Friday, January 30, 2009

You'll Need a Team to Make the Big Changes Necessary for Tomorrow

It Takes a Team to Make a Better You!

Patty DeDominic

Santa Barbara, California
Executive Coach & Business Consultant

Transitions can mean Evolution and Growth
I've made some big transitions over the past few decades:

  • Moving from bootstrapping entrepreneur to CEO to Chairman of the Board(s).
  • Building a company which became one of California's top 5% of employers took lots of work, time and a team.

Successful growth and building happy customers took much strategic thinking and tons of execution. It also took trial and error and many years of working at perfecting our craft. We built upon our successes and for the most part learned from our hiccups. (no failures in our vocabulary - challenges yes, but never failures!)

We could never have accomplished all that we did at PDQ Personnel and CT Engineering without willing clients, employees and advisers who were part of our stakeholders team. Sometimes our growth was planned. Actually it was always planned for, but it didn't always manifest itself in the time lines originally forecast, if you know what I mean. :-)

I sold PDQ two years ago to Select Staffing another privately held firm that is now among the top privately held firms in America with over $1.4 Billion in sales. It is a beautiful thing to see a plan come together and every day I cheer for their success and wish them the best. Companies evolve and they have too. I too have evolved again, from leader of a large company back to "bootstrapping entrepreneur". Having come full circle, I am in the process of assembling new teams for my book, for my charitable activities and as future business advisers. I am having a lot of fun again!

It's been wonderful to serve as a consultant to Select Staffing and other client firms, even some significant social enterprises and charitable institutions. I watch as they continue to acquire others and navigate the challenges of this economy. No small feat! I love helping founders, board members and their sales and franchise teams identify new business opportunities and hone their already great skills. We have had fun "talking the customers language" and I especially have enjoyed working with some of the staff in states across the USA. But none of my growth
has come without the help of others and for that I am especially grateful.

TRANSITIONS Are a Normal Part of a Healthy Life and Career

Evolution = Transitions and hopefully Growth.

For us, building one of California's leading staffing firms, each transition took place in it's due time when circumstances necessitated these changes. We always aimed for growth.... but not at any cost. We pushed for growth that was profitable and enabled us to maintain our integrity and our commitment to America's Finest Employers. We sought out and offered our services to those firms we truly wanted to be affiliated with and this business philosophy paid off for us. Forces of business and inertia made this a constant effort and required diligent focus on our key drivers, keeping costs in line, seeking high return on all investments and providing high value to our clients. With those underpinnings, those values, I have plenty of happy memories of those years and the people we were privileged to serve.

It's the Learning, the sometimes painful lessons of business growth, that keeps many of us going and kept the PDQ/CT Engineering teams excited about the future.

We didn't always know exactly what we were doing.... but we always knew in which direction we were headed! (OK, it was staffing, NOT brain surgery thank goodness!)

Looking back, it seems like each time I mastered leading the company at a certain size, (say $500k in annual sales, then $2million, then 5, 10 and finally $25 million) it was time to move on and Up. My capacity to lead grew and just when I thought I had finally mastered that level it was time to grow again. Growth and learning are not for those who always must do everything perfectly..... it can be a humbling experience. I always felt extremely competent in yesterday's or last years job!

Today I wanted to talk a bit about the humbling aspects of business growth. Sure wins have their wonderful rewards in terms of money and often in terms of the satisfaction and recognition that comes with worthy goal achievement. But most of the time for me the business grew a little like that old adage of the tortoise and the hare .......... one steady (not sexy) foot in front of the other, plugging ahead, doing the work, one day at a time. It was not explosive growth...but sometimes the recognition and the rewards did surprise us.

Exponential growth did occur some years. It appears these took place about one third of the years we built the company. Exponential growth occurred when the external environment was right and when our internal team was prepared. In most years it was steady somewhat predictable growth that when focused on returned good results for all of us.

It took a Team.... for which I am eternally grateful.
It took Focus, which I learned after about twenty years in business!
It took Vision and Commitment
and it took a consistent effort year after year to improve our delivery of value to our customers.


Unknown said...

Success breeds success. Business success is mostly a function of doing the leg-work to position oneself, and then good fortune will shoot a growth-spurt our way. If we do our homework, pay the dues, and operate with integrity, fortune will often smile on us. This sums up my feelings about Patty DeDominic and her business culture.

Stephen said...


We so undervalue the importance of teams in the big picture of business development.
The whole is only as good as the sum of the parts is so true.
It is important to pick the right team. If you pick the wrong team members, the team will enjoy limited success. It is analagous to picking a supplier for goods and/or services. If the supplier is "bad", he may improve over time but for the most part, his culture will prevent him from ever being what you want him to be.