By Jeff Jacobson
(Updated November 6, 2017: Jeff Jacobson (photo above) was appointed CEO of Xerox on January 1, 2017. This article, originally published on July 1, 2014, was taken from a letter Jacobson distributed to employees shortly after he was named president of the Xerox Technology Business on July 1, 2014.)
It is with tremendous enthusiasm and honor that I assume the role of president of the Xerox Technology Business. When I joined Xerox, I was excited to become part of an iconic company – one synonymous with innovation and integrity. After two years, I believe more than ever in the opportunities ahead of us.
Those of you I have not yet met will discover that I am passionate about everything I do. I believe that if you cannot be passionate about something, then you should not bother doing it. My passion extends to the Technology Business – our business – and our opportunity to become the undisputed industry leader. Together, through hard work, bold goal setting and excellent execution, we can make it happen … we will win.
Many people think of a win as a one-and-done accomplishment. To me, winning is a longer-term objective and for the Technology Business, a key element of winning is significantly improving profitability year after year after year. Anyone can eliminate costs and improve profitability in a single year. But for sustained profitability, we must be cost-efficient AND we must invest in research and development, in our infrastructure, in sales and marketing, in our manufacturing operations, and in our people. In other words, we must invest in our future. To do this, we’ll clearly identify markets and technologies in decline and remove costs from them, enabling investments in areas of growth.
Two of my favorite words are commitment and accountability. I believe in setting realistic but bold goals … and then surpassing them. Goals are commitments, and we are accountable for achieving them. Unexpected events always happen, but winners overcome these events and still meet their commitments.
Rule #1: If We Don’t Take Care of the Customer, Somebody Else Will
Our success is predicated on a “marketplace-back” philosophy. We must understand the needs of the market – our current and future customers – and structure our technological developments and operations to fulfill these needs. Quality is more than the way our products perform; it is the way we conduct every aspect of our business – especially our customer interactions. Each of us must commit to treat every customer touch point like it is the most important one. We must be genuine and transparent in our relationships with our customers so they recognize and experience all of the benefits of doing business with Xerox.
There Are No Limits
I’m fond of the saying: “If you want to discover new oceans, you must have the courage to lose sight of the shore.” At one point in my career, I was part of a team struggling to meet financial commitments and satisfy our customers. We swam away from the shore and into the ocean – creating bold goals, coming together as a team and working hard to change the outcome. It wasn’t easy, but we experienced some of the most significant achievements I’ve seen. Our customers won, our shareholders won, and the team enjoyed the greatest feeling of accomplishment … they were winners. Our Technology Business is starting with a strong foundation and I’m confident we will take our business to even greater heights – we will win!
In my relatively short time here, Xerox has become part of me … like many of you, it’s in my blood. We have fantastic technology, a brand most can only dream of, and amazing people. As we embark on our journey together, I know there are no limits to how great we can be.
I look forward to winning with you!