Latest Tabush Group News
Nov 14, 2018
Entrepreneurs I write about the greatest business challenges & the biggest successes Share to facebook Sasha Smolina Few things give me greater pleasure than watching a fellow entrepreneur grow from being a highly technically skilled person into a great leader. So many of the skills required to be a successful business owner – leadership, managerial skills, strategy – we have to encourage and develop in ourselves. When my good friend Darragh Fitzpatrick, managing partner at The Tabush Group , found himself at the head of a tech company that had doubled in size and was about to launch a cutting edge service in the IT space, he realized that his leadership approach would have to evolve. Darragh's journey to become the leader that his company needed proves that the road to brilliant leadership is paved with a good plan, honest self-examination and a fair amount of mistakes. A Cloud-Based Solution for SMB's The Tabush Group is a New York City-based company that provides virtual workspace and managed IT services for small to mid-sized businesses. Founded in 2000, Darragh came on board as a technical consultant in 2005. By 2010 he had partnered with the company’s founder, Morris Tabush, and helped grow the company to a $7 million success story. And they didn’t rest on their laurels. When the Tabush Group first got started, their main service revolved around the “break/fix” model, which put IT experts into repairmen mode for a fee. From there they moved into managed IT services - taking on the complete responsibility for a client’s IT environment - for their SMB customers, mostly high level financial services companies and law firms with growing IT needs and little patience for service interruptions. As they learned more about the demands and characteristics of their target sectors, and had the knowledge and scale to help shape the technology solutions, Darragh and his team created Boxtop , a fully cloud-based IT and virtual workspace that allows clients to securely access their desktop from any location. “To put it simply,” Darragh explains, “what we’re trying to do with Boxtop is do what Netflix did for movies. So the way that you can now access media through Netflix without hardware… we’re doing the same for your desktop. Boxtop encompasses and delivers all your IT needs.” Boxtop has proved a cost-effective tool for clients, as well as a liberating one, since they no longer have to staff an IT department in house and can work remotely with ease and security. Their cloud-based product is taking off, but with its success, Darragh realized that he had to step up and step into a different kind of leadership role. Big Success Means Big Changes In Leadership Style Darragh and I have met several times at business conferences and kept in touch in between. We’ve talked a lot about his focus throughout this past year and a half, not only on developing Boxtop, but how best to position himself as a leader for a company about to experience its next wave of success. He carefully planned out what his goals were and how to accomplish them. “I [needed] to extricate myself from a lot of the day to day, week to week interaction and management of specific clients in the business and become more a leader of the team.” Stepping away from doing “all the jobs” is huge for most business owners. Though we know that our business can’t scale unless we cross that rubicon, there’s a real emotional aspect to feeling like we’re no longer at the center of our business. That’s not really the case, but it feels that way. It was no less difficult for Darragh, especially since his 20 years in the tech industry and rapport building skills put him in direct contact with a large portion of their clients, a function he enjoyed. Darragh worked hard to stay philosophical about the change. “If you’re entrepreneurial, it’s not just about coming up with ideas… It’s also being very aware of oneself and the need to move oneself forward. I was… holding onto the value of certain strengths that I had rather than… saying that I also have some other strengths that I’m not leveraging. If I do, I’ll actually move my business forward.” Darragh began to experience the benefits of extrication right away in how empowered his team was becoming. As he restricted his client facing role, his team just got better and better at stepping in to fill the gap. He realized that he was actually holding back his team in some ways by being so hands-on. That didn’t mean, however, that the transition was without bumps in the road. A Great Destination at Too Fast a Pace Darragh admits that the process to retract his role was neither smooth nor quick. In fact, he had to stop and do a reset when he realized that his plan had some major flaws. “I think the most important thing when you’re initiating change is that everybody has to understand the change and… have the opportunity to talk to you about it… Once I started retracting and focusing on other parts [of the business], I didn’t put that bridge there, and therefore people were in sink or swim mode.” He solved the problem by instituting a training structure that included regular meetings to keep communication lines open and discuss new ideas. “We’re doing a lot more analysis,” he explains. He and his team have also created a client playbook to outline the basic roles involved in client management. Most importantly Darragh is addressing the overwhelmed feelings, fear and trust issues that always arise with big changes in how the business is run. I call it leadership brilliance - the evolution of elevating from building a business around what you’re good at to becoming a more strategic leader who builds the systems that let the people underneath you thrive. That’s what Darragh is becoming, and it’s a huge privilege to be there to watch. I’ll be following along with Darragh’s transition to becoming a brilliant leader and entrepreneur.