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The Channel Angle: How Company Culture Creates Agility

‘As MSPs, we are problem solvers,’ writes Logicalis U.S. CEO Jon Groves. ‘Customers turn to us to help them meet their IT and business needs, and they expect that we’ll know how to sidestep that landmine and when to make a quick pivot.’

[Editor’s note: The Channel Angle is a monthly CRN guest column written by an executive that focuses on the triumphs and challenges that solution providers face. If you are a solution provider executive interested in contributing, please contact managing editor David Harris.]

By Jon Groves

Stop. Go. Pivot. Back one step. Forward two. Sidestep a landmine. Repeat.

Sound familiar? It’s the day-to-day of anyone working in the channel. As the industry rapidly evolves, more quickly than ever before, leaders are faced with new and unpredictable obstacles. And that was even before a global pandemic completely changed the way in which we work and serve our customers.

As MSPs, we are problem solvers. Customers turn to us to help them meet their IT and business needs, and they expect that we’ll know how to sidestep that landmine and when to make a quick pivot. Much of that comes from knowledge—of the technologies available, the challenges to overcome, and the right solutions to solve the problem. Much of it also comes from partnerships and strong relationships with leading technology companies to ensure we can provide our customers with the best suite of services for their business.

But agility also comes from somewhere else, somewhere much less technical: the culture.

[Read A Previous Channel Angle Column: Weighing The Risk Of Remote Monitoring and Management After The Kaseya Attack]

After all, the people are the problem solvers. An MSP’s culture must be one that fosters innovation and creativity, because that is what keeps you agile. If you’re going to help customers avoid the unexpected, you need to start from within. Take care of your people, and they will take care of the rest.

Focus on employees to help them focus on the customer

The fact is, employees will never be able to fully focus on the work if they are worrying about their own well-being. Thankfully, many companies are understanding that mental health and wellness is just as vital as physical health. Put programs and initiatives in place to address those needs. It’s crucial to offer wellness programs no matter the platform or working environment so that employees feel appreciated and taken care of.

Foster deep, meaningful, and respectful connections

The last year has invited the office right into our homes, with video calls frequently interrupted by families and pets. And it has helped foster closer connections and new ways of communicating.

It also blurred the lines. I have always been an adamant believer in work-life balance, and I encourage my employees to strive for the same. The IT space is an always-on industry, and it can often feel like we also need to be always-on. But setting boundaries is important, and respecting them goes both ways. Set your own limits and regard those of your employees, customers and partners. You’ll find it will strengthen those relationships.

Create community to spark creativity and collaboration

Sometimes finding creative solutions – in life and in work – requires collaboration. And as we saw over the last year, while employees juggled competing demands, they craved a sense of community. For example, collaboration solutions spiked in demand out of a natural human need for community.

At Logicalis, we consider ourselves “architects of change.” For me, that means changing my focus to ensure my people come first. Because in the end, it all comes full circle. If employees feel supported and respected, they will feel more prepared to pivot when the unexpected occurs, because they know they have a team behind them. That’s why businesses turn to MSPs in the first place. Starting from within makes it all the easier.

Jon Groves is the CEO of Logicalis U.S., a New York-based MSP that’s part of the Logicalis Group, which has more than 6,500 employees.

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