CEO Insight: Looking Forward at 2011
Since 2008, when I first became CEO of Affinity Express, my vision was to develop a top-performing, global team with a burning desire to continually improve everything they do for clients and employees; a team who could work with me to build a fast-growing, early mover business process outsourcing (BPO) company in the media production industry. I realized at the time that this was no small task, but believed strongly in our potential.
A relatively short time later, in 2010, we received an indication that we are well on our way to realizing this vision. Affinity Express was named to the Global Services 100 list, which recognizes companies that define global outsourcing. Many major corporations in more established outsourcing categories were featured, yet Affinity Express was the only provider of advertising and marketing production solutions on the list.
This is a wonderful honor and I consider it a testament to the passion and teamwork of all our talented people.
This teamwork we have at Affinity Express today is a great accomplishment in itself, but was not something that happened overnight. We are an international organization, with many employees working on virtual teams. Our offshore production platforms provide scale and speed at a low cost. Our onshore personnel in North America provide clients with responsiveness, subject matter expertise and technology solutions. The key to bringing them together is strong teamwork along with effective processes and thorough communication. Working as a team gives us the ability to be responsive, understand requirements, build efficient practices and communicate to minimize the complexities of outsourcing and maximize results.
It’s important to note that you can’t have strong teamwork if you don’t have the best team members. My greatest challenge when I first came to Affinity Express was identifying, selecting and developing “A” players throughout the company to execute our strategy. The next step was to focus and manage the entrepreneurial spirit of our managers and creative employees to drive improvements to customer service, sales and operations. Now that we have many of the right people in the right roles aspiring to the right goals, we can more effectively deliver value to all Affinity Express stakeholders—clients, employees and investors alike.
To facilitate focus and teamwork, my daily and weekly schedule is carefully planned in a recurring series of group and one-to-one meetings across the enterprise. Aside from being well-informed, this approach lets me “connect the dots.” I listen and study existing organizational, functional or client needs and match them with resources to effect improvements. At the same time, I ask myself constantly what I can do that will contribute to my critical success factors—my top three initiatives that will really impact the business positively.
Traits that I think help me in leading Affinity Express are punctuality, organization and preparation. Proper planning and expectation setting between interdependent worldwide teams is essential to achieving success for BPO companies, especially those that provide mission-critical services to clients that require accuracy and deadline compliance.
In addition, there is something to be said for balance. Working for a BPO is a 24/7 job, but I still try to relax and re-energize. I live on six acres of property and enjoy getting outside on the weekends to garden and do other projects around the house. Plus, I have two dogs which require plenty of attention. And, because I live just outside New York City, it is great to take advantage of all the exciting activities it has to offer with my family and friends.
Looking forward to the next ten years, it is clear that the Affinity Express business model is core to our success. It differentiates us, is sustainable and allows us to be profitable. But the heart of the company is our people. The Affinity Express team offers a compelling mix of expertise, scale, quality, value and commitment—ensuring we will be valued partners to clients, a great place to work and a healthy organization that will be around for a long, long time. I wish all of you the best in 2011 and beyond and thank all Affinity Express employees for their continued dedication and hard work.