All Business is Personal

All Business is Personal – A Talk by John Thompson Hosted by MIT’s Sloan School The MIT Sloan School of Management, The Entrepreneurship and Innovation Track, The MIT Sloan MediaTech Club, and the MIT Entrepreneurship Center invited John W. Thompson, Chairman, Symantec Corporation to speak on January 4, 2011 at the Computer Museum in Mountain View.  Below are some highlights from his remarks.

John’s informal talk discussed the major rise of Symantec and how he facilitated the growth.  His primary management tools involve building a great team and focusing on the task at hand.  Much of the talk however, was around the challenge of a major acquisition – VERITAS Software in December of 2004.  It is very hard to keep the “oneness” of the culture when you have an acquisition of nearly equal organizations.  One of the lessons learned (and possibly the greatest lesson learned) is that culture does matter, and if the managers don’t get with the program, they should be removed from the organization.

Another key point was the importance of the power of networking and relationships.  Deals are done with face to face contact, handshakes, and personal interactions.  Email and other electronic means are a complement, but never a substitute, for personal contact.  When there is a competitive situation, often it can boil down to relationships, and those with stronger relationships prevail.  In the end, all business is personal.