My Experience with Rackspace Orientation (aka Rookie-O)

After reading “The Ownership Quotient,” I was reminded of my Rackspace orientation after we were acquired back in 2007. It was essentially our new parent company welcoming us into the family and a chance for us to meet without the digital filter that is the “interweb.”

During orientation, we were split into groups of 8-10 people that would be our “team” for the week.  We called ourselves “The Uptime Warriors” or something similarly cheesy.  In my team there were a couple of support reps, an account manager, a marketing rep, and some others.  I’m a software dev guy, so the group was pretty mixed and represented a nice cross-section of the company. There was an Amazing Race-like game, where each team sent out two people at a time to various parts of the building to search for clues to the next step of a puzzle.  This involved finding a particular veteran employee and asking yes or no questions like “Is your favorite color blue?” or “Did you once throw up at a company party?”  We had a great time.

After introductions, we took a tour through various departments of the gigantic Rackspace building filled with energetic faces and friendly “Rackers”.  I remember hearing the giant gong on the sales floor marking each new sale.  They actually have a straight jacket hanging in the support department to recognize the “fanatic” of the month (awarded to the rep that best exemplifies Fanatical Support).  Pictures of past fanatics in the jacket lined the top half of the huge wall.  Everywhere we looked, the six Rackspace core values were posted on the wall.  We played competitive trivia games involving the company policies and were entertained by the lawyers acting out a hilarious courtroom skit about legal issues we should be aware of.  Our CEO, Lanham Napier, delivered a spirited rally that got the room riled up, followed by a speech on strength building by Graham Weston, our Chairman.

I remember thinking at one point that someone should record this whole thing to show the amount of attention and energy Rackspace puts into the orientation process.  They were gearing these new recruits up to be “fanatics” in the work place; gladiators trained for battle, ready to be sent out into the world to rain fanaticism down on the masses. “The Ownership Quotient”, states that happy employees drive customer satisfaction which drives customer loyalty.  That in turn drives profitability and growth.  Needless to say, after that week in Texas, I was convinced that Rackspace is one of the best things that could’ve happened to

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