Leading an integration company: Tips and stories at PSA-TEC 2012
I arrived late in the afternoon yesterday in Westminster, Colo. for one of my favorite events of the year, PSA-TEC.
The conference, which started on Sunday and runs through Friday, was well underway when I arrived. Lisa Cole Miller, PSA Security Network marketing director said attendance is up about 10 percent over last year with more than 65 integrator companies here. (Some of those companies send up to 10 employees.) In addition, there are consultants, end users, and more than 40 vendors exhibiting on a show floor here.
“When you think about it, it’s a bargain,” Miller said, “For $500, you get breakfast and lunch, four days of classes, a trade show and parties.”
I arrived in time for PSA Security CEO Bill Bozeman’s presentation “What every integrator needs to know about being an effective executive.”
This class is part of the PSA Leadership Institute, which PSA launched in October at the PSA Convention in Puerto Rico. Here’s a story with details about the program.
It was the end of the day and Bozeman spoke for more than an hour about the highlights of the business book “The Effective Executive,” which was written 40 years ago by Peter Drucker.
I’m not one for long presentations—but Bozeman is a good speaker. Ever hear an engaging preacher give a good sermon? He’s got a little bit of a preacher’s cadence, and he tells some pretty funny stories too.
There were about 50 integrators and a few vendors in the room for his presentation. Bozeman’s clearly taken to heart one of Drucker’s tenets: “if you’re going to call a meeting, make if effective.”
Highlights of the talk included:
—“Manage yourself.” To lead you’ve got to show discipline—show up on time, have passion for what you’re doing.” Bozeman told a story about visiting a PSA member who’s business wasn’t going well. Bozeman said he was not surprised that business was bad when he visited the office.
“The shades were drawn, there was no light, the owner was walking around [hunched over, with his hands on his forehead, looking like the sky was falling]. And the employees were doing the same thing—walking around like zombies. It was the most depressing place I’ve ever seen.”
—Drucker said he never, in 45 years, came across a single, natural executive who didn’t have to learn how to be an effective executive. It’s something you need to work on.
—Identify company objectives, how you spend your time, and don’t let people waste your time. Focus on the positive and motivating your people.
Pierre Trapanese, owner, Northland Control Systems, as an example of effective executive. Trapanese (who will be speaking at the conference today and who spoke at TechSec in 2010, bought a small integration company “that needed a lot of work” Bozeman said and turned it into a fast growing company.
“Through leadership and vision, he’s grown that company beyond what [anyone] thought was possible,” Bozeman said. Recently, Trapanese chose an annual goal for the company. “This year we’re going to have fun,” is what he said, according to Bozemen. “He’s got people knocking down his doors wanting to work there, and he doesn’t pay the highest salaries in the areas.”
—Manages to peoples’ strengths, and surround yourself with people who have strengths that you don’t possess.
—Veto hiring anyone with substance abuse problems or who’s dishonest in the least.
—Read the fine print, hire legal counsel.
—“Don’t take pride in being King Kong… become more visionary and less the doer.”
Time to head over to the conference. There’s an M&A panel at 8, followed by a panel of successful integrators and fast-growing integrators, a panel on market drivers, and one on social media. I’ll have more tomorrow.