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Thundercat CEO On Living Your Company’s Values

Tom Deierlein offers hard-earned advice to fellow solution providers about never giving up and how to apply that lesson to leading their own organization.

In a keynote speech that resonated deeply with members of the audience, Thundercat Technology CEO Tom Deierlein talked about the role values play in an organization and used his own experience in the U.S. Army and as a Boy Scout as an example.

“Your company needs to have values. People need to know what they are,” he said. “They need to be communicated and they need to be promoted. Do you know what your company’s values are? Are you living them? Do you discuss them?”

Speaking at XChange 2018, being held this week in San Antonio and hosted by The Channel Company, Deierlein’s words hit home with many solution providers in attendance.

“Honestly, being an Eagle Scout, that part of his presentation gave me the chills,” said Brian Miller, senior technology consultant at Premier Data Systems, Lafayette, La. “There’s a lot in that presentation that I try to lead by every single day. Seeing those values on his slide, man it just hit home. I had chills when he was talking.”

For Miller, it was a validation of his own values.

“A lot of what he went over are things that we are already bringing into our organization because of my connection to Scouting,” he said. “Once you realize that you can become a better business person and a better provider to your customer by leading with some of those points, you’ll love your job. You’ll love what you do.”

Deierlein also talked about being one of nine children who always had a chore to do growing up. About how his father – a former U.S. Marine – taught him to never give up, ever. And then how he applied that lesson to get on the track team in high school; to West Point, when he was on the verge of being booted; and later in Ranger school when he was one fail away from being kicked out.

Then finally when he was hit by a sniper’s bullet in Iraq.

“I’m not smart,” Deierlein said. “I’m not good-looking. But I never, ever quit.”

Deierlein went over tips for leading organizations such as building grit in your employees using specific, measurable, actionable, relevant and time-bound goals; designating accountability; and conducting after- action reports after a win as well as after a losss.

“You shouldn’t only do it when you lose,”he said. “If anything, it’s more important to do it when you win. You get everyone in a room or on a conference call and you ask four questions. What was supposed to happen? What did happen? What do we have to do better? What should we continue to do?”

Brett Birner, vice president of operations at SRV Network, Chicago, loved hearing from a leader with a different background than many in tech.

“Some of the most important things to take away from someone like that is it’s really nice to get a breath of fresh air from a different perspective,” Birner said. “He obviously runs his business in a different way in a much more seasoned, Army-type of way, and I come from a couple partners who were just really smart geeks. It’s really nice to hear from people like that so we step outside the jar, instead of inside our own incubator.“

Thundercat Technology, Reston, Va., moved up 10 spots to land at No. 59 on the 2018 CRN Solution Provider 500.

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