Jyot Singh writes …
It’s an exciting time at RTS Labs! We’ve been growing at an accelerated pace – so much so that we grew out of our old space.
To me, moving to a new space was about more than just packing up and moving to a bigger office. It was a culmination of the leadership we’ve exhibited in the tech space and the work we’ve done for clients over the last eight years. I really wanted a space that encourages collaboration and reflects our culture at RTS Labs – the very success factors that I credit with the growth of RTS Labs.
Now that we are settled in, I am happy to report that we have accomplished that. And I want to pay it forward by hopefully inspiring other people out there with the leadership lessons I’ve learned throughout this process …
How did we get here?
As I walk around the new office watching my team collaborate and get things done, I feel reassured that the path I’ve lead us down was the right one. While everyone has their own styles of leadership, I’m confident that the values, principles, and practices I have been stressing to my team have made a tremendous impact and fueled the growth of RTS Labs.
Curate the right culture and team
I have always been laser focused on building the right culture and also on hiring the right people. Culture is more important than most people think – or they think culture is important but don’t know how to create and feed a thriving, healthy, positive culture. It’s what sets the tone for how you treat each other, how you treat clients, and how employees conduct themselves at work. Because I took my time and hired the right people for the right jobs, I now have a team that kills it day in and day out.
RTS Labs is not all about me. We are successful because we have a talented and diverse team that brings their “A game” every day. And they bring their best to work every day because they love what they do. I’m also proud to say that RTS Labs is not a “boys’ club,” as happens too often in the tech industry. We have an open and welcoming space for diverse voices. For example, we have more female developers than most software companies in Richmond.
One of the things I love the most about our team is that everyone is always willing to go all in – in terms of communication and collaboration – on all our projects. We are in house. Being in one single place fosters communication, collaboration, and learning from each other.
Take on the right clients and work
As developers, we want to build cool, highly technical things. We want to be challenged, have fun, and experience joy. So, at some point on this journey I decided there were two main ways to attain that goal: focus on enhancing the customer experience and being selective with clients.
Enhance the customer experience. As a company, we have been extremely focused on enhancing the customer experience. Everyday at RTS Labs, we push ourselves to do better. We fine-tune things like user experience and client processes. We ask ourselves:
“How can we make our clients happier?”
“How can we make our clients’ customers happier?”
“How can we make our clients look like rockstars?”
Our tagline is: “You’re the star. We’re the secret weapon.”
Focusing on the customer in special yet practical ways that lead to their success has lead us to do incredible things. It’s what has pushed us to grow at such an incredible speed.
Be selective of clients. Yes, we’ve been growing quickly. But that doesn’t mean we take everyone on as a client. We’re selective about whom we work with. We choose clients who get our attention and whom we feel good about. That, in turn, keeps our employees building things they are excited about. Which brings us more joy! Which keeps our teams motivated and happy about coming into work every day!
These two foundational concepts – focusing on the customer experience and being selective of clients – have caused a chain reaction that has fueled growth. It’s all because I started small, hired the right people and a diverse team, curated the right culture, and then made sure we had awesome clients whom we were excited to work for and with.
Whether we’re building our team or selecting new clients, one of our guiding principles when we make the decisions we make is that we believe people are inherently good. Sometimes they are put in bad situations, but we know they are still good people.
Falling in love with our new space
I can’t say enough about how good our new space feels and what a huge difference it makes. Now, maybe you’re thinking, “What’s the big deal? It’s just an office.” But to me, it’s more than that. The space was essentially designed by our own employees thanks to SMBW. We hired SMBW because they have experience working with other software companies. The goal was to improve collaboration and communication and create a space that was funky but functional – like our culture.
I could not be happier with the work they did. They engaged our employees in a way that was went beyond just completing a survey and checking some boxes. They genuinely engaged us in workshop-style activities to truly understand our needs, wants, and more importantly our culture (like what we do for our clients). Their process was flawless. By the end, they really understood us in a way that allowed them to translate our ideas and feedback into the perfect space for our team.
Employees can work in a silo, collaborate, or sit at a regular desk. We also have plenty of conference rooms of all sizes. It’s absolutely perfect – I know because I can see my employees engaged and collaborating. It is my biggest happiness to come out of the entire project.
And me? I don’t have an office. I still sit with my employees at a desk to ensure I have a pulse on the office at all times. Seeing folks eating lunch together, talking “hacks” in the breakroom, doing puzzles together – it makes me so happy. I also love the location. We have access to a lake just two minutes behind our building – one that I can see from the windows. It’s important to have nature close by. Anyone can take a walk to reset their mind and get some fresh air – and they do – in groups!
Every company has its own unique culture and every leader has their own style. I’m just sharing mine with the hope that it helps to inspire you or someone you know to find your own leadership style and workplace culture. Because when you do – it’s a beautiful thing!