The True Competitive Edge
A decade ago while working as a venture capitalist, I spent a lot of time assessing and working with startups. If you asked me then what was the most important ingredient to their success, I probably would have referenced their technology, business model or leadership. I was wrong.
Today, as the founder of a company with a compelling technology portfolio and business model, I can attest that those are foundational but not the most important thing. And while I think our leadership is world-class, we are just one part of the puzzle.
We have come a long way in seven years and are proud of what we have accomplished so far. The key to our company, like many companies, has been our people – the caliber of talent we can attract and the ability to unlock that talent in a complex and fast-moving environment. We believe in the power of a healthy organization and culture, and we put a lot of effort into understanding what it requires. As authors Jim Collins and Jerry Porras found in their research, enduring, successful companies adhere strictly to a fundamental set of principles that guide their behaviors and decisions over time, preserving the essence of the organization. I’ve been fortunate to attract and grow with some exceptional people, and together we have developed a set of Core Values that define who we are and how we will succeed.
The Core Values that Guide Us
Our Core Values are a set of common principles we share that are fundamental to our company’s identity. There are many values we look for in our people like drive, integrity, and honesty, but really these are table stakes. The values that define Benson Hill and the people who thrive here are actually straightforward and (you might think) simple, but it’s remarkable how rare and raw these cultural elements are.
Our team is seriously real and authentic. We are who we are, and we appreciate each other’s perspectives. We believe that helping to shape the future of food and agriculture requires deliberate purpose and more than just ourselves as innovators. Our purpose is not just to develop great products, but to empower innovators across the value chain to also do great things. We are inspired and energized by this emerging community of innovators across the value chain. The challenges our society and our planet are facing are far greater than what any one organization can address. My great colleagues at Benson Hill get this and understand that we are all contributing to building a company of significance and of impact, built to last far beyond what we will individually bring to it.
We are fortunate to work with many partners and investors who share our vision and we’re growing fast. Living by our Core Values promotes clarity of expectations, alignment on direction, and commitment to ourselves and each other as we work and grow as a team. If these values speak to you, come join us and apply cutting-edge data and biological sciences to one of the most fundamental needs of our time – and have a lot of fun doing it!
“The single greatest advantage any company can achieve is organizational health. Yet it is ignored by most leaders even though it is simple, free, and available to anyone who wants it.” – Patrick Lencioni.