Insider Intelligence: Why Leadership Matters

Jan. 15, 2016
The value of the vision and the ability to inspire others

As a tenured security professional who works with scores of system integration firms on a daily basis, I’m often asked for advice on strategies to improve the fiscal health of their operations. We gather together as leaders on committees and in roundtable discussions at conferences to share our knowledge and experiences. Everyone, regardless of size or scope of their organization is welcome in these conversations. Valuable information is shared. Strategies and even secrets are swapped in a collaborative effort to help each other to rise in the ranks. Yet, some companies seem to “get it” and some do not. I found myself asking the question, why?

In my experience, there are three types of managers leading the systems integration firms of today — there are the technical professionals, the sales and marketing professionals and the financial professionals. Over the years, I have witnessed varying levels of success from all three styles of management. Some are wildly successful, some experience marginal success and others fail altogether.

In addition to the differing types of managerial styles, there are also four different categories of organizations — the family-owned operations, the start-ups led by enterprising entrepreneurs, the private equity or angel money outfits funded by “OPM” (other people’s money) and finally the publically traded company. And just as we discover with the various styles of management, among the four types of operations, some are successful and some are not. Again I ask myself, why? What makes one company rise and the other one fall?

Leadership Differentiates

Is there any one variable, skillset or measure of success that is observable, quantifiable and accomplished by deliberate actions on the part of the people who run these companies? After many years of visiting with systems integrators, supporting system integrators and running a system integration company for more than 20 years, in addition to attending conferences and reading books, I have come to the conclusion that there is one universal element common to the winners in any category.

The one thing that makes a difference, the one thing that ensures success is leadership. This is leadership not only from the top executive, but also the competency in building leadership across the span of the organization. I have personally seen strong leaders take companies that were tiny, start-ups or operations that were going sideways and develop them into regional, national and even international players.

It is fascinating how much power these true leaders possess — the vision and the ability to inspire the other leaders around them to carry the torch as if that vision were their own. I have also seen poor leaders take successful companies and run them right into the ground like an out-of-control airplane in a death spiral.

If I were to name one variable that every successful company has in common, it is not necessarily technical, sales, marketing or financial expertise. The most critical factor in the success of your organization is simply leadership. If you are in an ownership position with your organization, and you do not possess the aptitude, the skillset, the desire or the passion to drive the vision and inspire the growth of a network of leaders in your company, I suggest that you step aside and nominate the appropriate individual you feel will best guide your company on its own journey to success.

As Ronald Reagan said: “The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that get the people to do the greatest things.”

Bill Bozeman, CPP, is President of PSA Security Network. To request more info about PSA, visit