John Goullet – Principal of DIVERSANT, LLC

Look at the best run competitors in your industry and try to emulate best practices.

Mr. John Goullet serves as Principal of DIVERSANT, LLC. Mr. Goullet founded Info Technologies, Inc. in 1994 and served as its Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Goullet served first as a Computer Consultant, then as an IT staffing account executive before deciding to found his own IT staffing company in 1994. Mr. Goullet focused his Info Technologies on understanding the corporate climate as well as the IT staffing needs of his clients, then matching the personality and work style of his consultants – as well as their skill sets to meet the client needs. He serves as the Chairman of DIVERSANT LLC. He has grown Info Technologies into an award-winning organization, twice-cited by Inc. magazine’s Inc. 500, as one of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies.

Where did the idea for DIVERSANT come from?

The idea for DIVERSANT and having an IT staffing firm came to me 24 years ago. I’ve been in business 22 years, but 24 years ago I realized that this was a low-barriers-to-entry business. That so many had succeeded before me gave me faith that I, too, could succeed to some degree.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

Most days start with time in the gym, beginning at 6am and ending an hour later. I then make my way to the office by 8, and unless I have a dinner appointment, leave the office by 6.

How do you bring ideas to life?

New ideas are brought to light by simply reading and paying attention to what’s happening in the labor markets. There is always a shortage of IT professionals — the U.S. simply does not graduate enough students with IT skills — so we look to see what technologies will be in greatest demand and then start building a pipeline of skill sets are clients are likely to require.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

What really excites us is that high tech/technology is an ever-growing, ever-increasing part of the GDP, and that demand for technologists is increasing all the time. So, our future at Diversant is very bright so long as we are competent to deliver the very best candidates to our clients.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Productive paranoia is one attribute that makes me more productive as an entrepreneur. Jim Collins talks about it in one of his books, perhaps Good to Great, but the feeling that our competition is always nipping at our heals, always getting closer drives me to keep pushing the organization forward.

What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

The worst job was a high school summer job working for local manufacturer. I think they made duct work (can’t remember). Anyway, I has hard at work doing mindless tasks when one of the union workers told me to slow down, to stop working so hard so that I would not embarrass the other worker. I quit the next day.

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

I would have raised some money, assembled a board of advisors sooner, and invested more heavily in hiring and training many more associates.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend
everyone else do?

Look at the best run competitors in your industry and try to emulate best practices.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.

Hire the very best people you can, give your key employees of piece of the firm and hire many, many trainees. Building a sales engine, as we are attempting to do, requires hiring and training hundreds and hundreds of young men and women. Last, empower your 1-, 2- and 3-yr associates with training, mentoring and management of the newest trainees. Create a culture of accountability.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

I failed in hiring senior sales reps and executives and did not hold them accountable until it was too late. The sales reps never brought in or developed new business, and the senior execs usually worked in and brought with them a culture that did not work for us.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

New government regulation provides great opportunities for the services industry. For example, Electronic Medical Records is providing a rich and robust and long term opportunity for those technology companies that provide IT solutions for EMR. Similarly, any time the government imposes new regulation, there is a wealth of opportunity to be made.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

$100 on a golf lesson.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

“Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War,” by Sebastian Gorka

What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?

From a business perceptive, all books authored by Jim Collins. His analysis on the best run companies and what makes them tick has been a huge benefit to us at DIVERSANT.