Interview with Steve Goodwin: Former COO & Executive Coach

Interview with Steve Goodwin: Former COO & Executive Coach

Synnovate had the opportunity to sit down with Steve Goodwin: former COO & Executive Coach who relays his wisdom on the industry and his many years of experience. Steve has been at the forefront of many IT businesses and has witnessed the evolution of the technology industry into what it is today.

Topics of discussion:

  • Partners, Adding Value, Building Trust, Why Synnovate
  • Successful Hiring & Technology Impacts on Careers
  • AI & Sustainability
  • Journey as an IT Leader
  • Startups
  • Steve Personally & Life Coaching

Partners, Adding Value, Building Trust, Why Synnovate.

Synnovate: What are your reasons for buying from IT Services and Recruitment Partners?

Steve: I prefer working with smaller organisations where you get the personal relationship, you’ve got trust. You tend to get really good candidates as the company knows what your needs are. This works both with recruitment and if you are buying in a service as well. It is all about trust and relationships, knowing that companies are going to deliver what they say they are going to deliver.

Synnovate: What adding value means for you?

Steve: The whole theme of my career is to under-promise, and over-deliver! It is also about honestly and good communication. If you have a problem with a customer, be honest and have that conversation. Then you can work together and sort it out, everyone has problems and it is all about sorting it out in the right way.

Synnovate: What stood out with your most successful partners?

Steve: The best partnerships are the ones you have a good personal relationship with, majority smaller companies who really care about what you want. I have worked with big recruiters who just throw you CVs, much different from the smaller firms who take time to know your needs and tend to get really good candidates- along with working closely together with you.

Synnovate: Why recommend Synnovate to others?

Steve: It all comes back to personal relationships, I have known the team at Synnovate for some time and have built that trust over the years. As for new clients, it is great to see that you have a big focus on AI, data, sustainability and digital- all very valid in the current technology environment. Synnovate will give better service being a startup yourself, you get the best service and it is the people that do the delivery, and Synnovate delivers. I would most definitely buy from Synnovate if I was still in the game.

Successful Hiring & Technology Impacts on Careers.

Synnovate: What are examples of some of your best hires in your career?

Steve: I spent a lot of my time identifying talent, that requires going down a few levels and spotting the talent to be able to bring them up. That is one of the most rewarding parts of my career; developing talent, watching them grow and even overtaking me at some point. I was speaking to an old client of mine who is now a CIO of a water company, and he reminded me of his journey and how he relays the same process I had used with him with his company, which I found very flattering.

Synnovate: What specific attributes were you looking out for when hiring?

Steve: I was looking for people with leadership potential. Back when I was learning I had a lot of management training, nowadays I think people are thrown into a management role with no training and end up failing. It is all about looking for a specific person who has that little spark and has that ambition.

Synnovate: What’s your opinion on how technology will impact the world in years to come and how people can adapt?

Steve: Technology will continue to impact the world, the trick is to surround yourself buy talented people, even people smarter than you- a good team. I think technology will move into the more visual space, just like a lot of these live shows you can see, such as ABBA Voyage. People learn a lot more from visual technology, so there is a lot of scope there in education. Technology will continue to evolve in the world, and indeed help it.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Sustainability.

Synnovate: How has Al technology innovation evolved during your tenure and what are the benefits?

Steve: We know that there is a lot of noise in the media about AI recently. I see it as a brilliant opportunity, it will create change and with change comes opportunity. Some jobs may go, but new jobs will come and that has happened all the way through IT. Early in my career I looked after a large mainframe which drank power like nobody’s business, with a small memory. If you have a look now at smartphones that was more power than that mainframe; far less power and more usability. The world is constantly changing.

Synnovate: What is your honest opinion on sustainability?

Steve: Clearly sustainability is important, and if you can do a job by saving the environment then off course you will do it. IT has played a big role in sustainability; people are using smartphones which use far less power, robotics which are building things a lot more efficiently, data centres which use a lot of power are gone, moving everything to the cloud. All this plays a part in sustainability. I do think climate change ‘crisis’ is blown out of proportion, we know that it is a long journey to net zero but you can’t just turn everything off and stop using oil overnight; but it is a journey we need to go down. 

Journey as an IT leader.

Synnovate: You have successfully been involved in IT for over 45 years now with multiple roles and industry sectors. How was your journey and what motivated you?

Steve: I was always interested in electronics from the age of 11. When my school friends had paper rounds, I had a job fixing televisions- there has always been an interest there. I did an apprenticeship with BT, finished that and found that path wasn’t for me. I emigrated to South Africa on my own, saw a job in the newspaper looking for training computer engineers. That is where it all started and I never looked back. I worked for the large mainframe company over there, then came back to join the same company in the UK, joining the digital side. I then joined many IT companies during the years. What motivated me honestly was financial success, and how you get there is hard work and looking after clients/staff. I loved the success.


Synnovate: We know there is sometimes uncertainty about start-ups. Besides from personal relationships, what questions would you be asking Synnovate as a potential client?

Steve: Firstly I would want to meet you and see what you are like. Synnovate come across very well, ambitious and hard working- that really would be first impressions that I would like to see. It would be good to know from companies such as yourself the visions, personal relationships and why you are different to other competitors.

Synnovate: What advice would you give to start-up companies?

Steve: I think in the current state of affairs, it is important to know your cash flow, PNL and costs going out the door. But also on working closely with clients and using your creativity of focusing on your key capabilities, building your relationships and that will help to get business in the door. Having a clear focus on profitability is key because without that, it would be difficult to succeed

Steve Personally & Life Coaching

Synnovate: What has life been like for you post IT?

Steve: It has been 3 years now since I left IT. I like keep myself busy. I have took an interest in classic cars, clay pigeon shooting, DIY and travelling.- your only here once so you should enjoy yourself.

Synnovate: You are an established life coach as well, tell us a little about that?

Steve: I have spent a lot of my career coaching and developing people, also doing training on being a professional coach as well. Since I have left IT I tend to do a lot of pro-bono work, people who I like to give them benefits from my experience and seeing what they want to do.

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