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Quotes from Carl Eschenbach, CEO at Workday, taken from our exclusive cover story.
“15 years ago, I changed my life from focusing on success to living a life of significance,” he told me. “And what I realized is when you have a life of significance and you focus on your impact on others, what naturally happens is you get more success.”
“It’s not just about making money. It’s about building companies. Yes, I was a venture capitalist, but 80 percent of my time was not focused on investing. It was helping companies build something that would stand the test of time. Along the way, yeah, we’ll make money and profits, but that wasn’t my primary driver.”
“I hope I bring a different level of operational rigor to the company.”
“And by doing that we will free-up Aneel to go back to what he’s absolutely brilliant at doing and that is driving the product and technology strategy.”
I always knew that Workday regarded itself as unique, but it wasn’t until I lifted the hood that I started to understand why. It has tried to deflect the tag of being an ‘ERP company’ for some time – I always assumed because it didn’t necessarily agree that HCM plus Financials equals ERP. But the truth is, Bhusri has built the perfect ERP company – he just hates the categorization because of the reputation that other ERP companies have.
During my research, words and phrases that are rarely associated with an ERP vendor were repeatedly used to describe the company and its leaders: friendship, honesty, transparency and fun were commonly expressed to paint a picture of an organization that is a true anomaly in the industry.
During four hours of interviews, Bhusri consistently talked about friendship as being the foundation for Workday’s success, highlighting the longstanding comradery he has enjoyed with Dave Duffield and his other Workday colleagues. That theme continued without a blip when we discussed the relationship with Eschenbach and the rapport and chemistry between them was palpable.
I have no doubt that Workday’s growth goals will be achieved under Eschenbach’s leadership. He is, after all, a consummate corporate operator blessed with a loyal customer base, market leading products and incredibly strong brand credentials. The greatest challenge he will face is preserving the foundational values that made Workday special whilst shooting for the moon (and profitability).