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Reflecting on 2016 with Geoff GrahamJanuary 5th, 2017 by
With 2016 behind us, I sat down with Geoff Graham, Founder and CEO of GuildQuality, to reflect on 2016 and discuss what we can expect from GuildQuality in 2017.
What do you believe was the greatest achievement for GuildQuality in 2016?
This year, we embarked on one of the largest engineering projects in our history: rebuilding the GuildQuality application from the ground up. This project will bear fruit in 2017 with significantly expanded functionality and more personalized experiences for Guildmembers.
Second, our team grew a good bit in 2016, with great new people joining every part of our business, from surveying to member success to product to marketing.
Also, and this is less of an accomplishment in 2016 specifically and more a reflection of the work our team has done over many years, we were once again ranked among the Best Places to Work in Atlanta. That’s our fifth time on the list.
On a personal level, what are you most proud about GuildQuality?
We now have 37 people working with us full-time and another 55 working part-time, and in 2016, our team’s families welcomed a bunch of babies into the world. Knowing that the work we do here for our members allows us to support all of these people and their growing families is amazing to me.
Related to that, with the larger organization comes more people influencing our direction and carrying initiatives forward. I get a huge amount of satisfaction when wonderful things happen in the business that I have absolutely no involvement in.
What was the biggest lesson you learned in 2016?
The biggest lesson I’ve learned both personally and professionally is that one cannot control the outcome. All I can do is choose how I respond to the world around me.
How do you maintain a successful ROWE (Results Only Work Environment) as GuildQuality grows?
We use the term “ROWE” because it’s a term some people are familiar with, but I much prefer the term, “empowered work environment.”
The most important aspect of maintaining an empowered work environment is cultivating a culture of trust by hiring and developing trustworthy people, and engendering trust between people, within teams, and across functions. Trust is the lubricant that enables everything to work well. Without it, it’s like having sand in your gears.
The challenges and rewards of being a part of an empowered work environment could fill dozens of books. Trust is just the tip of the iceberg.
What are some advances in 2017 that Guildmembers can look forward to?
Around the middle of the year, we’ll introduce GuildQuality 3. It’s the first complete rebuild of the application since 2005/2006, and the entire product team is very excited about it.
We’ll also begin marketing an ambitious new product early this year. We call it Crew.
Do you have any stretch goals for GuildQuality in 2017?
I have mixed feelings about goals. I tend to focus more on the trajectory than the milestone. With that in mind, I want us to show continued improvement—in our members’ overall satisfaction with GuildQuality, in our member retention rate, and in the number of new Guildmembers we welcome into our community of quality.
So for me, it’s less about the number of new members, the amount of revenue or net income, or our member satisfaction scores, and it’s much more about the direction of the trend line.
Do you have any suggestions for our members about conferences to attend, books to read, or ways to advance in 2017?
We also participate in a lot of exceptional learning events with our strategic partners. These conferences are some of the most intimate and impactful development opportunities available to our members, in large part because of the tremendous opportunity for peer to peer learning with other successful owners and operators.
The books that are sitting on my nightstand right now are The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday, Influence: the Psychology of Persuasion By Robert Cialdini, and Living with a SEAL by Jesse Itzler. At Mark Miles’ (our COO) suggestion, I just downloaded a new Jefferson biography, Confounding Father.
As for how to advance yourself professionally in 2017, intentionally surround yourself with great people who inspire you. Spend time with them, be open and candid about the challenges you face, and learn from their experiences. Outside of the GQ office, I do that with a community of software founders and C-level executives, as well as a group of eight business founders I met via Entrepreneurs Organization. Many of our Guildmembers are doing that via great organizations like Remodelers Advantage or NAHB 20 Clubs.
Interested in a career at GuildQuality? Check out our current job openings!