Building High Impact Teams – Helen Russell – Atlassian

In 805conversations by Mark Sylvester

My passion is culture

Focus on the team, not the individual.”

Helen Russell is the Chief People Officer at Atlassian. She had a great conversation with Mark and Patrick about talent, leadership, teams, and learning.

Atlassian is a company that creates software that allows teams to work together better. She was formerly of Santa Barbara-based SONOS until recently. Her background includes working at a WPP company, Kantar, which was intriguing as Mark works with WPP company, J Walter Thompson.

This wide-ranging conversation covered a lot of ground including:

  • What’s the role of HR in the new, dynamic, fast-growth economy where companies grow at 35% and more
  • How you have to rethink how you work with high-potential employees – they have to outpace the business’s rapid growth, as their jobs will inevitably morph every six months.
  • Looking for exponentially bright people and move them up and through the organization
  • GRIT – it’s not just intelligence – it’s drive and determination that is the hallmark of top performers
  • Why companies need to rethink Performance Ratings – and focus instead on team performance
  • What we care about is Collective Success
  • Her sports background
  • The discussion and definition of Diversity and Inclusion in the workplace was enlightening
  • The most diverse perspectives help high impact teams deliver results
  • “What are the skills required for our future company?” Incredible insight into the role of HR in the C-suite
  • How to craft a talent strategy for your company
  • How HR is now more like the CMO
  • The question each of us (entrepreneurs) should ask ourselves, “Are we the right person to hire people in our company?” Should we pass that to a professional?
  • A book recommendation: WHO by Geoff Smart and Randy Street
  • Her go-to icebreaker to start off an interview. “Last night, you were with a friend, and telling them about today’s meeting. How did you characterize it to them?”
  • We talked about the recent acquisition of TRELLO by Atlassian. We love TRELLO. This led to a discussion about mergers and corporate culture.