Gary Thomas has been a part of LEAP Managed IT’s 86-year-old story for almost a quarter of a century.
During this time, he had the courage to make bold moves and encourage change. But he also stayed true to the company’s core values and channeled his efforts towards increasing customer satisfaction.
Want to know more?
Here’s an insightful interview with LEAP Managed IT’s president, Gary Thomas. Read on to find out more about what has kept them in business for almost a century.
Q: Tell us a little bit about your professional journey from Sales Representative at Thomas Office Machines to Partner at LEAP Managed IT.
A: It’s been a great journey and a natural progression. I was blessed enough to work with some great people including Michael and my father, Wayne when he was working day-to-day in the business.
He was always so focused on the customer, it was like second nature. He said: “Always run at a customer, never away.”
Meaning a face-to-face conversation is always better than email, phone or ignoring them.
At the end of the day, we do business with people, and that’s what I’ve truly enjoyed from sales rep to partner.
Q: How has the company changed in the 22 years you have been part of it?
A: The technology deliverable changes right off the bat have been mind-blowing. From analog copiers to digital, to the new threats in IT security, it’s changed a ton.
The number one change is collaboration. It’s no disrespect for how we worked 15 plus years ago, but it’s no shock to say that business has become more complicated.
We collaborate better as a team, with partners, with clients better than we ever have. It’s necessary to see projects through to the end with the greatest success.
Q: Your business has managed to stay on the market for over 85 years. What do you consider are the main reasons you are still a successful business?
A: The core of our success revolves around supporting the customer. The technologies are always going to change, but being committed to communicating well, setting reasonable expectations and being creative in solving opportunities is critical.
Q: What are some major changes you’ve noticed in your mindset and everyday work compared to five years ago?
A: My mindset compared to five years ago is 180 degrees different. If we just look at managing technology for our clients, we not only have to look at today’s opportunities, budgets, and challenges but have a crystal ball to make foundational decisions for the short term plus 3, 5 and 10 years down the road.
I look at every solution and business decision that helps a client with a personal decision like I’m making it for our own organization.
Q: What motivated the team behind the business to change from Thomas Office to LEAP Managed IT?
A: Our name change was a natural evolution in our 86-year-old history. We aren’t the same organization from a technical deliverable point-of-view, but we are the same for taking care of clients’ needs.
We are in the people business and that will never change. Our motivation for change is focusing on the next 86 years and it’s giving us a platform to tell our story.
We have amazing, smart people on our team solving business problems we would have never dreamed about 10 years ago. Clients rely on us to serve their clients and operate a profitable organization. We are a part of their success and that’s what makes it awesome.
Q: If you could offer three pieces of advice to managers of organizations who don’t know if they should pivot or not, what would they be?
A: If you don’t pivot at the right moment, the marketplace will change around you and it will make it harder to lead. Investing in your organization is priority number one in having the opportunity to be successful.
We can’t dictate what our competition is doing and, frankly, I’m not even concerned in what they are doing. If we take care of ourselves, make tough decisions, work on the process of continually improving, then everything else takes care of itself.
Secondly, your workforce doesn’t only want to be competitive but they want to win. Everyone wants to be on a winning team leading new ideas and innovations in the marketplace. If you aren’t challenging them to grow, change and solve problems, then they will leave. It’s not all about the paycheck.
The last part is about looking internally as a business leader:
- What do you want?
- What stamp do you want to leave on your business, employees, clients, and community?
We can look at examples of half-hearted relationships and businesses. Complaints that business is down because of road construction, or it’s hard to find the right people or whatever the next excuse is.
We all have that stuff in our businesses, and as a leader, it’s our job to look at everything as an opportunity.
Change before you have to, be committed to the process, grind it out, give 100%, don’t assume, be a better friend, be a great business partner, deliver ‘Wow!’ and have a blast.
Don’t Miss Out on the Chance to Meet Gary Thomas at PIVOT 2016
Gary Thomas will share more of his knowledge at PIVOT 2016 – Indiana’s conference for entrepreneurs, business professionals, and community leaders.
He’ll get into detail about his experience when it comes to change and pivoting in a session called “Lessons from an 85-Year-Old Start-up”.
The session will be presented together with his brother and business partner Michael Thomas.