Monday, November 24, 2008

Changes and Challenges

It has been a long while since I posted to this blog. I have missed the therapeutic effect of thinking through issues, problems, successes and strategies and getting comments on those thoughts from people who follow me and who I follow.
There have been so many things that have gone on in the past few months that could be written on personally, professionally, politically, macro-economically, etc, etc. I will start to work through my thoughts on all of those things in the upcoming days and weeks. I have gone through many difficult and trying times in the past weeks at work and have been presented with the opportunity to lead a group of highly dedicated, focussed and smart people at Ivara Corp as President. We, like many businesses, are going to be entering some very uncertain times in the marketplace and have had to make some very difficult decisions to proactively prepare for this uncertainty. Some of those decisions, which occured over the past week, were the most difficult that I have made in my professional career and I feel deeply for the people that were affected by those changes and will continue to work with them as required to ensure they will land on their feet, which I have no doubt they will.
Looking forward we have a year filled with Change and Challenge but with change comes opportunity. Opportunity for us to refocus on the customer experience, to gather information about why our customers like us and don't like us, to change our product and our offering to meet the ever evolving needs of our customers in the market. It is important that we engage now more than ever with our customers and prospects to stay close and work with them to drive value in their business and grow the Ivara community. While change is a true constant it is not easy. People like the routine and comfort of consistency but the reality is that those who lead change in the marketplace, who allow their community to take them places they otherwise may have resisted, who are open to and embrace change engage their community and drive forward. A truly engaged and passionate group of employees, customers, prospects and stakeholders are unsettled with the status quo. They love what they do, what the company does and because they are engaged they want to make things continuously better than they were.
I love Apple! I love their products and I love their pace. Apple is a company that realizes if it does not constantly antiquate and cannibalize it's own products someone else will. Is the current iPod a great product? Most would argue yes (and sales numbers would support) but in very short order Apple will release a new iPod that will make the current perfectly good product obsolete. Apple does not accept the status quo, they know that the market will continue to change, customers will want new things and that engaging with their community will require them to provide those things (at the expense of their own existing product line) to ensure the community is and continues to be engaged and they remain the leaders of their space.
I will continue to blog here but will also do so at Ivara's blog. I will continue to Twitter personally and will begin to do so at Ivara. One of our great employees Jason Diller has started a Yammer initiative internally which is growing through his care and feeding and is facilitating much needed cross departmental communication. All these tools are just Yammer and Twitter and blogs and Facebook are all excellent tools to facilitate community. This will be a year of change for me, this will be a year of change for Ivara and this will be a year where we start to form and engage with our community in new ways. I don't have all the answers and I don't have a silver bullet because their isn't one. I will look to engage through meeting face to face with employees, with customers...both happy ones and especially those less so...with trusted advisors and through social networks. Collectively this group of passionate people will generate the ideas required to drive Ivara forward to success through these turbulent times.
Success is a process, one that in my role I will support and foster among a great tribe of people at Ivara and within our community. Our success will be a group success and will come from ideas, thoughts, challenges and changes that I will endeavour to enable but will inevitably come through the community of dedicated employees, customers and prospects who will push us to the change we need.
I look forward to meeting with each of you along the way.

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