What are 3 things we learnt from a world class business?

Posted by Phil Murray 21 September 2016 02:18 PM

We recently traveled to the awesome Xero HQ in Milton Keynes as part of our "people's prize" sponsorship of the "If We Can You Can" Challenge.

The winner of the Peoples Award (Ami Davies from My Little Explorer) had the chance to share her business idea and the challenges she faces with the Executive team of Xero. They in turn provided support and guidance that could prove invaluable for Ami as she embarks on her business journey.

As you can see from the video, Ami is looking to grow her business and our friends from Xero were kind enough to share a day and the vast experience of the team (Including MD Gary Turner) to help her build the business over the coming months and years.  

They team at Xero are perfectly placed to provide sound advice as after being founded in 2006 it is now one of the fastest growing Software as a Service companies globally.  They now lead the New Zealand, Australian, and UK cloud accounting markets. They employ a team of more than 1,400 people in 20 offices across the planet and we were lucky enough to see the UK office. We think our new look is mint but Xero was mind blowing, had a great feeling about it the minute we entered and was buzzing with activity. 

There was so much great stuff we chatted about in our meetings with the Heads of Sales, Marketing, HR and Operations and we wanted to share our top 3 take-aways that as business owners you could learn from;

  1. Sharing your vision - what came across loud and clear was that all of the team were very passionate about building a world class business at Xero. They talked alot about helping to shape the future and that all "Xeroes" (Thats what you are called if you are a member of the team) can  aim high and thrive. All of the key projects they were working on were clearly linked to the company values so that all Xeroes could see how they can make a difference. They have achieved so much since 2006 but all of the team we met spoke about it "only being the beginning!!" 
  2. Blazing your own trail - they encourage all of their team to take ownership of their work with a mantra of "Own It, Drive It, Deliver It". This was even down to the way they make the Barista coffee for visitors when we were greeted by a Kiwi who had poured his heart and soul into this project and it was a great experience (even though it was just making coffee). It really felt like they were all in it together and the employee benefits alongside a company share scheme help xeros own part of the company and share in its success.
  3. Be human - at Xero, they have loads of fun and have created an awesome culture that encourages Xeroes to have a positive impact from day one. Being human means no matter who you are or at what level in the business, everyone deserves to be treated with respect.

The trip was awesome and Darren and I got talking about the xero recipe and why they have emerged as one of most exciting businesses in the world. It is simple!! They have a clearly defined strategy and a shared set of values. They have fund and hold people accountable which is due the Xero exec teams efforts on enforcing brand, their values and the vision across all of the depts. Mix that with a passionate team of Xeroes who feel engaged and you have a peer-to-peer management culture that is lightyears away from the traditional style of leadership.

I for one would love to work for a firm like Xero and have been very lucky to see a small part of its journey thanks to our strategic partnership. To see it warts-and-all was so motivating and life changing and we want to pass on a huge thanks to Kat Bond, Gary Turner and the rest of the team at Xero for helping make this happen.

Keep up the great work guys...

Topics: Xero financial controller