The following is sponsored content from TEAM Software
John Leiferman is the CEO of TEAM Software. Before joining TEAM in 2015, he was with Schneider Electric and its predecessor companies (DTN/TelventDTN) for 20 years, serving in various roles, including COO, CFO and president of DTN and Telvent/DTN. Prior to DTN, Leiferman spent 10 years at the accounting firm of Deloitte & Touche, specializing in tax and business planning for midmarket companies. He earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and is a certified public accountant (CPA).
BSCAI sat down with him to discuss his leadership style, why associations matter and how communication is everything.
BSCAI: What are some trends you see developing in the building service contracting industry?
John Leiferman: When looking at how the building service contracting industry is changing, two trends readily come to my mind. The first is electronic communication. As companies grow and expand, and their workforce become more and more distributed, a clear need for better communication between a staff member, their supervisor and the back office is really important. Communication is key to delivering seamless results — both as an employer to your employees, and as a contractor to your clients.
The second trend I see is the ever-important concept of proof of work. Our obligation, and our clients’ obligation to their customers, revolves around proving that services performed are up to par. That way, our clients can prove to their customers that their cleaners were equipped appropriately, the job site was sanitized appropriately, all tasks were completed as they were supposed to be and events were documented. The importance of this is only increasing due to the pandemic, to prove that we’re doing everything we can to keep our clients healthy, so they can keep the world healthy.
BSCAI: How would you describe your leadership style?
JL: I suppose if I were to describe my leadership style into a word, I’d pick "dynamic." My take on leadership has certainly changed over time. It’s changing in the environment we’re living in right now. Even outside of pandemic circumstances though, I think my approach to my team changes depending on the situation. I wouldn’t approach the same kind of problem, goal or idea in the same way with every single employee at TEAM, because everyone really is an individual. Instead, I try to adjust to fit the person or situation that I’m working with, rather than trying to make them adjust to fit me. Most of the time, that adjustment doesn’t even happen consciously. I also really try to help others advance their careers. In the end, when our employees grow and succeed, it means success for TEAM, too.
BSCAI: What is one challenge you’ve experienced in your career, and how did you handle it?
JL: When thinking about challenges I’ve experienced throughout my career, the short answer is: there’s too many to count. One that sticks out happened around five years ago, when I was new to TEAM Software. I attended my first BSCAI industry conference, and was met with some hard questions and concerns by our customers. It became clear that the concerns weren’t isolated — several of our customers were on the same page, and as a new employee in a leadership role, that was hard to hear. So, we packed up and went on a road trip, met our customers where they were and listened. And let me tell you, it wasn’t always pleasant to hear. But, some great things came out of that effort. We launched our customer advisory boards, for one, and we created a place for customers to tell us what they needed, rather than the other way around. It wasn’t long afterwards that those same customers were thanking us for listening — and delivering answers — to their concerns.
BSCAI: Any advice for new BSCs coming into the industry?
JL: I’d really encourage new BSC’s to join an industry association and go to trade shows. We’re living in a strange world right now, but there are virtual alternatives that can still give you a leg up on industry knowledge. Join the BSCAI, participate, ask questions, and you’ll get honest answers in return — even from your competitors. It’s a great culture filled with people who aren’t afraid to share what they know and what they’ve learned. Talk to other members and partners. And, talk to TEAM! We’re willing to help and learn from you, too.
BSCAI: What is the best piece of advice you’ve received in your career?
JL: For those that may not know, my background is in accounting — I’m a CPA. Whether it’s my nature, or whether it comes along with the accounting territory, I’m actually a bit of an introvert. When I was at Deloitte, one of the partners gave me this advice: “Go talk to your customers. Listen to them and develop a connection. Remember, you’re not just an accountant.”
That’s really stuck with me. To succeed in life, you’ve got to make connections. You’ve got to listen to your customers and develop something beyond just the “Oh, that’s my tax guy” mentality. You want your customers to think of you and say, “Oh, that’s John!” You get more honest conversations and meaningful results when you develop that connection. And, it works in any situation, from a brainstorming session to a board meeting to Wall Street.