Mike has more than 25 years experience building and scaling professional services organizations, from early stage startups to global organizations. He has a gift for mentoring and motivating global teams, and has generated more than $1 billion in value across multiple services organizations. As the former President and COO of Traction on Demand, Mike grew the Salesforce consulting partner from 200 people to 1,500 people, overseeing sales, delivery and operations until the firm’s acquisition by Salesforce in April 2022. Prior to Traction, Mike was SVP of Consulting Services at Appirio, VP of Services at Borland, and CEO at TeraQuest Metrics. He has created deep partnerships with cloud pioneers like Salesforce, Google, and Workday, and is an accomplished photographer. He is on the board of the Texas Photographic Society and Zennify, a Salesforce and Databricks consultancy.
Why are you passionate about helping leaders of IT services firms?
One of the most gratifying aspects of being a leader is watching members of your team achieve things that they didn’t know were possible. When helping leaders in IT services firms, there are personal, economic and social achievements that can alter the course of many lives. For me, that is legacy – and why I do what I do.
You have a lot of experience as a leader, and a strong ability to mentor and motivate large teams. What factors are important when it comes to successfully leading large organizations?
- Trust – a large team can immediately sense if your words don’t match reality. Building and maintaining trust in leaders and the team is paramount.
- Communication – the “indirect network” becomes very important as companies exceed the 500 person mark. Leaders need to plan for this shift and change their approaches to recognize this – the founder-driven ways of influencing may no longer work.
- Predictability – as a business scales, lots of things will change and leaders must alter course in response. Having real information when making these adjustments provides more certainty to decision making – and allows smart risk taking to capitalize on the opportunities that surface along the way.
What advice would you give founders who are just getting started in a highly competitive ecosystem?
Take the time to get the foundations that you will need to grow in place. These include your market differentiators, your economic models, your processes (sales, delivery, operations, etc.) and your strategies around people (who, where, key roles, etc.). Stay focused on what you will need as a business to establish ongoing advantages and evolve. The requirements of the company evolve every time you double your revenue and headcount.