There’s a reason there is no me in the word team. That’s the idea behind John Blyzinskyj, the chief executive of Elemica's, management style.
As the leader of Elemica, the digital supply network for process manufacturers that handles half a trillion dollars in goods that are bought and sold on the platform annually, Blyzinskyj takes pains to make sure he knows his own strength and weaknesses. Recognizing that leaders can’t only be surrounded by yes-men, he embraces a philosophy of listening twice as much as he talks. It has served him well as the CEO since November of 2012. Blyzinskyj, who in August was named by The SaaS Report as a Top 50 SaaS CEO of 2018, says a key component to a successful CEO is knowing when to let the experts take over.
“Elemica provides a collaborative work environment that is highly productive and allows employees to excel. Team members at every level sit side by side or close by to foster an environment of unity and collaboration,” said Blyzinskyj in an interview with The SaaS Report. “Team members have synergies with each other despite diverse views; everyone listens to each other and respects everyone’s ideas. People’s voices are heard, helping them feel valued.” According to Blyzinskyj getting everyone involved in a project or idea removes silos, a deterrent to any business, and fosters more team building among employees. An open door policy at Wayne, Pennsylvania-based Elemica also fosters the collaborative culture at the company.
Empathy, A Must Have Skill
Blyzinskyj’s philosophy as a leader comes from his empathetic nature and his desire to understand the objectives of his clients. Realizing early on that clients have different objectives than what he may have, he tries to encourage staffers to empathize with the customers and to enable them to achieve their goals. Also shaping his current management style is a stint at Hewlett-Packard earlier in his career. The storied technology company had a very collaborative culture and is something he tries to emulate as a leader and executive. “I always try to engage folks to not accept the norm. I want to encourage a healthy debate and hear new ideas which can come from anyone and anywhere,” said the executive. “I try to encourage a fact base, visual and active debate which I view as very positive. I do not want to suppress any ideas. I want to be highly proactive in this approach and actively listen to different perspectives. This creates an innovative culture. In the end, I need to hear all perspectives and then make the call when necessary.”
That management style was tested early in his career when he was in charge of marketing for Europe for a telecommunication company. At the time the industry was fragmented and deregulated with technology changing seemingly every month. Competition was fierce and so was the cutthroat nature of the industry back then. “Managing through that required a strong conviction for me to always take the high ground and keep my ethics and personal business morals when it came to certain business conduct,” said the Elemica CEO. “I learned that in times of great pressures do not descend into lower convictions and forget your personal values. Never be afraid to stand up for what you believe.”