You’ve landed at the BSuite Podcast, an open conversation about keeping pace with the joys and challenges facing creative leaders in today’s world.
In this inaugural episode, I’m speaking to Mike Oh, Principal of TSP, a tech services company based out of Cambridge, Massachusetts. TSP’s mission is to foster technological efficiency in both home and business environments. Mike and I cover so many worthwhile topics in this two-part conversation, from the unique path that has led him to nearly 3 decades of business ownership, to social justice and diversity in the workplace, and some of the ways TSP has navigated the COVID pandemic so far.
This is the first of my two-part conversation with Mike Oh.
Thank you for tuning in!
Building a diverse team takes more than a job posting.
Mike is no stranger to hiring! Over the 28 years he’s been in business, he estimates he’s hired over 100 people, though he currently has a team of 14. As you can imagine, it’s a common stereotype that white males dominate roles in IT and technology. Mike recalls a recent job posting he shared on LinkedIn where only one woman applied, who was also a person of color.
So how do we create more diversity and inclusivity in our company, especially if we work in a male-dominated field? Mike says it comes down to putting in the effort and recognizing that diversity isn’t a checkbox. It’s an ongoing conversation. With every diverse hire you make, you’re creating a stronger culture.
He recommends sharing your job opportunities on Diversity Jobs for greater visibility.
Working remotely across continents during COVID creates a level playing field.
13 years ago, Mike moved across the pond to the UK and cites some of the struggles he faced initially, from lack of advanced telecommuting tools, to realizing that no one on his team was going to be as invested in the business as he was.
Fast forward to today, he now has over a decade of experience managing people remotely, so the transition we’re experiencing globally during COVID has been less devastating for him as it is for others. The world has flipped on its head, and there is no longer an expectation that you need to be physically present at an office, or for a client meeting.
Use your intuition in your leadership style.
What has influenced your leadership style the most? Was it a mentor who guided you along your entrepreneurial journey, or a business mastermind you invested in to up-level your mindset?
Mike didn’t have a mentor, but he trusts his gut and has a solid support system (including his wife and an investor) who have helped him make the right decisions in his business.
In the early days, he admits to being defensive and stonewalling ideas and suggestions from his team. Once he started really listening to his employees, he started leading from a servant mindset.
Hearing Mike share his leadership style reminded me of my own firm, fair, and friendly approach in my own business today.
SOME QUESTIONS I ASK MIKE
- What was your origin story before starting TSP?
- Within the IT field, have you experienced any unique challenges around recruitment and building a diverse team?
- How do you manage your family and grow your business across two continents?
“You can’t always be compassionate and soft. There are times when you have to take the reigns.”