Head, Heart, Home: Building on Success, Cultivating More of It

Larry McAlister


As you look around the technology industry, you’ll see that the strongest companies are the ones with vibrant cultures that reinforce the values behind their success. These strong companies purposefully cultivate an environment that leads to growth.

When Equinix recruits for talent, we don’t only look for people with highly developed skills. We look for people who share our values of collaboration, transparency and innovation. When we promote, we don’t just look at whether someone is doing their job well. We look at how they’re enabling others and creating an environment of shared success. These are core components of our unique culture, and we actively seek out employees who preserve and enhance that culture.

In an effort to further guide the talent management process towards finding this kind of employee, I’ve developed a philosophy that I call the “three Hs”: “Head, Heart, Home.”

  • Head – Impart a deep understanding of our vision and our values
  • Heart – Foster a personal connection to the company’s vision, goals and ambitions
  • Home – Empower employees to use their unique skills to help achieve company goals

Equinix is growing. The five data centers we recently opened are the latest example of that. As we develop our expanding global workforce, we customize – or “Equinize” – our programs with the three Hs in mind. A recent training for managers, called “Operations DNA” illustrates how we do that.

This course was for managers who oversee the operations experts who make our data centers run. These employees comprise 55% of our workforce. Operations is about following procedure and responding to problems with uncommon speed. Building trust under pressure was a key objective.

For the head component, we focused on internal operating principles, including basics such as granting trust, assuming positive intent, honoring confidentiality and embracing change. These principles support our vision of empowering operations leaders to become “multipliers” – excellent at their own jobs, but also excellent at enabling the people that work for them to be outstanding at theirs.

The heart component emphasized our belief that we have the ability to become an historically significant company not through inspiring speeches, but rather through a daily approach that emphasizes excellence and superior execution of proven operational procedures and practices.

The home component signified the place where we reach our goals. By teaching managers how to recognize team members’ individual skills and create an environment where they are empowered, we can collectively bring the company goals “home.”

The old truism preaches that “culture is king.” With an approach such as head, heart, home, I believe companies can ensure the internal cultural values that have carried them to success are sustained to support future growth.