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Thompson Loves to Collaborate & Innovate at Altice USA
Wayne Thompson, vice president, telecom and internet management, manages engineering and operations for Altice USA’s voice services, as well as expense management, vendor relationships, and infrastructure connectivity for its voice and internet services.
Overseeing so many elements requires interfacing with colleagues ranging from engineers to accountants, and Thompson relishes connecting.
“The best part of my job is the people I work with, especially the people who are a part of my team. As a group, we’re cohesive, we trust each other, we face challenges together, we collaborate, we handle problems and find solutions, and we get things done,” he reveals.
Thompson also parlays individual assets into group achievements. “We’re able to leverage the strengths of the individuals to form a team that continuously takes on challenges and is able to accomplish great things.”
Thompson learned early in his career the power of teamwork, and listening. When he was a recent college graduate, “a very large telecommunications company” offered Thompson a job.
“This exciting new position would take over the duties and responsibilities of three individuals who had more than 110 years of combined experience. My first thought was that this was an impossible task, but as I thought about it, I figured out the solution,” he remembers.
That solution was asking the veteran trio to be his mentors. “I would meet with them quarterly for dinner (I paid), and I would listen, be silent, ask questions when I needed to, and learn as much as possible from their wisdom.”
In listening, Thompson gleaned much more than the mere mechanics of his job. “This experience taught me several principles that continue to govern my career today: the principle of education, the principle of mentorship and relationship, and the principle of intentionality. Most of us have the capability and capacity to achieve great things in our careers, but it all begins with us taking action, learning and repeating.”
But Thompson wasn’t done learning. “Early in my career I started an engineering company with several partners. We were very successful for the first few years.”
Then the successes ebbed. “In the third year we started to lose business and money because our quality of service declined. We were growing so fast that we lost focus on the primary objectives: our customer and our quality of service,” he shares.
Things went from bad to worse, according to Thompson. “This had a rippling effect on our business, which led us to start laying off employees.”
Thompson assayed himself. “It led me to do some self-reflection on my own actions and leadership capabilities, which led me on a journey to understand my strengths, weaknesses, values, [and] goals, and to develop a performance plan that turned around the business.”
Thompson has never forgotten the lessons. “This experience taught me how to handle setbacks, the importance of proper training, the need for putting the right infrastructure, processes, and procedures in place to manage growth, how to adopt, pivot, and recognize changes, [and] how to manage our customers and their expectations.”
And he learned that deep sight alone isn’t enough. You also need foresight. “I also learned how to truly set visions and goals that are guidelines for our success, and how to focus and prioritize my efforts. Our customers gave us clarity - a lesson I continue to use today.”
Thompson puts his epiphanies to powerful effect at Altice USA, where innovation is everything.
“I work for a company that’s always pushing the boundaries and has a different approach than others in our industry. The most surprising thing about my company is the pace in which we deliver new products and services. As a multiple-service organization (MSO), you’re not primarily known for your speed to market. We’re changing that perception.”
One of approximately 9,000 employees, Thompson urges his colleagues and new hires to be integral to coming innovations.
“You move ahead at Altice and most companies when you add value. Understand the vision and goals of the company, and align your efforts to bring value to you, your team, and the company. Your repeated efforts and activities will be recognized,” he advises.
A laser focus also helps. “Understand what to prioritize. Not everything is a priority and is worthy of your time,” he adds.
Learn more about Altice USA, headquartered in Long Island City, NY, via Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Explore careers at alticeusacareers.com.
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