Often in business, we need to stop, evaluate, reassess our business model against the market, and reinvent ourselves based on demands while focusing on the social impact that can be made.
Right now, the market demands help to create opportunities, possibilities, provide resources, develop skill sets based on current needs, and stimulate economic growth especially in distressed and undercapitalized communities.
You see, the past decade Acolyst had other needs. We needed to develop a wellness and healthier lifestyle work balance program and focus on people internally.
I, myself, would wake up at 3:45am to drive 3 hours in the back roads to help the former CTO of the United States Postal Service (USPS) bring a delayed project back on track while in parallel provide deliverables for collaborative communication with other CxOs at the USPS.
A decade ago, I had to drive three hours back to my office to do a few hours of my other job – executive co-owner of running a business where I was responsible for operations, marketing, and customer delivery, among other things – government audit assessments for our contracts plus preparing for and presenting at events like the CIO Healthcare Summit that same year.
That was 6 hours a day of me being in commute, in traffic, facing drowsy driving due to sleep deprivation, and feeling tense due to the anxiety of avoiding accidents throughout those hours. I was not the only one going through this in the business. But I was the only one called to be the key personnel on projects due to the reputation and credentials that were built over the years. Plus, my added entrepreneurial responsibility did not leave me time to market our new innovative development works – I had creatively designed a unique automated workflow application, called VENE, but there were not enough hours to fully bring it to life the way it deserved at the time.
There was a growing pain burnout we were facing as our company’s unique work demands increased and expanded. The fear of success started to grow as I realized there was no time for other important matters.
Still reflecting back, soon thereafter, our partner, CA Technologies, announced their involvement in helping businesses evolve to the cloud through technology. We jumped on board, with their help. It was a journey, but our business was finally able to accomplish being 100% cloud-based and mobile after a year of intense work.
Some mobile apps and cloud technology capabilities were in their infancy. For example, Microsoft Office 365 was in beta and QuickBooks Online was new in launching its mobile payroll capability. I remember my mother being uncomfortable with the transition to the cloud. When I showed her that I was approving and running payroll through my mobile device as we sat on the beach, I thought she was going to pass out. It took a while for her to adopt to the transition – going from tangible server-based rooms and seeing resources physically performing in the business to going cloud, remote, and being virtual, was not easy for her at first.
We went through a lot of lessons learned as we listened to our own internal clients, our analysts, who preferred one tool over another due to specific requirements, functionality, features and benefits that were needed to work in harmony with our enterprise clients, the government.
Our first client, the Social Security Administration (SSA), tested some of our cloud-based products and processes to make sure it was secure enough to access, send and receive data, where we virtually conducted digital automation services for the Office of General Counsel (OGC) to implement a system in helping them track and report near 20,000 open litigation and general law matter cases at a given time.
There were other benefits that our new cloud-based business model brought. It allowed time for us to spend with our loved ones instead of spending 6 hours on the road. I am grateful for the time I have been able to spend with my grandparents and mother these past few years.
I was also afforded the time to write and publish not just one book, but three. To have the time to travel and speak internationally plus contribute to publishing in journals and various media platforms.
I did this while leading a digital transformation project as the key enterprise solution strategist for The White House, Executive Office of the President, and its ten agency components.
Then when the pandemic hit, we did not need to change our business model, because our infrastructure was already cloud-based. We were doing for the last ten years what people were now reacting to. The only difference for us this time was our clients were working from home too.
As the new Acolyst President, it is vitally important to me to keep our legacy alive. Where People Matter.
When my mother started the company, a few years later 9/11 happened. As all her contracts were put on hold and government agencies redirected focus towards security, she made a conscious decision to roll up her sleeves and change her business model to be a part of the change. She did not hold back. She added data security to her portfolio of data strategy, management, and storage.
But she made it a point to focus more on the people that were supporting her supporting the mission and goals of her clients, the government. Times were tough then after the attack. I remember an employee who was trying to build a home for his family of four and my mother funding the down payment on his house and supporting him in other ways. That employee ended up achieving Best Performer awards five years in a row for the Pentagon Renovation (PENREN) Program we were part of.
I saw when compassion and kindness is given, it returns in countless ways.
Now, we are facing another type of attack. Over the years as a business, we have grown to have the insights and capabilities to help our clients, other businesses, communities, and our team to overcome this economic struggle and collectively thrive.
I know what it is like not having resources at a moment in time to help uplift your team and business and keep it going while you figure out the market changes and how to deal with its challenges.
I am also aware and have seen the impact of the Ripple Effect. I talk about the Ripple Effect often. Just as we experienced with COVID-19, it has a contagious ripple effect that transfers from one person to another – often to many.
The same holds true when we make positive change and impact others. It has a ripple effect. If we make 1,000 improvements, those improvements send an energy that influence 1,000 or more changes. That means reaching 1 million impressions.
My goal for Acolyst is to reach 10,000 uplifting improvements, which creates an inspiring spark connecting to 10,000 more uplifting events, resulting in 100 million plus beneficial interactions that change lives and generates social good.