Nuix Notes: Monthly updates from the CEO - Apr24

Written by: Jonathan Rubinsztein

April 2024
Nashville memories

It all began in Nashville.

Nashville, TN was the venue where I convened my first offsite of leaders at Nuix, where we workshopped the culture we wanted.  In preparation, I sent everyone a copy of Patrick Lencioni’s “The Advantage”, in which Lencioni purports “Organizational health is the single greatest advantage of any business.”  Paraphrased, this is the same essence as Peter Drucker’s better-known quote “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”  I fundamentally, wholeheartedly agree with these perspectives, which is why I was intent on building the business transformation of Nuix on a cultural transformation.  I embarked on taking the company on an intentional, if imperfect, journey of cultural transformation, and I’m going to share some of that with you in this month’s post.

At the time of the workshop 2 years ago, we were in a state of flux, and the company had lost direction and our mojo.  Our products were leading edge, and customers were loyal, but there was little forward momentum in the company and there was a lot of complexity in our midst.  Competitors took advantage of this and were poaching people from us.  Critical talent remained fiercely loyal to the company and our mission, but at times even they were unsure of the direction and uncertain of what lay ahead.   

We had radically transparent conversations about where we were, what parts of our culture we cherished and wanted to protect, and what parts of the culture we would be glad to shed.  We talked about what it looked like when we trusted one another, and what symptoms appeared when we didn’t.  I also shared a lot about myself and my personal beliefs, and opened myself up for challenges to some of the changes I was proposing.  The conversations were confronting, cathartic and at times very funny, but most of all they were the start of Nuix coming together.  In the workshop, we said we wanted a culture of transparency, empathy and vulnerability, with all of these leading to trust, which in turn fuels team performance.

Once home, we engaged more of our colleagues and collectively authored our new values, which have the acronym “TRUTH”.

We initiated a host of changes that we wanted to see, including greater transparency on our financial performance, operational updates, and consistent communication on our progress and direction.  I also personally committed to an open door policy, meaning I write to the team every month about what is on my mind.  I share things relating to the business, but also relating to my family, I share wins and I share personal losses.  I invite feedback and am floored by how many take me up on it.  We also initiated our first engagement survey, which we measure not annually but quarterly, and the feedback informs our culture action plan.  Our approach is deliberate, it’s dogged and it’s somewhat deeply unsexy, but…it’s working.

2 years on and we are hiring, when many are firing.  Many of them coming from our biggest competitors, and a few returners amongst them.  Our engagement survey shows positive momentum, and there is an energy in the hallways and kitchens around all the offices.  Our people tell us that they are clear on their roles and their contribution to the business strategy, and we are delivering on said strategy.  Our organisational health has improved dramatically and this is, as Lencioni says, our competitive advantage and is resulting in our business performance.

We have had three consecutive halves of top line growth, and it’s only the very beginning of our pivot to a Nuix Neo.

2 years on, and there is still much to do.  Our culture is a constant work in progress and we will keep climbing but baby, we’re a long way from Nashville.


Jonathan Rubinsztein
Chief Executive Officer