This week we had our quarterly State of the Union. As CEO, I love to take this time to reflect on how far we have come and, of course, make sure everyone is on the same page about the direction our company is going in the future.
The presentation started with a reminder of how fast the technology market is evolving and thus, how extraordinary our mission (“Unleash the potential of small businesses and schools”) is in the context of the changing market. CEOs are exhausted with trying to keep up with technology, and our job is more than just being a managed services organization – but rather, a transformative engine for our clients.
Our growth will continue to be a focus on adding the right products that meet the 5 imperatives that we’ve identified as key to success for our clients:
- Imperative 1: Create opportunities for SMBs and Schools to tip the scales in their favor
- Imperative 2: Leverage the professional era of the unified application
- Imperative 3: Cybersecurity: Protect People, Apps and Data
- Imperative 4: Introduce Business Intelligence and Predictive Technologies
- Imperative 5: Rattle the Cage
As we grow, it is becoming more imperative than ever that we keep filling the seats with the right people. Each person who works at GadellNet is a person whom I can rely on to take our mission personally and own their portion of our company to the best of their ability. I touched on the 5 aspects of our culture:
- High Performance
- Freedom & Responsibility
- Context, not Control
- Learning and development
We could create processes upon processes to make sure each situation is handled in one particular way, especially as we are experiencing incredible growth. We could restrict the freedom of those we manage because we are taking on more and more.
But that’s not what we have decided to do. Our model is to increase employee freedom as we grow, rather than limit it, to continue to attract and nourish innovative people, so we have better chance of sustained success. How are we able to do this? Employees at GadellNet have all of these traits:
- Acts like a leader
- Doesn’t wait to be told what to do
- Picks up the trash lying on the floor
Picks up the trash lying on the floor? Why does that matter? Well it’s indicative of underlying personality traits. They take the initiative – they see an issue and know the solution, so they execute. They don’t wait on a more responsible party and they don’t try to get away with ignoring it.
Passionate people in the right position have proven to be game changers for us in the past, and as we go forward, we plan on adding more of these individuals. We plan to nurture the people we have. We plan to allow our employees to really own their area. We plan to continue to get better at every opportunity we get.
I finished with the story of economist Michael Housman who was tracking data on customer service reps and call center employees. He found that employees who use Chrome or Firefox actually outperformed Internet Explorer and Safari users. They also stayed in their jobs significantly longer.
It turned out it wasn’t a technical advantage. It was not that they were faster at typing. They didn’t have more computer knowledge. It was about how you got the browser. If you’re going to use Internet Explorer or Safari, it comes preinstalled on your computer. Right? Whereas Chrome and Firefox, if you want them, you have to take a little bit of initiative, and download a different browser.
That’s a signal, a window around what you do at work. The kinds of people who had that instinct, to say, “You know what? I wonder if there’s a better browser out there,” they were also the kinds of people who looked for ways to improve their own jobs. Ultimately, they were able to create a job where they were more effective and more satisfied.
Now, people hear about these data, and sometimes they say, “Well, wait. If I want to get better at my job, all I have to do is upgrade to Chrome or Firefox?” It’s about the kind of thinking that underlies that choice. Not just accepting the default that’s handed to you, but asking, “Is there a better way?”
Our success is predicated on our ability to leverage our talented employees and continue to challenge ourselves and our clients to ask: “is there a better way?”