Small Giant

By Dick Stark

On Tuesday, I was a guest on John Iasiuolo’s Computer Outlook Internet Radio Talk show.  According to his website, this is a talk show about computers without speaking in computer language.  John and I talked for 30 minutes about what we do, including several customer success stories.  Finally at the end, John asked, “You really can’t call yourself a small company, what should you call yourself?” I responded, “A Small Giant.”

Doug Tatum in his book, No Man’s Land, defines a Small Giant as a company too big to be small, but too small to be big. In that book he discusses whether your company should become a Small Giant—that is a great, entrepreneurial company that grows organically and is not turned over to professional managers. Or should you try to make it through No Man’s Land, and try to take the business to a whole different level in terms of size, scope, and influence?  Well, at somewhere around 200 employees, we may reach that stage where we will have to make that choice. According to the book, the successful Small Giants have mojo, or the business equivalent of charisma, namely:

  • Exceptionally intimate relationships with customers and suppliers, based on personal contact, one-on-one interaction, and mutual commitment to delivering on promises. The relationship that we share between our employees, BMC, and our customers would be extremely difficult for a large company to achieve. BMC responds by sending us leads, our customers respond by sending us fan mail, and you all respond by delivering extraordinary customer service.  Just this week I talked to a BMC global professional services manager. She said that BMC has aligned with a very large IT consulting firm with more than 200,000 employees that is everything is everyone.  How can RightStar take on such a large company? Easy! It’s very difficult for such a large company to be as focused and compassionate about BMC and Service Management as we are.
  • The company founders remain in control. I’m proud that I’ve had the opportunity to help build the kind of company we all want, rather than let RightStar be shaped by outside forces.  Two new employees recently joined us from an ex-BMC partner.  That partner company brought in outside investors, and before long, the company was out of the BMC solution provider business.
  • Unusually intimate workplaces.  My vision for RightStar is to treat employees with respect, dignity, integrity, fairness, kindness, and generosity.  In that sense, I hope that we will continue to recognize one another as family and as a company that people want to work for.
  • Passion for the business. At all levels, it is critical that we are emotionally attached to service management, to each other, to BMC and its employees, and most importantly, to our customers.

If we can continue to do these things, then we can all agree that “we got mojo.”  In other words, “we got the engine running baby, and the sky is the limit.

Click here for Dick’s radio interview

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About dick1stark

I am the President, CEO, and founder of RightStar Systems, a leading IT consultancy and BMC Software Solution Provider and Atlassian Expert Partner. My passion is customer success—whether it’s reducing the cost of service management, improving overall efficiency, or increasing end-user or employee satisfaction. Since founding RightStar in 2003, RightStar has made the INC 5000 list four times. In 2011, RightStar was awarded the prestigious National Capital Business Ethics Award (NCBEA) by the Society of Financial Service Professionals based upon RightStar’s foundation of honesty, ethics, and integrity. And in 2014, RightStar was selected by Forrester Research as one of 13 North American companies profiled in its ITSM Consultancy Wave Report. Finally, in 2016, BMC selected RightStar as its 2015 Supplier of the Year for its consulting partnership and excellence in service delivery. Dick is a graduate of Stanford University and a Project Management Professional (PMP).
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