How to build an impact-first organization

Mathilde Collin
4 min readAug 10, 2020

The year 2020 is challenging our beliefs on what work means in so many ways.

Essential workers are putting their health — and lives — at risk to keep the world going. Meanwhile, it’s hard for non-essential workers to feel their work matters and believe that their work is still important amongst everything that’s happening around them.

For years, people have been chasing productivity at work. Getting more done. Checking things off their to-do lists. But that’s changing. I think that the future of work is much more about the impact that each of us will have on our customers and their missions, than it is the productivity that we have been so desperately seeking over the years. To be engaged at work, people need to see their impact.

The question is: how can you increase this impact? How can employees see (and believe in) the impact they’re having? I have so much to learn on this topic. Last week, I had the opportunity to chat about it with Frederic Kerrest, the COO and Co-founder of Okta, during SaaStr Enterprise. We discussed the things he and the Okta team have implemented to increase employee and customer engagement. I learned a lot so I thought I would share the biggest takeaways.

Constantly find tangible ways to connect with customers more closely.

Okta’s #1 corporate value is “love our customers.” At Okta, they invite customers to give keynotes in their weekly All Hands. This allows the team to directly hear customers’ voices, understand their phrasing, see their viewpoints, and know what they care about. “We encourage customers to ask us questions that make us uncomfortable,” he said.

“We encourage customers to ask us questions that make us uncomfortable.”

It’s also important to find ways for all teams, like product, marketing, engineering, etc, to connect with customers, not just the customer facing teams like sales, support, and success.

Frederic said they operationalize this at Okta by discussing customer “go-lives”, not just the moment you make the sale. That way, you reframe it to include all the work that goes into making a customer successful — the marketing, the product, the sale, the support for getting up to speed.

Mathilde Collin

LEGO builder. Co-founder & CEO @ Front (