

“Culture is dependent on the people you hire,” Thibaut pointed out. “Never compromise on hiring.”

Thibaut tries to maintain a “no hassle policy” for hiring.

That means he wants to test their integrity to make sure they aren’t completely selfish. “They not only come for the money, but they are also good people for the team,” he added.

3) Be Realistic

Everyone can make mistakes, even in hiring. “The more you grow, the more difficult it is because you meet so many people,” Thibaut said.

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Culture is dependent on the people you hire. Never compromise on hiring.

Thibaut Ceyrolle – GVP EMEA at Snowflake

Read more on company growth here

Bonus: Don’t Misjudge Millennials

“This generation right now is the most talented,” Thibaut said.

If they appear to lack loyalty and switch from company to company, it just might not be their fault. It could be yours.

“I’m impressed with very young people on what they can do,” Thibaut said. “If you build the team in a meritocratic way of working, it’s priceless.”

Don’t bash the Millennials.

Reward them for having talent.

2 Traits of New Leaders

Old leaders are hierarchical. Judgement can lead to pessimism and even fear in a team.

New leaders are open-source, which is more essential than ever in a fast-growing company.

Open Leadership

“What I learned quite quickly working with great leaders is that it’s important to remain yourself and to not imitate somebody,” Thibaut said

Open-source leadership has to do with authenticity, not just charisma.

“This new generation, they buy into challenge. They buy into how you respect them and how you will make them grow in their career,” Thibaut said.

The problem is that if they’re not working with the right manager, then they feel they aren’t working with the right company, so they’ll switch.

Open source management needs to come from different talents in the team, not just the top leader.

Don’t dictate everything yourself. Share responsibility and let others take the lead.

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The most important thing, whatever your size. Is to have an open door policy.

Thibaut Ceyrolle – GVP EMEA at Snowflake

Approachable Leadership

New leaders don’t wall themselves off from their teams, either.

“The most important thing, whatever your size, is to remain approachable whatever you do, to have an open door policy,” Thibaut said. “Everybody needs to feel free to talk about problems, about behaviours, about where they need help, and to see the mindset that we have within the team.”

Bottom line, lead by example.

“Especially the new generation, they need to understand that you fight for them and you win hearts and minds. You need to be a problem solver for them,” Thibaut said.

Connect with Thibaut on LinkedIn for more insights about leading companies through explosive growth.

This post is based on a B2B Revenue Acceleration podcast with Thibaut Ceyrolle. To hear this episode, and many more like it, subscribe to our podcasts here. 

If you don’t use iTunes, you can listen on our website!

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About Operatix

Operatix is a Sales Acceleration company specialized in supporting B2B Software vendors to identify new revenue streams, increase qualified sales pipeline, and accelerate channel development across Europe and North America. Operatix has a wealth of experience in working with the biggest tech players worldwide as well as a multitude of emerging software vendors.

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