07 Dec New CEO CJ Prober Starts with Trust at Tile
Q: We started working together after you had just joined Tile as CEO. Why was revisiting the organization’s core values so important to you in your first 30 days?
Trust is critical for a highly functioning team. I wanted to earn the team’s trust by being transparent from the beginning. On Day One I thanked the team for creating an amazing product, and for leading on innovation that inspired me. I also shared what I’ve learned to value over time and what I hoped we could build together.
Embarking on the values exercise helped us to explore what that might look like. It enabled us, as an organization, to focus not just on what is core to Tile today, but to really think about those values and behaviors that will get us where we want to go. Our new values brought us a shared language that reinforces how people should show up everyday. They keep us on the same page and help us build trust.
Q: We were struck by your commitment to bringing everyone along, welcoming diversity, and inviting viewpoints from all levels of the organization. In your experience, what does diversity unlock?
Early in my career, I knew I wanted to work in international business because I was eager to partner with people having a different point of view — it’s something that brings me energy. That’s still true today: Tile is a global company and our company should reflect our consumer base – without diversity you can’t deliver. One everyday example is how we design our product materials: we deliberately recruit across age, gender, and ethnicity for our photoshoots because we know that losing your belongings are in fact a universal problem. Whether you are from Japan, Germany, or Silicon Valley, you experience anxiety when you lose something important to you — and Tile wants to be there to help.
We believe that in embracing the diversity of our teammates and our customers we will get to the strongest outcomes, which really is the meaning behind our “Better Together” value.
Q: Want to follow up with a quick quote from one of your Engineers. We spoke with Jossie Haines during the Values Creation process and she had this to say:
I had a great one-on-one with CJ earlier this week where we talked about women in tech. It was great to hear CJ advocate for equity — it isn’t just lip service.
That is very kind of Jossie. Yes, we are working together on diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives throughout the company. One that we are specifically focused on today is attracting and supporting more women in technical roles at Tile. Additionally, we are creating systems to enable in-role growth and have an opportunity to learn in other functions, if desired. You own your career at Tile, but we can help you stretch through additional training and mentorship.
Q: How did you know you landed on the “right” values for Tile?
There were a few important elements we wanted to include — themes that were important to me or had come up in Exec Team discussions, All Hands meetings, and through one on one conversations — but we didn’t want to assume we knew the answers. I think the process that you, At Your Core, took us through was quite helpful in bubbling up themes and pressure testing the values and the supporting behaviors.
We asked team members across functions, levels and tenure to contribute to the process to ensure we had a comprehensive view of what makes Tile unique as well as our opportunities for growth. This goes back to the importance of being inclusive and giving everyone a voice.
In the end we knew our values would need to support both short term and long term goals, feel inspirational and also achievable. I think where we landed feels so authentic to Tile that we all just knew they were “right”.
Q: How do you keep values top of mind at Tile?
When we rolled out our values we took the time to engage in meaningful discussion and encouraged everyone to share stories of the values in action at Tile. Our values detail how we expect everyone to show up, guide how we work together, and help us make decisions. From there the onus is on each of us to ensure we are living the values every day.
We also have an exceptional Head of People, Lissa Minkin, and a growing “values team” that has prioritized several initiatives to keep the values top of mind. For example, we have updated our slack emojis with values badges so people now give each other values-related shoutouts, our interview process includes questions that speak to our values, the framework for our weekly All Hands is organized around the values and our Quarterly Values Awards recognize those Tilers that personify our values. They are also a part of our performance review process for both leaders and individual contributors to encourage reflection on these at an important time.
Q: How do you hold your leadership team accountable for modeling Tile’s values + behaviors?
We expect our executive team to walk the walk! From talking about the values at every weekly exec team meeting to providing each other feedback using the behaviors, it’s a part of our daily routine. We also tie our recommendations and key decisions back to the values and make sure we explain that connection to the entire organization during All Hands meetings and department team meetings.
Our values make it clear: at Tile we “Start With Trust” and we each “Bring it” everyday. We know that we are “Better Together” and are committed to “Building What Matters.” We “Power What’s Next” for the company, for our employees and for our customers.