In the News: Engaging People for Strategic Change

cummingsFor a company to succeed, its workers must understand not only its goals, but how to connect with those goals as individuals, says Kurt Cumming ’86.

In his new role as managing director at Root Inc., the strategy execution company, Cumming brings expertise from decades of success in helping grow firms in the telecom, high-tech, and education industries.

“When I was a vice president at Verisign, I developed and deployed our customer first initiative,” he says. “It became apparent very quickly that we had an awareness problem, as many of our employees didn’t have a line of sight from their role to the customers and didn’t see how their daily activities impacted them.”

Cumming brought in Root Inc. for a workshop to connect everyone to the strategy. “The feedback was simply phenomenal. By understanding the ‘why’ of their jobs and not just the ‘what,’ employees were able to understand their own importance to the organization and formed a deep emotional commitment to its success.”

The recipient of San Diego Magazine’s Top Tech Exec Award in the small, private category in 2013, Cumming was awarded the Bronze Star in 1991 for service in the Army during Operation Desert Storm.

“I never practiced as an engineer, but the intellectual rigor of Lafayette’s program and the analytical skills I gained through my interaction with the subject itself have been fundamental to my success,” says Cumming, a mechanical engineering graduate with an MBA from University of Michigan. “As a consultant and strategist, one must have a systems view of the ecosystem under consideration, and my engineering degree helps me to think logically about these frameworks.”

—Sharon Sanders

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