Leadership Series: An Interview with Sandy Nix, President & CEO
With Sandy at the helm, CTS has become a leader in healthcare patient check-in kiosk solutions with more than 250 million check-ins and leads in retail tablet space with over 100,000 units deployed. On International Women’s Day, we’re taking a look at who’s inspired her to be the company’s steadfast leader.
Who has inspired your leadership style and why?
“There are 3 people who come to mind.
I admired his vision and his foresight, his tenaciousness, his insistence on quality, and his unwillingness to compromise in exchange for expediency to market. He was an unquestionably difficult person, and I can’t say that I necessarily agree with the way in which he interacted with his team members and the people who worked with and for him, but I very much admire his creativity and his willingness to be a bit of a maverick. The fact that he was willing to trust his understanding of the marketplace and his instincts in regards to what would benefit his customers and people in general, took a lot of courage.
I’ve tried to put that same standard in place here at CTS, which is why we don’t do focus groups of people to ask what they think of existing products. We are indifferent to what our competitors do or don’t do. We look forward in the marketplace and ask ‘what new technologies could we use that will create a beneficial product for the needs our customers are going to have?’
I actually had an opportunity to do a presentation for Steve Jobs and was soundly rebuked, sworn at, and thrown out. And it was a great learning experience for me and has formed a large deal of the way in which I have prepared for and present at meetings, and it was very beneficial in the long run to me. Even though it smarted a bit at the time.
He is another person who I always admired as a visionary and as someone who could read the needs of the market before people even knew what they needed. He created markets in the same way that Steve Jobs did. He was also someone I not only got an opportunity to present to, but actually work with. That was a successful presentation and later found him to be a truly inspiring person to work with.
Working with him was not only a learning experience, but it was an inspiring experience, because I learned a lot about the importance of credibility in your work. He taught me that you have to deliver not only what you say you’re going to deliver, but you have to deliver on the promise of the usefulness and importance of the product over its life. For the customer, the initial delight that you get when you first receive your product fades, and the true value and quality in a product is its ability to continue to deliver over time.
In terms of the way that I internally lead my organization, is not the way in which he would necessarily lead his teams, but he also was a manager in different times. I tend to look to him as I do with Steve Jobs, for inspiration on being inspiring, product development, and market understanding.
I think that my inspiration, in terms of how I run my business comes from the third person I look up to, which is my Grandfather. He was a very kind man, and lived by the golden rule. He was very successful in his business life, not because he ever took advantage of anyone, but because he took care of everyone around him. He lived and worked in service to the people who worked for him.
That really is the cornerstone to this company. Apart from making great products, apart from the sustainability of being profitable, apart from all of those things, what I want to leave behind with this business is a business model that proves that you can do well and do good. Both. And that fundamentally, we can build a successful, profitable, sustainable, business based on being good at what we do, appreciating the people around us, and generally just being kind.
So I would say those are the three people who have inspired me the most.”
About Sandy Nix
As President & CEO of Connected Technology Solutions, Sandy built a brand experience partner that engineers, builds, installs, and supports interactive kiosk, software and digital signage projects for companies throughout the United States. She oversees the company and its subsidiaries, CTS Mighty Touch and CTS Healthcare from its headquarters in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, as well as its satellite offices in Tampa, Atlanta, Chicago, and Denver. She founded the company in 2002.