3. How does each of your leadership styles contribute to the success of the business?
DAVID: Deborah is a busy lady! She homes educates our 2 girls and manages a high energy toddler, in between that, working and managing the home, she doesn’t really get into the business on a day to day basis like I do and that is a strength. I often get too attached and tied up emotionally in the business matters, and she can be far more logical and objective which is so helpful! My style is far more personal and inter-relational, which I enjoy but also causes me anxiety in equal measure!
DEBORAH: I really admire David’s personal and emotional investment in his work. He deeply cares about the well-being of our employees and our clients. That’s an amazing quality in an MD and it’s what first struck me about how people spoke about him when I first got involved in RITS. He also knows his limits and is happy to delegate when he needs to, which I think is important to growing a business long-term. The motivation to grow RITS has been less about how to make more profit and more about creating a well-oiled machine that serves the clients well and allows our staff to grow personally and professionally. My role is much more behind the scenes, so I probably bring more of the logical balance to all that. I’m here to pluck him out of the depths when I need to!
4.How do you manage to balance family life and professional life while working together by day?
DAVID: Its been a real work in progress. Establish time limits on our discussions out of business hours as with 3 kids, we don’t get a lot of time on our own together. We have worked out a scheduled that helps to co-ordinate a half day meeting once a month on a working day when the kids are occupied so that we can talk without interruption and communicate without time stress. I’m trying to get Deborah into the office to have a day out without any home life distraction and be with the team (some adult interaction!), but its hard to justify given time pressures. Most importantly a very good therapist!
DEBORAH: The office is on the other side of the house to where I work and manage the kids! Phones away at dinner time and Friday-night family pizza making with a strict, no phones, maximum-fun rule! And of course: Date night!!
5.What advice would you give to other couples who want to start their own IT support business?
DAVID: It’s probably the same advise you would give to have a good relationship, but in brief; clear lines of responsibility, good ongoing communication, space to understand what causes anxiety and how to share that burden, methods to de-stress from work and understand how you tick. Don’t discuss work (or anything big!) past 10PM, space to have a conversation without constant interruption and noise. Our therapist taught us about the ‘communication cycle’, which has been really helpful for us: Effective Communication | LyondellBasell. Try and enjoy it, and if you don’t, then its probably not worth doing!
DEBORAH: Marriage before business; you’ll run the business better when you’re on the same page.