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. Take a step back. Forward two. Avoid a land mine. Repeat.
Seems familiar? It is the daily life of all those who work in the chain. As the industry changes rapidly, faster than ever, executives face new, unpredictable obstacles. And that was even before a global pandemic completely changed the way we work and serve our customers.
As MSP, we solve problems. Customers look to us for help with their IT and business needs, and they expect us to know how to get around this landmine and when to do a quick pivot. Much of this comes from knowing the technologies available, the challenges to overcome, and the right solutions to solve the problem. Much of this also comes from partnerships and strong relationships with leading technology companies to ensure that we can provide our clients with the best range of services for their business.
But agility also comes from elsewhere, from a much less technical place: culture.
[Read A Previous Channel Angle Column: Weighing The Risk Of Remote Monitoring and Management After The Kaseya Attack]
After all, it’s the people who solve the problems. The culture of an MSP should foster innovation and creativity, because that’s what keeps you agile. If you want to help customers avoid the unexpected, you have to start from the inside. Take care of your people, and they’ll take care of the rest.
Focus on employees to help them focus on the customer
The point is, employees will never be able to fully focus on their work if they care about their own well-being. Fortunately, many companies understand that mental health and wellness is just as essential as physical health. Put in place programs and initiatives to meet these needs. It is crucial to offer wellness programs, regardless of platform or work environment, so that employees feel valued and cared for.
Foster deep, meaningful and respectful relationships
The past year has brought the office into our homes, with video calls frequently interrupted by families and pets. And it has helped foster closer ties and new ways of communicating.
It also blurred the lines. I have always been a strong believer in work-life balance, and I encourage my employees to do the same. The IT space is an always active industry, and it can often be felt like we need to always be active as well. But setting limits is important, and sticking to them goes both ways. Set your own limits and respect those of your employees, customers and partners. You will find that this will strengthen those relationships.
Create a community to stimulate creativity and collaboration
Sometimes finding creative solutions – in life and at work – requires collaboration. And as we’ve seen over the past year, as employees juggled competing demands, they craved a sense of community. For example, collaborative solutions have increased in demand due to a natural human need for community.
At Logicalis, we see ourselves as “architects of change”. For me that means changing focus to make sure my people come first. Because in the end, the circle is complete. If employees feel supported and respected, they will feel better prepared to pivot when the unexpected happens because they know they have a team behind them. This is why businesses are turning to MSPs in the first place. Starting from the inside makes things that much easier.
Jon Groves is the CEO of Logicalis US, a New York-based MSP that is part of the Logicalis group, which has more than 6,500 employees.