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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 1 that’s simply huge. Zebra Applied sciences is likely one of the most dynamic B2B expertise corporations on the earth. They digitize and automate workflows for corporations, have roughly 10, 000 workers and do about $5 billion in income. I had the possibility to sit down down with CEO Invoice Burns to learn the way he leads such an enormous operation.

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

International 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 folks. You see us in a point-of-sale checkout at a grocery store, when a postal employee is delivering a parcel to your own home, and in so many different locations. Firms use our cell units to scan the bundle, get signatures, and issues like that. All the most important retailers around the globe — 86 p.c of the Fortune 500 corporations — are our clients as we speak. 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 may 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 instances 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 people like Verizon and others. After which I took a task main Europe, the Center East, and Africa from a gross sales aspect and expanded into advertising and marketing 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 type of in a single day a $1 billion enterprise grew to become 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 workers and our traders. Finally we’re in enterprise to proceed to develop and to generate income. However you have to do the appropriate issues first. You’ve got acquired to have the ability to reward and appeal to and retain the perfect workers around the globe. In case you try this, then you definitely’ll serve your clients finest. In case you serve your clients finest, you may develop your topline income and your profitability and your inventory will go up and you may maintain your traders.”

Main by way of robust instances

“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 the majority companies would do. Take a look at your actual property and your journey prices and all these issues internally. We additionally did issues like voluntary retirement packages. We thought of creating new alternatives for folks throughout the group. It labored out nice, nevertheless it’s at all times onerous to get smaller. It is at all times much more enjoyable to develop. However you have to make these robust enterprise choices at instances.”

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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 does not occur in a single day. And in the event you’re at an excellent firm and you’ve got alternatives there, there’s nowhere else that you just’re extra revered than inside that firm. They know you’re prepared, so be affected person.”

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

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