Day 3: A brief inquiry into “trust, empathy, humanity, and love” at Rocket Software (from IBM Think)
Happy Valentine’s Day! It’s the 3rd day of IBM Think, and things are winding down. The last big event, Think by the Bay, is tonight on Pier 39 where Rocket is sponsoring karaoke and cocktails at the Hard Rock Café. (Read about my second day and the 5 things that blew my mind on the expo floor here!)
Morning booth-duty was bananas. We handed out the last of yesterday’s silk roses, and gave away the majority of our heart-shaped sunglasses. The events team has cleared out the Target candy aisle twice. We also put together a small collection of iPads and laptops for guests to send Valentine’s Day e-cards, which was still really popular when I left at 11:30am. And a lot of the attendees who visited the booth said they loved its design!
But all the extra attention we’ve gotten today makes me think about the person-first philosophy of Rocket, and how it fits into our Big Picture. Personally, I consider myself a fairly emotional person on the regular—I love a lot of “things,” and I’m someone comfortable using emotional language to describe myself. “I love music, and movies, and breakfast for dinner.” And yet, I understand there are many people less comfortable being, and even witnessing, that kind of expressiveness. So how did Rocket get here?
Like most private organizations, things like company values and mission come straight from the top. Our CEO, Andy Youniss, had already left San Francisco by the time I decided to write about this subject, but fortunately his executive assistant, Melissa, (who has been with Rocket for 22 years) and our director of global events, Joanne, are here, and were both present the day “trust, empathy, humanity, love” first entered Rocket’s core vocab. They gave me the story.
Several years ago, during one of our annual Leadership Summits in Boston, an executive from IBM (of all places!) was presenting to Rocketeers. During that presentation, they spoke about things like love, and empathy, and all the reasons that businesses should be more forward about caring for their customers. Andy really resonated with their speech, and felt that if we wanted Rocket to be a Category of One business, that humanity and empathy were the way to do it.
Shortly afterward, our modern-day Rocket core values were developed, and Rocketeers began living and breathing trust, empathy, humanity, and love!
To our customers and partners, on behalf of all of Rocket Software, Happy Valentine’s Day! Next week, when I’m back home in Boston, I’ll be writing an end-of-Think recap. Stay tuned.