Ask a CEO: Tomer Itah | How to Grow a High-Performing Team
Hear from Tomer Itah, CEO & CFO of Flash Networks, on the Importance of Transparency & New Perspectives
Next in the Lumine CEO spotlight series, we are speaking with Tomer Itah, CEO and CFO of Flash Networks, to discuss how he inspires leadership within his team.
Tomer first joined Flash Networks 9 years ago as VP of Finance, later taking on the role of CFO, and then CEO.
Throughout our conversation, Tomer focuses on the importance of effective listening skills, transparent communications, and collaboration to ensure a high-performing team environment.
In leading Flash Networks, Tomer explains that a large focus is strengthening transparency with employees through clear communications. “As a CEO you should be a very good listener to your managers and employees,” said Tomer. “You need to be able to communicate clearly about company achievements, progress, challenges, objectives, and goals in a way that all will understand.”
Tomer highlighted that every person, every department, significantly contributes to all achievements, and it is imperative that everyone feels a part of the company’s success and be aware of the contributions of each team, and ultimately, each person. “When the team understands how their department contributes to the company goals, you feel like a team. It is motivating! You understand that every role is important and that we are all working together to achieve the same targets.”
To ensure all employees are clear about company directives, Tomer hosts monthly calls with managers, team leaders & directors, and weekly calls with his direct reports. This way, Tomer maintains a healthy communication cadence with his team and can be proactive about any potential challenges. Regular communication creates an environment of familiarity and strengthens the connections, ultimately building greater trust within his team.
Tomer continued, explaining that his leadership style transcends traditional hierarchies. “I am always available to all employees for questions and advice,” he explained. “Our company culture is one of our top priorities,” Tomer furthered. “Open discussions, collaboration, and respect are essential to ensure everyone feels comfortable to contribute ideas and ask questions.”
Tomer’s leadership philosophy is to “conduct honest business with employees, partners, customers, and on an ongoing basis to keep the company ecosystem happy. When all parties feel valued, you’re maintaining and encouraging long-term relationships.”
The Journey to CEO: Overcoming Challenges
Prior to becoming CEO, as CFO, Tomer had exposure to all departments. However, he knew that taking on the position of CEO would involve a deeper relationship with the product development side of the organization.
This was intimidating to Tomer. As CEO, he would be required to make strategic product-related decisions, and coming from a finance-focused background, he worried his expertise did not traditionally measure up. While intimidating at first, Tomer quickly realized his financial background could provide an insightful new perspective on how the organization would measure and set its goals. “I reimagined the business product roadmap in a way that would enhance the company’s business targets to encourage financial growth and stability,” said Tomer. As CEO, he recognized an opportunity to look at the technology-driven targets, through his financial business acumen. It was a challenge he was ready to accept.
Tomer also felt supported knowing he would be surrounded by a strong team of technical leaders. “It was also important knowing I would be surrounded by a strong management team with technical expertise. I felt confident they would lead with me and help with the technical and strategic product roadmap that support our business targets.”
As we signed off, Tomer wanted to share a piece of advice for fellow CEOs and emerging leaders. “I am a very centralized person and am heavily involved in all details of the company,” he said. “I know every employee, every transaction. I like to be involved in every detail.”
However, Tomer realizes that involvement at this level is not realistic, and not productive for himself and his team who need to feel trusted and capable to make the right business decisions. “I encourage all leaders who are like me – who like to be centralized -- to build strong trust within your teams and encourage them to make decisions on their own," Tomer said. "To be a great leader, I know I must take a step back in certain circumstances, delegate to my incredible team members, and empower them to make decisions.”
Through this conversation, we learned the importance of building trust throughout a team by demonstrating transparency and respect, as well as the importance of collaboration to ensure team members feel trusted and engaged in organizational success.