Change is something that elicits a wide range of emotions. For some, it’s feared and avoided. But for others, it’s embraced and sought after. Every day, we’re making changes in our lives and our businesses in reaction to our surroundings and our circumstances. And despite all of its challenges, change can be beneficial — even transformational — for both people and companies. Especially when it’s thoughtfully executed.
SmashFly is in the midst of great change. Change in our business, responding to trends in technology and our market. Change in leadership. Change in the way we build and deliver our software. And change in how we engage and empower our customers and teams. On the surface, it seems like a lot. But we’ve thoughtfully chosen every single change we’re making. And if we think about it, SmashFly is – and has been – changing every day. Each decision we make has the potential to move the needle a little – or a lot. And, most of the time, that change brings enormous value to our business, our customers, and our teams.
Choosing change doesn’t make it any easier to execute. It simply makes it easier as a company to embrace and thoughtfully achieve, together. So what will we achieve in the coming years?
A Vision for What Can – and Will – Be
At SmashFly, we talk often about our Vision 2020: the grand ideas we plan to bring to market that will empower talent acquisition far beyond today’s machinations. Embedded in this vision is the expectation that change will be necessary. Our technology will be different in 2020, but so will the talent acquisition landscape.
Talent acquisition teams will have the power to leverage more data, and that data will be more relevant. This is critical for a very simple reason: Talent acquisition budgets aren’t growing, and CHROs understand that every dollar spent has to prove the best talent is being connected to hiring managers in the least amount of time. To do this, the business requires data it can trust and trackable metrics that align with the company’s talent values.
Another big aspect of our vision is to leverage machine learning and unstructured data to build tools that actually realize the power of artificial intelligence (AI). Right now, AI is the go-to panacea across industries where there’s both hype and hope for future technologies. For SmashFly, AI is our opportunity to make a differentiating shift to deliver only the latter: hope.
But to make these fundamental shifts in this vision, we need to start within: changing our teams, how they operate and how they communicate. Ultimately, all this technological change is no good to us or our customers if we don’t have the best people doing the most important things every day.
Acknowledging the Past and Embracing the Future
If you walk around SmashFly and interact with our people, you’re reminded every day of the company Mike Hennessy built.
His fingerprints are present in nearly everything I do on a daily basis. And his vision helped shape our industry. He believed in people and the power of purpose, and he created a business that beat the odds. Many small companies that start in a spare bedroom ultimately end up as a what-might-have-been obituary — a memory of a dream unrealized. But not SmashFly. And it’s because Mike’s belief in a better way permeated our people to drive our purpose and vision for what we can do.
Building on that is the most important focus for me as I look to 2020 and beyond.
“We cannot become what we want by remaining what we are.” – Max DePree
It would be foolish to ignore or downplay the changes SmashFly has undergone recently. Our leadership has changed, including my new role as CEO. Our teams have changed, as we work to align efforts to achieve our goals. And our culture has changed because there’s a bit of unease and unknown that we’ve introduced over the past six months. These changes haven’t been easy, yet I’ve seen our people embrace them. They’re committed to our success, pushing the envelope to make us an even better company, an even better partner to our customers, an even better team.
Recently, we stopped calling ourselves “Smashers” and started calling ourselves “Flyers.” It might seem like semantics, but the idea is simple and powerful: We’ve successfully smashed through the ceiling, and now it’s time to fly to new heights.
This period of change is important because while it may be difficult to endure and will not be easy for everyone, it’s essential to deliver on our mission and our vision. I know that we won’t make all the right decisions, but in the end – after we’ve thoughtfully pushed ourselves out of our comfort zones, doubled down on our investment in our Flyers, and changed the game – we will be more adaptable, capable, and flexible. Our teams will be ready for anything. And we’ll be more prepared than ever to lead this industry to new heights. It’s time to fly!