We talk about automating yourself out of a job, building customer confidence, and very cold weather
Tell me about yourself. Where are you from? What do you enjoy doing?
I’ve been married for 15 years, and we have a 4-year-old son; a lot of my life revolves around those two people. I’m also an avid runner. We’re currently living in Regina, Saskatchewan but not for much longer, partially because I run. I’ve spent 30 years in sub-0 temperatures and I’m pretty ready for a change.
Do you run year-round? In Canadian winter weather?
Yes. At some point as a runner here you have to make the decision to either spend half the year not running, or just bundle up in winter gear and make it happen. I chose to bundle up, and I run year-round.
What made you choose Clipboard?
My personal history made a difference in my decision-making process. I spent 15 years working in different government organizations in Saskatchewan. Government work is true to the stereotype in that it has a very, very slow pace. If you want to roll out a project, the amount of time it will take is measured in years, not months or days.
That was never a good fit for me. I once even got feedback from an HR person that I was a hard worker and did good work, but that I moved too fast for government work. So when I was reading about Clipboard Health, one of the first things I noticed was the ethos of speed.
It was really important to me to work in a place where speed is prioritized, where I wouldn’t be held back or hampered. I didn’t want to slow down to make sure other people were comfortable with my pace. I’ve been here for months now and I’ve never been asked to slow down or take my time. If I do my due diligence, I’m allowed to do what I need to do as fast as it needs to be done.
Tell me about your skillset - what do you do now? What new skills are you trying to pick up?
The area that I’ve found a lot of success in is in organizing and providing structure and improvement in customer service organizations. In the past I’ve been able to come into chaotic and disorganized situations and build systems that organize a lot of customer service inquiries in an orderly way.
I find that when you can provide decreased handle time and better handle issues it matters in a way that transcends the individual issue the customer wanted you to address. If you resolve the problem quicker and better, the customer gets a feeling that you have things together and it makes their experience better even in areas you didn’t touch.
How did you find your way to management roles?
I worked for a decade as an IT technical support analyst, actually. That’s what my formal training is. At one job I was working for a power company my wife also worked for, and she’d talk about problems she was having with her team and the organization. Eventually I came to believe I could do a better job managing the issues she was seeing.
I took a bit of a risk and put my name in the hat for a management position, got the job, and it turned out that I was right. I had improved team engagement and a more effective team very quickly, and it came naturally to me.
I find a lot of people don’t realize that management is its own skillset, that certain people are more suited to it than others.
It really is. A lot of people become managers because they work in organizations where management is a necessary rung you have to climb on the ladder of success, but not everyone is suited for it, and it’s an entirely different skill set to learn and get better at.
I think a good organization should have a way to advance people who aren’t suited for management outside of the management track itself.
Within management, It’s hugely helpful to me to have IT experience. I’m able to translate between what I envision and what the technical side might have to do to make it happen. In IT, it was the other way around; people would ask you to do something verbally and you’d figure out the practicalities. Being generalized in that way saves time because understanding the practicalities forces you to make plans that can move forward more efficiently.
Where do you see the company going over the next few years?
I think the most obvious change will be related to our growth. It’s been continuously exponential, and I don’t see that stopping. But our business model has a lot of room to spread out to new verticals; our product and methods would work in a much wider scope than we’ve currently had time to spread out to.
It’s exciting because the change that we are looking forward to is really only limited by imagination at this point; there’s so much we might do.
A lot of people at Clipboard Health work their way into jobs that are very different from what they were initially hired for. Do you see that happening in the near future for you?
I see the opportunity to move around and try different things, but I don’t think I’m going to be shifting my job role anytime soon. I’m not necessarily what you’d call a perfectionist, but I do like to tick boxes. For customer service, that means I really want to get us to a certain place on a bunch of metrics before I consider other projects. I like to automate myself out of jobs.
I think if you build a good enough system, you often find it can run without you. I think when I get to the point where customer service is running very smoothly without a lot of input from me, I’ll start to look around and see what the next big challenge is.
What’s your favorite story about working here, either that you’ve heard or you’ve experienced yourself?
Being directly plugged into the hiring process, I get to see people we are hiring and the impact on their lives. I get to see how we improve their day-to-day, and the value we bring to them. I’m not just talking about patients or nurses, but also the people we hire on the corporate side.
The majority of the people we hire aren’t based in the US. We have lots of people in the Philippines, South Africa and other areas that have growing access to the US startup market through remote work.
Clipboard doesn’t hire or promote people in a way that considers where they are from. High performers don’t get pigeonholed or stuck, and we see frontline customer service agents moving to QA positions and training positions all the time. Two of our most recent management positions were filled by people from frontline positions.
I think that impact can be huge, but it also builds a sense of community. People know it wasn’t about a piece of paper or having the right story. We care about what you can do.
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