Coach Highlight - Meet Adam Morris
Our new coach introduction of the week is Adam Morris, who comes to ConnectStrat from the county of Wiltshire, UK, home of Stonehenge, Adam is also the cofounder of UK-based "MSP Finance Team" and is one of 3 new coaches helping build the ConnectStrat presence overseas. Tell me a little bit about your personal life. Where were you born? School? Family?
I was born in Germany, as my Dad was in the army and posted there, and much of my childhood was spent as a nomad living in different towns in the UK and Germany. I didn’t know any differently, so it was odd when I learned most kids lived in the same place all the time. It taught me to be resilient and the necessity to make new friends quickly.
Unlike my father, who loved everything words - writing, poetry, talking, I warmed to math and science. I liked the right/wrong and seeking of truth that these tools provided. My mother was a nurse in the NHS, and again I certainly wasn’t going to do that, so eventually I decided on mechanical engineering and whilst I passed the degree, it was an industrial sandwich year where I was thrust in front of an IBM twin floppy PC with Lotus 123 that ignited by love of IT.
How about your early business life? Where did you get started?
I first noticed I had an entrepreneurial spirit when, as an 8 year old, we lived very close to a long line of “conker trees” or Horse Chestnuts. The boys were playing conkers every break at school, so I had a light bulb moment – access to a cheap supply of product and a market. I filled a bucket with the biggest conkers I could find, took it to school and tried to sell them for a penny each! I think I sold two!
I spent the first part of my professional life building a career as an infrastructure engineer. It was Novell, not Microsoft, that ruled the server market back in those days. Whilst I was good at what I did, I never really felt contented and always felt that I had more to contribute. Somehow though I didn’t know, or have the confidence in, how to navigate the corporate hierarchies that existed. Doing a great job didn’t necessarily result in recognition or a promotion and often it felt like those with louder mouths were more successful.
The turning point for me was ironically being made redundant. Whilst being very traumatic at the time (I had a 6-month-old daughter and no other family income), this event led me to getting involved with a local startup business as their IT support lead. The startup was messy and there were many times when thought of leaving. Whilst it did eventually fail – it was the apprenticeship I needed to learn about business and selling.
Out of that failure, I was able to buy out the other share holders and then push forward under my own efforts. I remember those days so clearly and the exhilaration of that effective acquisition. I also remember the first months P&L results and the pride of generating that profit under my own management. The challenge of course soon became how do I learn how to become a MD and build a business.
How did your passion for coaching, teaching, and facilitating start?
My interest in coaching and helping others in the MSP industry started to evolve when I started to get involved in the wider MSP industry. In particular, the HTG peer group program (now ConnectWise Evolve) was instrumental in opening my eyes to the possibilities and opportunities for business and personal growth that can be obtained through listening and talking to other MPS owners. I quickly learned that so much of what we do and feel is the same as other MSP owners and so much support can be gained and given by opening up, and reflecting on others experiences and opinions.
The self awareness and leadership skills gained through this process helped turn our MSP business from a group of individuals that generally performed well to a true high performance team. This of course had and the knock-on effect of delivering a great customer experience and a high EBITDA.
I also started to have more business-focused conversations with clients and started providing coaching services built around the Traction model to some of them. It was great to help clients at a broader strategic level.
After building my MSP to a point where it met my personal wealth target, I decided to sell. Whilst I loved our team and business, I wanted to get involved in new business opportunities and perhaps uncover other aspects of my ability that I have yet to realize. I also love helping others and wanted to take my coaching support to the next level and help other business owners in the MSP industry.
Finally, bringing it back to the personal side, what do are you passionate about outside of work? What do you do to balance?
My family often joke about my “phases” – my propensity to get involved in something, not superficially but full on, 100% committed. I would go out and buy all the gear, buy all the books, sign up for the training etc. These have included Trumpet – big band and jazz, photography – mostly portraits, table tennis, Kamado BBQing, playing electric bass, road cycling, weight training, golf, cricket. I argue that they are not fads! They last at least 5 to 10 years and I only give them up and move onto something else when I’ve stopped getting better or the challenge to get good at something and new skills has gone.
At the moment, I am currently in the midst of a home refurb project. Having recently sold my MSP, I have a bit more time to focus on this. We moved into a new home last autumn and the intention was to knock some walls down and build our dream kitchen/living area. This is the first time I have done anything like this and I am now starting to understand why everything takes twice as long and costs twice as much!
So I will always have the need to have something outside of business and family life where I experience that challenge and opportunity to improve and get that feeling of “flow”. But my family is also very important to me and much of the driving force behind my entrepreneurial work has been to provide for the family and help setup my children for their life in the best way I can. I have a wife, two lovely daughters and we live in a village in the Wiltshire, UK.