Scott Darwin started with SMS in 2018 and quickly gained a reputation as someone who turned challenging programs into success stories. Scott takes a very human approach to solving complex business problems. He identifies the goal and works with his customer, teams, and company to get there, acutely aware that each interaction and action is an opportunity to get closer to success, no matter how far away it might seem. Below are snapshots from conversations Scott has had with SMS’ President & CEO Matt Rosecan categorized by Scott’s approach to challenges, leadership, and what he calls being “methodically relentless.” In early 2022, Scott was promoted to Sr. Director of Service Delivery.
Scott on how he approaches challenging programs and situations:
I try to identify the most critical items right away. Part of my initial strategy is to take complex situations and simplify them down to the lowest possible level. I do my best to identify the real issues causing the problems. After determining the root cause, I can begin to formulate the plan to correct the deficiencies. Everyone needs to understand the end goal, what we are trying to do, what we need to improve. Everyone needs to be onboard with what we want to accomplish.
I try to provide clear guidance to the team, to make it as simple as possible – one message, one goal, one team. I listen to what the customer says, to what the team says, and incorporate the feedback into the plan. You can’t be afraid to make hard decisions and you can’t let what ifs impact your decisions. We all fail from time to time so I try to embrace my fears and if I made the wrong decision, we’ll find out soon enough and make the required changes to move forward. Doing nothing is not an option. I try to accomplish something every day that gets the team closer to the goal/objective.
For me, being a leader means being honest, open and candid with the people that work with me and for me. Transparency is a key to being a good leader. You can’t have any other agenda other than getting done what needs to be accomplished. It’s not about you, it’s about accomplishing what needs to get done. I try my best to be approachable. My team has to feel comfortable talking with me about any issue without fear that they are going to upset me. I try to set the example every day and create an environment where people want to do their best. People like to be challenged and want to succeed at the tasks they’re given.
A big part of being a leader is caring more about the people that work with you and for you, than about yourself. Surround yourself with successful people and let them do their jobs. I’ve never worried about someone taking my job, actually I want to train individuals to be prepared to take my job. It’s not about you, it’s about what you stand for. People see right through plastic.
…on being methodically relentless:
Being methodically relentless is a mindset backed up by actions and is based on a few fundamental steps. You have to have a plan. Once you’ve formulated a plan, take action every day to accomplish the plan. Follow up, follow up, and more follow up, reminders, making changes (people, process, tools) that need to be made…holding team members accountable, praise for team members who have embraced the changes, all of the actions that need to be accomplished to ensure that the plan continues to move forward.
Moving forward every day is critical and your team needs to understand that you are willing to do whatever it takes to continue to move forward. The team begins to feel the change and the momentum. The train has left the station, you’re either on the train or you’re going to get run over by the train.
1LT Darwin training in the
Mojave desert c.1990