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December 13, 2023 | 29 Mins Read

2023 Retrospective Takeover

December 13, 2023 | 29 Mins Read

2023 Retrospective Takeover


The tables are turned in this episode as Roy Dockery, VP of Field Operations at Flock Safety, interviews Sarah about here 2023 predictions and how accurate she feels she was. The two also discuss some of the industry events they both attended and reflect on overall trends of the year.

Sarah Nicastro: Welcome to the Future of Field Service Podcast, I'm your host, kind of, Sarah Nicastro. Today the episode is going to be a little bit different, it's a takeover, some of you are probably already familiar with Roy Dockery, who is the Vice President of Field Operations at Flock Safety, as well as being a big voice in the industry. And so Roy is actually going to take the reins of the podcast today and interview me, so I'm going to hand it off.

Roy Dockery: Well, thank you Sarah for having me. And I know as one podcast host to another, sometimes we get tired of talking to ourselves or asking questions to others, so I figured we'd have some fun today. And since we're going to talk about your 2023 predictions, I interview you on some of the things and content that you've made this year, and then also we can discuss some of the things we've seen across the industry, different events, because you and I both frequent many field service in service conferences.

We'll jump right in, and I think the first thing that I want to talk about is the first prediction that you made, was that companies will selectively increase cost reduction measures, and that was across scheduling, optimization, asset management, things like customer service, remote service, knowledge management, you had a lot of bullet points in there where they were going to try to save on money. From what you've seen, even from a customer engagement perspective, but even in your road shows and things like that, did that hold true? Do you see companies really trying to push costs down?

Sarah Nicastro: Yes, I think so, but it took a bit of a different lens than the way that I framed it coming into this year. So first, I'll say I really struggle with the idea of predictions, I think none of us really know what's coming, and I also think in this space, people want this huge earth-shattering what's next when in reality we're talking about iterations of concepts, so it's tough. But I think overall, companies based on economic circumstance are certainly being more cost conscious this year and going into next year.

The way I frame that out is, the reason I said selective is because it's not to the extreme of needing to take measures that are going to negatively impact the customer experience. And I think companies are smart enough today to also focus on protecting the employee experience, but it's more so about figuring out how do we work smarter? How do we do more with what we have? How do we grow and expand without having to add costs, et cetera.

I think what is a bit different than the way I framed it is, I almost feel like the AI lens is the way that everyone talked about this topic this year. So what we're really talking about with AI is any of those categories that I bulleted out, we're talking about bringing more intelligence into each of those things in a way that allows us to work smarter. That's really what AI is doing, it's just that that is the buzzword of the year, so that's the lens everyone was looking at this through. But it is about what manual, menial, non-value add tasks can we remove from our operations to better utilize the resources we have, allow them to focus more on valuable initiatives and maintain or even improve our customer experience. So I think it was fair-ish.

Roy Dockery: Yeah, like you said, so in that vein, and like you said, the working smarter, not harder. So even on the advisory boards that I sit on, like you said, it's more of, how do we use ChatGPT, generative AI to do more work with the same number of technicians? Which is another way to frame smarter, not harder, like we need to get more work orders done, it's hard for us to onboard, it's hard for us to get new people. We've got folks retiring, so how can we get more work done with the same number of people? And then people are finding the challenges as a technician leaves, or if someone resigns, there's a lot of questions now around that backfill. So it's like how do we more effectively use what we have and then what do we do when we start losing people?

Because the question is, do we invest in technology, like you said, to eliminate the mundane, repetitive administrative task? The interesting thing is, we had all of this digital transformation that pushed a lot of non-technical work on technicians, now we have to have an AI revolution to remove all of that administrative work. So technicians can actually go back to just being technical because it's essential and there's a lot less of them, so we're trying valuing that time better. But I agree, like I said, we've heard that same thing in advisory boards and the challenge there, and like you said, it's not laying off or workforce reduction, it's like, "I need you to do 20% more work next year, but with the same number of people," so how are we going to accomplish it?

That's good, not very far off. Like you said, AI and ChatGPT came to buzzword for every event you attended in any aspect this year, even if you were dealing with education, I was at a legal event and they were talking about Gen AI. So on your second prediction, which I'm feeling some of this probably is still how much can we capitalize off the flexibility people gave us because of the pandemic? Your second prediction was, will we still see wider acceptance of remote service? Have you or your customers or people you interact with, do we see that trend going or are people starting to get back to being complacent with other people doing things for them and not being as open to remote service as we thought the industry would keep moving in that direction?

Sarah Nicastro: Mm-hmm. This is one where I think we need a little bit more definition behind what we're talking about when we think about remote service or what I was talking about. So in the vein, I was thinking of it, yes, I think we've seen more progress, but not as much as I expected and I'll give you a couple of examples. So on the podcast, Stephen Goulbourne from Mettler-Toledo came and talked about remote service, and I loved his take because what he was talking about is, in their industry specifically, the idea of remote resolution is nearly impossible. So they're not trying to accomplish that goal, what they're using remote service for is historically, they've done an on-site triage visit before they ever went to actually do any of the work. So his point is, there's technologies today that can allow us to do things remotely that we don't need to do any longer in person. We have the capability to not do those things in person.

It isn't an idea of ... the lens you're talking about when we were dealing with a pandemic, we got to a point where remote service in a lot of cases was the only way or the preferred way companies could service customers to the point of resolution. So I think there's layers to this topic of, is it remote service for information's sake from equipment to company? Is it remote service where you're using some of these capabilities to maybe have a older technician in the back office supporting younger greener technicians? Is it remote service where it is true self-service and it's done with the customer with the goal of remote resolution? I think those things are all progressing at a little bit of a different clip.

And I think this is another topic where AI blended into, and in some ways, I don't want to say overshadowed because there is overlap, like AI is one of the tools you can use to change what self-service looks like with your customers, et cetera. So it's kind of that buzzword took some of the steam away from zeroing in specifically on the remote service piece. And I do think there's still a lot of opportunity there, not only opportunity but importance for companies to really consider and clarify what the topic means for their organization. Because there's a lot of differences, and like I talked through, there's a lot of different use cases for the same set of technologies.

Roy Dockery: And I completely agree, and like you said, you've got those buckets, so you have remote triage, which is information gathering, and then you've got your remote diagnostics, which is some level of troubleshooting, and then there's remote repair. So a couple of years ago, we were all trying to get customers just to help us with triage, like just don't make me send someone there to read the alarm from the screen that I don't have remote access to. So this is the early adaption of help Lightning and Rescue lens like, take your phone and point it at the thing so I can see what's going on, and we don't have to roll a truck for that. And then like you said, during the pandemic, I think getting people who were non-technical or people who wouldn't typically assist you with diagnostics or repair did. But to your point, now a lot of remote services, how much AI can we feed to the customer to get them to do the triage, but then also try to walk them through the steps to get things done themselves?

And I think they all have progressed a little bit, and I would say, I think we did see a bigger adoption of the triage across industries, more people being willing to help you gather information than before. I come from a healthcare technology background, I used to have people tell me no to turning around and looking at an alarm directly behind them, we had to roll the truck, so I think the pandemic's helped that. But to your point, the adoption for the rest of it and where that's applicable depending on the complexity of the technology, safety concerns, customer comfort and all that stuff is moving along at a different one. But it is definitely another space where our friend, ChatGPT and Gen AI keeps getting thrown into that conversation.

Sarah Nicastro: And I think that's the real thing here, is now that these capabilities are as mature as they are, it's undoubtedly in my mind that we're going to continue to look for opportunities for why are we rolling a truck to do X when we could use this? Why are we interfacing with customers this way when we could do Y? So those questions are going to continue to be asked, I think companies need to be not falling back into, well, we don't need to worry about that because the pandemic's over and we can go back to the way it was before because then they're going to fall behind, you need to keep pressing and figuring out what it looks like for your organization.

Roy Dockery: Absolutely. Now to your third prediction, which was around my favorite topic, which is talent development and people development. So your prediction was that the talent focus would shift from new talent to nurturing talent. So I know you and I have talked about the differences between hunting and farming and building that, and we also both got to attend the Hot Topics Service Visionaries Top 100 event along with the CDO and Chief Technology Officer event in London as well.

And we shared before, we've also noticed this trend of a lot of discussion around leadership at field service events, which has been an interesting shift from before because there was a lot of technology, AI tools, processes, not a lot of focus on people and talent. So given the fact that, one, we've got people trying to recognize industry service leaders and visionaries at that level, but then also what else have you seen as a trend with organizations or industries focusing on that talent development versus just recruiting or trying to bring in new people constantly?

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah, no, I think this is also my favorite area to talk about, and it might not always feel like progress is happening at the pace we want it to, but this is an area where I feel like if you reflect back on what did the conversation sound like this year versus last year, I think there's a distinct difference. And I think it stems from the idea of nurturing talent, employee engagement, employee retention, employee satisfaction, and an acknowledgement that it is imperative. We do not live in a world where talent is just going to stay put for 5, 10, 15, 20 years just because, that world doesn't exist anymore. So it's forcing companies and leaders to reframe their approach and what's important and what works and what doesn't work.

And I think if anyone isn't familiar with the event you referenced, Hot Topics, which is a content and community platform for C-suite executives that's based in London and IFS partnered to do the first ever Service Visionaries Top 100 recognition. And in those sessions, they've had this Top 100 for some of the other C-suite groups you mentioned, it's the first time they've recognized service leadership, and I think that's incredibly important, I was thrilled to be a part of it. But also, I can think of other examples, I think you were at Field Service, Palm, Springs, Christine Miner, and Rick Lash who wrote Once Upon a Leader, came and spoke about leadership story. And one of my favorite podcasts this year was with Venkata from Bruker Nano, and he talked very specifically about how he spends his time in percentage breakdown, I think it was 70, 20, 10 or whatever, 70% of his time is focused on his team, his people and why, and he talked about the payoff of that and what it all means.

And I think those conversations are invaluable because anything service organizations are trying to achieve when it comes to customer experience or growth or whatever it is, you can't do without your frontline workers. And what it took to have strong teams before is not the same as what it takes today, and so I love that there's this whole shift in focus on what leadership styles work, how do our people feel, what's important to them? How do we create a culture that people will want to be a part of? I think it's a really cool evolution to see in this industry and really needed.

Roy Dockery: And like you said, it's an imperative, I actually spoke at it at one of the field service events in September and I talked about the culture imperative. We want people to stay, we want to nurture talent, we want to diversify our organizations, but that requires the culture to change. My shirt says The Art of Leading, but people know, anyone who follows me know I talk about leadership a lot, but it's very interesting to see the shift in the priority because now you have so many generations in the workforce, even with field service right now, you've got Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials and Gen Z. So you've got four generations of people when you normally only used to have two roughly, a lot of people aren't retiring as early, people are coming into the industry earlier as well. So it is really imperative that people start to focus on, how do you manage that cross generational leadership? How do you have a culture that's inclusive to people who ideologically are very different?

But with regards to their work ethic, their passion around service is the same, and you know that's something that I've dealt with for years. And I say it all the time, I've never had a problem recruiting, but every company I go to, I change the way that they recruit because you have to look at a different dynamic of people, you can't just look at the people who are here, you have to look at the generations and the type of people that you need to attract to be sustainable in the future. But no, I like it, and like you said, it is been refreshing, it trickled in a little bit in 2022, seemed a little bit more prominent in 2023, and so hopefully we see it more in 2024 being in the forefront as well.

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah, I think another thing we need to be focusing on is the way leaders are developed in field service. So you came in and came up through the ranks and you happen to be a great leader, but there are some people who are put into leadership positions as an acknowledgement of being a strong individual contributor that really aren't good leaders naturally or haven't been given the opportunities to hone those skills.

And we know that leadership is under-invested in by organizations in general. So I think that as we acknowledge the importance of it, we also need to reflect on, are we promoting people who actually want and can do the job well with help that companies are willing to invest in? So that's the other part of nurturing, that is we think a lot about how do we bring in and then create a path for the frontline talent, but it needs to be looked at all the way through. Those are the next generation of leaders, so what are we doing to make sure that when they get those promotions, it's something that they can succeed at?

Roy Dockery: Yeah, because we focused a lot on employee training and we focused a lot on management training, but a lot of organizations don't focus on leadership training, which is somewhat different than managing the function, the people, the time sheets, the budgets. Like you said, it's how do people feel? How do people behave? How do you interact with people? How do you deal with conflict? How do you deal with personality types and ideological differences in all of those things, and it's important. And even for me, that's one of the things as well, even one of the reasons I thought about writing a book, because I'm like, none of these things seem to apply, especially when you're leading people who are older than you. Everyone talks about leading millennials, but what about when millennials have to lead baby boomers or Gen X or Gen Z? So being able to structure that is important. And so I hope there's more investment in that in 2024 and in moving forward, but that's good, but great topic there on talent.

Your other prediction was around sustainability, but for service centered sustainability strategies. So one, do we continue to see a movement for sustainability in general? Because then costs start getting tight and then some projects get set to the side, so first, you have feedback on sustainability, but then on services centered sustainability as well.

Sarah Nicastro: This is probably one of the very few topics that we cover or that I talk about where there is pretty noticeable global differences. So the US definitely lags when it comes to an interest in or willingness to prioritize sustainability, especially when you get into any amount of cost consciousness and that sort of debate. There's certainly exceptions, I know you also know Adam Gloss of McKinstry and it's a core focus for his company, it's something that's important to him and to them, but it's not an overarching tenant, I don't think to be able to say universally in the US as a focus area. In Europe, it's a lot different and it's a lot different culturally, but it's also a lot different because of government regulations that force organizations to have to prioritize it differently. So it's a conversation that is very different.

I think what's interesting to me always is thinking about some of the reasons why it has to matter if you don't want to just acknowledge it has to matter for the future of our planet, and one is, listen, quite frankly, there's a lot of ways in service, it's directly tied in with efficiency. If we're just rolling trucks all the time to go see what's wrong somewhere, it's not only a complete waste of money, but it's also not environmentally friendly. So it's sometimes tied into benefits that maybe certain organizations do care more about. The other thing is customer preference, I think more and more in certain industries, it's going to become a area where customers make purchasing decisions based on whether companies care about it or don't and can show that.

And same with investment decisions, boards are starting to pay more attention to, is this an initiative? Is it something that you're putting effort into? So I think the US is still significantly behind where Europe is. It's also different because of the geography, like we've had some conversations that are really valid of, if you take electric cars for instance, this country is gigantic and the infrastructure doesn't necessarily exist to make the argument for doing that if a service organization is operating outside of a major metropolitan area. So there's some things that way that have to come along too, but I think looking at the areas of overlap is really interesting and I think it's something that's just going to take time to come into focus more here aligned with how it does in Europe.

Roy Dockery: That's good. And we'll touch on that a little bit more, we'll talk about some of the road shows and some of these differences between the US and Europe and the UK and things of that nature. But your last prediction for 2023 was around this outcomes base, we've been hearing this for years, interesting shift for me, I went from a time and material service contract world to an almost completely outcome based, we don't sell equipment at all, we're a subscription-based startup. So for me, I almost did like 180 degree flip and landed solely in uptime device health and evidence capture in my new world. So I'm all the way at the other end of the spectrum where we're completely almost outcomes-based, which is interesting, but across the rest of the industry for some of the traditional businesses that have been trying to move in this direction to continue to see that, have some people made a lot of progress or is it like a large ship that's hard to turn quickly?

Sarah Nicastro: No, I think there's been a lot of progress made, this is one that varies a lot industry to industry, but I think the overall premise, which is customers care less about what you do and really just about how it helps them is for sure true. We live in a world of complete and utter convenience and real-time information exchange, it just makes sense for customers to expect that level of streamlined experience from companies that they're working with. I think when it comes to differentiation, caring more about how what you do benefits your customers or their businesses versus just pitching what you do, it makes sense from that perspective as well. So I think across industries, you see a lot of progress here, there's obviously ones where when you start thinking about, well, what does it take to deliver outcomes? And you get into more of the IOT and data side of things, then yes, you have industries that are more resistant to that.

You mentioned some of the struggles in healthcare, I think some of those are slower moving than others to work through to get to a point where companies are positioned to deliver outcomes. But I think the other part of this ultimately moving toward that model is, it's a mutually beneficial value proposition for both the company and the customer. Because when you start talking about going back to 0.1 and 0.2, so technologies that allow you to improve productivity or reduce costs, and then things like remote service and AI, when you try to incorporate more of those things into a traditional break fix service model, you start having customers saying, "well, what am I paying you for? You're not here." And it's like, "no, but you have the uptime or you have X." And they're like, "right, but you didn't come do anything."

And so when you start shifting it to a value-based or outcomes-based narrative, that's when you can provide an outcome the customer values, but you can also look for those ways to leverage technologies to lower cost, to serve, to improve efficiency without having to figure out how you defend the price point or the revenue side of that. So I think we'll continue to march along that path.

Roy Dockery: No, that's good. And, like you said, from the industry perspective and being able to pivot, and a lot of it just comes to the way that we sell, like a lot of these industries have got five-year contracts for machines with ten-year life expectancy. So you're talking about a decade or half of a decade to migrate people to new ways to sell the equipment. And I've heard of some companies that have that in the pipeline, but that's from a replacement-

Sarah Nicastro: It takes time.

Roy Dockery: ... Strategy as we start selling technology as a service or focusing on the outcome, people always mention the food service companies that do like coffee by the cup, it's by the [inaudible 00:29:03] versus buying the equipment and having the maintenance. You basically buy the supplies and then you're paying by the poor as far as consuming and utilizing the equipment, which is pretty cool.

And we've gone through the predictions, my other question would be, outside of sustainability and that being a big difference, especially across Europe in the US, when you do your road shows where you go around the country and you talk to leaders in different segments, what are some big takeaways that you've seen or even some big differences you've seen around trends and focuses in the US versus some of the things that they're seeing in Europe? And then also, where are some of the similarities that we're facing regardless of what continent we sit on?

Sarah Nicastro: We did six events in 2023 on the Future of Field Service Live Tour, we started in Sydney, Australia, which was really cool. We had an event in Birmingham in the UK, Paris, Minneapolis, Dusseldorf and Stockholm, so a decent variety. And I would say with the exception of the sustainability topic, there is far more in common than there is different. When pretty much all of the other, how do we apply and leverage technology, the talent challenges, they may look a little bit different because of some of the region's structure, et cetera, but overall, very similar conversations, meeting exceeding customer expectations, looking at what is the next phase of our service value proposition or our growth.

All of those things are really pretty common, and I think that's one of the things I love about the tour and this platform, is bringing people together to share. One of my favorite pieces of feedback that I get at those events is, I feel so much less alone. And it's because everyone is in their day-to-day, and you're trying to solve these challenges or figure out how to realize these opportunities. And you don't have the perspective that people across industries and across the globe are in the same trenches, sometimes you might feel like, I don't have this all figured out, but I bet everyone else does or whatever. And I really like being able to have that camaraderie and also give people some reassurance that companies are at varying stages of figuring all of the stuff out, no one has it perfect. And it's about not only sharing information with one another, but being sources of inspiration and having that collective community vibe is really helpful.

I think sustainability is probably the biggest difference, I see, you get into more regional differences with the outcomes based or servitization concept as well in terms of the readiness for the full as a service version of that. But that's a whole sort of continuum, and I think for the most part, the idea of focusing more on the overall value you're providing to a customer versus a break/fix situation is pretty consistent. So it's interesting to go to different places, and the conversations are different, but they're coming from the same foundational principles, if that makes sense.

Roy Dockery: Yeah. So it's same challenges from different perspectives just given regional differences or some of the challenges. And I'm going to ask you another question, it'll be a hot topic here are on our own. So the one thing I've noticed, I had several advisory board meetings this week, and you've been more around the world, so you can answer it for me.

I have been one of the youngest people in Field Service Advisory Board meetings for the last eight years, and I turned 41 a week and a half ago, so to me, I'm not that young any more compared to when I was in my early thirties. Are there places where you are seeing a transition in leadership where we're actually seeing younger service executive leaders, because you've been able to go all over the world, or is the industry from a top leadership perspective still gradually aging and we're not really getting that new class of leadership in, at least at that executive level with the events that you do?

Sarah Nicastro: I think at the executive level, it's still aging out, if you will. Now, when we talked about the leadership piece, you can see more and more change coming up through the ranks, if you will, but I would say if we call this part of the opportunity to bring a lot more diversity into this space, I think that's consistent as well. Even at Field Service Europe, so WBRs, Palm, Springs event in Amsterdam, I think there's probably more diversity in the US event than there is at that event. And so there's still a lot of work to be done.

And that's one of the things that I think will be exciting to see how these productions or trends or themes continue to unfold as we have new leaders with fresh perspectives and different thoughts and ideas on what works come in and be able to take really a huge set of possibilities that exist that aren't really being fully tapped because you still have a lot of leaders in place that are perfectly happy with the way it's always been, right? And just to see how things will continue to change, I think it's going to be really exciting.

Roy Dockery: No, I think that's awesome. And like you said, and I think, again, talking to a lot of other executives in the industry, it's actually those that are heading towards retirement that are pushing some of this focus. They know there's another generation that needs to come up and we need to get them in and nurture that talent before we leave because they do have a lot of expertise and a lot of knowledge to pass on. But it's like that step in the ladder wrong, because of a lack of development. I don't know if there's a lot of people in the middle that you can pull all the way to that level, and I think that's why we see a lot of investment and leadership and a lot of discussions around it. Because a lot of the core people that I've seen for years, like this year, several people were like, "these are my last conference," and that's what I'm thinking about as well and the size of their organizations.

And it's almost like everybody's focusing, and I know people who are focusing internally on building that bit. And so I'm sure you'll see some shifting around, we're going to see some executives move from one company to another company, but I think it's creating, and we used the word several times that imperative, that like, we are at the point to where, as leaders, we're transitioning, not the different companies, we're transitioning to retirement. And so it'll be interesting to see how the industry changes in the next five years because a lot of the people who have led in the industry, a lot of the voices that have been prominent, they're retiring and they're handing that over to just a different set of people who may have a different background, who may come from different departments or who just may have a different perspective in general, so I think that'll be interesting to see. And so in the next few years, it'll get very, very unique at some of these events.

Sarah Nicastro: I think it's interesting too, what you said about on the leadership piece, some of the oldest by age, but even by tenure experience, etc, leaders, have the most modern mindsets, and I love seeing that. I love seeing like, you can't assume that just because someone's X age or looks like this or has been here for this long, that they have this outdated mentality. There's some leaders that have been in place for quite a long time that are working really hard to drive a lot of this positive change, and I think that's awesome. I don't know if you saw, just last week, I shared a podcast with Linda Tucci of Ortho Clinical Diagnostics, I think it's QuidelOrtho now, but I love Linda and she came on to talk about the breast cancer journey that she is fighting right now and I love that she is very willing to be vulnerable and I have so much respect for that.

But one of the things we talked about, because we were talking about what it's taught her in how she leads, but she was saying even before that, even before the pandemic, she always had a practice in place, it didn't used to be quite as frequent, but it was really where she would sort of reflect and take stock on her own leadership style. She mentioned some resources she used to look at overall trends and things like that, but she would also ask for some feedback, she would do some self-reflection, but she would really look for ways to actually implement change to continue to make sure that she was being as impactful as she wants to be.

And I just thought, that's such a great practice that I'm sure not enough people do, do you know what I mean? For so many reasons, they don't want to self-reflect, they're too busy, etcetera. But it's like we live in this world where things are changing so frequently, so to do what it takes to be as impactful as we want to be. So I love that idea of people that have been doing it for a long time that have the opportunity to continually reinvent themselves. And just because you know things a certain way doesn't mean you have to stick with it, you can know better and do better.

Roy Dockery: Yeah, and it's funny you mentioned Linda, we attended the same event in Chicago, so I actually had dinner with Linda and her and I talked about a few of those things as well. And I think that reflection and that constant evaluation of our leadership style and the way that we lead is like ... because a lot of it is like, when do we need to transition? When do we need to change? When are we creating a block or for the people who are coming up underneath her?

And I talked about like, that's why I left my last company because I was actually the ceiling for the development of everybody else who worked for me. Because the next step was for them to take my job, and as long as I'm here, they can't do it. Which is one of the other things I talk about in my book, is that transition. So it's that always reflecting, am I having the most impact? Am I adding the most value? And as long as you're doing that, if your team is changing, if your company is changing, you will change. And you're right, there are some people who worked at companies for 20, 25 years, and I've seen them evolve in a lot of different ways, whether it's on AI or outcome or digital transformation over the last 10 years that I've been in the industry.

It's not just about the experience or the gray in the hair, it's just people who are willing to adapt new ideas, who are willing to take on new challenges, and then people who are just done and now they're ready to go transition to new challenges, just different things in life other than being in that role at a particular company, which is cool. But no, this has been great conversation, I've enjoyed interviewing you. I'll end with, do you have a question for me? If you had one question for me about 2024, what would it be?

Sarah Nicastro: I think it would be, what do you feel is the most valuable lesson you've learned this year?

Roy Dockery: I would say the most valuable lesson I've learned this year is that everyone isn't going to move at the same speed, and you have to be patient with other people's pace, so I think that's the main. I work at a startup, so some people move really, really fast, legal needs to move slower, finance needs to move a little bit slower, engineering can move quickly, and I think that it's very easy to get frustrated when it feels like we're not moving at the same speed, but that's when alignment is important. So if we're aligned and we're going in the same direction, you can go faster than me because you need to keep going in that direction. But if there's other things that I need to be doing to make sure that we're operating safely, to make sure that we're hitting requirements and things of that nature, you can go ahead of me, even though we're going in the same direction.

My current boss loves hiking, so you think about the people that go up Mount Everest for you, they've gone above you, they've secured things, you got a path that's drawn out ahead of you. But I was used to a larger company where we all moved at the same pace because we were already big, we were already established. So I think that's been the most important thing for me coming into my second year at being at a startup, is being comfortable, like those people are always going to run at 90 miles an hour, and I'm fine with that, but we're going to run at this speed and we will catch up to you because you're going to get done with that, you're going to drop it off, and then you're going to move on to the next thing in front of you and we'll be there.

But yeah, not getting frustrated or losing patience with people who move faster or slower than you. Because then on the other side, you have some people that don't move as quickly as you want them to, but you need all of that to be balanced within an organization, but the alignment is what's important, not the speed.

Sarah Nicastro: No, that's a good lesson, I struggle with patience myself. 

Roy Dockery: I'm going to ask your question back to you, what is your main takeaway from 2023 outside of predictions and things that you thought, but just for you personally coming out of this year?

Sarah Nicastro: Honestly, it is really similar, and I'm not trying to steal yours, but it's interesting because in November, we had the last, not the last, we had a review of the year session in the customer. So I run three global customer groups, and we talked about this too, what's your biggest lesson learned? And that's what I shared is, I think for me, I have to temper the passion that I have with patience, and I'm not good at the patience part, but I have to focus on what I can control, and I need to also appreciate progress and not just want to race, race, it all counts, and I have to accept that you can't step over hard work, you have to just take it one step at a time. So balancing passion with patience is mine.

Roy Dockery: I like that. You and I share passions definitely, so that's awesome. Well, no, it was great, thank you for having me on the show here and being able to do your year in recap. It's been good seeing you a couple of times this year and spending some time with you in London. Sarah's a great photographer for Instagram, so she got my Tower of London photo, it was really nice.

Sarah Nicastro: Yes, you got to meet my brother.

Roy Dockery: Yeah.

Sarah Nicastro: We did spend some time together.

Roy Dockery: Touring the Tower of London learning interesting things about castles and fortresses. But no, it was awesome, it was good seeing you, thank you for even the nomination. We didn't mention it, but I was one of the people that was recognized as one of those Top 100, and so that was a great thing to have this year, it's on the shelf over there, it is in the office. But thank you for IFS and Hot Topics doing that and elevating those voices and those individuals as well on the service side of the business. So I appreciate that.

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah, it was very well deserved, you and the other 99, and also all of those nominated, it was a great initiative, I hope they do it again next year. It was great to spend some time with you as well, and I hope in 2024 we get to do it again. And thanks for interviewing me, it's been fun.

Roy Dockery: No problem, thank you, Sarah.

Sarah Nicastro: You can find more by visiting us at The Future of Field Service podcast is published in partnership with IFS, you can learn more As always, thank you for listening.