Article originally posted by DOZR CEO Kevin Forestell on LinkedIn. Read it here.
We hit an exciting milestone this past month at DOZR: our 5 year anniversary. When starting a new company, this milestone is one to strive towards. After all only about 56% of startups make it to year 5. Needless to say, we were very excited to see this day arrive.
When we finally hit the 5 year mark, many people asked me what moment stood out or what my greatest learning or accomplishment was to achieve this milestone. It’s so hard to pick out just one; the DOZR of five years ago doesn’t look like the DOZR today. In fact, I try not to think more than a few months out about the company because we are constantly growing, changing and adapting to the needs of the industry.
Nevertheless, I did spend a lot of time really reflecting and searching for what stood out to me and what I want to carry forward into the future of DOZR.
There are so many accomplishments to think back on. We developed an algorithm that predicts real-time availability of equipment to help make renting easy for our customers. We’ve partnered with rental houses of all sizes across Canada and the US to help them get their equipment in front of more customers. We’ve brought price transparency to the rental industry and have won awards for our work.
Among all the accomplishments, however, one thing stands out. One thing that has come to drive me more as a CEO and to push DOZR forward to achieve the impossible. One thing that, no matter how cheesy or cliche it sounds, is true.
It’s the people.
Every person who has been a part of DOZR, either directly or indirectly, has helped us reach this milestone. This includes every member of the DOZR team that has helped grow and shape our company to the people who have surrounded us within our board of directors, support networks, our local communities and CEO networks. They have helped to shape me as a leader and DOZR as a company.
When I reflect back on this as a CEO, I am reminded of the kind of leader I want to be. Some of the best ideas that have helped to propel DOZR forward have come from a team member. It doesn’t matter how long they’ve been working with us or what their experience is. The thought processes and innovation that flows out of our team is inspiring. It reinforces the value we place on our hiring process as a company.
Hiring the right people with values that reflect DOZR’s and who are “in it to win it” have gotten us to this point. Encouraging the flat-organization mindset and asking employees to speak up isn’t enough. Both of these are pointless if you don’t surround yourself with likeminded people who look at the company as more than a 9-5 time-filler.
And, in truth, hiring these phenomenal people who become our team are what help me to mature as a CEO. I find myself trying to sit back in meetings and to encourage the inspiration in others.
I want to be a leader to pull ideas from my team instead of a CEO who pushes employees towards my own objective. I want to be a leader who inspires collective thinking and respect instead of a CEO who silos their own departments. I want to be a leader who lives an open door policy instead of a CEO who shuts an office door after every meeting.
That’s what my reflection on DOZR’s first 5 years teaches me. It reminds me of the value people and teamwork bring to an organization and shines a spotlight on my role as a leader. It’s how we really got to this point in our company.
As we celebrate this milestone and look towards the future, I believe that hiring good people, encouraging every team member to share their ideas, believing in each other and valuing the history and experience of our team will make us unstoppable.
While I have no idea what the next five years or even five months will bring for us as a company, I am confident that we will be celebrating our 10 year anniversary with as much excitement, pride and humility as we felt at this milestone.