Management by values: an UpSlide story, by Antoine Vettes

It’s 2009. Before UpSlide was founded, before the “startup mania” and way before France won its second World Cup title.

I just met Philippe and I was far from guessing that, 10 years later, the company we were about to launch together would open its fourth office in Asia after Paris, London and New York. After an introductory lunch organized by a mutual friend, Philippe and I met at my place one Saturday in June for “speed dating” where the goal was to assess our entrepreneurial compatibility. I know it sounds like a bad joke, but the adventure really started like that! Our date was very helpful in determining if we agreed on our idea, but also on the answers to conceptual questions: why turn to entrepreneurship? What are the values that matter the most to us?

This talk was crucial: Philippe and I decided to take the plunge and, without really realizing it, we planted the seeds for 3 essential values that would become the pillars of our company: trust, excellence and happiness at work.

Why did we need to formalize our values?

It’s 2015, nearly 2016.

The seeds took their time to grow. For several years, we forgot this question to focus on our product and our clients.

Finance 3.1 and UpSlide grew significantly: more clients, but also more people; we had over 30 people join the adventure.

The company was at a stage where our strong beliefs couldn’t be cemented just by working alongside the teams. We realized that we needed to formalize our values to enable our teams to make them their own. We asked ourselves, what do they mean in our everyday job? How do they help us be more efficient? How do they make us unique and, first and foremost, united?

Putting our values into words helped us to lay the foundation for our identity and ensured that we could preserve some of the best aspects of our early startup culture as we continued to grow.

The values are also a roadmap. It helped Philippe and I call the shots in terms of recruitment, our most strategic stake. Sure, skills can be learnt. But fitting with the values is the one thing that guarantees good relations between the teams and the ability to work better together. It’s so important for us that we dedicate an interview to it in our recruitment process.

Our values are stronger together

We chose to limit the number of values to focus on the clarity of the message. We observed that the three values take on their full meaning when they are reunited and put into practice together.

  • Happiness at work was always essential for us. In the brainstorm we did the day we met, Philippe and I both said that we intended to take 5 weeks of holidays the first year. Many entrepreneurs don’t even take a single day-off when they launch their company… A better balance between private and professional life was something we missed during our first work experiences; we decided to make it a pillar of our adventure. For us, happiness at work also means to be glad to go to work, day after day, because we find meaning in what we do and we share our values and culture with the people we work with. Amen.
  • Excellence became the most obvious value throughout the years. Firstly, because my studies trained me to be rigorous and stringent. Secondly, because it was the main objective of every project we did. For example, during the first years, we answered a huge request for proposal issued by Orange. We worked the whole summer to develop the model before we even knew we were going to work on the project, just to be sure we would be as convincing as possible… and in fact, we did win the RFP. That’s what excellence is for us: always have a very high level of requirement in everything we accomplish.
  • Finally, trust became the common base of our values. We truly believe trust is the cement of every human relationship. Receiving the trust of others means getting recognition for the good work you do, feeling more accountable, valued and valuable. With trust, a team can accomplish what would have been impossible to accomplish alone. That is why trust is so important and why we can all be free, autonomous and honest day after day – between us, but also with our clients and partners.

Meet the human challenge

It’s 2018.

Our values evolved, grew, and are now shared with every newcomer through our Brand Book, which tells the story and identity of Pyramid. One of the main missions of Philippe and I is to ensure that the values are broadcasted through the teams.

The teams grew up, and so did we. Now, we are more than 60 in 4 countries… and it’s just the beginning of the adventure!

Antoine Vettes, co-CEO and co-founder of the Pyramid group

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