Pillar also follows an agile business model where its employees work in pairs. Two people solving the same problem at the same time doesn’t slow things down because they write tests first before writing the full software code, he says.
“We actually get 30 to 40 percent more productivity because you’re not making mistakes and you’re cutting down the learning curve,” Myers says.
Change your mindset
When customers see the results, often they want to learn how to do it themselves. But Myers says it can be challenging to get traditional companies to think differently.
“They have a lot of bureaucracy, and a lot of things that prohibit them from being innovative,” he says. “And they know that it’s prohibiting them from being innovative, but it takes leadership to try to move the organization in a different direction.”
Large companies also can be risk adverse. They became efficient companies by knocking down variation, and streamlining and processing.
“Innovation, as a general rule of thumb, is a variation. So, they tend to knock down the thing that can actually help them surge the company forward,” Myers says.
While nearly all organizations have innovation centers, it’s critical to start with no-constraints thinking, Myers says. When someone throws out an idea, don’t immediately say, “We tried that a year ago and it didn’t work” or “Where do we get the budget?” If you shut down the idea flow, you shut down creativity.
“It doesn’t mean that there’s no constraints. Just don’t start there,” he says. “That’s the seed for getting your organization to be more creative.”
But it takes a strong leader to open up the dialog, Myers says. You might hear things you don’t want to.
Strong leadership isn’t a problem for Myers, whose passion is easy to hear.
“It’s been super exciting. We’re doing some really, really cool stuff, and we’re doing it in the Midwest,” he says.
Pillar started more than 20 years ago. While the company has changed a lot, adding new services, and will continue to do so under its new ownership, Myers says the core message remains the same.
“We have this thing called speed to value, and then ideas to reality,” he says. “We commonly remind our customers that ideas are easy, reality is hard, so let’s get busy building something.”