Impact Lessons Part 1: Retaining and Motivating Your Team

At the BCTIA Impact event in downtown Vancouver on Wednesday evening distinguished BC tech sector leaders and award winners gave their answers to questions that will be explored in this blog series.

Question #1: “Given the critical importance of having good people in your business and the importance of leadership and mentoring, in turbulent times of job loss and entrenchment, how do you retain employees and motivate them?

John MacDonald, Chairman and CEO of Day 4 Energy (2008 Technology Impact Awards Person of the Year): “The basic strategy of any business is to manage your cash. But as CEO, it’s also critical that no matter how bad it gets, you always say hello to people, look at them, give them confidence.”

David Sutcliffe, former CEO of Sierra Wireless (Bill Thompson Award for leadership in business and the community). “As they say, this too will pass. You need to focus your resources so that when the upturn comes, you’re ready. Lots of companies will still be in hack-and-slash mode, and they’ll take longer to get back to being competitive.”

Andrew Reid, President and Founder, Vision Critical (Team of the Year). “Communicating with staff is critical. We’ve had town hall-type meetings. Everyone needs to be in the loop and even understand what people are thinking at the management level.”

Dr. Hannes Blum, President and CEO AbeBooks Inc. (Leadership in Responsibility Award): “You have to be top-grading the team rigorously. One benefit of the current situation is that we’ve been very pleased with the pipeline of candidates. We’ve found some extremely good hires. If you accept mediocrity in your organization at any level, your business will not be performing at a high level.”