Oxford Networks President and CEO Craig Gunderson talks about what it takes to manage change in the workplace for the long term success of the company.
Craig, you like to say that Oxford Networks is a 111 year old startup company. What do you mean by that and how has that attitude contributed to the success of the company?
Over the last 10 years, Oxford Networks has been aggressively working to evolve the company in order to position it for long term success. The decision to embrace innovation and change was a necessary, but not necessarily easy, task to take on. Start-up companies are excited about the future and looking for opportunities, established companies often need to rediscover that in themselves in order to stay viable for the long term. By working on the underlying culture of the company and exploring new technology we were able to identify opportunities in the marketplace.
Change can be hard, especially it would seem for a 111 year old company. How has Oxford Networks managed its evolution over the past ten years?
As mentioned above, we worked on the culture of the company first. And, we have worked to keep that culture alive with existing employees and teammates we bring into the organization. We were fortunate that this focus on culture and core values enabled us to attract and retain talented employees who are passionate about seeing the company win over the long term. This long term focus based on our core values made the evolution of the Company based on what our customers were telling us a natural part of the company’s growth.
What advice would you give to other well established companies to grow and evolve like Oxford Networks has?
Hire great people. Support them. Allow them to be brilliant and win. Listen to them and listen to your customers. Do not set up bureaucracies to protect the company from potential bad apples. Set up the company to allow your talented employees to thrive and deal with exceptions as required. In the unlikely event that someone takes advantage of a looser structure, it will be far outweighed by what your talented, committed, supported, engaged and trusted employees will produce.