Unicorn CEO David Gentile’s Simple Approach to Company Culture –– And How It Leads to Tech Innovation
When discussing investing in technology enabled services and the companies that provide them, the first thing that comes to mind is cloud based storage solutions, business database technology such as SAP SQL and IT related services. However, while these markets are ever-evolving with technological innovations, they all started as simple businesses, private companies or blossoming startups out of the garage.
Today, advancements in technology, big data innovations and the use of “people analytics” can play a large role in the shaping of company culture and merging factors that drive corporate decision making for a more cohesive work environment. It opens the door to using available data as a means to cut back wasted time on lengthy candidate interviews, or other HR related services. Further, such analytics can be used to locate slows in production lines and give real time accuracy into employee productivity and can help to curb heavy turnover rates. While the realm of possibilities for such advancements are almost limitless in nature, executives can’t forget foundations of company culture that are imperative to success and talent retention.
In 2013, GPB Capital was formed by CEO David Gentile and emerged from Gentile, Pismeny & Brengel LLP (GP&B), founded in 1972, in the process bringing on board a combined experience of 275 years collectively. Fast forward to now, GPB focuses on developing institutional quality and income-generating solutions for investors. Recently, the company achieved unicorn status last year in an impressive 4 years –– no small feat by any means.
While alternative investing is by itself diverse in nature stemming from popular concepts such as venture capitalism and angel investing to acquiring well managed private businesses. The latter is what has been the main growth catalyst for GPB Capital, a New York-based alternative asset management firm focusing on acquiring income-producing private companies including leading technology brands in streaming services, hotel internet solutions, and innovative healthcare tool.
Gentile’s wealth of knowledge in providing advice to clients about business expansion and growth strategies, cash flow management, mergers and acquisitions, recapitalization, spin-offs and divestiture, corporate turn-around and restructuring has been instrumental in the company’s massive expansion. Being able to quantify and measure the impact of successful business practices by any industry could provide vital insights into what actually attributed to such expansion –– or what caused its attrition.
Bringing it back to basic and focusing on the factors that provide the framework for big data solutions in developing culture and streamlining production, I had a chance to interview Gentile regarding what he regards as vital actions that fuel a company’s growth.
Simple Strategies Make Results Even Simpler
According to Mr. Gentile, identifying investment opportunities in privately-held businesses isn’t an easy task. As such, one key trait that keeps him going even when the task seems too large to comprehend is a strong mindset to overcome every obstacle that pops up in the way.
Commenting further on this Gentile explains, “when faced with problems that seem overwhelming or numerous, the best way push through them is to solve each individual problem –– one at a time.” This, of course might sound like a more general rule when it comes to management and leadership, but Gentile stresses that using a systematic approach keeps the mind clear and eventually you will see a mountain of problems crumble before you.
While adopting this strategy simplifies the approach to every challenge, Gentile notes that it’s vital to maintain a big picture perspective of how the end product should look in the grand scheme of things. This helps in connecting the dots and reducing the amount of time in attaining set targets and goals. For example, recent studies and analysis from several companies regarding employee productivity showed that in some cases employees we’re spending 30 hours of their week managing reports for executives, leaving a very minimal amount of time to focus on their daily job functions.
A Good Working Relationship
When quizzed about building working relationships, Mr. Gentile commented, “the most important factor in business relationships is the personal synergy of senior leadership in the company. Namely, the CEO and his core executive team. Upon inspection you would look under the hood and check — Are they gelled? Can they finish each other’s sentences? Do they like each other, genuinely?”
When trying to attract top talent and results oriented employees, Gentile stresses to look for people that have an innate high level of intelligence, demonstrate a high level of moral integrity and sincerely care for the team. This, he says promotes a servant leadership mentality, one of his key leadership mantras. While innovations in hiring technology do exist, one thing that is empirically difficult to gauge is how the employee will perform once in the environment. While software can be used to help filter out the best candidates, only so much can be gleaned from such available data.
The Unicorn Complex
Countless companies strive to attain unicorn status, while this is a great goal in the long run, it’s the series of interconnected victories and accomplishments that land companies in the coveted mantle of “unicorn”. Gentile suggests, “while aiming high is always a good motivator, some CEOs tend to take very aggressive approaches, which end up crashing the entire plan before it reaches fruition, you need to have clearly and simply defined goals and targets that can be executed by all involved”.
Instead, Gentile says that CEOs should focus on working hard and building teams around themselves to provide what the market needs. He adds that CEOs should also try to use their “natural talents and find others that have complementary talents different than yours and hire them quickly and build friendships with those people. Don’t be afraid to let people go that don’t fit the mold of the culture you’ve crafted.”
Companies like Google, Facebook and Microsoft or prime examples of how applying data analytics to their hiring process can result in expansion, but while Gentile’s unique approach sounds simple enough, could it provide the missing link between what potentially is missed by companies on a larger scale when it comes to retaining and growing top talent?
The Balancing Act
As a final parting note, Gentile also emphasizes the importance of balancing family needs and work. In revealing how he has successfully managed to build a multi-billion company while keeping his family satisfied, he said that it is always important to keep the attention where its due. For instance, making sure that distractions from handheld technologies like mobile phones are kept at bay or setting up a filter to handle distracting and needless communication or traffic.
In the ever-evolving world of business and technological innovations It becomes very easy to lose sight of set goals and missed opportunities. With the use of Big data solutions coupled with codified entrepreneurial insights as to what drives expansion and general employee productivity, we could reach a point where two become one.