Navigating Change and and Other Obstacles: How Successful Executives Do It
Interview with Terillium CEO Warren Bach and Terillium President Dave Woodworth
A day in the life of an executive is a day filled with challenges, decisions – some big, some small – and usually more work than is physically or mentally possible to handle.
It’s no secret that good leaders have to prioritize and implement strategies to manage their responsibilities, their people and their efforts. The secret lies in how successful executives actually do it.
We recently spoke with Terillium CEO Warren Bach and President Dave Woodworth about their thoughts on how those in top leadership positions are navigating change to keep their organizations on track.
FOCUS ON THE MISSION
“Successful strategies are ones that benefit the company, employees and customers,” Woodworth says.
To stay focused on your mission and ensure that your employees are doing the same, Bach and Woodworth recommend making collaboration and communication a priority.
Executing strategies that support the company’s mission means having employees at every level on the same page, no matter their roles or responsibilities. Not every decision will be met with unilateral enthusiasm. But good leaders understand that, although they can’t make every employee happy in every moment, collaboration and communication can help:
- Maintain focus
- Keep the big picture and the organization’s overall mission in the forefront
- Poise the team for success
Successful strategies are ones that benefit the company, employees and customers.”
KNOW THAT CHANGE IS INEVITABLE
Top leaders and executive teams must be able to:
- Pivot when necessary
- Make efficient decisions
- Develop creative solutions
Woodworth cites Terillium University (TU) – the company’s training program for recent college graduates – as one of the most successful strategies implemented since he began. In order to combat an aging consultant base, Terillium hires college students out of school to train as consultants following graduation. Terillium University employees learn from experienced consultants on the job following an in-depth training course, building experience from within. As a result, the program has worked well. TU consultants have helped on several projects for Terillium clients – and many have been promoted.
“Terillium prides itself on trying new things,” Woodworth says. “Our industry is constantly changing. If companies don’t press issues of change, many become stagnant with no growth.”
On balancing short- and long-term strategies, Bach says the technology consulting industry comes with its own unique challenges. “It’s sometimes tough to see where technology will end up short-term. You have to look a few years out and invest in the long-term future. In the short-term, you have to juggle many opportunities and choose what investments will positively affect the company now and into the future. They’re tough to balance, but you have to do both to be successful.”
Bach insists that investment in multiple areas of the business ensures future options for the company.
“Constant reinvestment back into the company is a necessity to sustain a successful business. Invest in your core mission and practices as well as new opportunities. You must be patient, not all great ideas succeed. It’s how you react that ultimately makes a difference. Understand that change is good, and those who can embrace and move with it can take your company to places you never anticipated.”
BE A GOOD PARTNER
“In today’s business climate, strategic partnerships are extremely important,” Woodworth says.
Regardless of industry, forming strong partnerships is an important aspect to running a successful business today. Organizations that leverage key partnerships can expand their reach and service or product offerings, and as a result, grow their bottom line.
“We are very methodical about the partnerships we enter into – we choose partners where our missions are aligned,” Woodworth says.
INVEST IN YOUR PEOPLE, AND CELEBRATE WINS
“As a consulting firm, our assets are our people and we value them highly,” Bach says.
Bach and Woodworth have worked to build a company culture that places an emphasis on teamwork, and where employees look forward to a new day, are challenged mentally and supported by colleagues and management.
Part of prioritizing your people includes investing your time. Woodworth says that leaders have to be good listeners. “Management doesn’t know everything. Being open to input is part of what makes a good leader.”
Both Bach and Woodworth agree that the attitude of “Work hard, play hard” is embedded in Terillium’s company culture. “We love to win and be successful, and we enjoy the celebration.”
As a consulting firm, our assets are our people and we value them highly.”