As the Country Manager of Central Europe, Peter Goldbrunner oversees over 107 employees, many of whom work remotely and are widely dispersed throughout Germany. Peter uses his 20+ years of experience in the tech industry to help our “teenage” company grow and mature without falling into the traps he has seen in older companies. “Because we are not a ready-baked, mature organization, we are actually learning every day.” In the past 18 months, Peter has been learning and growing as a vital member of the team at Nutanix.
Diversity Across the Board
One priority of the team’s growth is continuing to bring diverse voices to the table. Although Peter’s regional offices already have higher than average gender diversity in the industry, he is also focusing on diversity by age, background and experience. One recruitment campaign Peter mentions includes approaching recent graduates or undergraduates as the next generation has different points of view.
Peter also emphasizes that we can “create a momentum” of positive change and growth when hiring women in management roles. The Nutanix team attends and participates in “Women in Tech,” which gives them a chance to shine a light on women in leadership roles and continue building momentum and growth.
Integrity in Action
Peter finds it critical for organizations to follow this simple rule: “You need to say what you do and do what you say.” Peter noticed many tech companies claim to have culture principles but don’t actually put those principles into practice. “Nutanix is living up to its culture principles from the top-down; you can feel it and see it across the entire company. Culture is vital to Nutanix, and that becomes apparent in your day-to-day experiences.”
A stark contrast from other tech companies that Peter notices is how people treat each other, especially within sales. Peter points out how some organizations run their sales departments with “a lot of pressure” and a sole focus on Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). “Clearly we are a high-performance organization, but I think we’re doing that in a pretty good way.” Peter focuses on developing the people on his team and creating a space where everyone is respected and welcomed to ensure “they are becoming part of the Nutanix family and Nutanix culture.”
The Gift of Time
Peter sees this focus on people demonstrated throughout the leadership team, including how Dheeraj shares interesting information with the team and how leaders make time during their travels to listen to the people in the office. “Besides performance and delivering results, we all need to have fun doing what we are doing.”
Peter brings this focus on people to his own team with weekly team calls, frequent one-on-one meetings, and a quarterly “all hands” meeting to foster communication. Before everyone talks business at the all hands meeting, the team goes out for dinner together to bond without feeling required to talk about business.
Fail Fast. Learn Fast. Grow Fast.
At the end of each quarter, the office hosts a joint breakfast. “We are kicking off the last day in the quarter together. We are having fun, making jokes, pointing out the things which went terribly wrong.” Peter noticed in larger companies that the demonization of failure led to people hiding mistakes. Peter rewrites the script on mistakes for his team by bringing in humor: “Spread the word, explain to others what went wrong, do it in a funny way, and try to find what we should learn out of that.”
Growing from mistakes instead of bringing shame around failure is one of Peter’s priorities as a leader. “I tell my team, ‘Make mistakes. Without mistakes, you can’t get better. So try hard to make mistakes. Do things. Don’t wait. Don’t be cautious or anxious. Make mistakes. And if you do it twice, that’s also okay.” This permission gives his team members room to pursue ideas instead of getting stuck in what is safe. “It is good to make mistakes, to make wrong decisions. This is helpful in our journey.”
Fostering a Learning Culture
Peter emphasizes collaboration and feedback as pivotal to the team during this growing phase. “Nutanix Germany is just five years old.” Peter seeks feedback from customers and coworkers alike to isolate what is and isn’t working for their offices. “We are constantly learning.”
Peter fosters learning for new hires by going beyond the onboarding and training process, even though the team has tripled in size since he started. After new team members have been with the team for a few months, Peter has a one-on-one meeting with them to check in and see what support they need to succeed. “How can we support you better?” he asks them. Peter seeks to keep the focus on people as the company grows through activities where people can come together, from holiday parties to doing charity work together as a team.
We can’t wait to see how we continue to grow together, Peter!