The phrase 'work-life balance' doesn't work for Lindsay Jones. She much prefers 'work-life integration.'
The London-based enterprise account executive at cloud computing company PagerDuty starts her day with a wakeup call from her four-year-old son. Once the children are off to school, she links up with her team in a virtual coffee meeting, and spends the rest of her work day helping grow international business for PagerDuty. After a full day of work and meetings, she returns to mom duty. "As a working mom, you've got to figure out how to integrate all of that together," she explains.
Working for a company with a supportive culture facilitates that integration. "I've never, ever felt that I couldn't say no to something work-related because family needed to take priority at that particular time."
We sat down with Lindsay to learn more about how PagerDuty has supported her in achieving that work-life integration, even in the midst of the company's global expansion and growth.
Breaking into the business
Lindsay studied psychology in university. "I'm analytical, but also creative. The psychology degree allowed me to explore human behavior and why people act the way they do and how they think, which has been super relevant for my job in sales," she says. "It reminds me that, at the end of the day, people buy from people, and it helps me establish business relationships on a human level."
After finishing her studies in psychology, she turned to dance choreography to satisfy her creative side. "I danced for eight hours a day, every day, for two years." But at the end of those two years, Lindsay had to make a decision to either pursue dance professionally or enter into a corporate career. She decided to hang up her dancing shoes and find a career where she could apply creativity and love of people to her work.
Eager to start a new chapter in her professional life, Lindsay signed up for a career guidance workshop where she would showcase her skills and learn the best career fit for her. "At the end of the workshop, I was sent a job application for a sales position for an organization focused on building the sales pipeline for enterprise software companies." Lindsay spent five years at this company, learning and perfecting the art of sales. "[My path] was slightly unconventional, but I absolutely wouldn't change it. I am really honored that that was my first step into sales, because I built a super strong foundation that has enabled me to springboard into other roles."
Creating true impact
Nearly 15 years after that career guidance workshop, Lindsay started thinking of ways she could further grow in her career. "It was really important for me to end up in an organization that was doing something innovative, that had strong leaders, that had a culture that I could buy into and be part of, and that was really making a difference," she says. After doing research and connecting with different companies, she found a company that checked all of her boxes. "The clincher for me was meeting with some of the leaders and learning not only the culture that exists at PagerDuty, but how they were so maniacal about creating and maintaining it."
Lindsay attributes the intentionality behind the company culture to the impact it has on transforming businesses. "I've never worked at an organization like PagerDuty where the culture was really felt from the top all the way down through the organization and actually has transferred into every engagement that we have with our customers."
"The cultural values are really well communicated and that allows you to embody them and represent those on a daily basis." One of Lindsay's favorite company culture principles is #AckAndOwn, which stands for acknowledge and own. "It's about empowering everybody at all levels in the organization to be responsible and accountable for the types of engagements that they're having, not only externally, but internally as well," she says."Everyone has the best of interests at heart, always."
Navigating growth in a hybrid environment
In 2017, PagerDuty announced the launch of its UK offices. Since then, the company has expanded into the markets throughout EMEA (Europe, the Middle East, and Africa) and APJ (Asia-Pacific Japan), and evolved from an office culture to 'distributed by design'. (The Europe-based sales team continues to scale, now hiring beyond London in Germany and the Netherlands, and the company has added a sales team based in Australia. Four years later and the international business continues to be one of the fastest growing parts of PagerDuty.) This rapid growth has kept Lindsay on her toes. "Everybody needs to wear quite a few hats, especially in those early days, and that means that we're super busy." With shifting responsibilities at work and two growing boys at home, Lindsay has learned the importance of work-life integration for both personal and professional success.
"One of the challenges that comes as an organization grows is maintaining company culture." Luckily for Lindsay, PagerDuty's collaborative culture has only been reinforced by the company's growth. This makes work-life integration much more feasible because she knows she's not expected to solve every problem on her own. "We've got a policy here that if you've been working on a problem for more than five minutes on your own, and you've not managed to think of a solution, get your team involved."
Maintaining these personal interactions with her team has been crucial to Lindsay's personal development as well. "Personal growth has come from an awareness of the integral parts that all work together in a business the size of PagerDuty," she explains. "While we are expanding globally, we're at a stage of growth where I can still have personal interactions with other departments." Finding ways to collaborate with other teams and work toward a common goal has helped Lindsay to support some of PagerDuty's largest enterprise customers.
Working virtually also poses its challenges for a rapidly growing team, but regular communication has been Lindsay's key to successfully navigating growth in a virtual work environment. "We're pretty maniacal about making sure that we have regular touch points as a team and talk through our business, share our wins, and brainstorm through challenges." These twice per week 'tea-time' meetings have kept Lindsay and her team united as they navigate challenges and collectively come up with solutions.
"For every challenge, there are two wins we're celebrating." Apart from visible wins such as onboarding new clients, Lindsay's team celebrates less obvious wins like reaching personal objectives, welcoming new team members, and "continuing to hire diverse talent and making sure that we've got a good representation, across the board, with different beliefs, cultures, and ethnicities."
Advice for leaders experiencing global expansion
If you find yourself in a situation similar to Lindsay's, here are her tips for continuing to pursue personal growth and work-life integration while your company grows:
- Create the culture that you want to be part of. "Invest time in defining the attributes that you want your team culture to have, and communicate why they are important." Lindsay also highlights that a team's culture should appeal to heart and mind. "Think about how you can encourage everyone to work cohesively so that they buy into the culture and collectively work toward a common goal."
- Get clear on your goals. While it is easy to get caught up in busywork, don't lose track of your objectives. "I check in with myself every day on my daily goals. I also track my monthly goals and my quarterly goals. At any time I know where I am against each one." And with the rapidly shifting climate of global sales, one must be flexible and fearless. "Don't be afraid to change those smaller goals if they are not driving you towards your north star goal."
- Celebrate your wins. While global expansion comes with growing pains, it is necessary to bring attention to the positive outcomes. "You're going to have some tough times ahead, especially in that early global expansion stage, so it's important to celebrate your wins, not only internally with your colleagues, but also with your customers."
Want to celebrate personal and professional wins alongside Lindsay at PagerDuty? Check out their open roles here.