Tony Crescenzo has focused on demonstrating fair and effective leadership ever since joining IntelliDyne 9 years ago. Shortly after stepping into the role of CEO, Tony spearhead an initiative he dubbed Master Classes, aimed at providing employees exposure to diverse leadership styles. During these sessions, prominent leaders from the Washington area tech sector are brought in to speak to IntelliDyne employees about their successes and failures - and the lessons that can be learned from each. In addition to these Master Classes, Tony sets a high priority on corporate culture by training new managers in the “IntelliDyne Way of Leadership” where he shares his own experience and philosophy through internal workshops focused on essential leadership and management. We caught up with Tony to ask a few questions about his leadership style and life at IntelliDyne.
What qualities are necessary to be a good leader?
There are many qualities that leaders need to aspire to, but none as important as integrity and judgment. Integrity informs us from a moral, ethical and leadership perspective of what the boundaries are for behavior, for action, for policy, for everything. Judgment helps us make good decisions within the envelope of integrity. Hand-in-hand with those would be authenticity. Be who you are and you’ll attract people who will be a good fit for your organization — both employees and customers.
What was an inflection point in your career?
I’ve had many inflection points in my career. The first was being a Marine for eight years because it is a highly disciplined existence where you’re totally focused on outcomes — because outcomes are the only thing that matters. After that were the influential periods where I worked for great leaders. I was fortunate enough to be exposed to some amazing leadership during my career, and that had a very powerful impact on me.
What advice do you have for aspiring leaders?
It’s not about being a go-getter, it’s about being a go-giver. What can you do for your customer, for your employees and for your community? By looking to add value in all circumstances, you’ll get all the opportunities you could possibly want. Think about giving first. How do I make this customer successful? How do I make our employees successful? Once you’ve done that, the rest of it comes pretty easy.
What sets IntelliDyne apart from other IT consultants?
Customers don’t hire us because of what we do; they hire us because of why we do it. Measurable outcomes and ROI. When a customer invites you to a meeting that you didn’t call, it means they trust you to make their mission complete. We build that trust through ROI, metrics and the ability to demonstrate value — doing all they asked for and more. “Above and beyond” isn’t just a tagline on our business cards, it’s our business philosophy.
"When a customer invites you to a meeting that you didn’t call, it means they trust you to make their mission complete. We build that trust through ROI, metrics and the ability to demonstrate value — doing all they asked for and more."
How has your business been able to grow?
We’ve been fortunate in that we’ve been able to see trends before they become real. Five years ago, we looked at what really keeps CIOs up at night. When they come into work on Monday morning, they don’t want to learn they have a problem by reading about it in the business section. They want transparency and accountability from their vendors. Our advanced analytics give all of our customers real-time and near-real-time access not just to how we’re doing, but how they and we are doing together. We can measure almost any outcome they’re interested in. We can show them that we’re achieving their goals and how we’re doing it. We can also show them how they’re doing as an organization and provide visibility into their own business. That advanced technology provides more value to customers than any of our competitors. We even have partners coming to us for that capability.
"We can measure almost any outcome they’re interested in. We can show them that we’re achieving their goals and how we’re doing it."
Given today’s marketplace, has your approach changed?
Nothing has changed for us. Our approach to customers, employees and partners is the same as it’s been for 20 years. The first question we ask: What’s in the best interest of the customer? The second question we ask: What’s in the best interest of our employees? The third question we ask: What’s in the best interest of our partners? Looking out for and serving those three constituencies has given us all the opportunities in the market that we need.
How is your business involved in the community?
One of our core philosophies as an organization is what can we do to make our employees, customers, partners and community better. We have a very strong focus on our military and a responsibility to help them transition. Most of our own leadership and customers are Veterans. As a board member of the Northern Virginia Technology Council, I co-chair of the Veterans Employment Initiative, which has helped over 12,000 Veterans get hired in the last three years. We know from our DOD exposure that climate change is one of the top issues facing national security, so I’m on the Board of Trustees of the Nature Conservancy, an organization focused on the catastrophic effects. We also support TAPS, the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, the Semper Fi Fund, the Fisher House Foundation and Serve Our Willing Warriors.
What would you say to someone considering joining IntelliDyne?
Your potential at IntelliDyne is equal to what you’re willing to do. If you’re willing to work at it, you can go anywhere in this company. We’ve had entry level staff advance to directors, help desk staff become program managers, and program managers become vice presidents. Every employee has influence here. We’re not a town-hall type of organization. We do breakfast, lunch and dinner five days a week with every employee at every site once a quarter to have a dialogue and talk about what we believe in as an organization. Frankly, we look out for each other in ways that most other organizations don’t.
"Your potential at IntelliDyne is equal to what you’re willing to do. If you’re willing to work at it, you can go anywhere in this company."
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