CEO Matters – Cirata's new dawn
Stephen Kelly, CEO, Cirata
Welcome to the first CEO Matters of FY24. January has been action-packed with global kick-offs and a deluge of communication to lay out the company-wide plans for FY24.
Travel kept me busy. 🛫 First off to San Francisco for the sales kick-off, H2 trading update and investor gathering… next to the Belfast and Sheffield offices to complete the Company kick-offs. It’s important that all our meetings are cost-effective, efficient, inclusive and make a positive difference. Pleased to have completed all the foundations for FY24 by the 12th working day.
Achieving growth is relentless and requires meticulous planning. Here, I’ll explain the strategic steps we’ve taken in January to position Cirata for growth and success in 2024.
Fast-start to the new year and adapting the “growth mindset”
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This New Year marks not only a new dawn but potentially, marks the turning point for Cirata with the relentless pursuit of high quality growth. In tech, there are two types of companies – ‘Growth’ and ‘Zombie’ companies. You either grow fast or die slowly. It is stark but true. All good things come from high-quality growth: investment in innovation & technology, bonuses, rewards, expansion, promotions, leadership & development, and even great parties -the list goes on.
Military precision is required for high-performing teams. By working day fifteen of FY24, our team has already completed:
- FY24 detailed planning which started in September (hat-tip to Marc Benioff’s V2MOM)
- FY24 plan Board approval in December
- GTM re-organization now set up for success eliminating levels of management
- Sales KOs
- Cirata company KO ‘Drive to 25’
- Compensation Plans issued to commission earners
- CROs provided Q1 bookings commitments with account plans
It’s time for flawless execution – planning to succeed from the ‘get go.’ It feels good to already have sound progress before the end of the first month to set the team up for success.
Next up… executing on the plan. As we always say, ‘A class strategy with B class execution is always inferior to B class strategy and A class execution’. Execution can be the difference between good and great companies.
Transparent company growth plan
Our Sales Kick-Off (SKO) at our San Ramon HQ was an amazing event, intense for the GTM team with training, role plays, presentations and team building energizers.
We emphasized the importance of Driving the 3 P’s: Pipeline, Predictability and Performance. We stressed the huge responsibility to deliver quarter on quarter progression - ‘doing what we say we will’. To be successful, teams need to put the energy and intensity of a year-end into a quarter-end, and put the quarter-end drive into the month-end, so the business is ‘always on’ in serving customers and partners.
Check out the highlights from SKO in this post:
The following week, I flew back across the pond to Belfast, where we continued our global company kick-offs. These meetings provided an opportunity for every team to understand FY24 and especially Q1 goals, and the outcomes that will drive growth, alignment and wow customers.
The overall FY24 company plan was cascaded to all the teams within the company so there is transparency: everyone can see every team’s goals and drivers, from Sales to Engineering to Finance. Transparent reporting will be shared with all colleagues quarterly.
Instilling core values is key to a shared vision
Cirata’s core values—'Customer First,' 'Moving as One,' and 'It starts with me'—serve as our guiding North Star, directing our collective efforts towards driving growth.
My goal this first month was to set a tone of energy and passion. By championing our core values, it provides a compass that guides decision-making at every level of the organization.
Across the globe, it was good to see the teams working collaboratively on problem-solving and ‘smashing the silos’ to focus on how to serve customers better. It is important to live the values, and translate the values into behaviors for success.— 'Customer First,' 'Moving as One,' and 'It starts with me' are not merely slogans but principles that shape our company's ethos, DNA and the way we behave every day.
Ultimately, my commitment to instilling core values is an investment in the long-term success of our company.
Creating a Feedback Loop
It is important to foster a workplace where individuals are not just employees but active contributors to a shared vision. For the first time, every colleague is a shareholder in the business so that the alignment with our external shareholders is strong.
There is always room for improvement, but I’m happy to share some honest positive feedback from the team after our first company kick-off:
- “Great to see our CFO involved in defining our subscription pricing structure with customers.”
- “Real buzz and excitement in the room to own and define the actions that will take us forward.”
- “Appreciated the honesty and transparency of where we are and what we need to get done.”
- “Great to see an overall overview of the team’s goals as a whole from Cirata (Each Dept presenting).”
- "The sentiment is it was 'real', no BS, no gimmicks but real, honest, useful information.”
Having a feedback loop enhances collaboration and drives continuous improvement throughout the organization. Feedback is the Breakfast of Champions. A shared vision for growth is a recipe for success. 🙏
All hands on deck… The ‘Drive to 25’ is alive. Time to start “ringing the bell.”
Final Thoughts: FY24 Growth Plan
As you exit January, I hope you’re still feeling the “New Year” energy and passion for growth. How will you set up your teams for success in 2024? I’d love to hear from you.
Onwards & Upwards, Stephen