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Donnie Downs of Plan B Technologies on Aug. 14, 2014.Donnie Downs

President & CEO
Plan B Technologies

Only after a company’s leadership is steeped in humility and respect for others is there a chance for authentic business relationships to exist beyond the standard employer-employee dynamic.

That’s according to Donnie Downs, president and CEO of Plan B Technologies in Annapolis. “Caring for the total team members is about knowing that person, family, and truly being a part of not only their career, but life,” he says.

Truly engaged leaders involve themselves not just in the job, but in the career, life and family goals of their charges, he says. The vision they espouse should create an emotional directive and collective bond that resonates throughout the organization.

Successful innovation in the IT sector is really about one thing, he says, and that’s listening. As a small business, Plan B can remain fast, nimble, agile and mobile. Recently, the firm sent representatives all over the country to gauge relevant research and gather case studies on topical concerns such as cybersecurity and network optimization, he says. This type of engagement leads to improved product offerings and strategic alliances that keep the firm relevant in a fast-changing field.

As a CEO, Downs said it’s his job to always look ahead by 24-to-36 months and understand at a basic level the product adoption lifecycle for the particular product mix. Sometimes, that means being humble enough to admit he doesn’t have all the answers. But by combining intuition, listening skills, marketing intelligence and plain old luck, he has helped the firm understand the needed questions that lead to improvement.

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