My First 60 Days as CEO of Go2Group

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In October 2018, I decided to accept the job as CEO of Go2Group — going operational again after nearly a decade behind the scenes of various Board of Director rooms across the globe.

I first started talking with Brett Taylor (President and former CEO of Go2Group) in the late 2015. I knew a little about Go2Group, with Brett being a client of my last firm, Gartner. Brett and I quickly realized that we had an alignment of views on client focus and the future of Go2Group in the IT services industry. In 2016, we progressed to a deal that suited us all — that is, me joining Go2Group as its initial Board Chairman and CEO Advisor. After we spun-off Go2Group’s flagship software product platform (ConnectALL) in a quite complicated joint venture deal with industry leader, Orasi Software, in July 2018, Brett decided to leverage his unique and dynamic engineering skills to lead the joint venture and asked me to head the remaining components of Go2Group — which I was honored and excited to accept.  

The technology and IT service industries are not new to me, as I have been involved in these sectors for more than three decades.

Immersion

When I stepped into the operations of Go2Group, what I found was an organization built for the future — with an impressive mix of amazing people and technology. I was truly blown away.

My challenge was to find a way to lead this business with most of the ingredients it already has to deliver outcomes and growth. Usually, that’s where things so often fall apart.

The first thing I had to do was immerse myself in the environment I was stepping into.  Go2Group is an organization that has been around in some form or another for more than 17 years. You can’t simply start rearranging the furniture (and teams and business models) on your first day.

All ears

As James Humes, author and former US Presidential speechwriter said, “The art of communication is the language of leadership.” My first month at Go2Group was spent listening to clients and employees, building lines of communication, and creating new relationships. I met many people in different sessions in order to break down barriers that may exist, where we could understand each other and address concerns and issues from multiple perspectives.

Everyone has their own style of communication, shaped by not only the role they play but their personality as well. Here, I had to learn what everyone’s ways of working and understanding were, and build a common language from scratch that we could all converse in.

On October 20 and 21, I had the chance to meet the key management team leaders of Go2Group in Las Vegas. It was a great opportunity to see how the group interacted with and listened to each other. We had a long agenda during the day and then a dinner in the evening. There may have been a few drinks after that, too!

Go2Group team in Las Vegas 2018

The Go2Group leadership at Las Vegas in October 2018. From left: Sandip Patel (Vice President of Products and Services Sales), Tom Stiling (CEO), Maritess Cruz Goellnitz (Vice President of Marketing, Products, and Strategic Alliances), Mike Maheu (Sr. Vice President of Professional Services and Operations), and Jennifer Libby (Director of Corporate Operations).

My intention was to spend time meeting with all of them; my goal was to listen. I believe in a valuable opportunity at the start to hear opinions from others before I begin to establish my own. This involved setting up one-on-one meetings over the following weeks.

Solid foundation

Each organization has its secret weapons — that unique combination of talent, technology, and support that allows it to do exceptional things. As CEO, it’s my duty to learn what moves I need to make to unleash that weapon at the right time. Knowing what my organization’s capabilities are is only the first part of the process; using them effectively and reliably takes time and practice.

Having had lots of very useful input from my meetings with individuals in the business, I started to draft an initial plan. We have great people and very good performance. All in all, we need a very sound foundation upon which we can continue to grow and develop the company.

As with any rapidly growing business, it is critical that the right management and organizational structures are put in place. Done correctly, it frees our people, in as much as it is possible, to focus on their day jobs and spend less time on management admin.

Aiming higher

As CEO, I’m focused on defining purpose and culture (walking the talk is key), shaping our strategy and ensuring the business is organized effectively. My aim is for us to consistently deliver while always ensuring strong business performance, and to protect our stakeholders’ interests.

We are putting in a structure to make this company a great place for employees, clients, prospects and investors. We are adding resources; we are looking to improve efficiencies and agility, so we can bring constant innovation to the market. We are putting together an exceptional and compelling offering for our clients.

Special thanks

My initial 60 days in this job would not have been so filled with vigor and exuberance without the support of the people who brought Go2Group to where it is today. I wish to express my thanks and gratitude to our customers for their continued support and trust; our business partners for helping us provide solution to our clients; and to our employees for their hard work day in and day out to serve our customers and fellow associates.

Looking ahead

The hard work begins now with implementing the new structure and building on the good work the firm has already been doing. Moving forward, I believe we can steer Go2Group together to a path of sustainable growth and success. More to come…

Tom Stiling

Tom Stiling

CEO at Go2Group
I joined Go2Group as its initial BOD member and CEO Advisor in 2016. With 30 years of software operational experience, most recently as CEO of Tidal Wave Partners LLC and Angel Investments, I have assisted many early stage software startups’ launch operations (domestic and international), secure funding, and successful exit via an M&A or IPO. I have held multiple CEO, COO, CRO, Sales Ops, and HR roles with such diverse companies as Bluestone Software, Curl Corporation, Hewlett Packard, SalesMethods (a London-based startup), and others. Most recently, I launched Gartner’s initial “CEO SMB Advisory” program for hi-tech startups generally under $20 million in revenues. I currently sit on the board of several startups.
Tom Stiling

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