CommScope’s Canadian country leader’s leadership advice: Don’t create ‘a bunch of clones’

Mergers and acquisitions aren’t easy. They’re frequent letdowns for all parties involved. A Harvard Business Review report says 70 to 90 per cent of acquisitions are “abysmal failures.”

But one of this year’s Hall of Fame inductees from Commscope successfully navigated those murky waters over the past year after a $7.4 billion acquisition of communications and networking specialist Arris International, which owns Ruckus, back in April 2019.


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Karen Pugliese, country leader for Canada at CommScope, has had to not only familiarize herself with a new lineup of products and services but cleverly weave together an existing infrastructure business, and a new networking business, that end-users and distributors could understand.

“I think that there were two aspects of that process that were kind of challenging,” Pugliese said, first pointing to the differences between the infrastructure and networking businesses’ sales cycles. “The infrastructure business is very focused on the construction market, and on net new projects. Our networking business is a little bit more focused on the existing customer base. In a lot of cases, they involve different partners, certainly different distribution channels.”

The senior executive says that work continued during the novel coronavirus outbreak. The past six months have challenged her team to remain focused in the midst of extraordinary global disruption. Pugliese says a number of small additions to the team’s daily routine, such as casual morning coffee meetings and short daily briefings have kept her team energized and focused.

Pugliese says her leadership style has remained steadfast. Whether her team is working in an office or in their sweatpants from home, Pugliese fosters a relaxed environment that encourages collaboration.

“I don’t want to create a bunch of clones,” she said.

But it’s clear she says, that no one knows for sure what exactly the future of work is going to look like, and it’s giving both end-users and channel partners fits as they try to figure out the formula for how to return to the office safely, and what that means for business.

“A lot of our conversations with customers are about trying to understand what this future of work is going to look like,” she explained. The education sector is grappling with this question as well, she says, and seeking assistance from tech firms like Commscope.

“I would say that we spent a lot of time just calling our partners and asking them, ‘What can we do for you? If you’ve got people in the office, can we bring in lunch for you? Can we help facilitate some training for your staff?’ I would say that’s probably the first thing leaders can do to help you and your employees in your organization,” Pugliese said. “For others, just being a great sounding board as they look at different ways to go to market is a huge help.”


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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Alex Coop
Alex Coop
Former Editorial Director for IT World Canada and its sister publications.

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