Posted on: February 12, 2020 by Bridget Anders
As discussed in part one, last year we announced the appointment of Mike Campbell as CEO, with Founder David Nolan moving into the role of Strategic Advisor. With this two-part series, we wanted to give you a little more insight into Mike and his vision for Fusion. Before, we focused on Mike and his journey. In part two, we focus more on his vision for Fusion.
In part one, you mentioned the importance of having people help with the pieces in business. Can you expand on that?
Teamwork, in any kind of endeavor like this, is critical. Fusion has been very successful as a small company because there are so many people willing to pitch in to get things done, never let a ball drop or a client suffer. That works beautifully as a startup but when that growth kicks in, you don’t want to spread people too thin – it’s not good for them and it’s not effective.
With our recent strategic investment with Vista Equity Partners, we can now have people focus on doing a part of the problem solving and not all of it, so people can get really good at their piece. When you do that, you can start measuring issues and anticipating problems before they come up. Wayne Gretzky once said, “Skate to where the puck is going, not where it has been.” The new operating approaches we are putting in place allow us to be better poised to skate to where the puck is going to be and anticipate issues before they arise. That way our clients don’t feel growing pains.
What does Fusion’s growth mean to our clients?
We see that vision of coupling all of these different disciplines into one view. The ultimate vision being: how do you keep your business running despite whatever could come your way? We are in a unique position to provide that to our clients.
The most important part is we want to make sure that we don’t lose what makes our client relationships so special. With the ability to invest in growth, we can expand on other opportunities and build this greater solution without slowing down the evolution of our core initial businesses, like business continuity. We have the resources to execute on multiple fronts as opposed to a linear fashion, so clients get bigger benefit faster without losing the special relationships we have today.
Many times when companies grow fast, they struggle to keep up and the clients feel the pain. Luckily because of that strategic investment, we are in a position where we can get in front of it and make sure that we can enjoy this growth, and more importantly, our clients can benefit from this growth without feeling those growing pains. We want to be a real-time partner for them, so they have what they need to be successful.
What does it mean for employees?
When going through this kind of growth, it’s really up to the employees to take on what they think they can take on. It’s always better to have people who can help you grow from the top of the business, as opposed to bringing in layers on top over and over again, because that’s when you start to risk your culture. In those situations, people can get demoralized and we don’t want that! We want to grow and develop with our employees.
A growth curve is challenging and it’s going to continue to be challenging, but it brings lots of opportunities, and everyone here is doing such a fantastic job. They’ve all earned the right to take chances and see how far, how fast they can go in this organization. That’s what makes it exciting! We have people moving from client-facing roles to technology roles to support roles and back again – allowing them to get a real feel for how a business like ours runs – which will help them in anything they want to do down the road. Of course, I hope they’ll all just retire here one day.
The fact is that through this growth we are winning, which is indicative of our recognitions of Chicago Tribune Top Workplaces 2019 and Built in Chicago Best Places to Work 2019. Our employees are really engaged, and our teams are executing wonderfully. I think this is something that is going to be fun for everyone involved, except the competition.
Talk more about the culture and why it is so important.
Fundamentally, this is much more than just a collection of people doing work. This is the closest thing I’ve seen in many, many decades that operates as a family. People here genuinely care about each other. Everyone has each other’s backs and wants to make sure that personal and professional development is first and foremost in what we do here. It’s a supportive, nurturing environment. Not that it’s not challenging; It’s very challenging. But, we are all in it together and everyone at Fusion is very hard-working.
It’s also important for our clients, they want to work with a group that is fun, engaged, and committed to their success. That’s exactly what we have had at Fusion and what we intend to keep and strengthen.
How do you plan to keep it that way?
We are dedicated to bringing in talent that fits the culture and are can-do people. Someone that you want to work with and feel comfortable getting into the trenches with. And, so far we’ve been doing a fantastic job with that. We’re also continuing to support employee-driven activities like our Social Activities Squad which encourages employees to have fun together and Fusion Cares our volunteer program.
Tell me more about how Fusion Cares ties into our culture.
Giving and caring about each other, our clients, and the greater community isn’t just a business thing – it’s a personal thing – which helps promote the culture we have. Fusion Cares allows us to have other channels for that very culture.
Fusionites really care about each other, but it doesn’t stop with each other or our clients. While it’s wonderful that you do this in business, it’s actually more important that you do it for the community. That you do it for those that are less fortunate or those that are disadvantaged. It allows us to extend our culture to help others, which all goes back to how important teamwork is and why we put personal and professional development at the forefront.