What’s the Biggest Lesson You Learned This Year?
Every year brings a new set of challenges, and 2020 was certainly no exception. It’s been exhausting, overwhelming, frustrating and, at times, terrifying. But it’s also taught us some pretty important things about ourselves, the world, and what’s possible.
As we reflect on our own experience over the last 12 months, we wanted to check in with leaders in the OpenView network to ask, “What’s the biggest lesson you learned this year?” Here’s what they said:
“Communicate often, check in with your team often and make sure people are okay. Prioritize helping customers with business continuity—solve, don’t sell.”
–Lisa Campbell, CMO at Autodesk
“Companies’ and individuals’ ability to adapt and execute is a competitive advantage.”
–Ryan Dunagan, VP of Marketing at Spotio
“People, process and technology—in that exact order. Process is the great connector. You can have the greatest people and technology in the world, but if your process sucks, then you’re wasting potential. On the flipside of that, you can have the greatest process and technology in the world, but if your people suck, your strategy won’t get executed.”
–Mike Nauls, Revenue Operations Manager at Profisee
“Emotional intelligence and self awareness are major muscles you need to continually train as a leader, friend and partner in life.”
–Francesca Krihely, Senior Director, Growth Marketing at Snyk
“There is no such thing as overcommunication.”
–Steffen Bilde, VP of Product Strategy at Dixa
“The biggest by far is the importance of resilience, both personally and professionally. We haven’t had control over a lot this year, so it’s been important to figure out how to deal with uncertainty. We’ve all heard of IQ and EQ. There is a math term called the Uncertainty Quotient, or UQ, which seems pretty fitting in 2020. I think to succeed, we have to be resilient to disruption, uncertainty and change. Whether it’s something drastic like COVID, or more pedestrian like a big market shift, or even a new competitor, resiliency can be the difference between the winners and the losers. Not just as a company, but also personally. It’s one of the reasons I’m so interested in the book Why We Sleep. Health and work-life balance are important parts of being resilient too.”
–Mike Massaro, CEO at Flywire
“Proactive planning and preparation pays off!! Years of prep work in keeping infrastructure, network and tools upgraded and current paid off when the whole organization went remote with no hiccups.”
–Abbas Faiq, CIO at PTC
“Product led growth (PLG) is hard to build but creates a moat. Every part of the company needs to buy into a PLG model—all the way from engineering/product/design to build the necessary features, to marketing changing the way they score leads and channel them, to sales and how they identify and work with the right companies.”
–Pranav Kashyap, Group Product Manager at Mixpanel
“A lot of attention gets paid to macro-friction points in products, but the aggregate of a lot of micro-friction points can cause just as much user angst.”
–Ryan Frederick, Principal at AWH
“The ability to compartmentalize thought regardless of environment is undervalued.”
–Chase Doelling, Director Strategic and Technical Alliances at JumpCloud
“Question your beliefs and find their sources. It can be the most life-altering and profound experience with wide-ranging impact.”
–Shruti Kapoor, CEO at Wingman
“Most of the time, real value is hidden behind poor storytelling.”
–Miguel Fernández Larrea, CEO at Capchase
“Buyers now have all of the power. It had been migrating this way, but the pandemic slammed the door on companies dictating the way prospects buy.”
–Brett Trainor, Host of the B2B Founder podcast
“You have to invest in your network. From having a strong team to getting the advice you need, you’ve got to have the right people in your corner to truly make progress.”
–Katie Burkhart, Founder and CEO at MatterPulse
“Once you have product-market fit, the most important thing is getting the right leadership in place for sales, marketing, product. Without strong leadership, your revenue growth will suffer. All the books and articles tell you this, but you don’t really understand it until you are in the arena and you can feel it.”
–Martin Roth, CRO at Levelset
–Dylan Berno, Client Success Team Lead at New Breed
What’s the biggest lesson you learned this year? Share your answer and join the conversation on LinkedIn here.
More wisdom from SaaS leaders
The most productive founders do these five things on a daily basis.
OpenView’s Steve Melia shares how to widen your talent pool, identify sneaky red flags founders commonly overlook, and foster a more diverse C-suite.
For our BUILDing To Boss podcast, we sat down with board director Anne DelSanto to get her take on building deeper employee engagement.