Management Secrets of Top Westchester CEOs: Michael Robinson, CEO of Broadview Networks in Rye Brook

Michael Robinson spent most of his career as a numbers guy, primarily as chief financial officer of various companies. Today, though, he’s a people person, the CEO of a communications and data-services provider with close to 1,000 employees. He feels right at home in the job. “I grew up in a little town in southwestern Virginia,” he says. “But people are people everywhere. They are looking for fairness and consistency. They might not agree with you, but, if you act consistently, they will accept it.”

With annual sales of $360 million, Broadview provides telephone and other communication and data services, like cloud communications, to businesses. While it offers service nationwide, sales are concentrated in 10 states in the Northeast. Broadview has acquired five companies since Robinson, now 55, came on board seven years ago.

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“Evolving the team is a nonstop process,” he says. “Everybody has fundamentally different styles but you want commonality of purpose. This guy may do it differently from that person, but that’s okay. The cookie cutter doesn’t work.” Robinson adds, “People are who they are. I don’t think you can change their stripes. They want to do well, but if you don’t give them goals, compensation, incentives, communication, tools, and all the things management is supposed to do, you won’t get the outcome you want.”

And not everybody can be a CEO. “In any company, whether it has fifty employees or five thousand, there’s a small core group that actually runs the enterprise,” Robinson says. “You want most people just focused on their jobs. You don’t want every single person coming in trying to change the company and coming up with new strategies above and beyond the jobs they’ve got to do, like sales and accounting.”

Photo by Cathy Pinsky

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