Leading from Anywhere: Trust, Purpose, and Results

May 24, 2024



Leading from Anywhere: Trust, Purpose, and Results

Leading from Anywhere: Trust, Purpose, and Results

Melissa Puls is the Chief Marketing Officer and SVP of Customer Success at Ivanti which provides software solutions that elevate and secure EverywhereWork. Melissa brings deep experience building and leading decentralized teams. She shares her critical learnings that have enabled effective teamwork and successful outcomes. Melissa discusses key principles when implementing flexibility, the importance of change management, and how to identify non-performing remote team members. Melissa describes the holistic support distributed employees need, especially including IT and security.


[02:27] Melissa studies communications and psychology not realizing their connection with marketing.

[03:40] Melissa’s mother is head of marketing at a tech company teaching Melissa women can do anything.

[04:17] Her entrepreneur father becomes mayor wanting to do good things for their country city.

[04:50] Her parents partner well, managing to prioritize Melissa and her sister, and demonstrating the importance of workplace flexibility.

[07:15] As her mother exits Kronos, Melissa feels purposeful in her starting role as a fulfillment coordinator.

[08:55] Melissa’s mother put the human element first in building teams, embracing different points of view.

[09:35] After setting up the fulfillment center, Melissa’s time is freed up. Should she relax or solve new problems?!

[10:15] Melissa pitches a promotion to help out the stressed-out marketing managers—her boss says yes!

[12:05] Wanting to live and raise a family by the ocean, and tired of commuting, Melissa leaves Kronos and moves to the Cape.

[13:16] Melissa lands a lead marketing role at a local tech company which then rolls up into a billion-dollar global organization.

[13:55] Maintaining her boundaries, Melissa stays remote, managing her teams based everywhere.

[15:26] At times, Melissa commutes in part of the week when certain leaders didn’t share her mindset.

[16:56] The first, critical principal is to give people the benefit of the doubt that they will do the right thing.

[17:10] Put people in an environment where they can do their best work and respect their boundaries.

[17:51] Many leaders don’t trust people to do the right thing. How to identify the few employees who don’t?

[18:57] Every employee must understand their purpose, how it relates to the bigger picture, and have clear metrics and expectations.

[19:40] What people say and how they react if there isn’t a good fit.

[21:28] Melissa learned from her father that some choose to set their boundary at doing the minimum work.

[22:42] Melissa joins Iron Mountain for an integrated growth marketing role.

[23:25] Highly corporate centric when she joins, Iron Mountain decides to move and shrink their office space.

[24:39] Employees get two choices: all in-office with a dedicated desk or flexibility with a shared desk.

[26:30] Motivated by costs, Iron Mountrain creates great new space and supports others’ change to work flexibly.

[28:16] Engagement goes up, people are more productive opting for the environment they can work best in.

[29:41] Iron Mountain is set up for success with a strong culture, purpose, and good performance management principles and protocols.

[30:17] Not everyone is on board with the change—which is natural.

[31:19] Ask, not assume, if people can meet your needs.

[32:21] Impressions can be misleading. Set your boundary and have the tough conversation.

[34:36] Melissa's current company is paving the way for flexible work everywhere—internally and for customers.

[35:44] Leaders support flexible work, but are IT and security professionals set up to support them?

[35:15] In new work situations, what new risks are employees under that need to be addressed?

[37:56] Silos between security and IT are decreasing their effectiveness.

[40:32] Frontline managers need to buy in fully to the value of flexible working, not be ‘told’.

[42:09] Deploying flexible work principles: holding people accountable and respecting their independence.

[42:58] Every industry, company, and job is different, so flexibility differs.

[44:23] IMMEDIATE ACTION TIP: Put people in an environment where they can do their best work being clear about purpose, roles, responsibilities, outcomes, and deliverables, and ensure there is alignment between IT and security teams so they can provide and support the right tools for flexible work. Then trust that employees will do the right thing.


“We understand flexibility is not only about what the company needs, but also what the individual needs.”

“It takes time and effort and energy and focus for an organization to bring along the right frontline managers so that they understand the purpose of what they're doing and making sure they deploy those principles of flexible work.”

“Hire the best people for the best job it really doesn't matter where they're located.”

“Most important is to give people the benefit of the doubt that they're going to do the right thing.”

“Every single person in your organization needs to understand what their purpose is and how it relates to the bigger picture, vision, and mission of the company and what they can do to contribute to that.”

“Only upside for the company financially—they were in a better spot, less space, more flexible. And the people that opted for that were in an environment where they felt that they could do great work.”

"The importance of having alignment between IT and security, where they have real insights into how the business is operating so they can provide the right tools and really maximize flexible work."