By Russ Levanway, CEO
This week, several members of our leadership team will attend two different conferences, both of which are peer-driven. One is a vendor conference where we’ll learn about technologies that will take our services to the next level. We’ll attend with a couple hundred other IT companies, sharing notes and information about the business and talking to vendors about how to improve their technologies.
The other conference is called HTG, which is all about accountability between IT companies. HTG facilitates peer groups of about a dozen non-competitive IT companies (that don’t overlap, geographically) to meet quarterly to share what and how we’re doing. Attending the HTG conference this week, we know we’ll be raked over the coals for certain things we’re not doing well, just as we know we’ll be able to provide good advice and accountability for the other companies there.
In addition, we invite a diverse sampling of our clients to the table via a biannual client advisory committee meeting to gather their feedback. We call our committee the TekTegrity Advisory Group (TAG), and the meetings entail gathering around round tables and engaging in guided conversations that hinge on a few key points: What are your expectations? Are we meeting said expectations? What should we START doing? What should we STOP doing? At TAG gatherings we get to see our business practices reflected back to us by our clients in a way that helps us all improve together as a company.
A Context for Growth
Why do we put ourselves through all this? Wouldn’t it be so much easier (and easier on the bottom line) to plug along with our heads down? Without all the assessment, feedback, and soul-searching?
That may work for a little while, but ultimately, no. The fact is, nobody improves in a vacuum. And without feedback, you have no way of knowing if you’re meeting expectations. If you have nothing by which to measure yourself, no “yardstick,” you can never grow or get the edge. It simply won’t happen.
At TekTegrity all of this feedback gives us a series of yardsticks to measure ourselves against. It’s been tremendously beneficial and a key component to our growth as a company.
This kind of professional development can be the “rising tide” that lifts all ships in your company. To continue with the ocean metaphor, consider this: are there small islands in your company that need more oversight? What can you do to give them more accountability? Is it through conferences and trade shows? Through direct interaction with customers? Through a consultative arrangement with experts? Just something to think about.