Steven Glaser, CEO of Information Control Co., draws pictures to help him think. He keeps a little book on his desk, and when he gets a thought he diagrams how things relate.
With input from the executive team and others, that scribbling crystalized into a long-term strategic plan to help ICC move into its next stage of growth and become a larger player in the information technology consulting market.
In order to have the perspective necessary, Glaser says he listens to the marketplace and reads constantly — not just about his industry, but the world. He also networks to talk to smart people about what they are doing with their businesses.
“I wonder sometimes when companies at even our level have an outside strategist come in and say, ‘This is the strategy you could follow.’ I don’t get that,” Glaser says. “It’s my job and the job of my executive team to understand this world that we live in, and figure out a plan that’s going to be both transformational and positive for our people. That’s my job.”
Here’s how ICC is going through organizational-wide change, moving the company into the future.
Growing to stay strong
ICC is no stranger to change. The business started in 1991 as an IT staffing company with three consultants, a bookkeeper, owner John Kratz, Glaser and a bunch of debt. Over time it moved toward a project, outcome-oriented model with around 570 people.
“We’re a very large IT consulting company in a midsize market — Columbus, Ohio,” says Glaser, who became CEO in 2008. “In order to continue the double-digit growth that we’ve literally experienced for 20 years, we had to figure out how that was going to happen, because it probably couldn’t happen just in Columbus, Ohio.”
Growth is paramount, both for the employees and in a business sense, he says.
“You need pathways for your people,” Glaser says. “The excitement is there when you’re growing. There is a whole different attitude to a company that is growing, than a company that is not.”
But creating a wider and more geographically dispersed presence is not easy.
Building relationships outside of your market is one way of doing it, but it’s slow and expensive to open new offices and try to develop relationships as the primary way of marketing your services, Glaser says.
In order to send the message of why it’s been so successful to other localities, ICC’s executive team determined it needed to separate itself.
“We had to be able to walk into meetings with clients and have something substantive that differentiated us from other providers,” he says.