Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Pomp & Circumstance

By Brian Kopack

‘Tis the season.

Graduation season.

If you’ve been to any, and chances are you have, you know “the speech”.

They all pretty much follow the same script.

If ever asked to present, the IOS commencement speech would probably start with a provocative and inspiring quote (after thanking everyone for everything):

“It’s the idea that matters.”

Then continue,

“As you move on from here, try and remember three things.  First, work to be great at something.  The world likes experts, a lot.  Next, there will always be a place for people who are curious and inventive. What you think about and how you think about it might change the way someone else thinks or lives or works.  Lastly, flexibility of thought will shape the future.  Technology converging with opportunity gives energy to ideas.  That’s where we get real transformation.  Conversely, rigidity begets indifference and stagnation.”  (Note:  It’s a rule that there has to be one of these lines in every speech.)

That would be followed by a couple of humorous stories, more thanking everybody and rousing applause.

You would love it if the next address you hear is that short – admit it.

I think it’s great the IOS message is so versatile. The speech is what we’ve been telling you for a while.

Everything we do is based on the very simple philosophy that it’s the idea that matters.  What enables us to do that is the experience and expertise of our people…allowing us to be creative and agile.  We specialize in Information Management.

Like the speech, the IOS message is equal parts hopeful, enthusiastic and idealistic.  It is as applicable to a new graduate as it is to the leader of a business.  It’s more about beginnings than endings.  It’s focused on what’s next.

That’s IOS.
Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Let's Conversate

By John Trimble

Earlier this week I was on a conference call with a senior executive from a multi-national and very prosperous document management manufacturer. In the introductions he thanked everyone for their time and then said he wanted to “conversate” about some of the issues we were seeing.


Every fiber in my being, every firing synapse, every racing impulse demanded that I interrupt and say, “I’m sorry, did you just say conversate? What the hell is conversate? Do you mean converse? Possibly have a conversation? Is that a regional thing because I am pretty sure conversate is not exactly in the dictionary.”

But I didn’t. It would have been even more rude than I generally allow myself to be, especially when I have not yet met face to face. I am not opposed to correcting grammar or syntax you understand, particularly if it is one of my salespeople. I have happily done that in front of clients because right is right and wrong is wrong. There is plenty of time for future generations to butcher and drown the English language so there is no need to look the other way and speed up the process.

But there is also an interesting subtext to that moment; where is the perforated line in business between being proper and polite at the expense of being authentic? Clearly the message is the massage and there should be a way to verbally navigate anything without being a jack-ass, but you still have to convey what you really think. Regardless of how concerned you might be about how it will be received.

For IOS as a sales organization that means that we have an obligation to tell the truth, to get the truth down to the nub even when it might not be terribly clever or expedient for us to do so.

Personally I will forgive a lot of things but being inauthentic by telling me what you think I want to hear is not one of them. I assume our clients are the same; if you want to continue a process that is strangling you just because it is comfortable we need to tell you. If you want to over spend on a solution to a problem with no ROI– we have to tell you with the same zeal as when we think you are cutting corners.

If we both always agree one of us is redundant. If we always agree one of us is being inauthentic. At IOS it is the idea that matters. Sometimes that trumps the polite myth that “the client is always right” which even today is far more pervasive than you might think.

The client was right to select us. It is now the IOS responsibility to be right on their behalf in solving their problem.

We will converse but we will not conversate. That I promise.