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An Interview with Kyle David – CEO of KDG: Helping Clients Innovative Through the Unprecedented

Today we have selected Kyle David to take his interview. He is the President & CEO of the Kyle David Group.

  • First of all, how are you and your team doing in these COVID-19 times?

In large part, we’re doing well as an organization. We’re grateful that we’re starting to see signs that the pandemic has become “normalized” to the point where people do not feel afraid to resume most of their daily activities. At KDG, we have turned a page and realized that remote work is here to stay.

Therefore, we’ve allowed work location flexibility to our entire organization indefinitely. Some still like to come to the office every day for visibility, comradery, or something in-between. However, this location flexibility goes a long way for inclusion, and we see that playing out.

  • Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded or joined this company?

Kyle David Group

It’s safe to say that my career has been with KDG. While I did have a short stint with a large consulting firm at the beginning of my career, KDG has made up the lion’s share of my “work-life” for most of my career.

  • How does your company help your clients innovate?

First, we avoid terms like “innovating” when we talk about the actual process. The word invokes a mystic that favors some divine brilliance instead of a deliberate process. Instead, we focus on what the late Harvard professor Clayton Christensen called “jobs to be done.” In short, we all have jobs that we need to get done each day. To complete those jobs, we hire and fire various products and services to make progress.

Innovation comes when you look at those jobs under a microscope to determine the whys behind them. Then you look at their social, emotional, and functional aspects. When you nail those items, “innovation” becomes a predictable process instead of a gamble on luck or divine brilliance. It’s been amazing what this process has yielded for our clients.

  • How have you seen the pandemic affect your clients, and how have you been able to help?

Over the past few years, the pandemic and the accompanying news have taken a toll on general morale across the country, not just at specific companies or sectors. There have been a lot of questions about where work fits into our lives.

Perhaps these moments of reflection have been bottled up for some time, and the pandemic was an excuse for the cork to come out. Regardless, it has forced employers to reevaluate the employer-employee relationship in a very positive way.

Employers need to focus on the wellness of their employees, their job satisfaction, and how they complete their work. Frustrate an employee too much, and they can go elsewhere without much friction. This is particularly true if they are working remotely.

That is why employers need to focus on treating their employees and how their employees work. Are the tools that they use effectively? Are they feeling a sense of accomplishment? Is collaboration smooth?

  • Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?

“Difficult” choices are part of my job and not something that I spend a lot of time dwelling on. The only choice that I come back to often is to ensure that our workforce has location flexibility indefinitely. For selfish reasons (I like seeing people), I wish we could go back to all working in the same office at the same time. However, the benefits of workplace flexibility handily outweigh my sentiment to all be together.

  • What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?

Structure and process have never been more important than during these times. You can waste time, money, and morale by not having your act together. We use a Way book tool to manage our processes and train new employees on how we do things.

It has proven to be highly effective and worth the time investment. Secondly, I’m a big fan of doing a Start, Stop, or Continue Analysis (SSCA). SSCA is a very effective management tool because it usually shakes out all the things you shouldn’t be doing that aren’t worth your time. Instead of focusing on being smart and knowing all the “right” things to do, I’ve found it a lot easier to focus on not doing dumb or wasteful things.

As with most people, I’m better at spotting them. It’s also a lot easier to train up-and-coming leaders with this mentality. That makes management much easier than the constant pressure cooker adding more and more ideas to the pot.

  • How do you plan to stay in the game? How have you differentiated yourself from your competitors?

For nearly 20 years, we’ve been 100% US-based and have all W2 employees. That’s a rarity in our business. However, as geopolitics becomes more problematic for those that offshore and insurance companies crack down on lax security and privacy in offshore hotspots, an all-domestic workforce has been a strong competitive advantage. Like most, we’re fighting inflation while staying price-competitive, but we’re blessed to have seemingly unlimited demand for our services.

  • Your final thoughts(maybe something about why our clients have trusted us throughout this crisis; how some things in business may have changed for the better; or maybe how we see the future of business and innovation changing?)

Most companies don’t fully embrace that they are in the trust business. Building, solidifying, and maintaining trust takes real, conscious, and deliberate work. It can’t be baked into a marketing statement and believed without earnest follow through.

I think that KDG continues to succeed because we’re focused on “making money slow,” bucking the trend of bigger, better, faster, more. We all know the story of the tortoise and the hare. While it may not capture headlines, it does capture the reality of building a business with a durable competitive advantage.

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