*This blog post has been re-posted with the permission of Weave The People partner company, The Junto Institute. Please see original post here.
Paul Caswell (center) of Weave the People at JuntoNight 2013
“Our core purpose is to free people to be all they are born to be.”
Weave the People helps organizations reveal the hidden value of their employees in order to create more engaging meetings and higher performing teams. The company’s purpose is expressed through their line of four innovative Weave products and exceptional delivery to Fortune 500 clients. But the truest manifestation of the company’s purpose is seen in the nurturing environment Weave the People has created as a team.
After five years of operating the business, Paul Caswell, CEO of Weave the People, realized a personal and professional need to step into his role as the company’s CEO. He considers himself a “naturally born technologist and philosopher” and recognized that in order to manifest his vision for the company, he needed to gain particular business expertise and develop as a leader. Paul believed that his company could only grow as much as he could, and was ready to welcome people that shared his beliefs and values to join him in achieving the Weave vision. With all that in mind, Paul joined Junto I in January 2013 and began working on his growth as a leader and Weave’s growth as a company.
As Paul progressed through Junto, he gained more confidence as a CEO and was pushed by his JuntoMentors and fellow leaders in Junto I to think bigger about Weave’s potential as a company and a team. “I felt an increase in confidence in myself and my vision, knowing that I had not only the knowledge, but the support of the Junto community,” he explains. With the surge of determination, Paul began to ask himself, “How do I do this, and how do I begin to build a team?”
An unexpected answer came in the form of his fellow Junto I forum-mate, Kilton Hopkins. When Paul and Kilton met, Kilton was the CEO of ICON, a company in Junto I that subsequently dissolved during the cohort. Instead of withdrawing from the program, however, Kilton decided to continue with Junto. Kilton shares, “I knew after what I had experienced at ICON and Junto that I only wanted to be spending time with people that had the same type of values as I did.” In seeking a new venture, Kilton valued working with people that had a high degree of emotional intelligence and were doing meaningful work. Compared to the other offers that Kilton had, “the only person that was above that bar was Paul. The work was full of meaning and full of passion and possibility.”
Paul reflects back on that time admitting that he never thought he would be able to attract someone of Kilton’s caliber. Through their experience together in Junto, the trust and alignment between the two was high. In the fall of 2013 Paul invited Kilton to become Weave’s Chief Technology Creator, and Kilton accepted. More than ever, Paul was confirmed that Weave really had something, and saw the opportunity to have great people join the team. He explains for that he and Kilton, “It wasn’t a decision, but more of us thinking together about what could be. It was a great opportunity for the both of us to unleash our out talents and journey together along that path.”
As Paul and Kilton experienced the last few months of Junto I together as leaders of Weave the People, they were both impacted by the importance of culture and the structures needed to keep that culture flourishing. Referencing the Junto field trips to Nick’s Pizza & Pub and Tasty Catering, Kilton shares, “the structuring of culture was a world-changer for me.” They realized in order for Weave the People to reach its potential as a company, a solid cultural foundation had to be in place.
JuntoI Graduates at Junto Night 2013 (Kilton 6th from left; Paul, in glasses, 6th from right)
After Paul and Kilton’s graduation from Junto, the Weave team continued to grow. “We were two people, with an unclear purpose and values statement. And now, two years later, we have grown to six people and we learned the importance of culture and that it provides the fertile ground for our company to grow,” Paul explains. The Weave team has created a system around their values, purpose and culture, a system they are leveraging to operate and scale the company.
In the past year, the efficiency in building Weave products has increased, and they are delivering more creative Weaves in less time. With delivery able to scale, Paul hired a Director of Sales, David Bakker to help ramp up revenue, and Paul admits that David has brought a consistency to company sales that he was never able to. To manage the company’s system of culture and creation and help him define how to achieve Weave’s vision, Paul hired Preya Patel as Director of Operations. Paul explains, “Inspired by Simon Sinek, I believe that there are two kinds of leaders: the ‘why’ guys and the ‘how’ guys. I am a ‘why’ guy, but I really needed someone who was really competent at the ‘how’. Preya has really brought clarity to the ‘how’.” Together, the Weave team has been able to take the company from one product to four and has built a place that nurtures creativity and attracts great talent.
Much of the success of Weave the People can be attributed to the intentional environment they created as the team grew. Due to Paul’s emphasis on hiring around values, Weave’s culture has been developed and reinforced by a team that shares common values and a passion for the work they do everyday. One way the team regularly lives their values is in Weave’s weekly appreciation meeting. By bringing up a value that each person demonstrated that week during the meeting, Weave has created an environment for employees to remain accountable and truly be a living example of the company’s purpose. The ritual is more than recognition, it is a process of seeing one another for who they really are. Paul explains that, “we planted the cultural seed and it has a life of its own.”
Weave the People Team at 1871 (from left: Camaree Turman, David Bakker, Sarah Laurie Huynh, and Preya Patel)
Weave’s environment urges each individual to embody their strengths and is a true reflection of the company’s purpose to free people to be who they were born to be. As CEO, Paul takes this purpose to heart and acknowledges that along the path of becoming who they were meant to be, the highly talented people that Weave attracts may have visions of their own to bring to life. “Weave is a place where many people will grow and quite possibly rise to the point of where they are ready to do something outside of Weave,” Kilton shares.
Since joining Weave in 2013, Kilton and Paul have both known the day would come for Kilton to leave Weave to start his own company again, and for Kilton that time has come. In April 2015, Kilton will be leaving Weave the People to go full-time in his own new venture. As Kilton leaves, he and Paul turn to the JuntoTribe to help the Weave team find a new technology creator that aligns with the company’s mission and values. Kilton admits, “It wasn’t an easy decision for me to decide to move to my next thing.” But both he and Paul are excited to begin the process of finding that individual who is ready to unleash a new level of his or her creative potential within the Weave environment.
Weave the People exists to help unleash the potential of individuals – those working within clients’ organizations and those within the aligned and powerful Weave team. This purpose has guided Paul’s journey as an entrepreneur and has helped Kilton recognize a desire to begin his own venture. As Weave the People looks toward scaling, they ask for the JuntoTribe’s help in connecting them with individuals attending a corporate meeting in the Summer or Fall and in continuing to share Weave’s story of living values.