Over the years, many technological innovations quickly rose to prominence but ended up falling off just as fast. What happens to those systems beyond? Odds are those systems no longer work, leaving those businesses up a creek without a paddle! That’s why Benjamin Buchanan, Chief Executive Officer sets out to create something better, something smarter at SBT (Smarter Building Technologies) Alliance.

For Business success stories, An Interview conducted between Benjamin Buchanan and Insights Success identifies his leadership development by fully embracing innovative thinking and building an all-star team to help drive the SBT mission forward. Below are the highlights of the interview:

Kindly take us through your journey to becoming a proficient tech business leader.

From my humble beginnings in this industry as a project designer, I saw the importance of working hard to bring the customer more than what they expected and making their project truly valuable. There are plenty of examples of projects built with cheap products, and I knew the customer had left so much on the table. So I made it my purpose to educate myself on all the technology available to marry them with the customer’s needs perfectly. This technology–first approach guided me from lighting into the world of wireless IoT systems and now is a cornerstone to SBT’s mission, bringing true value through technology to our customers and suppliers alike.

What business roadblocks or challenges have you faced? And how did you overcome them?

As with any business, leadership position, or professional role within an organization, roadblocks and challenges are abound – there’s simply no way around it. You’re going to hit roadblocks and confront challenges – be it cash flow, funding, sales, employee relations, productivity, etc. The question then becomes, will you persevere, or will you let them defeat you and knock you down? Perseverance and persistence is the path to success, in my opinion. It is only through perseverance and persistence that I’ve overcome business (and personal) roadblocks and challenges.

How do you diversify your organization’s offerings to entice the target audience?

SBT is committed to a business model that is product and technology agnostic. This approach allows our product and IoT solutions teams to engineer solutions for clients that answer specific data-related questions about their facilities while also solving critical business challenges. A one-size–fits-all approach simply doesn’t work in the sphere of IoT and technology-led solutions. It sounds nice, but proper IoT solutions are an amalgamation of many technologies, devices systems, and solutions that, when pulled together, create the enticing solution offering that meets our target audiences’ needs. That’s why we stand out with our clients; we don’t try to sell them something they don’t need. We partner with them to solve business and operational challenges and design a mix of solutions to achieve that goal.

What culture change do you suggest for companies that want to embrace the full power of AI?

The full power of AI, machine learning, and the Internet of Things (IoT), more broadly, honestly depends on each customer’s needs. In B2B – which is the sphere that SBT operates – it isn’t necessarily a question of culture change, rather a better understanding and realization of what’s possible when using the advanced technologies of IoT to solve business challenges. It is more about education and proof points.

What are the vital traits that every business leader should possess?

Leaders in any business setting should encompass some of the following traits/approaches, as I’ve identified in my own leadership development and shared by many of my leadership mentors within the business community. I chalk these traits into five vital characteristics of successful leaders:

Effective leaders need the ability to streamline and clarify the complex.
Passionate leaders must fully embrace new thinking – that’s what primes innovation.
Confident leaders must have both self-assurance and humility – they inspire, not belittle.
Compassionate leaders must set high standards but modesty to admit when wrong.
Responsible leaders need to be honest, truthful, and transparent – that’s what builds trust.
How do you keep yourself up-to-date with the latest technology?

As a technology-forward company, SBT and our team technicians and IoT thinkers keep me in the know, along with our industry partners with whom I continually meet. As I mentioned earlier, the SBT model focuses on product and technology agnosticism, so we’re continually meeting exciting new technology companies and learning how they approach IoT, AI, and machine learning. To me, there’s no better way to keep up to date than getting right in there and being hands-on with innovators as SBT does every day.

What does it take to attract and retain tech talents?

As I mentioned earlier in this conversation, it is my firm belief that if a leader takes to heart the five vital characteristics that I reviewed, they will set the stage and environment that will attract, retain, and encourage tech (and non-tech) talents. It’s about building an atmosphere that allows folks to contribute and help SBT deliver on our mission and reach our vision to transform how IoT products, services, and technologies are delivered to the market and optimized by customers.

Where are you focusing your energy now, and where do you hope to make an impact next?

Right now, we are in the whirlwind that comes with scaling a technology-focused company. I am keen to drive SBT forward to continue making the impact we are for our customers, industry partners, and the facility management space as a whole. My immediate energy is focused on continuing to build an all-star team of SBT team members who evoke our CIVIC values as a company and as individuals. These include:


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