Personal Connection is Key to Kenyon’s Leadership

Applaudo Studios' Scott Kenyon is no stranger to running the show. He has been serving in supervisory roles since his early years at K.C. Sports and he isn’t planning on slowing down anytime soon. Kenyon knows what it takes to lead and shared some of his insights in an interview with The Software Report.

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After thirteen years of being promoted up through the ranks at Dell, Kenyon made the move to Phunware where he eventually took on the role of CEO. After a few years, he made the leap to Applaudo Studios, a leading tech services firm, and has been there ever since.

The key to developing a highly productive and collaborative work environment, Kenyon thinks, is to embrace a culture of change. A leader must listen to everyone and make a judgment about when to adapt and when not to adapt.

“Productivity comes from culture,” Kenyon said. “If you have a culture of micromanagement people will always be working hard but hardly working. I could care less about hard work. I care about productivity and results.”

As far as experiences that helped shape Kenyon’s leadership style, he admits that he’s learned from both the good and the bad. “Early on in my career, I was blessed with great leaders like Bert Quintana,” Kenyon said. “Bert has guided me more than I could ever share.”

In 1999, Dagoberto Quintana started out as Director of Consumer Sales Operations with Dell before being promoted to Vice President in 2003. Kenyon started in a sales leadership role the same year and they worked together until Quintana left Dell in 2007.

He recalls how Quintana made a practice of parking at the opposite end of the building from his office. Sometimes, the only time Quintana had to meet with his team was on that walk to and from his department. He definitely had a way with people, Kenyon says: “He was like a politician working a crowd – shaking hands and kissing babies.”

Kenyon also spoke of his assignments abroad in countries like El Salvador and Brazil as being influential experiences. As a leader, he realized it was important to him to develop his listening skills. “I wasn’t going to be the ‘Gringo’ that comes in and knows everything,” Kenyon said.

In terms of how Kenyon, himself, works to bring out the best in his team – he spoke of connecting on a personal level with people. “I know my people at a level that even some of their managers don’t know them,” Kenyon said. “Obviously that can’t be for everyone in our company but each time I try to know someone else at a different level.”

Kenyon also advises that it’s the little things that matter. He remembered a team member who shared with him that they were concerned about their daughter’s school selection coming up in two years. Kenyon made a concentrated effort to follow-up with the team member about their daughter on a regular basis. If the opportunity arose to have these conversations in public, Kenyon pointed out that those around can overhear and feel good that a member of their leadership team cared enough to ask.

Like anybody, Kenyon has had his fair share of professional challenges. Of his toughest experience, he spoke about a time when he had been reassigned to another role. “Pride prevented me from at the beginning from seeing why this was happening,” Kenyon said. “Once I ditched my pride, I attacked my new challenge with determination like I have never before.”

When asked about advice he would share with the upcoming generation of aspiring tech services CEOs, Kenyon said, “Focus on your team as much as you focus on your customers. Our success is due to our team, I am just the sales guy telling stories about these amazing people.”