Martial Arts to Managed Services?
What teaching Martial Arts taught CEO and President of General Informatics about running an MSP
Sensei Monistere, as his students call him, discovered the secret that keeps his students committed to training at his dojo and coming back for more, week after week, month after month, and year after year. From day one, Sensei Monistere makes his expectations clear: he requires individual excellence in every class and will settle for nothing less. He demands this from himself, as well as his students, and believes this is the secret to his success in the martial arts world. As Michelangelo once said, “The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low and achieving our mark.” Sensei Monistere believes that setting the bar high empowers his students to both pursue, and attain, excellence.
That realization that led Sensei Monistere, the tough and gritty martial arts instructor, to be very serious about Managed Services in his more sophisticated, but no less demanding, “day job” as an executive in the Information Technology industry. Additionally, Sensei Monistere’s thirty-plus years of martial arts training offers many lessons to running an MSP.
Let us introduce you to Don Monistere, also known as Sensei Monistere. Don Monistere is the current CEO and President of General Informatics, one of the fastest growing MSP’s in the southeast. With over 30 years of experience in the IT industry, much of his operations still stem from what he learned as Sensei Monistere. Monistere’s experience in martial arts has enabled him to develop a more focused vision of his market and value of customer service as it relates to managed services.
“My customers don’t expect our ‘best effort’ or a ‘good job’; they expect perfection,” says Monistere. “We know that in the IT industry ‘true’ perfection or ‘100% up time’ with a customer base well over 400-strong is impossible to achieve; striving for excellence is not. Excellence is not only attainable but expected from the staff at General Informatics every single day.”
Sensei Monistere, 2006
One might think it’s just a cliché or a passing thought, but the General Informatics team lives every day with a “Can Do – Will Do Attitude.” Every problem, error, or bump in the road is faced with the same mindset: “we can fix this, and we will.” The culture at General Informatics is not built on “this challenge is impossible” or “I just don’t want to.” Rather the opposite. The General Informatics culture is contagious and nothing short of excellence. Can Do – Will Do Attitude is more than just a phrase written down as General Informatics values, but an expectation from their clients, teammates, and of course Sensei Monistere.
Why do business in this fashion? Because Monistere knows his customers deserve only the very best service available and if they do not find this at General Informatics, they’ll undoubtedly go looking elsewhere. He has discovered a universal truth about this business. When a relationship is built with customers based on trust and mutual respect, the level of loyalty and repeat sales is far more profitable than the often difficult and time-consuming pursuit of new business. This makes Monistere’s commitment to General Informatics’ level of excellence in customer service a non-negotiable requirement from his team. Part of GI’s customer service plan includes initiating programs to protect its clientele from potential problems that could cause them to lose valuable data or time. How do you prevent potential problems before anyone realizes they exist? Managed Services is the answer.
The Right Candidates
Monistere has been unwavering in his pursuit of individuals who share his vision to join him at General Informatics. As a result, he looks for the people who “fit” GI more than a person who has a particular skill set. While he realizes each person has their own unique gifts, talents and abilities, there is one common thread shared by those who stay and those who drift away, both in karate and IT. Those who stay, train, sweat, pull muscles, and occasionally get both bruised and bloody on the training mat. They have a deeper drive and passion to reach their personal best, regardless of the cost.
No amount of pressure from the Sensei can create that inner ambition to passionately pursue excellence. No amount of cajoling from the boss can affect real change in a person who is not motivated to achieve excellence. This ‘it’ factor can be cultivated in a person who has the core characteristics, a solid work ethic and the desire, but it can rarely be manufactured.
If you are looking for an IT company that adheres to this level of excellence, give us a call. To all you IT folks looking for an incredible career, if you have a Can Do – Will Do attitude and you love a challenge, come join us over here at GI, but don’t cross the boss man — that dude knows Karate!
Don Monistere, CEO & President at General Informatics
Don Monistere is an Entrepreneur, Published Author and Accomplished Executive.
Monistere is the CEO and President of General Informatics and has actively grown its reach ever since becoming part of the team in 2020. As a result, General Informatics is one of the fastest growing IT services providers in the Southeast and is considered one of the leading IT partners for businesses, schools, and government agencies spanning the Gulf Coast.
Involved in Information Technology since the early 90s, Monistere served as the CEO and President of Vista Information Systems from 1993 to 2008. After that, he worked at TekLinks from 2008 to 2018, serving as the President the last two years before the company was acquired by CSpire. After the acquisition, Monistere continued to serve as Senior Vice President at CSpire until 2019 before serving at ibml as a member of their Executive Leadership team and Chief Operations Officer.
The author of Enhanced Life Performance and Enhanced Executive Performance, Monistere is currently in the process of releasing Enhanced Corporate Performance, the third book of his series.
Monistere has been an active member in the community with philanthropic pursuits with education performance in city schools and continuous contributions to the National Association of People Against Bullying.
Monistere earned a Bachelor of Science in Management with a Minor in Economics from Southeastern Louisiana University as well as a Master of Business Administration from Aspen University.