They Will Follow You to the Moon: Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast

I wasn’t shocked that the number one takeaway from Silicon Slopes Tech Summit 2019 #ssts19 was building a stable, thriving, and happy work culture. Most of you probably know the old adage from Heraclitus, who said, “the only thing that is constant is change.” When companies invest time in their people, their people will follow them through any kind of change….with honor.

As you entrepreneurs start on your adventure, it is crucial to surround yourselves with people who will be willing to follow you to the moon, traverse the slippery mountain slopes, cross the dangerous rivers, and (stick whatever metaphor motivates you here). During the conference, it was evident, time and time again that if you intend on taking your company to the next level, you have to invest in the culture of your organization, and be the kind of leader that people want to follow.

I hear this information all the time, and there are several books, articles, podcasts, etc., out there that help leaders develop these attributes.

To aid in what is already out there, here are some thoughts about approach, and also some good quotables that might help drive you to understand what will work for you, in order to develop a change resilient, change-seeking, self-actualized culture.


Thoughts by Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP

  • Organizations need to be more mindful when it comes to mental illness. We need to correct the deficit, leading efforts to help with this great cause.
  • Treat your people as if they are your greatest value add, as if they are your customer.

Thoughts by Tony Prophet, Chief Equality Officer for Salesforce

Inclusive Leadership means:

  • Have brave, authentic conversations
  • Practice inclusive meetings
  • Be fair with assignments and promotions
  • Celebrate and bond with everyone in mind

Thoughts by David Fano, Chief Growth Officer with WeWork

  • ¾ of employees are looking for other jobs, or are excited to go somewhere else
  • Most businesses have a high consumer experience, but a low work experience – a very siloed approach
  • You need to use your company resources to invest in the organization’s experience
  • If you have happy and fulfilled employees, you will have happy and fulfilled customers
    • It is amazing how much the energy exchange between employee and customer will relate to the overall customer experience


  • My Favorite: Culture eats strategy for breakfast – Jeff Sanquist, General Manager, Cloud+AI Developer Relations of Microsoft
  • Trust is the ultimate human currency  – Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP
  • Diversity is a fact, inclusion is a choice – Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP
  • The ultimate thing you bring to the world is your word – Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP
  • Company: Com (together) Panis (bread): “break bread together” – David Fano, Chief Growth Officer