Three top execs offer tips for leadership in the post-privacy, security and resell era.

T.C. Doyle, Senior Director of Content

March 31, 2019

6 Min Read

Develop a product. Acquire customers and attract funding. Then go public or sell to some big company like Cisco. Boy, were those the days of entrepreneurship.

Alas, today’s CEO has far more things on his or her plate. This includes holding onto one’s job.

In the aftermath of high-profile flameouts at Theranos, Uber, Wells Fargo, Equifax, CBS, Volkswagen, Intel and elsewhere, CEOs are under pressure like few times in business history. Data on CEO tenure prove the point. Take a recent study from Harvard Law School. Harvard Law found that CEO turnover has become more common in the past five years.

“As a result, median tenure has fallen a full year since 2013,” researchers found.

In 2018, 1,452 CEOs left their jobs, according to the website 24/7 Wall Street. The figure is 25 percent more than what was recorded in 2017 and very close to the all-time record, which was ignominiously set in 2008 when the last recession began.

In addition to job security, today’s CEOs deal with challenges every day that forbearers encountered only occasionally, if ever. Think global regulatory compliance, data privacy, alternative funding mechanisms, climate change, artificial intelligence and changing social norms. In addition to new realities, old norms no longer work in many industries. Growth at all cost? Disruption without consequences? Technology idolatry regardless of implications? No leader can afford to leverage these outmoded practices to grow a business — not without consequences, anyway.

For insights on how successful execs work today, don’t miss “Leadership in the Post Privacy, Security and Resell Era,” April 11, part of the business strategy conference track sponsored by Nextiva, at the Channel Partners Conference and Expo in Las Vegas.

The panel will feature three technology industry CEOs well-versed in what it means to run a company today. The panel includes:

In Las Vegas, these leaders will take questions on a variety of topics, including funding, customer experiences, regulatory compliance, technological disruption and more. They will also address topics that, while might not be unique to the tech industry, are certainly outsized within it. This includes boorish corporate cultures and disrespect for data-privacy standards.

Hear from Lyons, Saks, Voccola and 100+ industry-leading speakers at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo, April 9-12, 2019, in Las Vegas. Register now!


AppDirect’s Dan Saks

The latter has shown on a spotlight on the tech industry and illuminated some of its most underhanded practices. Widespread abuse of privacy standards has given the industry a black eye, many agree. This includes many CEOs who work within the industry. When asked how the tech sector that only a mere few years ago seemed to be the answer to problems suddenly became the cause of so many others, Dan Saks, president and co-CEO at AppDirect, offered the following perspective:

Over the past three years, nascent technology has been adopted at unprecedented levels. This speed results in many unknown outcomes, both positive and negative, for consumers and businesses. The tech industry is now facing a similar public reaction as to what occurred during financial-service boom and bust culminating in the Great Recession. Leaders are being held accountable by the public to these new challenges. With any innovation cycle it’s inevitable that …
… new solutions will result in new problems. Therefore, industry leaders, policy makers and media will have to collaborate to focus on solutions to these new problems. 

A past speaker at Channel Partners, Saks will be joined at the Channel Partners event by Vince Bradley, the CEO of World Telecom Group (WTG), which AppDirect acquired last year. 

Building a Better Company

In addition to discussing broad industry topics such as disruptive technology and government regulation, the panelists will also address topics that CEOs of smaller companies face every day. This includes customer success, sales and staffing — which many regard as the No. 1 impediment to managing growth. While CEO turnover is at a historically high rate, it’s nothing compared to the churn that occurs inside many MSP shops.

Kaseya CEO Fred Voccola says trying to fix the problem may be a fruitless endeavor. A better plan? Don’t allow yourself to become overly dependent on one or more top personnel.


Kaseya’s Fred Voccola

“I think that the number one thing you can do to strengthen your company when considering risk of frequent talent turnover is to make sure that you build a company that’s not reliant upon any [one] or particular individuals. This means building a strong accountability model for your organization,” says Voccola.

“What I mean by this is you’ll find that in many companies, 20 percent of the employees may be contributing 80 percent of the value — [for example], the 20 percent are doing the heavy lifting and carrying the weight of the other 80 percent. A lot of CEOs get lazy and allow this to happen because at the end of the day, yes, they’ll probably still make their numbers in this scenario. But those CEOs need to consider that this can be a ticking time bomb. If someone within that 20 percent leaves, the impact on the business can be massive. Also, in this scenario, those 20 percent who are your ‘awesome players’ often do leave sooner because they start to realize that they are providing a disproportionate amount of the work and value compared to others.  So they get frustrated and they look to leave,” says Voccola.

His advice to fellow entrepreneurs: Build an organization and accountability model that does not foster a “lesser-contributing, 80-percent category.”

“This accountability model includes employee empowerment, complete ownership of tasks and decisions, tight processes and strict compliance to ensure a more even distribution of value from employees and the ability to build infrastructure and scalability for the business. That does not mean that you don’t still hire those awesome 20-percenters. But with this model in place, you can elevate the bulk of your workforce to create a more evenly contributing team and substantially reduce challenges, lessen your exposure, reduce staff turnover and create happier employees overall,” he says.

While that isn’t the only thing a modern-day CEO needs to focus on, it sure is an important one that many fallen executives have neglected.

Lyons, Saks and Voccola will have plenty of tips to keep you focused on the things that matter most.

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About the Author(s)

T.C. Doyle

Senior Director of Content, Informa

T.C. Doyle, is the Senior Content Director of Channel brands at Channel Futures, and is responsible for the editorial direction of A veteran technology writer, editor and video storyteller who has covered the IT industry for more than two decades, he was previously the Executive Editor at Channel Partners, and the Editor@Large with Cisco, where he traveled the world in search of stories that captured the social and technological transformations occurring in the economies of Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and Eastern Europe. A frequent speaker at IT industry events and trade shows, he resides in Park City, Utah.

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