As a professional CEO, Christine Heckart is a master at aligning leadership and driving the team towards a common goal. From her own experience, she’s learned that: “What got us here, won’t get us there.” And, moreover, it takes time and patience to coordinate the big changes that come between funding rounds.
Coming in earlier this year as the CEO of Scalyr, an observability platform for engineering teams, Heckart had her strategies in place to ensure that the transition went smoothly. And we were lucky enough to hear all about her process in the most recent episode of the ScaleUp Valley podcast.
The ScaleUp Valley podcast is all about compressing the key lessons of scaling up a company from 1 million to 100 million, and you can listen to the whole episode here or read my insights below.
Aligning your team in times of change
With over 300 paying customers, Scalyr is a thriving Series A company that achieved 150% growth in both core revenue and in their customer base last year. With that first milestones behind them, they’re now facing forward – towards their next round of growth.
This meant making some big changes. After receiving their Series A, Steve Newman, the Scalyr founder, made a joint decision with their investor, Jason Crisman of Shasta Ventures, to look for a new CEO. That’s when Heckart entered into the picture.
With 30 years of experience in the tech industry, Heckart was thrilled to enter a company as the CEO where she and the founder, Newman, professionally complimented each others’ skills. From there, it was all about working towards Rockefeller Habit Number One: getting a healthy and aligned leadership team.
So Heckart got out her playbook – which she admitted happened to be aligned with the Rockefeller Habits – which helped the whole team build a new process moving forward. That doesn’t come without its challenges of course, but Heckart came prepared.
Alleviating the anxiety of adjustment when scaling your company
Along with the anxieties that come with being a new CEO who is expected to provide a winning strategy to a watchful team, Heckart was aware of the personal anxieties that each employee was facing in times of change. With the best interest of the company in mind, she spent the first 30 days of her time with Scalyr talking to the team and assessing where they stood. This was followed by building the right team, or as she puts it:“First the who, then the what.” And finally, creating a new strategy that everyone understands.
She noted that the team will always be looking for answers to the big questions – who, what, where, why, and how – as soon as possible, because this ambiguity can create anxiety. But Heckart is a firm believer that the process takes as long as it needs.
After rebuilding the leadership team over the summer, she was happy to announce that they accomplished their goal of aligning their strategy. More importantly, everyone can answer – with clarity and conviction – the key questions.
And that wasn’t all the interesting insight that she shared! This episode was full of clear and well-delivered learnings on scaling up, which you can catch by listening to the full episode here.
Then, keep listening and keep scaling!