BRuss Levanway, President

We recently held an annual planning meeting with the leadership team kicked things off by creating a new business plan for the year. Sound routine? It wasn’t.

In light of our recent merger, we need the entire team, originating from both companies, to be on the same page. And the only way to do that right was to start from CIO Solutions’ mission, vision, and values.

We developed our mission statement a while ago: Productivity, enhanced. Life, enriched. In our recent business planning, we tried as much as possible to tie our output, work, and deliverables to that mission statement. This might sound straightforward enough, but the definitions for productivity, enhancement, life and enrichment can actually mean many things to many people. We sought to unify the message about what that mission statement means, to rally people around it, and to ensure that everything they do begins and ends there.

Enhanced Productivity for All

We started with the phrase “productivity, enhanced.” What does that mean in practice? How is it both inspirational and aspirational? To answer these questions, we looked at one of our key strategies for 2019: building cloud environments for clients.

We have many clients working on old, aging equipment. It’s slowing them down because it’s nearing the end of its life-cycle and can’t keep up with their needs. The cloud and cloud infrastructure significantly boost productivity for people accustomed to working in outmoded systems.

In light of that, we made it one of our core strategies to be cloud-first, bringing into the cloud as many clients from the former TekTegrity service area as possible. For our clients to see the benefits of migrating to the cloud, we have to get in front of them to show what a productivity-enhancer it is. When we do, they understand.

But it isn’t just clients who benefit from our cloud-first strategy; for our own staff, going cloud-first boosts their productivity, too.

Think about it. When a technician serves ten different clients, he or she is likely working in ten different networks and systems, which isn’t terribly efficient. But if we migrate those ten systems to the cloud, seven out of ten things about them will become more alike because it’s a standardized environment. Suddenly the technician can be more efficient and productive in supporting the client, and everyone is better able to perform their job.

Technology and Life-Work Balance

The second part of our mission statement, “life, enriched” might seem a bit vague in terms of real world application. I mean, how can a technology company enrich anyone’s life?

I have a personal example of how this works. I recently received upgraded cochlear implants. Without them, I literally couldn’t hear. My last pair was was working reasonably well, but with the upgrade, I can enjoy music more, talk on the phone more easily, and converse in busy social environments better than before. My life is directly enriched through technology.

For our clients, the line may not be as obvious as suddenly being able to hear better, but think about a company with an old, archaic system. Maybe employees travel or work remotely, coming back to the office at the end of the day to enter data. Maybe they work late to do so because the company is still tied to an outmoded system in a specific physical place. And maybe they’d rather be home, wrestling with their kids.

When we implement a cloud solution for groups like this, employees are suddenly empowered to make data entries on the fly, in the field. The cloud can change the paradigm for people, helping them achieve real, improved work-life balance and giving back their time.

The Final Frontier: Giving Back

How will you apply your mission, vision and values to your company’s core strategies for this year? Where do the lines connect? Where do they break? Are you staying true to your purpose, your clients and your people?  It’s a work in progress here, and it always will be. But we are off to a good start in 2019!


Russ Levanway, President// Russ is a sought-after public speaker, technology expert, and community leader. As the president of an ever-growing managed services provider with offices in San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Fresno, Russ’s goal is to sustain and grow an IT company that provides incredible value for clients, and a great workplace for his team. When he’s not collaborating to chart out the future of CIO Solutions, Russ serves on several non-profit boards, volunteers at the People’s Kitchen and travels the world with his wife and two daughters. More on Russ>>