LEADERSHIP SPOTLIGHT - SASAN GOODARZI, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF INTUIT
Sasan Goodarzi is chief executive officer (CEO) of Intuit, where he leads the company towards delivering on its mission of powering prosperity around the world.
He assumed the role on Jan. 1, 2019. During his 14 years with the company, Goodarzi has successfully led each of Intuit’s largest businesses. Most recently, Goodarzi served as executive vice president and general manager of Intuit’s Small Business and Self-Employed Group. Previously, he served as executive vice president and general manager of Intuit’s Consumer Tax Group, as Intuit’s chief information officer, as the general manager of Intuit’s ProTax organization, and as the general manager of Intuit’s Financial Services Division.
Before coming to Intuit, Goodarzi worked for Invensys, a global provider of industrial automation, transportation and controls technology, serving as global president of the products group. He also held a number of senior leadership roles in the automation control division at Honeywell and served as the CEO and co-founder of a technology startup, Lazer Cables Inc.
Born in Tehran, Iran, Goodarzi came to the United States as a child and grew up in Orlando, Florida. He currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife and two children. He earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering at the University of Central Florida and a master’s in business administration from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. Goodarzi is also a member of the board of directors at Intuit and Atlassian.
Here are some invaluable pieces of guidance Sasan Goodarzi has shared with business leaders over recent years:
"By being more intentional, you have the power to include more voices in the conversation. And the more voices, the better. Because the more ideas that are heard and tested, the more you discover the one great idea that can make a difference. That’s the power of inclusion in action."
Recognize How Much You Don’t Know: Everyone carries around an invisible suitcase with them that holds their life experiences in it. Don’t assume you know what they are carrying. Ask questions. Find out what you don’t know. Learn if there are reasons people on your team may be holding back and ensure they are in an environment where they are open to share. The more you know, the more inclusive of a leader you will be. Your team will be enabled to do their best work, informed by each member’s unique perspective and experiences.
Be More Intentional: If there is someone that never shares their opinion, proactively bring their voice into the conversation. In meetings, I take a mental inventory on who is talking the most and the least, and I stop the discussion mid-way to offer the quietest person a chance to speak. By being more intentional, you have the power to include more voices in the conversation. And the more voices, the better. Because the more ideas that are heard and tested, the more you discover the one great idea that can make a difference. That’s the power of inclusion in action.
Tell Your Story: For a long time, I never told my own story. I did not think it was important. I thought I should just focus on the work. When I finally did share my own personal story of coming to this country, I was surprised by the impact it had. People on my direct team, and across Intuit, saw a different side of me. I was more than just the leader. They understood a part of my past that has influenced who I am today — and that helped us get work done together as a team. I encourage anyone leading a team to share your own personal stories because they have more power than you realize.
"You can forget that not everyone sees the picture quite as you do. So always remember to solve for that imbalance and unpack your decisions, and know it’s ok to disagree."
No One Knows What You Know: Being the leader of an organization of any size is an exercise in information intake. If you are doing your job well, you are constantly listening to a wide range of voices. This can create an imbalance of information between yourself and those you are working with — your team, your employees, the board and others. You can forget that not everyone sees the picture quite as you do. So always remember to solve for that imbalance and unpack your decisions, and know it’s ok to disagree.
Be Ready on Day One: You need to be ready to be the leader of your organization from the moment you start. That means facing up to and resolving any fears and concerns about the position….before your start. It’s important to be completely confident and clear in your decisions and how you present yourself. This doesn’t mean having your mind already made up about everything, because being curious and open to learning is vital to success. It just means that you need to be ready to be fully you from your first day in the role. Remember, that’s why they hired you. Have conviction, but be curious.
Don’t Be Anyone but You: One of the best pieces of advice I got was from Steve Young, the hall of fame NFL quarterback, who told me that my number one job was to be the best me that I could be. Many people feel pressure to carry on the legacy of the person that preceded them or to work with the same team that was there before. Don’t fall into that trap. You are there to provide the leadership, vision, and experience that only you can offer. And you will only succeed when you are the most authentic version of you that you can be, not the best imitation of someone else.
"I believe we can no longer be silent about the deep-rooted racism in our society. I will no longer be silent."
Overcoming Racism in our Societies: I believe we can no longer be silent about the deep-rooted racism in our society. I will no longer be silent. We must openly discuss the realities that black people face. Only by having honest discussions, however difficult that may be, will we ever be able to get to a better place.
"At Intuit, our mission is to power prosperity around the world. We are determined to use the collective strength of our products and our people to make the world a better place, especially for those that need it most."
Inequality in Economic Opportunities: Unfortunately, that is not the world we live in. Around the globe, too many people struggle to make ends meet. They worry about their finances. And they are scared they won’t have the opportunity to achieve their dreams and live the lives they want. Today, nearly half the people in the United States live paycheck to paycheck and 40% of Americans can’t come up with $400 in an emergency. And for those that have taken the bold step of going into business for themselves, the challenges are even greater. In the United Kingdom, 57% of small businesses go under within five years and in Canada, approximately 7,000 small businesses go bankrupt every year. At Intuit, our mission is to power prosperity around the world. We are determined to use the collective strength of our products and our people to make the world a better place, especially for those that need it most.
Intuit's Mission: At Intuit, our mission is to “Power Prosperity Around the World.” Delivering on that mission in ways that go beyond our products and services is vitally important in a world where too many struggle to make ends meet, and economic opportunity is still not available to all. This is why we’re committed to using our unique position to influence the world around us and help give everyone the opportunity to prosper.
Artificial Intelligence at Intuit: At Intuit, we are obsessed with solving our customers’ most important financial problems. That commitment has never been more important than right now. It’s critical that we find new ways to put the power of technology, and especially Artificial Intelligence (AI), on the side of our customers.
Intuit is the global technology platform that helps consumers and small businesses overcome their most important financial challenges. Serving more than 100 million customers worldwide with TurboTax, QuickBooks, Mint, Credit Karma, and Mailchimp, we believe that everyone should have the opportunity to prosper. We never stop working to find new, innovative ways to make that possible. Please visit us for the latest information about Intuit
This article appeared in World Biz Magazine's Q2, 2022 Issue