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Leadership Takes Guts With Jim Kavanaugh, CEO and Co-Founder of World Wide Technology

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

“Sometimes there are risks that you need to take when you truly believe that is the right thing to do.”

Jim Kavanaugh knows a thing or two about rising to the occasion. As the CEO and Co-Founder of World Wide Technology — an organization that provides global technology solutions and services — he’s had to prove his mettle more than once. Tune into Business X factors to hear about how this St. Louis-based company became a global tech leader, and why Jim Kavanaugh believes the best leaders are the ones forged in fire. For some insights from the episode, read below.

Why is it important to choose your team wisely?

When a business is starting out, it might be tempting to take every hand that’s offered. After all, entrepreneurship is never an easy road. But it’s important, even in difficult times, to choose your partners wisely. Keep your circle small, and make sure that those you interact with are there for the right reasons.

“In the very early stages we had another owner of the business… [who] talked a good game but didn’t demonstrate that with a level of integrity. And so, because that individual just happened to be my boss and the larger owner of the business, I chose to figure out a way to fire him.”

Why does culture matter so much?

Having a great product is a good thing, but it’s not everything. According to Kavanaugh, the culture and the people at World Wide Technology is what makes it the giant that it is.

“The number one factor for World Wide is our culture and our people: period… it is what allowed World Wide to get through some really tough, challenging times in the early years — that came shining through when we just needed to roll up our sleeves and show an incredible amount of grit and determination to grind through some times that really appeared to be, almost so bleak that we’re not going to survive. At the same time where we are today — almost a $16 billion company and projected to be greater than that this year — it is still all about our people and our culture.”

Anticipation is Key

If you’re not looking ahead, you’re already behind. In the business world — and in life — you should always be thinking about your next steps. For tech, that next step is software.

“The puck is going into software. It’s not abandoning hardware and infrastructure and platforms, but it’s going more into this digital transformation.”

Business X factors is produced by Mission.org

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