An Interview with Kami Bond, Senior Vice President for People at Uptake
An Interview with Kami Bond, Senior Vice President for People at Uptake
Daniel Forrester, CEO
By Daniel Forrester, CEO
September 5, 2018
THRUUE sat down with Kami Bond to talk about closing the gap between strategy and culture.  Kami is the Senior Vice President for People at Uptake, a Chicago-based predictive analytics company valued at over $2 billion and considered one of Forbes' hottest startups in America. Prior to her role at Uptake, Kami Bond’s career has included roles at Cielo Talent, Aon Hewitt, and GE Healthcare.

THRUUE sat down with Kami Bond to talk about closing the gap between strategy and culture.  Kami is the Senior Vice President for People at Uptake, a Chicago-based predictive analytics company valued at over $2 billion and considered one of Forbes' hottest startups in America. Prior to her role at Uptake, Kami Bond’s career has included roles at Cielo Talent, Aon Hewitt, and GE Healthcare.

Enjoy an excerpt of our interview with Kami, below.

Daniel Forrester, THRUUE CEO: When you come into a new organization, what are you thinking about? How do you identify the gaps you’d like to close between culture and strategy?

Kami Bond:  It starts with looking, listening and learning. I spend a lot of time early on in a new organization talking to people, learning about the way that they work. How do the people throughout the organization…really experience the workplace? My biggest area of focus as I come in is looking at where the disconnect is between reality and vision, and what people are experiencing versus what their expectation is. That's where I focus in terms of my priorities, my strategy, and lining my team to be able to drive change in the organization.

DF: Leaders under-communicate mission, vision, values, and strategy by an order of magnitude of 10. What is your perspective on how leaders can increase communication?

KB: I believe it's around the message… When it comes to truly understanding the application of [strategy] from an employee mindset, you have to pay attention to language and method of communication. You have to play into the different senses that people truly learn by. Some people learn best by reading. Some people learn by actually talking about it. For me in particular, I could read something five times and still not commit it to memory. If I have to say it out loud, I will learn it and I will retain it.

DF: In your experience, what does it take to build a high-performing culture, especially after a merger or acquisition?

KB: You must do your due diligence up front to be able to understand where there might be a culture clash in guiding principles, values, norms and beliefs, processes, or philosophies around talent management or performance management… I also think the biggest thing is openness. The more that you are open to learning what got them there, who the people are, what their history was, and what will keep them at the larger company, the better you will tailor your messaging. Like any change management, you have to help people honor the past, help them understand what's in it for them, and help them understand what stays the same and what's different.

DF: Who is the chief culture officer of a company?

KB: The chief culture officer has to be the leader of the company… I fundamentally believe it's the CEO that sets the culture and therefore is the culture officer or culture ambassador. I think the role of the entire management team is to reinforce that and to help people contextualize it, and the role of whoever is leading the people space is probably thinking about it from the lens of ‘how do you drive organizational change and how do you reinforce it’?

DF: Your company is based in the Midwest. You have about 800+ employees right now, but you're also going to bring in talent and expand over time. Can you talk a little bit about the regional role that values play?

KB: My belief is you have to set the tone of the company and distill those values throughout. You can’t stereotype or apply things only to a region. So how do you bring someone from the East Coast who may have more of an edge and a greater sense of urgency to the West Coast of the US, which is more laid back? … I believe you have to have grounded beliefs and values that are universal for the company.

DF: If you could write a letter to a younger Kami Bond with the wisdom you have now, what would you write?

KB: I would say, stay true to who you are. Don't try to be anybody else. Surround yourself with people that are better and different than you. Go after anything that you want because there's no reason not to. And enjoy the ride.

To hear the full conversation, you can listen to The Culture Gap podcast at culture-gap.com.