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How the CEO of a $5 Billion Firm Constructed a Plan for Success


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Our travels for The CEO Sequence have introduced us to corporations of all sizes and scopes, and for this episode, we went to at least one that’s simply huge. Zebra Applied sciences is without doubt one of the most dynamic B2B know-how corporations on this planet. They digitize and automate workflows for corporations, have roughly 10, 000 staff and do about $5 billion in income. I had the prospect to sit down down with CEO Invoice Burns to learn how he leads such an enormous operation.

Beneath are some highlights of our insightful dialog, which have been edited for size and readability. Watch the complete video above.

World attain

“You see our firm Zebra in on a regular basis life. We’re a digital resolution supplier that allows companies to intelligently join information, belongings, and other people. You see us in a point-of-sale checkout at a grocery store, when a postal employee is delivering a parcel to your home, and in so many different locations. Firms use our cellular gadgets to scan the bundle, get signatures, and issues like that. All the most important retailers all over the world — 86 p.c of the Fortune 500 corporations — are our clients in the present day. We consider it as retail, transportation, logistics, manufacturing and warehousing, well being care and authorities.”

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The NFL Connection

“As an organization, we help the NFL. We use the identical kinds of tags that might be utilized in retail or transportation logistics to trace parcels or stock to trace each cleat, each shoulder pad, each helmet worn by a participant. The NFL’s preliminary use case was for fan engagement and to boost the published. After which the most recent use circumstances are actually round defending the well being and security of the gamers.”

The CEO’s Journey

“I began my profession in gross sales, in a big telco gross sales into of us like Verizon and others. After which I took a task main Europe, the Center East, and Africa from a gross sales facet and expanded into advertising and companies and different areas. After which I joined Zebra about 9 years in the past to steer the acquisition piece. Zebra was a billion-dollar specialty printing enterprise. They purchased two and a half billion {dollars} in income from Motorola to the enterprise enterprise and so form of in a single day a $1 billion enterprise turned a $3.5 billion enterprise.”

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Management duty

“There’s three legs of the stool, proper? That is how I view the enterprise: our clients, our staff and our traders. In the end we’re in enterprise to proceed to develop and to earn a living. However you have to do the best issues first. You’ve got received to have the ability to reward and entice and retain the very best staff all over the world. In case you do this, then you definitely’ll serve your clients greatest. In case you serve your clients greatest, you may develop your topline income and your profitability and your inventory will go up and you will care for your traders.”

Main by means of powerful occasions

“I believe that demand for our companies skyrocketed throughout COVID, after which in 2023, demand reset again to 2019 ranges. So we had been put ready the place we needed to do the conventional issues that almost all companies would do. Have a look at your actual property and your journey prices and all these issues internally. We additionally did issues like voluntary retirement packages. We considered creating new alternatives for folks inside the group. It labored out nice, nevertheless it’s all the time onerous to get smaller. It is all the time much more enjoyable to develop. However you have to make these powerful enterprise choices at occasions.”

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Profession recommendation to future leaders

“Nobody else cares as a lot about your profession as you do, but in addition be affected person as a result of it would not occur in a single day. And when you’re at an awesome firm and you’ve got alternatives there, there’s nowhere else that you just’re extra revered than inside that firm. They know you might be prepared, so be affected person.”

Take a look at extra profiles of progressive and impactful leaders by visiting The CEO Sequence archives.

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