Transitioning from being a consultant to being a CEO

FS Team  011After 3 decades as a consultant and executive, I finally made it to the C-suite. I’m CEO of a small, but growing, international call center. My experience in OD and Training has shaped how I’m trying to influence my company. This article introduces my company and what I’m working on to make it better. It is the first in a series I think you will find interesting.The operations center of FirstStep Communications, LLC is located in Islamabad, Pakistan. We service a number of clients across the U.S. A little over 2 years ago there were 6 of us, my partner and COO (who lives in Pakistan and runs the operation), 4 agents, and me. Today, there are about 50 of us and we are growing.

We have a HR department, trainers, QC specialists, marketing, IT, finance, and team leads. We’ve moved from a single vertical to three. Next month we will be moving into a new facility and hope to double in size by year’s end. That’s a lot of growth and with that comes many challenges. My role has changed as we have grown.

I’ve gone from a consultant who suggested changes to clients to a CEO who is leading them. Here are the four issues I’m working on now: 1) quality-productivity, 2) brand and recruiting, 3) employee commitment, and 4) leadership development. The theme running through all four initiatives is accountability.

Briefly, quality-productivity is about not just increasing productivity but also ensuring that we maintain high levels of quality and service as well. Brand and recruiting is about establishing a presence and increasing market share in a market that has several established competitors. Employee commitment is about cultural intelligence and learning how to motivate across a very wide cultural and geographical gap. Leadership development is about what I’m doing to improve the thinking, planning, and implementation skills of my leadership team.

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