Amy Gilliland on creating a “company with a soul”

Amy Gileland heads General Dynamics ’IT business as president and was the keynote speaker at our Top 100 Big Reveal event on Wednesday night.

General Dynamics ranks 5th in the ranking 100 best technologies of Washington 2022 by $ 6.3 billion in principal contract commitments. This figure includes both GDIT and General Dynamics Mission Systems, the defense company’s communications and space business.

I held a Q&A with Gilliland at Big Reveal, where we also had a count of the top 10 companies. We talked about her priorities, changing customer needs, how to support employees in today’s world and how her work has changed since then became president of GDIT in 2017.

Below is an edited transcript of our conversation.

WT: What market changes are distinctive for you?

Gileland: Two things stare into my eyes. One is that IT is critical to the mission and recognition of the role of IT. These are no longer discretionary costs. We have been taught this a lot.

Obviously, COVID and the way we work today are part of that. SolarWinds is part of that. What we are doing in Ukraine is part of that. Things like the Pentagon’s JADC2 (Joint All-Domen Command and Control) are part of that. You call it.

There are implications for system integrators and what is our responsibility. SI is responsible for the rapid deployment of commercial technology in government and the faster introduction of innovation.

WT: How has GDIT changed in response?

Gileland: You will not be surprised that GDIT is a completely different company. The first thing we did was focus the business. We sold a billion dollars in 2018 of what I call a non-core business.

This has allowed us to focus on our core and the technologies that the customer needs – artificial intelligence, machine learning, cybersecurity, the cloud. This has been our journey for the last couple of years and we see it paying off.

We have a lab in St. Louis called Deep Sky. We do cyber, high-performance computing, AI and ML to quickly transfer these technologies to the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency.

We have changed our business model. We were three separate companies and now we can use the successes and solutions of one part of the company in another.

We are cooperating much more than before. Being a big business is great, but only if you can use resources and employee attitudes are very different than in 2017.

When I came to GDIT, it was a very transactional company. People were here one day and went the next. Now I see that employees want the company to take care of them and their future. People ask about their development and career path before we even talk about compensation.

Employees also want to see themselves in the company, which is why diversity and inclusion initiatives are so important.

WT: How have you changed the culture?

Gileland: We’re trying to create a vibrant community, and this is a page from the CSRA book. (CSRA is a GD company purchased in April 2018, which actually doubled the size of GDIT.) We adopted their leaders forum. We merged the two businesses worth $ 4.5 billion, and it was clear we weren’t going to do it top-down.

From that day on, there was talk of empowerment. “That’s what we do. We want your contribution. You can help us decide how to proceed. “

They own the solutions, and if they own them and everyone understands their role in moving the company forward, a big company can feel like a small company.

This is what you want people to feel connected to. You have to communicate in a variety of modes. Some employees love email, some love watching videos, some love podcasts.

The staff resource groups were huge for us. They helped us navigate social issues during COVID and after George Floyd.

Now, as a company, we hold regular meetings and discussions that support employees around things like what happened to Buffalo parents or LGBTQ Plus, and how they navigate the environment with their children.

We are talking about the suicide of veterans. Thirty percent of our population are veterans.

So you build a company with a soul.

WT: Do you see a financial benefit from these things?

Gileland: In my opinion, it’s simple. When you take care of your employees, your employees take care of your customers.

If you spend hours trying to schedule medical appointments for your parents, or if you have a child with special needs, or if you are struggling with depression and just trying to fight and do your job, then these people are not focused on doing their job. So the connection is very strong.

There is a direct relationship between the employees who receive support and the work of the employees. The point is not that there is a compassionate environment and we are all kind to each other and the results don’t matter.

I have a boss, and we have financial commitments, and we consistently fulfill them all. So I believe not only intuitively, but in terms of performance. I have evidence that people who feel supported work well.

Source link