Softcat CEO Martin Hellawell has told the March edition of CRN magazine how the reseller's culture has fuelled the firm's remarkable growth.
Hellawell is stepping down after 12 years in the Softcat hotseat. Tech Data executive Graeme Watt will take over as CEO on 1 April, with Hellawell stepping back into the non-executive chairman role on the same date.
During Hellawell's tenure, Softcat's revenues have boomed tenfold, from £56m to £832m.
He has now detailed how the firm has combined the channel's most talked-about work culture with the industry's biggest success story of the past decade.
"We don't take ourselves too seriously," Hellawell told CRN. "The work culture is vibrant, fun, hard-working and collaborative.
"The company was created 25 years ago this year and the culture was very much put in place by the founder, Peter Kelly. I would like to think I was a reasonable guardian of that culture and moved it on and evolved it," he said.
"We always had a very fun and quirky culture which is anti the traditional corporate culture and that was always instilled. However, it lacked a bit of confidence in its ability to go out into the market and win against some of the big players.
"We believed we could do a lot more than software licensing, which was the vast majority of what we did when I joined the organisation. It was about raising the ambitions of the company and its confidence to go and win in the marketplace. Turning that culture into good business was something I hopefully helped with."
Hellawell said the people who succeed at Softcat are first and foremost what he calls community players. "That sounds a little bit trite, but we are a traditionally sales-driven organisation.
"Salespeople often attract people who are very individual-focused, not particularly collaborative, not particularly community-focused. They are more out for themselves and I think we've tried to nurture a culture which is quite different to that."
Hellawell said Softcat still wants people who are competitive and want to be number one and win, but not at the expense of their colleagues.
"So we look for people who look out for their colleagues and help them and want to win as a team, as well as an individual. That is probably quite rare in an IT sales force," he said.
The March edition of CRN magazine will feature the full interview with Hellawell.
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