How Elizabeth Barry uses change to get Delta Systems to the next level

Elizabeth Barry, president and CEO, Delta Systems Inc.

When Elizabeth Barry came into Delta Systems Inc. as president and CEO, the company was in good shape. The business, which designs and manufactures switches, electronics and wireless control systems and provides turnkey contract manufacturing/EMS solutions, was doing well and had no reason to change. But Barry saw so much more in the company than what it was doing and knew that if it could change, it could grow and become better.

Barry started the process with changing some of the senior staff members in the organization.

“That kind of change kind of brought more change, because once they came into their own departments, then they started making changes,” she says.

But when you’re bringing in new senior team members, what should you be looking for? In Barry’s case, because she wanted to grow, she needed people who also wanted to grow.

“Companies grow and get bigger, and management styles change,” she says. “Some people are better in smaller companies, and others are better in bigger companies. I was looking for those who were ready to work and help us grow to the next level.”

She looked for people who had skill sets that would enable change — both in terms of revenue and culture. That meant looking for people who had worked at a larger company and understood the barriers and the gates and would work to break down the silos. Additionally, if someone had led an organization through a complicated or discouraging change, such as a bankruptcy, and moved it forward and made it better, that was encouraging, as well.

Whatever it is, she says you have to look at your senior team and determine if they’re the right person to move your company to the next level.

“You have to get to the point where you feel a department might be better served with a change with a new person in there,” Barry says. “The days of someone staying at a company for 20-plus years are kind of over. They need to have different experiences and different situations, and staying with the same company might not afford you to see what’s out there — state-of-the-art approaches or different approaches — that someone who’s stayed at a company too long may not be able to see and adjust to. They might not have had the growth that is needed to move the company to the next level.”

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