Ian SampsonIan Sampson is Co-Founder and Director of Glanton Solutions, a company focused on implementing web and content management platforms for leading companies around the world. Glanton Solutions specialises in identity management and are passionate about Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems, especially Salesforce, and about how adopting a CRM system can transform companies.

Ian is a Chartered Accountant, with Honours degrees in Business and Finance from Rhodes University, but But his career has always been in technology. As a developer, analyst and architect he has innovated and designed technology solutions for some of the largest companies in the world.

Starting as an Audit Manager with Ernst & Young in South Africa, he has held senior roles in a range of companies, co-founded WebAdvantage and angel investor Accelerati, is an Ambassador for Wearable World and has played a very active role with peak regional information technology industry body, IT Forum Gold Coast.

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Lessons about Leadership

Ian is clearly not enamored of traditional ideas of Leadership, in the sense of someone being the boss. He sees leadership more in terms of “getting in, getting your hands dirty, leading by example, working as a team”.

His exercise of volunteer leadership in the regional technology space was prompted by asking himself the question “What’s the ecosystem I want on my doorstep?” and then trying to do something about that.

He believes that leadership in the contemporary collaborative, co-creation space is about “finding ways to remove the roadblocks, letting people get on with what they want to do.”

Ian’s Comments on Australia and Innovation

Australia came through the Global Financial Crisis “relatively unscathed”: the rest of the world was scrambling to create new industries, IP – and to not lose the IP.

Recent years, in terms of government, represent missed opportunity, even damage done.

But the local Queensland State Government initiative Advance Queensland is a positive sign.

Some concern that the Federal government, in looking to other countries for ideas, is not focused on what we in Australia can do for ourselves.

“It very much seems to be ‘have a look over the fence and see what everyone else is doing’. ‘Look to New Zealand, the UK, the US. Look at these programs and bring them over here.’ That’s great, that’s safe. But if we’re just following how can we expect to lead in this digital innovation space?”

Optimistic about the Younger Generation, Concerned about the Education System

“I don’t think there’s a better time for people who are unencumbered (no mortgage, no school fees to pay etc) to have a go.”

Concerned that schools and teachers are not keeping up. It is not a time to stand still.

Startup Opportunities: Gold Coast vs Silicon Valley

For startups that need to scale, especially for the consumer market, Australia is too small and there is a need to go overseas.

May be different for B2B.

We do offer some natural advantages for tech companies:

Australia, and specifically the Gold Coast, great offering in terms of standard of living: and things we can do well in terms of apps for leading industries such as mining and tourism.

Asia offers huge potential as “a massive market you can supply to”

Automation – Internet of Things (IoT)

“Tall Poppy Syndrome”

Ian sees the Tall Poppy Syndrome, whereby “no Australian is permitted to assume that he or she is better than any other Australian” as a hindrance to innovation.

Need a cultural shift.

We need to celebrate success and celebrate people who are being successful.

Culture – leadership in creating and nurturing it

“You have to be completely transparent, honest, open, clear. If you’re going to set goals for a team, in a team, and people are going to do better than others, then be very clear about what those expectations are, how they’re going to be implemented.”

What’s keeping business leaders awake at night?

Ian turned this around to consider those who have a smooth running business and sleeping well and offered this wakeup observation: “if you’re not disrupting, you’re being disrupted”.

And these tips:

  • Look at how technology can help you
  • Look at what your competitors are doing
  • A CRM system will transform your business (“staggered” at how few companies have one)
  • Think about how you can reinvent your industry (a great idea here for how to do this bit)

Links

Ian Sampson on LinkedIn: https://au.linkedin.com/in/iansampson

Glanton Solutions: http://glanton.com

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Des Walsh is an executive coach. He helps business owners and entrepreneurs worldwide deal effectively with the feeling of being left behind or overwhelmed, or both, about social media – especially LinkedIn - and how to engage safely and effectively with social media to help grow their business. Connect with Des on LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter. And to stay in the loop, get Des’s weekly Social Business Bites (select snippets of his "best of the week" online finds).