Maintaining Balance: Ability, Stability, Agility


I recently read about organizations and businesses in the future. Some of what I have read is authored by a management consulting firm, McKinsey & Company. They do a lot of research and are considered thought leaders in business. As I read some of that information, it allowed me to reflect on Interstates. There are three main things I think are critical for our business in the years ahead. Those three things are ability, stability, and agility.

Ability

As we think about the companyall of us have helped create, it is pretty amazing. When you take 900+ Interstates employees at the enterprise level, and more specifically, the 200+ controls systems employees and scatter them throughout the US, and now more broadly, the world, and then think about the services and offerings that we provide our clients, we have affected a lot of lives and businesses.

When I started at Interstates, automation was a division, and our main focus was on panel building as well as traditional automation with an emphasis on plant floor automation. The abilities that we have added since that time include:

  • Application Development
  • Operational Technology Infrastructure and Security
  • Analytics Products including I-Control, I-Trak, etc.
  • R&D
  • And I know there are many others!

When you take all that ability, along with turn key electrical services including electrical construction, power engineering, and instrumentation, you get a very powerful combination.

Stability

Stability in any organization offers a great foundation. It allows companies to ride through some tougher times and offers things such as:

  • Discipline
  • Systems
  • Repeat-ability
  • Development of people
  • Efficiency

Interstates has experienced growth by implementing good systems and development opportunities. We have continued our traditional automation, but diversified into other areas offering us stability. Operational Technology Infrastructure & Security, Analytics, etc. are all areas that have given us diversity and stability. Our construction and engineering groups give us potential to work with different clients, industries, and geographies that also add to our stability.

Agility

Agile companies need to be both dynamic and stable. Agility allows companies to be nimble and quick to respond to new opportunities within the systems that stable companies offer. The trick is to find the balance between stability and agility. The world keeps changing and we need to adapt with it. What was once leading edge is no longer that special, and we need to keep finding those things which allow us stay an industry leader. We need to be agile and quick and yet, not get out ahead of our skis when making important decisions that will shape our future.

I believe there are some things we have done well that show that we have the ability to be agile. Much of that has been started by living our vision of Understanding Needs > Delivering Results. We have listened to our clients and have responded. Some recent offerings that we have developed or are developing include: Network asset management (NAM), Cybersecurity offerings, IIOT data collection systems, asset inventories for our clients, new features in our products, an international presence with more to come. We are also doing some things internally, which show our ability to be agile. Things like our long-term growth pipeline, our agile system for managing projects, and organizational changes with new divisions. All these things are exciting and good, and have helped us become who we are today.

I challenge you to maintain a balance – the stable part of who we are today with that agile part that we need to be in the future. Agility won’t happen without some pain and mistakes. We will need to continue to think differently and we will need to accept and embrace changes. Go out and use your ability, our company’s stability, and the process of agility to continue pursuing a better way, making a difference with our clients, and providing opportunities for our people.

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Jack Woelber, Interstates Control Systems, Inc. President