This interview with Lisa Wetzel, Executive Vice President for Strategy and Government Solutions at eTelligent, looks at how quadrupled growth over the past few years has been driven by long-term relationships, a handshake trust mentality, and a basis of respect for employees, partners and clients.
Marrying for the Long-term
Responsible for identifying partnerships and setting strategy for the company, Lisa is very in tune with who eTelligent wants to partner with and why. She says a big part of that assessment is based on attitude, on seeking those partners who are welcoming, positive and which look to uplift others. “It’s very much like a first date and if your prospective partner doesn’t try to make a good impression, to put their best foot forward, you have to consider what kind of a long-term partner they will be.”
Potential partners are evaluated through a series of meetings focused not on scorecards or capabilities but on who a company is, understanding this partnership will potentially be a long-term commitment for eTel and its people. “We don’t assume we will align completely with a company, and we may have differing views on things, but you see in the way a team presents those ideas whether they embrace alternate opinions and how they acknowledge others.”
Over the past three years eTel has quadrupled in size and Lisa has met with dozens of potential partners, conducting a litmus test of sorts to ensure values and priorities are the same.
A Foundation of Trust and Respect
All of eTelligent’s partnerships lean into the strength of the handshake, the strength of the word. Forming bonds with companies that are like-minded, respectful and appreciative may not be conventional, but it has proven successful.
A representation of that trust and its interest in long-term relationships and partnerships, eTelligent recently hosted an event that brought together customers, its own team, and its partners.
That same respect and trust eTel applies to its customer as well. “Many of our customers are busy. We appreciate we may be interfering with their day, especially when we are replacing a large business. We try to put ourselves in their shoes, to understand what they would appreciate knowing and having at their disposal from that first meeting.”
She says putting themselves in the customers’ shoes, anticipating what they may need, laying everything out methodically may take more time but shows eTel’s commitment as a partner.
A United Team
Within its walls, eTelligent is similarly focused on the idea of partnerships and teams. Integrated teams include champions of champions that lend their skills to other teams and provide mentorship and coaching for newer members to help develop their skills.
Evolving chains within teams allow team members to evolve in their responsibilities and positions, providing the ability to trial and explore what they love to do.
“Our industry is filled with ebbs and flows in workflow and deadline demands so across the company there is a feeling of pitching in as needed and everyone has someone who has their back if they need it.”
That notion of having someone’s back includes an open door policy that invites anyone to bring their ideas, concerns and thoughts to upper levels of management. Being empowered to share thoughts, whether they will adopted or not, whether they are shared or not, ensures a higher level of engagement.
Dispersed geographically, eTelligent makes a focused effort to bring the entire company together several times a year, flying the team and spouses as appropriate in from wherever they are to connect.
The company is also focused on supporting its team in the various volunteer efforts they may wish to pursue. Among these is Wreaths Across America, seeing team members volunteer to interpret for Afghanistan refugees, volunteering at the local high school, and food drives for the local food pantry.
“Across the company we want to be connected by our families, through our work, through our shared passions.”
eTelligent Group, LLC is a Woman-Owned Small Business (WOSB) firm offering innovative technology solutions to U.S. government agencies and private companies. For more information regarding eTel’s services, visit https://etelligent-group.com or contact the company at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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