Darragh Fitzpatrick talks about IT and cloud technology and the challenges of leadership.

These days, Darragh Fitzpatrick seems to have his head in the clouds…. But he’s no daydreamer! As a partner and executive vice president at The Tabush Group, Darragh and his company have innovated a cutting edge approach to IT services that relies on cloud technology to provide a better, more responsive product for their clients.

Darragh and his partner, founder Morris Tabush, believe that cloud-based IT is a step forward for their industry. But maneuvering their company to be ready for the success that their new product – Boxtop – is bringing has presented some real challenges for Darragh to overcome.

Success in a Box – Boxtop Cloud Technology

The Tabush Group has been providing IT services to small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) since 2000, almost twenty years. Darragh came on board as a managing partner in 2010, bringing his years of expertise in IT to the company. Over time the company grew into their niche, moving away from a break/fix model (basically trading repair or setup services for dollars) to managed IT services to now cloud-based managed IT services with their Boxtop cloud technology. Darragh compares Boxtop IT services to how media streaming works.

“What we’re trying with Boxtop is to do what Netflix did for movies. So the way that you can now access media through Netflix without hardware… we’re doing the same for your desktop. Boxtop encompasses and delivers all your IT needs.”

It’s both freeing and cost-effective for Darragh’s clients, since they can have secure, reliable IT without the pain of having to install a self-contained IT department. It’s a brilliant idea and has already contributed to Tabush Group’s success.

Riding a Lightning Storm of Success

Darragh’s company has seen enormous growth, doubling in size in the last eight years. They went from a handful of employees to 32 now and have experienced a revenue increase of about 20% year over year. But growth like that meant that Darragh could no longer lead from the front as he’d been doing up until he attended a Birthing of Giants Fellowship week in early April 2017.

“[Boxtop] changes the nature of how we… interact and manage clients,” Darragh explains.

Even more to the point, it changed how Darragh himself interacted with their clients. It became clear to him that the best thing he could do as a leader in his company was to extricate himself from the day-to-day operations of the business (despite his great technical knowledge and positive rapport with clients) and focus on leading his team. Accomplishing this milestone became a big part of his one year plan.

Taking it One Year at a Time

One of the pillars of our Program is the One Year From Today plan. It’s a chance to think hard and carefully about where you want your company to be in one year, and how to take specific action to make that vision happen. Darragh used his one year plan to map out how best to remove himself from daily operations in order to let his team handle it. The idea was simple. The execution took more work and more time than Darragh had expected.

“I think the most important thing when you’re initiating change is that everybody has to understand the change and… have the opportunity to talk to you about it… Once I started retracting and focusing on other parts [of the business], I didn’t put that bridge there, and therefore people were in sink or swim mode.”

It’s no surprise that the changes threw Darragh’s team for a loop, if only temporarily. The emotional effect of sweeping business changes is a concept that I’ve both heard and experienced many times. Toni Jacaruso dealt with it when she upgraded her management team. Matt Manero went through it when he torched his company (figuratively) to fix a toxic culture. It’s difficult to predict how your employees are going to react to the change. You have to, as Darragh put it, create a bridge for communication and work hard to maintain a good trust level.

A little over a year into it, and Darragh is seeing great results. As a member of our post-graduate Gathering of Giants and a personal friend of mine, I’ll definitely be catching up with him soon on how the transition is going!

Check out my extended interview with Darragh Fitzpatrick on Forbes.com.

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