Matt has been working with services companies for more than 20 years, starting in telecommunications and evolving into software services. Over the last 15 years he has supported three services startups at Sumtotal Systems, Appirio and 7Summits, which all led to successful acquisitions. He is familiar with high-growth environments, has successfully attracted and grown talent organizations and the people within them, and implements operational models that can scale. Today, he leads Operations and Delivery at Envoy.
Why are you so passionate about helping people-based businesses?
I gain the most satisfaction helping people to succeed, whether it’s career growth, customer success, or on a personal level. I believe that it starts with attracting and sourcing the right talent, and from there, focusing on how to remove blockers and motivate them. I love helping people succeed in their careers and I’ve found that I have been able to make the biggest impact with services companies.
Your focus on ‘people first’ has led to highly engaged teams with strong business results at 7Summits, Appirio and Sumtotal. What advice would you give to leaders looking to bring this concept into their organization?
Having a people-first philosophy means keeping the “team” front and center when making decisions and creating processes. It starts with bringing the right talent in, fostering their growth once they arrive, and supporting them throughout their journey. I believe that if you take care of the team, all of the other performance metrics will follow.
Here are a few concrete tips: When it comes to making smart, impactful hires, make sure you create recruiting models that allow for multiple data points. Hire for aptitude and culture fit over other attributes. Next, make sure there’s a high level of engagement with multiple points of interaction. It’s easy for consultants to get lost in their project world, especially when working remotely. Tools can help. Lastly, foster growth and performance through mentoring and training. Ensure there are resources in place that allow people to grow and perform in their specific roles. Centers of Excellence are one way to accomplish this, in lieu of functional organizational models.
What is one tip that you have for building a truly global delivery team and culture?
One of the activities I’ve found can positively impact a global buildout is to align respective teams and leaders with their counterparts in different regions. At Appirio I was able to spend a lot of time in Europe and India as we built out our customer base. Getting alignment and routinely engaging with my counterparts in those geographies helped us grow and scale the services and teams respectively. These relationships led to stronger communications, ultimately leading to achievement of our shared goals.
What advice would you give leaders seeking to transition a delivery team’s focus from being project based to truly sustaining ongoing customer relationships?
I believe there are two core ingredients that feed into strong customer relationships: understanding their business and understanding the outcomes they are looking to achieve. Customers have a lot of choices when it comes to who they want to partner with for technology services. The organizations that come in, learn and demonstrate a strong understanding of their customers’ business, and then shape solutions that lead to tangible business outcomes are the ones that will win. That, and having the right people.