Global politics, and the rise of populism and protectionism, is major talking point in business today.
Following Brexit, Donald Trump’s election and the popularity of Marine Le Pen, the far-right candidate in the run to be France’s next president, it’s something that international companies have to consider, particularly when expanding into new markets or hiring foreign workers.
We asked Atlassian’s president Jay Simons about his company’s thoughts on it, and whether it is a common discussion among the executives.
“I think we’ve been pretty vocal about what certainly the founders of the company believe in,” he said, referring to co-founders and co-CEOs Scott Farquhar and Mike Cannon-Brookes.
“I think the values that the company was founded upon, and the value system that we use to both attract a lot of people to the company, and sort of how we build and scale the culture, many of the more contentious issues in global politics, I think, kind of avow of those values.
“That’s where, I think, we’ve spoken publicly about what we believe and we stand for, and the kind of culture that we’re building.
“Certain issues, I think, like immigration, certainly, can affect not just us, but anyone. I think we want to be able to hire the best and brightest from wherever they are, and I think one of the values of the company is open company, no bullshit.
“I think we’ve benefited from openness and transparency, and I think we believe that the world is a better place with openness and transparency.”
And when it comes to the responsibility that a company like Atlassian has to stand up and be a leader in what it believes in, Simons says it’s not about a corporate responsibility, rather it “is a human one”.
“At the risk of speaking for Mike and Scott, they would say that the responsibility just is a human one,” he says.
“I think they’re speaking as human beings, as people. In the context of being founders and CEOs of a company, where they care about the 2,000 people they’re leading, but I think it’s really rooted in just being outspoken for what you believe as a human. Sounds kind of cheesy, but I think it begins there.
“They’re leading 2,000 people they’ve attracted, in part, because of the mission that we’re pursuing as a company in part because, again, we have a value system that I think emphasises caring.
“I think it’s sort of easy to represent Atlassian in that context, because I think they’re very human, core beliefs. I think the responsibility begins there. If you don’t talk about what you believe in, and then people that don’t believe in the same things you do are talking about them, you’re at a disadvantage unless you do so.
“I think it’s just being part of the conversation.”