Coffee Shop Questions - Are you guys in this for the long haul?
In the last year, we saw several big sales in the SETA market, OG systems to Parsons, Vencore and DxC merging, Engility and SAIC, and IAI’s sale to Arlington Capital. I suppose that’s why we are getting this question much more often- What’s the plan for Intelligent Shift long term? That question is the subject of our latest coffee shop questions session with me, Mike and Alissa.
DeFede- We are talking about the long term vision for IS today?
Alissa- I think I get this question once a week. Maybe it is because in our industry that seems to be the norm - quick win and on to the next thing. Well, if you know the three of us, you know that is not the case with us.
DeFede- Most people probably don’t know, but before we started, we each had a blank sheet of paper in front of us. We said ok, “write down your vision for Intelligent Shift.”
Alissa- We did the blank sheet exercise because we really wanted to ensure we had the same long term vision (this is really important). We started this to build something different, something better! I really enjoy what I do, so the short answer is there is no plan to get out.
Matthews- I remember that I said I wanted to keep IS in the Matthews family for future generations.
DeFede- I was shocked how close we all were to the same answer on that paper. Maybe that was a factor of having young kids the same age, but all of us answered the same: Intel Shift was something we each were building for 20 years. It wasn’t a build and sell model.
Matthews- One thing I’ve learned from talking with other small businesses: you need to revisit your long term goals at least yearly because circumstances change. When we revisited this question at our annual Partners summit late last year, I felt the exact same way. In fact, with the wealth of opportunity surrounding IS and the infusion of incredible talent, I have even more conviction in the long term vision of the company.
DeFede- Absolutely agree. It really brings in a second question- Why are we excited about the long term and why should they believe we will stay?
Alissa- I was ready for a different professional role where my impact on culture, employees, and forward strategy could have greater impact. Going in to business with two people who I trust, respect, and have a professional relationship that had endured almost 2 decades makes this even more fun.
Matthews- Having greater Impact is exactly right. We have been a part of and been leaders at a large company. These organizations were successful, with great people, and that always afforded us the opportunity to run the business with the best interests of the people, customer and corporation in mind. With the mergers and acquisitions that have become commonplace in our industry, I felt this start to slip away. Having almost 2 decades of experience, this is my chance to move from “the way we always did it” to “the way we want to do it”. Maybe that will get old, but so far, it’s the most fun I’ve ever had.
DeFede- You said it better than I will. My kids are so excited that they making Intel Shift gifts for me on their own. I’d say my family is all in. I’d also say the employees’ passion for this drives me. It’s a constant source of energy. So I’m having fun, the employees are having fun and even my wife and kids are.
Alissa- People sometimes say to me “why in the world would you ever leave your stable, leadership role?” Looking back two years now, I cannot imagine anything different.
DeFede- I guess if anyone has a doubt about us or our intentions, just talk to us. We love talking about what is happening at Intelligent Shift.