Contrary to many entrepreneurs, Ned Phillips didn’t start Bambu in 2016 because he was purpose-driven about building a great business, but because he wanted to create a company where people would enjoy working. Passionate about modern-day management philosophies teamed with a diverse and global career history, he shared his unique perspective and leadership lessons with me.
Leaders work for their employees
He believes as a leader you should be working for and serving your employees and not the other way around. This flips the traditional top-down view of management on its head and promotes more collaborative exchange. Interestingly, this is similar to the thoughts of well-known leaders such as Gary Vaynerchuk and Sir Richard Branson. As CEO, his job is to motivate people by encouraging them and giving them the belief and ability to do what they want. This is proving to have positive results as Bambu was named the best fintech to work for in Singapore in 2019.
Structures and processes are debilitating
As a fintech company, there are inevitable regulations and guidelines but when it comes to hierarchy and ways of working, Ned likes to break down these barriers. He firmly believes that hierarchy structures are debilitating, resulting in a ‘putting your hand up’ audience. He doesn’t put structures and processes around his team or tell them what hours they should be working to give them full autonomy. To gauge someone’s true talent, you don’t tell them what to do but you let them do what they want. The crux is having the right hiring process in place to hire great people.
Hire for attitude, not for skills
Hire the candidate with less experience but full of energy rather than someone with lots of experience but lacking that spark. To maintain the longevity of a positive attitude within the company, it’s critical for the first 6-8 people you hire to have the same values as you. If the first group of people have the same values as you then the next people you hire will inevitably be consistent with this.
Get the team together often
A growing trend in offices apart from remote working is the literal knocking down of walls. Gone are the days of people sitting in their cubicles or offices closed off from one another. No one at Bambu has and will ever have an office; everyone can walk up to each other to talk and gets together regularly to make it a fun and enjoyable place to work.
Ned is truly bringing to life his leadership lessons in Bambu to make it the greatest place to work.