Lloyd Ainey, founder of Interface Technologies
Lloyd has been in the IT business for over 30 years. When he founded Interface, they specialized in manufacturing computer processors. Recognizing an opportunity to support other businesses’ IT needs, he evolved the company into a Telecom and Managed IT Service Provider. Today Lloyd works to continue Interface’s forward movement into the future of tech
What is your definition of Leadership?
I think a good leader motivates his organization to set high goals and deliver on that promise. I am not saying I always do it – but I do believe in the delegation –setting the bar high and turning people lose to achieve the targets we set. We work hard to develop a consensus, that stakeholders buy into and participate in the delivery. There should be ample reward for success, but failure is part of learning so I don’t believe in punitive measures unless someone really isn’t trying. I also think a good leader recognizes that everyone has strengths and weaknesses. In a good team, you play to strengths and cover off weaknesses.
What are the most important values and ethics you demonstrate as a leader?
Above all, I believe in honesty. I also want my people to know I have their back. I try to be fair, to listen. And if I am wrong, I say so. For me loyalty is probably the value I prize most highly. I am committed to full transparency – I don’t believe in hiding things from staff, or clients. Show trust, and hope to get the same in return. And I am not one to quibble over paycheques/hours.
How do you encourage the development of your employees?
We’re a small business and we don’t have a formal learning program. But I do encourage people to learn on the job. We assign juniors and new recruits to a senior manager and encourage them to partner in serving our clients. And I am open to supporting people to pursue education on a case by case basis. We do have a trainer in the product categories where we specialize. He or she does lunch and learns and certifies each staff member as they climb the education ladder.
What is your advice to Canadian business owners during the COVID-19 Pandemic?
I think we all have to take the long view. At the same time, we need to be ready to adapt quickly and be ready to seize new opportunities. For example, with many companies now working remotely, we are placing a big emphasis on our remote IT supports. Remote phone and integrated redirection of office calls is also something where demand is increasing. You need to be able to scale up quickly.
My staff is part of the plan to protect them. In our case, we do need some people in the office. We allow volunteers to work – those who prefer not to stay home. They come to the office daily and handle the onsite work. They are provided with masks and sanitizers. And everyone knows the rules on distancing and hand-washing.