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GovCon Vet, New GTSI CEO Sterling Phillips on Leading in Tough Times

Sterling Phillips

New GTSI CEO Sterling Phillips gave an exclusive interview to ExecutiveBiz, discussing his new firm and his approach to leading in difficult times.

“In some ways, tough times make it easier to institute change because people are dissatisfied with the status quo and are looking for a new direction.  When everything is going great you have the situation where people think ‘why mess with success’.  If there is a need for change, it is when an organization has hit a pothole or some sort of crisis and folks are inherently more perceptive to new direction.

The SBA event for us was a very serious event in the company’s history but it’s not indicative of the broader cultural values or ethics of the workforce.  We had an isolated incident with a handful of people that is at the heart of the SBA allegations, and what you find as you come into the company is a workforce that is highly ethical, dedicated to operating the federal space in a compliant manner and who are not only shocked by the SBA action but who are embarrassed by it and really open to working hard to put that behind us.

Setting aside the SBA action as a topic for a moment, we’ve also got a group of professionals who are very interested in expanding our business model from the historical reliance on the resale of hardware and software into the professional services arena.  I find this team is very open to the new directions and changes that I think that we need to make as a company.  Obviously the Board supports the change in direction and that was part of the rationale for recruiting me.  We know where we want to go, we know what we want to do as a company and so I think our principal challenge is execution.  We’ve got a game plan.  We’ve got a strategy.  We’ve got to go out there and execute.  If we execute well I think we’ll put the SBA episode behind us in the near future and be on a more aggressive growth track than the company has seen in the past.”

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