Team player Featured

7:00pm EDT November 25, 2007

When Peter Anderson co-founded Bayshore Technologies Inc. in 1997, he wanted to create a company that he would be proud to work for.

To do that, he drew on his background as a professional soccer player and coach and began with the principles of teamwork.

Anderson, president and CEO of Bayshore, discovered that the work ethic that helped him succeed on the field did the same for him in the business world, and by implementing a team-based culture that values hard work, he was able to build a $22 million IT powerhouse.

Smart Business spoke with Anderson about what he looks for in employees.

Q: How do you get buy-in from team members?

It’s the team concept. We don’t want anybody to be just a number. Employees want to work for a company like us, where they are treated like an individual.

The best soccer teams I ever played on, there were no super-stars. We’re a team, we’re all important. We don’t have any dark clouds here because it’s like cigar smoke — it permeates. It brings everybody down. You come to work in a good frame of mind. We’re very much into being upbeat.

Q: How do you develop a vision?

We do our best work in crisis.

You never know when a crisis is going to happen, so we’re very much in tactical mode most of the time. So for my job, being strategic is kind of a switch on and a switch off. It’s difficult to do that, but you have to work on the business rather than in it.

Overall, it’s all about long-term superior service. That’s my vision for the company: to create long-term superior service against my competitors, to out-service and be known for that.

That strategy has worked for us. We have more engineers than we do salespeople.

So, in times of crisis, we do well. We don’t just sell the product and then [you] can’t find us — we support it, too. We’re able to turn negative situations into positive ones, and customers remember those. That’s why we have such a loyal customer base.

Q: How do you switch between strategic and tactical management?

When you work in small business, the great thing is that so many things are happening. But the bad thing is so many things are happening.

I always find that the list of things I write down at the beginning of the day that need to be done, by the end of the day, it might be a completely different set of things that I’ve actually done.

There are certain things that come up in your day that you need to take care of — things like preparing for this interview. You just make sure you do it right. Take things seriously, and do a good job.

For the most part, everybody I see, it’s all about growth and hiring people. Most businesses last a year. They can get it off the ground, but then, how do you grow it?

How do you keep that same philosophy, then grow to 40 people, then 80, then 200, then 400?

We do business with some of the largest companies in the world. I’m fascinated by how they hire, by finding out how they grow that fast while keeping the same culture. We look after people’s networks, so every company has a network. I’m lucky that, with my customers, I get to learn their business models.

It’s been fascinating to meet people and help them in their business. They’ve certainly helped me in mine, too.

I network a lot. You’re always learning to be a better CEO. These pitfalls come at you pretty fast.

Q: How do you find good employees?

I’m pretty simple. As soon as you’re labeled a keeper, it’s almost whatever you want. People are proving themselves all the time.

They like this culture. There’s a certain person who gives more than takes. For them, Bayshore is a perfect fit. If you’re a taker, you’re not a good fit.

There are people who are going to find the easiest way to do a job, half-heartedly. We hired a young lad for our help desk, and straightaway, you meet him for the first time, you know he’s a keeper. Now, he’s going through, the next thing he’ll go into our technical group, and in five years, he’ll be a lead engineer. You need to allow people to progress through your company.

As you get into building companies, you talk about givers and takers. We’ve got tremendous givers who go the extra mile, who do things that are fantastic for the company.

We work pretty hard here. I want to work with people I like and admire. That’s the group of people I want to work with — people I like and admire.

HOW TO REACH: Bayshore Technologies Inc., (813) 889-8324 or www.btfl.com