Break the Barriers and GROW Pramod Sajja, Paramount Software SolutionsCulture Champion
Pramod Sajja with Paramount Software Solutions has successfully build a cohesive company culture, that spans across the globe! It encompasses the people culture from the various countries, using the same processes, tools, and strategies! Learn what tools has made the difference in the success of this 20+ year company. Break the barriers and GROW!
President of Paramount Software Solutions
Experienced President with a demonstrated history of working in the computer software industry. Skilled in Integration, Vendor Management, Management, Requirements Analysis, and Consulting. Strong business development professional with a Master’s degree focused in Business Administration and Management, General from Osmania University.
Solutions That Match Technology, Business & Cultural Needs
The Paramount Way
We provide solutions tailored to address specific business challenges. Our focus is on reinventing your existing business models and providing creative solutions that not only enhance productivity but also protect your investments. Our highly-skilled consultants are able to provide breakthrough solutions to the toughest of technical challenges that affect businesses without disrupting its organizational culture and legacy.
Based on our experience with customers from diverse environments, Paramount has developed time-tested methodologies that provide customers with the confidence and peace of mind they need to partner with us for our services. It’s part of our commitment to excel and driven from our core values.
From the Podcast Booth:
Series Quick Links
Speaker 1: Welcome to the Epic Company Culture podcast where your host Josh Sweeney, will give you the business leaders, HR professionals and company culture aficionados, the knowledge you need to take your company culture to the next level.
Josh Sweeney: Hello, my name is Josh Sweeney and welcome to the Epic Company Culture podcast. Before I get started, I would like to thank Prototype Prime for this amazing podcast space.
Series: Culture Champions
Today’s episode is part of the culture champions series and we’re joined here by [Pramod Sajjah 00:00:32] of Paramount Software Solutions. Thank you for having us, or thank you for being here [inaudible 00:00:37].
Pramod: Thanks Josh. Thanks. Nice to be here.
Josh Sweeney: Yeah. Well tell us a little bit about yourself and your business.
Introducing Pramod Sajja!
Pramod: So we are an IT solution company, Paramount Software Solutions. We are based here in Atlanta for the last 20 years. A core purpose of the business is to provide simple, collaborative and agile solutions in IT staffing and consulting for different clients all across the country. And we’ve been doing it for the last 20 years.
Josh Sweeney: Fantastic. That’s a long time running.
Pramod: Yeah. Yeah. Funny. We just completed our 20 year celebrations also last December.
Josh Sweeney: Is this your headquarters here in Atlanta?
Pramod: We’re in Alpharetta, Georgia. We’re headquartered here.
Josh Sweeney: Okay. And do you have any other locations?
Atlanta and India
Pramod: We have back in India, [inaudible 00:01:16] offshore location is back in India. In Bangalore.
Josh Sweeney: Awesome. And how many people do you have in total?
Pramod: Total, we have a team of 300 employees spread out all across, both in us, about 250 and we have about 1500 back offshore. Back in India.
International Company Culture
Josh Sweeney: Yeah. So what I’m excited about on this interview is we have a lot of people that have multiple US locations, but not only is it international, but it’s completely different cultures, both from a country perspective and then you have the business here, the office there. So I’d love to hear your perspective on how you make that work. What do you see is like the biggest difference in company culture in India versus here?
Biggest Difference in Cultures
Pramod: Oh, there’s a big difference because when I came to this country 20 years back it was kind of culture shock and like everyone goes through it. Even though I didn’t have much work experience back in India because I started the company when I was 26. So we’re like, right when I landed I thought this is what I need to do, this is what I’m built to do. So that’s how I started. Not having that exposure to culture both back in India and also here, it was a bit of a challenge.
Having the Passion
But then again, see as long as you have the passion to build a company, I guess nothing else matters. So from that it started, so I built it up for about 10 years on my own, and then that’s when I felt like for us to grow as a company, to grow bigger than where I was 20 years back, 10 years back, I have to start to implement different cultures, which is going to work for a growing company.
Break Barriers and GROW
So that’s when I thought, we will instill culture into the organization for us to break the barriers and then grow.
Josh Sweeney: So what do you see as the biggest difference in culture between your two offices? Are there just certain parts of the ethos and how people work that are fundamentally different?
Pramod: Definitely the, I mean fundamentally a lot of differences I would say because, and obviously US it’s a different culture altogether. Here it’s a developed country whereas in India it’s a developing country. So you’ll definitely see cultural differences, management style differences and all that. But in the last 20 years, companies have flourished.
The boarders have opened up in India too, so which means a lot of multinational companies started doing business going there. So it changed, compared to 20 years back to what it is right now, it’s completely different. So they’ve used to the concept of getting immersed with the culture in the developed countries. So not much, but still there would be some differences given the time difference, given the cultural differences, there would be. For us as a company or whatever we try to implement here, whatever we want to follow here, we try to cascade the same thing over there and we’ve been quite successful doing that.
Different Management Styles
Josh Sweeney: Got it. So I know it’s probably hard to talk in generalities and you don’t want to generalize on any of these things, but like from a management perspective, you mentioned that management styles are different. What do you see? What are some of those examples of management styles being different? I know, I’m sure people manage them different ways in different companies in the US, in different ways based on who’s managing in India. But what are some other differences and examples You have?
Pramod: So the one thing, what we’ve, as a company what I felt was important was the whole corporate America or everywhere in the world, all the management styles are top-down. So we felt like that’s kind of not working. Well, for a small business to grow, it has to have a different model. And that’s when we started researching.
We found something called “Holacracy.” Holacracy in layman terms is nothing but flat management. A lot of companies have done this, this is not a new concept. It has been there for years, but not many people have been successful because the way the rules have been designed, defined in flat management was not very quite clear. So Holacracy is, you can probably call it as an improvement [inaudible 00:05:23] a flat management where the, basically to start with, the top-down is gone. So everyone is on a flat line. Where in the rules are defined more clearly and that everybody has an opportunity to interact in an open door policy.
Pramod: So there’s no top down where in your roles responsibilities are limited to certain things and that you only have access to this person you have report. So all that is kind of brought down to the ground. Where in the CEO, and this works very well for a small business. So it worked wonders for us. We’ve been implementing it for the last like five to eight years now and we’ve seen so much success with that.
Open Door Policy
Josh Sweeney: Yeah, that’s a great idea. It’s almost like you don’t even need to say you have an open door policy. The design just gets rid of the-
Josh Sweeney: … the term altogether. Right?
Pramod: Yeah. Yeah.
Josh Sweeney: That’s great. So what are some of the challenges you had in doing a Holacracy?
Challenges with holacracy
Pramod: Challenges wise I really can’t think, it’s just that getting people to get used to this was a bit of a challenge. I mean I wouldn’t really put it as a challenge, challenge per se, but for them to understand. But when they start to see the advantages or benefits of this culture, of this management style, they’ll fall into it because:
- They have that open door policy.
- There’s no micro-managing boss.There’s no top-down hierarchy.
- And it opens up doors for personal growth also, it provides a platform to expand your horizons.
Breath of Fresh Air
So when you look at it and when they start to see that happening in a company, I mean, nobody’s going to say no to that. Even people who have been used to, I mean, I’ve had some folks in our company who are used like 20 years off in a top down management and when they see this, this is more of a breath of fresh air. They really like it, they’re really like what’s happening and even though it took some time for them to get used to it, the chain, the process is very fast. They get onto it pretty fast.
Josh Sweeney: Got It. Well, you’re definitely a first to talk about the concept. I mean, I’ve heard about flattening the management structure, Google’s talked about it and some other big brands have really tried to put less layers in and, we’ve also talked about it a lot on the show around the challenge of communication. And top down communication makes it hard but with a flat structure, a flatter structure, it seems like you’re really putting it on the team to say, what do you need to communicate? Go make it happen. You don’t have to worry about it coming from the top.
Tools to Help Implement Holacracy
Pramod: Exactly. It doesn’t [inaudible 00:07:54]. It’s a team effort. And Holacracy is something which doesn’t work all by itself because it’s like a manual, you start to implement it, you try, you put it into practice. So there are a lot of other tools that go hand in hand with it.
So one of the things that we started implementing since last one year is EOS Traction. Okay. I’m sure-
Josh Sweeney: Yeah. I’m a big fan.
Pramod: Okay. Good. So we felt like we have to start to reinvent because after like 15 years, we felt like we kind of hit the ceiling. No matter what we are doing, no matter how we’re growing, but still we felt like we hit that ceiling. We had been pushed to the wall, we hit the ceiling. So we felt like, okay, something needs to change. So that’s where we, we’ve done some research, we found out this great program, EOS so we signed up with a company in New York and we’ve been implementing it for the last good three quarters and we’re seeing good changes.
Biggest Challenge with EOS
Obviously our biggest challenge was how to break the ceiling. So that’s where the management team, because of the tools that this particular program has provided where in we went through the process where we identified our core values, our one year targets, three year targets, marketing plan, and this is something which we have done as a team, not me as the owner of the company saying, okay, this is where we want to be, this needs to be our marketing strategy.
Branding and Core Values
Pramod: No, we went through an exercise, old exercise where we looked into our insight as to what we’ve been doing, what can we brand ourselves as our core values are, what we think or what our clients thinks are we good at. So from there we derived our core values and then we started implementing those.
Accountability and Level 10
And one of, the two important key features of this program is accountability and level 10 meetings. So which happens every Friday and this is a platform where each one of the management team comes together, they talk about the rocks, they talk about what we need to do as a company. What everybody’s doing. And then the biggest thing, what we’ve seen in those is like, at this point in time, in this level 10 meeting, since last three quarters we are doing, we could see like what everyone else is doing.
Results of the Rocks
Pramod: And then we started to see the flow of ideas coming in that, oh, this is what we can do. Or someone from sales giving ideas to marketing, someone from marketing giving ideas to HR. So the whole culture, it’s become more transparent and more friendly. So it’s not like siloed in like, oh, HR works siloed in, Oh, HR is something that you cannot touch, you need to stay away. It’s not like that. So we all work together as a team. We come in whatever challenges we face and we put it out front in terms of rocks. We design them as company rocks, individual rocks, and then we try to crush them over a period of three months.
The Entrepreneurial Operating System
Josh Sweeney: Got it. So, one thing I guess for our listeners, just to recap, Traction EOS is the entrepreneurial operating system. Has all of these different things, concepts like rocks and level 10 meetings and it’s really a structure to run the business on. I’d like to know, rocks come about a lot of different ways, from a top down management, the company, the management may set the higher tier rocks, and then there’s roll up rocks from the individuals.
How do you feel that that’s a little bit different in a Holacracy. I mean there’s other companies that have individuals set their rocks and they want buy in. But what do you think? Do you think there’s anything fundamentally different about using Traction in a holacracy?
Traction VS Holacracy
Pramod: So with Traction, yeah, it is different because the company rocks or even for that matter, the individual rocks are not coming from anyone. It means like the management is not deciding what individual rocks are going to be. So we as a team work together and as I said, when we sit down to set those rocks, it’s a one day program. So we set the whole day, no calls, nothing. So we go through each one of the rocks, we come up with about 10, like each one would come up with 10 and then we’ll start to dig into, is this something that can be achieved? What do you think about it? It goes around the team and the team will chime in and say, no, I think it’s, for your personality, for the challenges that we faced the last quarter, this might be a little too tough so try to mellow it down or no, no, no, you are trying to put yourself as an under-achiever go hard. But, so all kinds of suggestions rolling.
Pramod: And when somebody says that, for example, I’ll give you a very simple example. I was spending too much time within the business. So I mean, until one of my marketing managers, she told me that “Pramod, you need to be out.” You need to be more of a spokesperson for the company. You’ve done enough, now we are here, we can take care of it. You need to be more of a spokesperson, be the face of the company, go out, spread the word.
Until she told me it never hit me because I was only thinking, no, I need to spend like 60 hours a week running this, running that, getting myself immersed in doing all this. So I mean those are the kind of good suggestions that, kind of a perspective which comes in and which anybody can take it in a positive way. I took it in a positive way. I started to make changes since last year. I’m seeing a big change in that.
Josh Sweeney: Yeah. I’m going to have to thank her because now we have you here to share all this awesome [crosstalk 00:13:11] information.
Pramod: Absolutely. If it’s not for her, probably no, I wouldn’t have here.
EO- Entrepreneur Organization
Josh Sweeney: Yeah. So yeah, I’m in a entrepreneur organization and I know we [inaudible 00:13:19], we do a forum meeting once a month for four hours and it’s really that time to just work on the business. It’s not our promoting, but it’s really heads down, strategic items, very great shares between the group members and things like that. So it gets you out of that 60 hour week business putting out fires and-
Pramod: Absolutely it does. And I love it too and I love it too. Yeah.
Josh Sweeney: Yeah. Fantastic. So I know you said you started the business really early on, so I’m not sure how many shares you’re going to have, but from a company culture perspective, was there a company that you worked for previously that had an amazing experience and you said, yes, I want to replicate that.
Previous Amazing Experience
Pramod: Unfortunately for me, I’ve never worked here in US and even back in India I only worked for six months, so I really couldn’t say that I’ve worked for a company where I liked the culture. Though I can say one thing because the entrepreneur, the owner of that company that I worked Ramoji Film city, he is a very well known, well established. So he has been my role model. Even before I joined the company he’s been, because his is a rags to riches story, where he built, he came from a poor background. He built an empire for himself. So I wouldn’t probably call it from a culture perspective because again, for me to talk about the culture, I was there for only six months, but as an individual I always did. I have that motivation from him, I always looked at him as a role model.
Josh Sweeney: So in conjunction with the Holacracy you have now, what are your favorite parts of your company culture?
Favorite Part of Paramount Software Solutions Culture
Pramod: So yeah, so when I first started, I mean see as a growing company, as a company when, initially when you start, a culture is not on your mind. It’s not something that anybody, who starts a company first thinks about. For me it’s also the same thing. For me survival was the biggest, especially for me as an immigrant coming into this country with no exposure, no experience. So, but in all I had was that passion to succeed. And I was provided the platform from my brother and my wife was a great support since, in the last 20 years. She is the one piece that has stayed, who is the constant in all the 20 years of my journey.
Time to Grow
Pramod: So, after we built the company for about, I run it for about eight to 10 years all by myself, taking care of everything. And that’s when I thought, no, for me to grow, there has to be other pieces that needs to be added. So one is, expand the team, rely on others to grow the company. And then that’s where I started to think, the culture also matters because how are you going to hire qualified people, for people who are going to stay. So the 10 years experience has taught me something. What I have been doing. Yeah. Initially my intention was to grow the business, but at the end of everything, whatever I did professionally was to be happy, right? Like individuals, whatever you do every day, what we do for our families, what we do for our spouses or our kids, everything, the end result is to be happy.
The Crux of our Culture
Pramod: So I thought, why not that be the crux of our culture? So from that day forward, all the hires we did, all I know, whatever I work towards to provide that platform to be happy. So my mantra or my statement to anybody who comes into the company, who leaves the company is, come to work happy, leave work happy. That’s it. So everything revolves around that. As long as we work hard to maintain that, and again, let me tell you, it’s not easy to achieve, it’s not. Especially when you’re dealing with people from different backgrounds, different cultures, different ethnicities it’s difficult. But if you believe in that, because I mean, who doesn’t want to be happy at the end of the day? Simple, right? Everybody wants to.
Sign up for Core Values
So when you put it on as a core value and as, this is something that we are very serious about.
Pramod: So if you are one who’s coming in, who wants to spoil this, you’re more interested in something else, this is not the right place. So everyone would sign up to that. So we all work very hard to make sure that that’s the culture that we create. So it’s not anything fancy. It’s simple. Being happy at the end of the day.
Josh Sweeney: Yeah. I suppose.
Pramod: So that in short is-
Josh Sweeney: [crosstalk 00:17:30] can be challenging for sure.
Office Similarities Across the Globe
Josh Sweeney: So, as far as the, going back to little bit about the two offices, what’s one thing that’s pretty much identical in both offices? Like something you’ve maintained as a company culture? Maybe be happy, might be the thing that’s in two office. And then what’s something that’s different in both offices?
Standard for any Office
Pramod: Something which is static, which is standard in both of offices is everyone from both offices respect me, they value me. So this is a good thing. Very tiny differences. The team members, the offshore team members are always very enthusiastic to learn more, to seek help from the management team up here because they always feel that they could learn from here. So it’s not one of those situations where, it’s not like we make it a point that everything has to trickle down, not that way, there are certain things that we learn from them. There are certain things that they would show the interest to learn from us.
Learning and Training
So we always create that, the two way street approach where in the, things that they can learn from us. We help them with that. Things that we can learn from them, we do embrace that. So, I mean we do take up a lot of programs where we provide them with trainings, we feel that trainings from here are more effective. So we do that and if we feel that we need to get into some kind of cultural trainings, we get involved in those things too.
Josh Sweeney: Yeah, sounds like a lot of fun work there [crosstalk 00:18:58]-
Pramod: It is. It definitely is.
Josh Sweeney: … kind of learn and grow together.
Pramod: Absolutely. It is fun work. I mean that’s a whole, I mean while we are achieving our targets and everything, while you’re having fun and being happy at it, I think that’s the best culture that anybody can create.
The Future Culture
Josh Sweeney: Yeah. So what are you most looking forward to enhancing from a company culture? Is there a people project or a culture project that you have this year that you really want to achieve?
Pramod: Not really, I mean with whatever is going on with the Traction, because we just started it about three quarters back so we will be embracing it more efficiently and we’ll be learning because again it took some time, it took almost six months for us to get to the nitty gritties of it. So now we’re getting a hang of it. So we want to perfect it. So we want to add more features to it and work a little more aggressively.
Then the cascading piece also, we are probably around like 70% successful in the cascading off to the other team members, the offshore team members and the remote team members. So we’ll be working more on that. Maybe for the rest of the year and then we we’ll see whatever, adding small things that bring in on top of it if we have the add it.
Josh Sweeney: Yeah. And have you happened to read Rocket Fuel yet?
Pramod: No. No, not yet.
Josh Sweeney: [crosstalk 00:20:10] book I guess.
Pramod: No, not yet.
Josh Sweeney: Yeah. It’s pretty good. Got a lot of extra information on the program. So yeah.
Pramod: Sure. Absolutely.
Josh Sweeney: Anything else you’d like to share with us today?
Change in Perception
Pramod: I guess not. I mean, as in when we started, I mean we’re definitely starting to see a change in the perceptions since after we started implementing this. We’re seeing a change in people’s, people getting more involved. And again, the 200 technical employees that I mentioned, they’re not in one location, they’re spread all across the country. So we make sure that we do provide them, they get involved with the newsletters and we do provide the webinars for them which enhances, it could, we’re like we just had one on this weekend which is financial planning because not many people are in that, because for the average Asia firm employees is like 30 plus. So, which means they’re not thinking about that because until you cross that 40, but we felt like there’s a need for it.
Town Hall Meetings
Pramod: So we do all kinds of programs. We do town hall meetings where we update everyone as to what’s happening, get involved with the company activities. So we would want to continue providing that more aggressively for the rest of 2019. So we take requests and we get people from the industry come and talk about whether it could be on technology, we do webinars, not just educating our clients, but also it’s an education, up scaling their skills in the emerging technology. So we do, I mean we are doing it and we also plan to do it more aggressively for the rest of the year.
Josh Sweeney: Yeah. I like the idea of the financial planning. That’s one that it seems like everybody could use that because once you get over, most of the studies say once you get over a certain revenue threshold financial to your household, money is not as big of a factor but it also-
Pramod: Planning is.
Josh Sweeney: Yeah. The planning is, right? It’s not what, at that point it’s not what you make, it’s what you spend. And-
Pramod: I want you to save.
Josh Sweeney: There’s some strategy around satisfaction.
Pramod: [crosstalk 00:22:15]. We all agree. Absolutely. We had a great speaker. He touched on the finer points. It was for 45 minutes and then that kind of, it was kind of more of an eye opening. Everybody was thinking about it, but until somebody comes in and says that, okay, this is where you’re going to go wrong. These are real life examples where somebody went through it, somebody just close to you went through it and then, I mean, until somebody comes and points you don’t know. So it was good, we hope to do more of those educational kind of seminars, which is going to help both professionally and personally also.
Josh Sweeney: Yeah. What other things other than just, other than kind of your typical business, like the financial planning, what other seminars or speakers have you seen good success from?
Pramod: so we are doing a webinar on this, 31st of this month. So we are inviting an industry expert. So it will be on blockchain. So it’s one of our service offerings from technology point. So this is more of education. It’s got, there’s no selling aspect to it and the plan is for us to invite from the academia and from the industry where people come in, they share their experience, we pick up some use cases, we talk about it. So that way it’s more of educating as to how you can use it, where you can use it. And that, yeah, is it the right time to use it? And we also have an event coming up on 21st of next month. It’s more of a dining, learn and dine in our office premises where we are going to invite clients over and talk about, explain to them, showcase to them, show a prototype of what this technology can do.
Pramod: So things like that. So for, so our plan is to have these kind of webinars and live events for at least like if not every month, our target is to have at least once a quarter and it could be mix of it. It’s not just targeting on blockchain, it could be on cyber [inaudible 00:24:17]. So we pick those topics from the industry as to what the industry is facing and then we try to get, gather that information from both the industry, get thought leadership from the industry, from the academia, get those brains together. And then just have a fire side chat.
Josh Sweeney: Yeah. Disseminate the information for team and customers and everybody else.
Josh Sweeney: Well, this has been super educational. I love the content that you shared today, so thank you for being on the show.
Pramod: Thanks Josh, thanks. It’s nice to be here.
Josh Sweeney: Thank you for joining us on the Epic Company Culture podcast. This has been part of our culture champion series with Pramod Sajjah, and we would love to have you come visit us on our YouTube channel, follow us on iTunes, Stitcher or SoundCloud. Leave a five star review and feel free to add any comments or questions that you have in the comments box. Thank you.
Speaker 1: Thank you for tuning in to today’s episode of the Epic Company Culture podcast with Josh Sweeney. If you enjoy this content, please subscribe on iTunes, SoundCloud or Stitcher. For additional content and transcripts, visit epicculture.co. If you have questions or topics you would like us to address or expand on, Tweet us @EpicCulture1 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Podcast Highlights and Resources
- For us as a company, whatever we try to implement here, or follow here (US), we try to cascade the same thing over there (India) and we’ve been quite successful doing that.
- “Holacracy” in layman terms is nothing but flat management.
- Whatever you do every day, what we do for our families, what we do for our spouses or our kids, everything, the end result is to be happy.
Holacracy® is a new way of structuring and running your organization that replaces the conventional management hierarchy. Instead of operating top-down, power is distributed throughout the organization, giving individuals and teams more freedom to self-manage, while staying aligned to the organization’s purpose.
- A new and evolving organizational structure
- Innovative meeting practices designed for rapid execution
- A shift in mindset toward greater autonomy and taking action
Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business
All entrepreneurs and business leaders face similar frustrations—personnel conflict, profit woes, and inadequate growth. Decisions never seem to get made, or, once made, fail to be properly implemented. But there is a solution. It’s not complicated or theoretical. Based on years of real-world implementation in more than 100 companies, the Entrepreneurial Operating System® is a practical method for achieving the business success you have always envisioned.
In Traction, you’ll learn the secrets of strengthening the six key components of your business. You’ll discover simple yet powerful ways to run your company that will give you and your leadership team more focus, more growth, and more enjoyment. Successful companies are applying Traction every day to run profitable, frustration-free businesses—and you can too.
For an illustrative, real-world lesson on how to apply Traction to your business, check out its companion book, Get A Grip.
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Visionaries have groundbreaking ideas. Integrators make those ideas a reality. This explosive combination is the key to getting everything you want out of your business. It worked for Disney. It worked for McDonald’s. It worked for Ford. It can work for you.
From the author of the bestselling Traction, Rocket Fuel details the integral roles of the Visionary and Integrator and explains how an effective relationship between the two can help your business thrive. Offering advice to help Visionary-minded and Integrator-minded individuals find one another, Rocket Fuelalso features assessments so you’re able to determine whether you’re a Visionary or an Integrator.
Without an Integrator, a Visionary is far less likely to succeed long-term ,and realize the company’s ultimate goals—likewise, with no Visionary, an Integrator can’t rise to his or her full potential. When these two people come together to share their natural talents and innate skill sets, it’s like rocket fuel—they have the power to reach new heights for virtually any company or organization.
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