We reached out to Rob Rebholz co-founder and CEO of Superglue.io, to talk with us about how he builds radical generosity into the core of his company values. He shares with us how he makes generosity a guiding principle for all his employees.
This is the 4th article in our series exploring the PartnerHacker Principles. You can read more about the first there principles here:
- Trust Is the New Data - with Jessie Shipman
- Never Market Alone - with Mark Kilens
- Make Them Famous - with Alex Glenn
Build radical generosity into your culture
Radical generosity is one of the core values that Rob ingrains into his workplace culture at Superglue.io. He tells his employees that generosity can take a long time for it to pay off, but the importance cannot be overstated.
Generosity takes effort
It's not just yeah, I'm going to be generous. It really requires effort, you need to sit down, you need to think about who you interact with what you can do to be generous. – Rob Rebholz
Being generous isn't as easy as it sounds.
If you want to be generous, you need to understand the other party's interests. It takes time and genuine interest to get to know someone.
Before you start being generous, be interested. Ask others about what they need.
Play the long game
As a leader, Rob makes sure that all of his employees recognize the value of playing the long game. He seeks to instill a mindset that values generosity in the workplace.
If you follow Rob on LinkedIn you know that he celebrates generosity. He constantly shares the success stories of others.
Sometimes we need to recalibrate what it means to be radically generous – examples like Rob help us do that.
Ella Richmond 0:00
So when did generosity become most important to you? Were you always like that?
Rob Rebholz 1:41
You know, I think I encountered a lot of people that were generous to me and helped me achieve stuff. And I know what that means to me. And I just tried, like, just at one point, in time, I reached, kind of I came to the conclusion that I should be that person too.
And that's, I just try to like, I remind myself to be generous, right? Like to be a nice person to be a good person. Without the kind of desire for immediate, like an immediate return. It's just, I think it's something that just would pay off. But it's just the right thing to do.
Ella Richmond 2:25
Yeah, and like, how have you seen that, that payoff in your own life? So like, there's one thing to be said about it being good. And that almost can sound like fluff, you know, like a culture like a company talks about, you know, all of these things that they aspire to be?
And then they don't either live it out or it becomes something fluff. Why is this more than just fluff? Why is building generosity like imperative for a company?
Rob Rebholz 2:52
There are these things that everybody says, and then they don't live it. It's just like, customer-centricity. If you look at, you know, a company's values, every company out there will talk about their top values, customer centricity, but then you have a problem, and they totally ignore you. I
It's kind of similar to generosity. It's something that people love to put on, I don't know, like whiteboards, etc. But they don't really love it. They don't live it and they don't reap the benefits. And I think I mean, ultimately, the question, it's a tough one, because genre generosity is about being unselfish. So talking about the impact of generosity is hard, because that's not how we should do kind of live it. But it will pay off, in different ways.
I think like, in the long run, you always meet people twice, I think you, if you're nice to people, you will meet them again, they will remember that they will do something for you. Not everybody, but a lot of them will.
And a lot of them will especially remember if you did something for them when you didn't have when there wasn't something that they could give you back immediately. I'd like the more long-term you act, the more unselfish you are, and the more this pays off.
I think, ultimately, it makes you feel good.
We always talk about mental health about all of this stuff. It's just it feels good. Being a good person, you have somebody you see kind of the effect it has on their lives that just feels good, gives you a good feeling like getting a note from somebody that thinks you that's just awesome.
That's just, it just makes your day hides. And I think it sends a signal to the world who you are, like if you're generous, if you do good things like even the people that you don't directly do good things for. They will remember that and they will want to work with you. They won't want to work for you.
They will want to collaborate with you. There's lots of stuff that happens from that if you truly send that signal. So yeah, I think ultimately it's something And you shouldn't do it without an immediate impact in mind, but there will be an impact.
Ella Richmond 5:05
I read a book recently, it was Sam Jacobs's book. And this stuck in my mind. And every single time I have a partnership conversation, it's like the top of mind. He said, "I'm playing such long games that I don't have to keep track."
Rob Rebholz 5:20
Yes, that's exactly it. Generosity is a very long game. I have done things for people years ago. And they have now they've switched roles three times. And now, you know, now I need something from them. And they will remember what I did for them back then. And it had been, right, it's I've, I've had employees find new jobs.
So I didn't want it to go into a new position, given recommendations, etc. And then, you know, now they're like, they work for customers of ours, for partners of ours, for investors of ours. It's just, it will pay off. But it's a very long game, you should start as early as possible. I think that's the problem that people, especially if you're younger, feel like they can't contribute.
Being generous is too, too much of an effort or too difficult. And that's not true. Being generous could just be a nice email that you send somebody.
Ella Richmond 6:14
Yeah, I like that a lot. What does it mean to build radical generosity into your culture? So, you know, there's an element of it. That is, what is radical generosity? And then the second element is, what does it mean to actually build it and cement it into your culture, into the way that people do things, into the way that you, as a leader, lead? And also in the way that you? I guess, what's the word highlight almost your employees?
Rob Rebholz 6:43
Yeah, that's a really good question. I think, you know, I'm all about privatization focus. And that's actually one of the company values we have at superglue.
That being said, I think that companies that just focus on themselves and their short-term interests are not going to win. So I think that you have to make difference in several steps. If you want to, you know, build radical generosity to your culture, I think you, you need to start out by making sure that people that work for you understand that helping others adding value for others, even if there's no immediate impact is encouraged and valued.
I think then step two is you need to think about how you can show them how and when to be generous, generous, like, you know, how does it work? What does it mean to be generous? So I'd like that it's actually not that, you know, obvious for everybody, I think you need to make sure that three like that they understand that it pays off in some way, in the long run, right, and probably, sometimes in a very long run.
And that's especially hard if you're dealing with people in your organization. Like, for example, salespeople that are somewhat trained to be realistic, I think then you need, as a leader, you need to show that you live these values by these values, right? You need to personally make a point and show that you are a good person and you live these values that you are that you have the time to be generous, generous, etc, etc.
And lastly, I think you need to celebrate generosity, right? You need to share these success stories to show people what it means to be generous, call out the right behavior, and just prove that you take it seriously. And I think then you will see that your culture evolves, and people change and great things happen.
Not just with like your people dealing with external parties, but also internally, right? You very often companies have this problem that they have silos, right? Like, every part of the organization just thinks about themselves. There's no collaboration, it's like, oh, we optimize for this KPI, we don't care about your interests.
And if you create this radical generosity, that's all something that happens internally, somebody from a different department might invest in, you know, making somebody else successful, sharing insights, helping them, and that really, that has great effects on everything you do as an organization.
Ella Richmond 9:06
So building radical generosity you see as kind of like something that comes out of a lack of selfishness, which comes out of an understanding of the big game that you're playing we all win together in a company. So why would we? Why would we compete internally or in the ecosystem? If it's stronger because we help each other win? Why not?
Rob Rebholz 9:27
Yes, I think a lot of organizations and a lot of people struggle with understanding their counterparts, like their counterparts, interests, their fears, their challenges, etc. I think that's, by the way, that's something even if you want to be a better salesperson, if you want to build better partnerships, you need to understand the other person's interests.
And I think if you truly try to grasp what matters to these to your counterparts, you will end up getting a feel for where you could, you know, help them and be generous and do good things. So I think it's I guess, there are several steps that take place. And it's a lot harder than people think. And it's not just, yeah, I'm going to be generous.
It really requires effort, you need to sit down, and you need to think about who you interact with what you can do. And obviously, you can't be right. Like, you can't please everybody, you can't just go out there and do great things for everybody. But you can invest some time into, you know, certain moments of generosity.
Ella Richmond 10:35
Yeah, I love that. I love that a lot. Um, okay, so you mentioned in the beginning that there were three different principles. I don't know if you've thought of any more generosity, collaboration and long-term mindset that you believe are necessary and are really, really important for the partnerships ecosystem. Take one like, what is one the one that you're like this is the most important? And then can you kind of dig in a little bit? Why is this the most important? And where do you see it succeed?
Rob Rebholz 11:08
I would say a win-win mindset is the most important one. And I think that because I probably have to start from scratch. Let me think about four seconds. Yeah, I would say a win-win mindset is the most important quality if you want to build partnerships or principles because it means that you don't see that you understand that the sum of the parts is bigger, that one plus one is three.
And that's really hard, right? That's hard for a lot of people in your organization, like salespeople who don't aren't trained to think like that. They're trained to, you know, sell their customer, the, you know, the biggest year, but that doesn't pay off.
And especially in partnerships, it doesn't pay off. So as an organization, if you always try to make everybody you interact with witness well, whether those are customers, partners, or other departments, then you're on a good path toward partnership success.
Ella Richmond 12:25
I love that. And it's also really interesting, because it's not just, you know, the sales department, it's also the sellers who came, or the partner, people who came from selling. Like, I've heard that sometimes there's an interesting adjustment period where you have to change your mindset because partnerships are so different.
Rob Rebholz 12:46
Yeah, yeah, it is. It's very often. You know, when we look at partnerships, most of most partner managers or a significant share of partner managers are former salespeople.
And they're usually salespeople that were more collaborative, they were better at networking that like different trades, right? That's why they ended up in partnerships. But they still were trained in sales and how sales, and traditional sales work.
And I think sales is evolving, but most of us were still, you know, coached and trained in a traditional way. And, yeah, we need to leave a lot of that stuff behind and kind of recalibrate our mindset and the way we do things.
Ella Richmond 13:27
That was perfect. Everything that you said, I'm like, I'm gonna have so much fun clipping this up.
Rob Rebholz 13:46
Thank you so much.