CUSTOMER magazine has been reporting about workforce optimization company Calabrio for some time now, but we wanted to find out more about the company’s leader, Tom Goodmanson (News - Alert). Below is an excerpt of our recent conversation with him, during which he opened up about his youth, shared his early work experiences, and reflected on his time at Calabrio (News - Alert).
You joined Calabrio as president and CEO in 2009. What accomplishment during your time with the company are you most proud of?
Goodmanson: I am most proud of the team that has been built that has propelled us to a leadership position in an established industry.
How do you keep your employees engaged in their work?
Goodmanson: This all goes back to investing in the whole person. Whether it's giving employees the time to volunteer or take humanitarian sabbaticals, encouraging professional development within the workplace, or even allowing employees to make lateral moves to learn new skills, we’re determined to give them the tools they need to continue learning and be fulfilled.
What do you look for in a new hire?
Goodmanson: I look to hire people who think like consultants – people who are going to have a point of view as well as an action plan to back it up. It's not about drinking the Kool-Aid; it's about doing what's best for the future of the company. The person looking to continually improve with the end goal of beating the competition is the kind of person I want working with me. It’s also important that I hire people who believe in the mission and want to be at Calabrio, not people who are simply looking for a now job. I purposefully introduce prospects to the team in a dinner setting during the hiring process. I want to see how they interact and engage to see if someone is the right fit for the team, who will bring that consulting mind and appetite for improvement to rest of the group.
What are the top three things you’ve learned during your career?
Goodmanson: Hard work always pays. Curiosity doesn’t kill the cat; it makes you do more. Doing the right thing by others is always the right thing.
What memory about interviewing for a job do you best remember?
Goodmanson: In interviewing for my first CFO job, I was asked by one of my to-be colleagues what I would do for the first six months. I thought about it and spent the weekend writing down all of the things I wanted to accomplish, but also realized those things weren’t tasks but themes that I wanted to get done. Those things helped me shape the next seven years at that company. It was a great question and one that I have used for people who work with and for me ever since.
When did you get your first job, and what did you learn from it?
Goodmanson: I had my first job at 15. It was working at McDonalds. What I learned is that if you work hard anything is possible, because people want you there to get things done. After the first year of showing that I was dependable and could do anything they asked, I was able to set my own schedule to match with the sports I played and my social life and still make money. That lesson has allowed me to continually forge my own path throughout my career.
How did your formative years help get you to where you are now?
Goodmanson: My mom and dad always talked about work first, play second. Once you realize that you can do both at a high level it is a very liberating thought. Just because you work hard first doesn’t mean that you have to forgo playing.
How can young people best position themselves for success?
Goodmanson: It's important to be both curious and hungry. The combination of always seeking knowledge and having the drive to succeed is huge. One without the other is an unbalanced equation. Read, listen to people who inspire you, and ask questions. Combine that curiosity with the will to achieve and the desire to apply that knowledge in a work setting, and you'll find success, regardless of field or title.
What do you do when you’re not working?
Goodmanson: My number one priority is my family. As a father of two boys, it's so important for me to be present in their lives and be a positive influence. When I do have downtime I love watching sports. I'm a huge sports fan, so I will watch just about everything. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say I had a special place in my heart for hockey. Go Minnesota Wild!
What’s your favorite movie?
Goodmanson: My all-time favorite movie is The Untouchables.
What’s your favorite record album?
Goodmanson: Out of the Cellar by Ratt.
OK, back to business. What are the most important aspects of your job?
Goodmanson: The most important aspect of my job is to lead by example and make sure I have the right team in place. By setting the right vision for the company, we can create an employee-centric organization that focuses on the whole person, not just the person at work. When you create an employee-centric organization, you're really creating a customer-centric company, because employees who are fulfilled are the ones who are most committed to creating the best possible customer experience.
What are your goals for Calabrio going forward?
Goodmanson: Being named a leader in Gartner’s (News - Alert) Magic Quadrant was a huge accolade for us, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg for us. We don’t just want to be the leader – we want to elevate the industry as a whole. The opportunities the contact center provides businesses are endless. By designing solutions alongside our customers that give them the right tools to better serve their customers we can transform the contact center into the epicenter of the customer journey and a leading driver of business growth.
Edited by Alicia Young