Riding the waves of a growing business

Clark Whiteway 23rd March 2018
Clark comments on business change

Three years ago today, I became a Cloudreach employee. In March 2015, Cloudreach USA consisted of five people in a four person coworking room – today we’ve just crossed 150 employees (and hit 550 globally). I however am the same person. Just kidding – that’s an insane statement, and if it were true, a depressing one. Interestingly enough, one thing that’s absolutely changed about me over three years is a realization that in life, I know less – and being at ease with that, in fact it’s even comforting.

In the interest of keeping your attention and this post concise, prior to Cloudreach I came from three very large organizations (see my LinkedIn) where I earned some fantastic professional experience and development, but velocity and change were comparable to a tortoise. I was also searching for genuine connections at work and a culture I enjoyed. I found that and more at Cloudreach – tough to not in such close quarters.

 

Growing swells at Cloudreach

Throughout 2015, we would add an additional team member here and there and welcome them in with open arms as part of the family – often going out to dinner and drinks as a ‘welcome’ event. It was the definition of what I was looking for. Through 2016 and speeding up in 2017 we’ve opened new offices, been acquired, acquired others, and added hundreds of cloudy individuals.

More than once I’ve heard others lamenting “well this is how we do things” or groaning at a new initiative being communicated. I was guilty of it at times. Naturally, I wanted to protect this awesome place that I had found and become ingrained into – however what I didn’t fully realize at the time is that there’s a difference between living by and encouraging the values of Cloudreach and anchoring it where it’s been.

 

Change is constant

Over the course of three years I have accepted and surrendered to the fact that there are no anchors in life – or for Cloudreach, in business. The only constant is change. Setting your expectations or fighting for things to remain stagnant will 100% guarantee you for failure or disappointment both in life and professionally. This realization has made every day at Cloudreach much more exciting and fulfilling – because I know it will never be replicated.

Clark riding the waves of business change

I recently went on a surf retreat to Nicaragua (author’s note – I am not good at surfing) and feel surfing is based on this same concept. Learning how to surf is very different to learning how to code or even ride a bike – whatever wave you last rode will never be replicated again – each has a different feel, strength, size and hiccup. It’s not a formula you know the answers to. With each new wave you paddle into there’s a decent chance you wipe out on your face – but the more and more you do it, a growing chance that you’ll understand and feel the movement of change propelling you, making for a longer and enjoyable ride. Also to keep this metaphor going I can guarantee that if you try to anchor and remain in place in the break, you’ll be exhausted within minutes.

 

Enjoying the waves

My current mindset as a leader within Cloudreach is a similar one – I’m no longer trying to plant the culture or the business in the sand, but rather enjoying the waves of change while trying to steer and guide in a Cloudy direction.

Before I started Cloudreach, the business was completing Google Apps projects, when I joined we were in the midst of Cloud Migrations, now we’re into software development, products, and business transformations. As previously mentioned, we’ve grown substantially in all facets and plan to continue to do so for the immediate term.

Change is coming, always has been, and always will be – so whether the day brings a success, a challenge, anxiety or peace, I’m excited to learn and be part of each and every one of them on this cloudy ride.