Strive to become better. Become a better listener. Become a better thinker. Become a better manager, leader, and person.

 

Michael Hadley is president and CEO of iCorps Technologies , a leading-edge IT consulting, managed services, and cloud computing company. Michael founded iCorps in 1994 to deliver and support practical, cost-effective IT services that allow business leaders to focus on their core objectives. The company, headquartered in Boston, is now one of the largest IT consulting firms in Massachusetts and has a strong presence and client base throughout the Northeast.

Where did the idea for your company come from?

In the early ’90s, iCorps co-founder Chris Stephenson and I recognized that there was a huge strategic gap in the IT services space. Other companies were going in and doing projects, but they were leaving these businesses high and dry when it came to ongoing proactive support. We saw an opportunity to help businesses utilize technology and think strategically about their IT investment.

We started out working with two clients on nights, weekends, and holidays on top of working our normal 60- to 70-hour-a-week day jobs — which is why our name was originally Off-Hours Consulting. As we grew, we changed the name to iCorps. The “i” represents information, and “Corps” represents our awesome team of employees, partners, and clients.

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

I start by prioritizing emails and making sure I have a list of things I want to accomplish for the day. I leave at the end of the day feeling like we had a productive day if we accomplished a lot of our objectives as a business, from getting proposals out to launching new technology solutions for our clients. I also make it a point to walk around the office and engage with our employees at all levels because that human interaction is extremely important in this world of digital communication.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I work with my team of people to vet ideas and push through resistance — because with a lot of ideas comes resistance. If I can see that there’s some credibility to that resistance, I evaluate, but I challenge our people to make sure they’re not resisting just to resist or because the idea is new. Some ideas are great, and some are not. Some are great in theory, and some are great in practice. You find this out as you go through the process.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

Anything that’s enabling technology and businesses to be better. I’m on board with anything that leverages technology and makes it more affordable and accessible. Digital transformation is one trend of many that is doing that. It’s truly about enabling and empowering companies of all sizes, not just the big players, to be better through the use of innovative technology.

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

Well, you might not hear a lot of business owners admit it, but toys. Growing up, I always wanted a Corvette, so I worked hard to get that. Working toward hobbies makes me want to work harder and be more productive to get bigger and better things. I think when you can do it responsibly, honestly, and while treating others with respect, there’s a pride and motivation that comes from being able to earn what you have.

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

Strive to become better. Become a better listener. Become a better thinker. Become a better manager, leader, and person.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Work hard, play hard, and do not to let any obstacles get in the way. I believe in the three R’s: resourceful, resilient, and relentless. Everyone is going to hit walls, and it’s the people who possess the three R’s who will go through the wall, around the wall, or over the wall.

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

In my early years as an entrepreneur, I had a client that took advantage, sending us request after request for discounts and other silly asks. I would react in the moment and give in — to the detriment of our business. We eventually lost this client, and from that experience, I learned how important it is to understand the full story and do what’s right. Never react to anything without understanding the entire story, and then once you do understand it, make a reasonable decision based on that.

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

I think there needs to be an alternative to Glassdoor that is fair to both the employee and the employer. I would like to see a company create a platform that challenges Glassdoor but also provides the employer with an opportunity to validate an ex-employee’s history so false information isn’t spread anonymously.

What is the best $100 you recently spent?

I just spent $100 on football squares leading up to the Super Bowl. I bought 10 squares for $10 each, and I won $250.

What software and web services do you use?

For business, I use the entire Microsoft platform, especially Office 365 and Microsoft Azure. Microsoft continues to add capability and functionality without increasing the price, allowing people to leverage its platforms more to be more efficient and collaborative. I also use Skype for Business daily to videoconference with our remote team members and clients.

Personally, I love Alexa. I’m continually building a smart and efficient house, tying in things like Echo, Nest for heating, smart lights, LED lighting, etc. I’m really trying to be efficient.

What books do you recommend our community should read?

It’s an old book now, but “The Culture of Technology” by Arnold Pacey set the groundwork for everything that’s moving forward today with technology. I also recommend “Who Moved My Cheese?” by Spencer Johnson; that’s all about not accepting life the way it is and overcoming.

What is something that’s true that almost no one agrees with you on?

We were the first IT services company to implement a paid-for assessment for small and midsize businesses. No one was doing it; it was never talked about back then. Other companies were just taking and fulfilling orders. We refused to do that because we wanted to make sure our clients were getting technology that was right for their businesses.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Start earlier. Start focusing and being more serious at a younger age. I wasn’t in a hurry to be successful early on.

What is your favorite quote?

The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.” — Steve Jobs

Key Learnings:

  • Be resourceful, resilient, and relentless.
  • Challenge resistance to new ideas.
  • Know the full story before reacting, and do what’s right.
  • Don’t put off getting started. Start focusing and being more serious at a younger age.
  • Read “Who Moved My Cheese?” by Spencer Johnson and “The Culture of Technology” by Arnold Pacey.

Connect:

https://www.icorps.com
Michael Hadley on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/michael-hadley-4188928/
iCorps Technologies on Twitter: https://twitter.com/iCorps_Tech