Kevin Rollins on the Soul of Dell Kevin Rollins has served as Dell’s Chief Operating Officer since 2007, and has worked for the company since 1996 (“Kevin Rollins: Executive profile & biography,” 2010). As COO, Rollins is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the company. As a former Chief Executive Officer of the company, he has extensive knowledge about the workings of Dell. Creating and implementing new business strategies, communicating with the public and media, and serving as the role model for all employees are Rollins’ everyday responsibilities.
Previously Rollins worked for Bain & Company as a partner for twelve years before joining the Dell team. Since his first position at Dell as the Senior Vice President for Corporate Strategy, Rollins has had several different titles including Senior Vice President and General Manager for Americas, Vice Chairman of Dell Americas and Dell Ventures, Director of Bain & Company and Dell Ventures, and Dell’s company Diversity Sponsor (“Kevin Rollins: Executive profile & biography,” 2010). To keep his name known and to stay involved with the industry, he is a member of the Computer Systems Policy Project and the U.
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S. Business Council, National Advisory Council of Brigham Young University and a Member of Chief Executive Officer Forum on Education and Technology, and several other groups. He achieved his Bachelor of Arts degree and his Master’s of Business degree at Brigham Young University in Utah. As the Chief Operating Officer, Kevin Rollins possesses an important role in the face and image of the company. If he messes up, it reflects poorly on Dell. But when he does great things, it reflects well on the company.
That is why he is of invaluable importance to Dell – he is a leader, a teacher, and a role model for his employees. He faces challenges of employee satisfaction, ethical behavior for all employees and the company as a whole, and the happiness of Dell’s customers. Dell’s reputation rides largely on Rollins’ shoulders. In order to keep Dell’s many employees satisfied, Rollins explains that surveys are used to rate managers and superiors. “…We started to put in employee surveys that we now pay our managers against how their employees vote on them in terms of their management capability.
So they will get or not get bonus compensation based on if all the people say you’re a jerk,” (Falk, Howe, Saracevic, 2004). There is nothing more motivational than money, and Dell knows it. They also know that employees are key in a business’s success. Happy employees equal quality output. It is this mentality of treating employees fairly that helped Dell find its way onto Ethisphere’s list of top 100 ethical companies in the world. Even Rollins and Dell’s CEO and founder Mike Dell are rated in the surveys.
When the survey said that employees were unhappy, Rollins and Dell shared that information with the employees and vowed to change things. But getting that information was not an easy thing to swallow. Communication has to be key. “You’re kind of naked when you go in to do those things [surveys]. But we realize we weren’t going to change and be a great company unless we opened this up [for communication]” said Rollins (Falk, Howe, Saracevic, 2004). But how did Dell come to realize this? Stock prices fell, employees wanted to leave the company, and revenues fell flat.
Dell needed to keep its employees, and doing so involved a company-wide makeover. “…We had to change the cultural ethic of the company and give people reasons to want to stay in the company because it was a great place to work” explained Rollins (Falk, Howe, Saracevic, 2004). That is how they came up with the Soul of Dell – an ethical and moral standpoint on the company, its employees, products, and customers. To find the Soul of Dell, Rollins explains that he researched to a heavy extent, but came up with nothing he could use. “I couldn’t find the corporate model that I was very happy with.
As I read most of the corporate leadership books I thought they were terrible. I couldn’t find even a role model from the corporate environment that I respected that much,” he said (Falk, Howe, Saracevic, 2004). So he turned to the Founding Fathers. “I found in the Founding Fathers a series of ethics in terms of selflessness in as much as these guys didn’t have to do what they did they did and they would have been shot had they been caught. Many of them left very wealthy settings to go fight wars and participate in the government,” he explained.
That is when he asked the question, “How do we create something that had not been created before? ” Rollins further elaborated, “How do we create a situation in our company where people say ‘It’s more important the company succeeds than I succeed but I realize if the company does I’ll do just fine. ’” (Falk, Howe, Saracevic, 2004). That is the heart and soul of Dell – communication and cooperation. A big part of ethical behavior includes the treatment of employees, and by knowing this Dell has been a great example of moral actions.
They listen to their employees and treat them as people with concerns, not robots whose only objective is to help the company. In that case the company would be one big brain, — no heart, no soul. It is in finding this that Dell has succeeded both ethically and in the corporate market. Sales are through the roof, so to speak, and employees are happier than ever. Being the leader of such a company is a big responsibility, and whoever is up to the task is in for a big challenge. But Rollins can handle it, and has proven that already. It is not just about business, it is about people.
Resources Falk, S. , Howe, K. , Saracevic, A. T. , Chan, M. , Chong, D. , Zuckerman, S. , . . . Pimentel, B. (2004, July 18). On the record: Kevin Rollins [Interview]. Retrieved January 24, 2010, from http://articles. sfgate. com/2004-07-18/business/17435629_1_kevin-rollins-michael dell-dell-direct-business-model/8 Kevin Rollins: Executive profile & biography [executive profile]. (n. d. ). Retrieved January 24, 2010, from http://investing. businessweek. com/businessweek/research/stocks/people/ person. asp? personId=266021&symbol=DELL
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