The CEO of the company I work for, Chris Nelson, could sell me anything. That’s not an easy task. I have driven the same car (that I don’t remotely like) for more than a decade and I’m a late adopter of just about everything new and shiny. Chris is a storyteller with a great sense of humor, but that isn’t the reason he’s convincing. A recent conversation with him reminded me of Simon Sinek’s “start with why” philosophy. Sinek speaks passionately about how great leaders inspire action. Sinek’s approach is to focus not on what you do but why you do it. That’s the message I hear when Chris speaks and that’s what inspires me.
I’ve heard Chris talk about founding Zoot many times. He’s a true entrepreneur—basement start-up that has grown into a multi-million dollar company with an impressive client list including top-10 financial institutions and Fortune 500 companies. His success story isn’t even the main reason I’m moved when he speaks. His “why” is a passion for problem solving. He saw a need in the financial industry for simplicity that would lead to self service and control for his clients. That’s how Zoot was born. He didn’t want banks to be restricted by one way of doing business or to be wholly dependent on their IT resources or software vendors. Simplifying highly complex banking systems has a powerful impact.
I especially like Chris’ vision of applications that work within any organization’s infrastructure. He didn’t want to create a solution that solved one specific need, but rather had the flexibility to adapt and grow with the business without a massive effort. In a recent breakfast forum for financial services executives, Oracle proclaimed that the majority of banking systems today are difficult to evolve and support because the infrastructure and applications are too cumbersome. Banks need the flexibility to add a new channel or make changes to their systems without a major overhaul in order to remain competitive. They also need to be able to do that on their own timeline. That’s exactly what Zoot provides: tools that configure services that create solutions to meet our clients’ needs.
Chris used a slogan from back in the day by Burger King—hold the pickles, hold the lettuce, special orders don’t upset us, all we ask is that you let us serve it your way—as a great analogy to describe how we want our clients and prospects to view Zoot. Bring us your most difficult challenges and we’ll help you solve them the way that works best for your business. In short, have it your way. Every company has its own unique way of doing business. They bring us their best and brightest ideas and together we make it happen. Our clients are some of the most innovative companies out there and we are a part of what makes them tick. How cool is that?
Initially I wondered if blogging about the CEO and his vision might come across as too promotional. Then again if you aren’t inspired by where you work then maybe you’re in the wrong job. If I’m being evangelistic, I’m doing so about something I believe in because I have seen its impact. If I decide to buy Chris’ ocean front property in Arizona I hope he throws Indian Wells Tennis Garden in free.