Does your company have what it takes to succeed?

Todd Stottlemyer and Greg Baroni share their criteria for thriving in uncertain times

You hear a lot of talk about trends that will last in the face of uncertain times, but what if you take a look at the companies themselves? What do strong companies in these times look like?

These questions were posed during a panel on industry insights at the Fairfax County, Va., Chamber of Commerce Government Contractor Symposium earlier this week.

Todd Stottlemyer, CEO of Acentia, and Greg Baroni, chairman and CEO of Attain LLC, offered their insights into the criteria they use to spot companies that will succeed in this downturn. 

To start off, Stottlemyer said he likes disruption; “I like tough markets because not everybody is going to succeed—only the best companies are going to succeed,” he said.

And those companies that succeed, going forward, are companies that are very focused, he added.

This is opposite of what some companies, particularly smaller and mid-sized companies, aim to be. Some of those companies will try to be broad and cover a lot of ground, but that’s not the way to success, Stottlemyer said.

And not only should you be focused, but “you’ve got to invest,” he said.

Contractors usually freeze as a result of the uncertainty that comes along with a downturn, but “I actually think that’s the best time to invest,” Stottlemyer said.

If you invest, and make smart investments—ones that result from being very focused—you can accelerate your differentiation with your peers, and when the market does become more dynamic, you’ll be in a much better place, Stottlemyer said.

These kinds of companies need to have good executives, though. “As executives, you have you be skilled in one area, and I’d say that’s pattern recognition,” Baroni said. “Your ability to see patterns will help you navigate difficult times."

Executives must also be, surprisingly enough, good students.

“There are some timeless physics about what companies do during difficult times,” Baroni said, and current day executives would do well to learn them.

“Typically, it goes back to how do they build a platform that endures and prospers during critical time periods, and I start with one word: organic,” he said.

Executives must build organic capabilities, whether it is in the service offerings, the markets they pursue, or in their leadership engine, Baroni said. These organic elements are really what allow a company to endure and prosper over a long period of time, he said.

About the Author

Mark Hoover is a senior staff writer with Washington Technology. You can contact him at, or connect with him on Twitter at @mhooverWT.

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