Steve Haworth, CEO of TeleWare, talks to BQ about managing innovation, failing fast and the pleasure of seeing a product make a difference.
What is it the company does?
TeleWare is heavily focused on employee mobility. We believe better communications create better businesses. For almost 30 years we have designed and developed software that helps businesses communicate more effectively with their customers and with each other. Our products include:
Describe your role in no more than 100 words
As CEO, my role is to create the company vision. This includes working with our teams to turn innovation from around the company into products, services and ways of working that inspire our customers and partners.
I love bringing new products to market and watching them evolve. Hearing from our customers about the impact our products have on their businesses encourages us to continue doing what we do.
Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start, how did you move on?
I am fortunate enough to have worked in the telecoms space for over 20 years. During that time, I have worked with the likes of BT, Vodafone, Siemens and Marconi to name a few. I joined TeleWare in 2002 as business development director and was appointed as CEO in 2007.
I am passionate about technology and the role it can play in helping businesses improve the ways they interact with their customers and employees. My overall vision for TeleWare is to improve all business communications for our customers.
What do you believe makes a great leader?
Someone who can listen and has great direction. Someone who has a vision and can convey that vision to those in their team and take them on that journey.
What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?
With technology moving on at speed, we can bring new products to market much quicker now than we could 10 years ago.
However, we know that not every product we get to market will succeed so it’s important to fail fast and move on. Not everything we plan to launch will be successful. We also know innovation doesn’t happen by accident. Innovation Fridays were born out of a desire to constantly innovate; a time for employees to take time out, to generate and share ideas, to discuss the ‘art of the possible’ and be inspired by others. On the back of this, we have generated two world firsts.
It is crucial that we maintain this and turn innovative ideas into products, services and new ways of doing things that will help us grow.
How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?
I have three young children, so the stress doesn’t stop! I read a fair bit and enjoy gaming apps.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be two different things. My dad essentially ran his own business, so running my own business was one of those things I considered. Another job I remember wanting to do was game design.
Any pet hates in the workplace? What do you do about them?
People who aren’t present in meetings. Answering emails or being on their phone shows they’re not truly engaged.
Where do you see the company in five years’ time?
The use of cloud computing solutions by businesses is becoming ever more commonplace. We will, therefore, remain focused on delivering world-class cloud communication technologies. We will also accelerate our international expansion, offering our products on a global scale.
What advice would you give to aspiring business leaders?
Get on and do it! The only person stopping you is yourself. Not everyone will know everything. When you start out, you feel you’re the only one who is worried about not knowing everything. You learn as you go along. Don’t listen to those who put you off.
What do you wish someone had told you when you started out?
Don’t be afraid to fail. Learn from the failure and move on quickly.
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