Scott Haney, vice president of information technology operations and security at Stream Realty, came to the company after spending his career partnering with business leaders in the real estate industry to elevate IT and cloud infrastructures. Through those experiences, he evolved not only as an IT professional with an expertise in storage area networks, domain name systems, data centers, VLAN, and troubleshooting but also as a leader with a knack for empowering and enabling his people.
“In the start of my leadership career, people would come to me and ask what I thought of something, and I’d always give the answer,” he says. “But I found that I wasn’t empowering them to take initiative and to be decisive. It can be good if I have the best idea, but it’s negative when the person asking the question doesn’t learn how to avoid certain things or if they don’t learn why I might think the way I do about a problem.
“As I started to grow as a leader,” he continues, “I started asking them more follow-up questions and encouraging my teams to come to me with plans, so we can collaborate on it instead of leading through dictatorship.”
In addition to giving his team ownership over their work, Haney has empowered his team by giving them the tools and skills they need through a series of trainings and workshops. The goal is to push him out of the day-to-day tasks.
“I constantly tell my team that if you see me getting into the day-to-day work, one of the best things you can do is push me out because it’s not effective for us,” he explains. “If I’m in there, there’s a good chance that I’m going to fail to inform you of what I’m doing and that creates problems and gaps in your knowledge. I’m all for the team growing, and I want to put everyone in a position to grow and be impactful.”
For the past few years, Haney’s leadership philosophy has been a driving force for the company’s IT department, which includes three managers that report to him in addition to infrastructure, security, and service desk staff. Since he came to the company, the team has successfully partnered with the business to help advance a critical network overhaul while forming important partnerships with the likes of UK-based Egress Software Technologies. Egress’ software leverages contextual machine learning to detect and prevent abnormal human behavior, like misdirected emails, data exfiltration, and targeted phishing attacks.
Centered through Martial Arts
When he isn’t overseeing Stream Realty’s cloud journey, Scott Haney nurtures a passion for martial arts. His lifelong martial arts journey has seen him take on taekwondo, Shotokan karate, Wing Chun kung fu, judo, and currently Brazilian jiu jitsu.
“As a kid I had a temper and I found that martial arts was a way to channel that energy, give me focus, and to channel my energy in more productive ways,” he explains. “It allows me to feel more centered.”
With the company’s cloud-centric vision top of mind, Haney’s team lays the groundwork for applications that will drive better insights and business analytics. COVID-19 initially delayed some of those efforts, but Haney is proud of the progress they’ve made since then.
“There’s still a heavy focus on cloud enablement and security from the stance of how we get the most efficiency from our existing tech stack while building on the right components that will allow us to scale and to progressively evaluate risk,” he explains.
Haney’s strategies have gained recognition from outside partners as well. “Scott and the Stream Realty team have been a breath of fresh air to work with,” says Sudeep Venkatesh, chief customer officer at Egress. “The leadership shown by Scott is evident from his team’s respect and their dedication to innovating the industry.”
Outside of those efforts, Haney and his colleagues have been committed to giving back to the communities Stream operates in. Each regional office partners with charitable organizations to serve lunches for underprivileged kids, to host food drives, and more. Scott Haney, who serves on the giving committee for Stream’s Houston office, says those efforts serve as an important reminder.
“We’re not just a company that works in the commercial real estate space,” he says. “We’re a company with a heart. We care, we want to be good citizens of the communities that we’re in, and this is our way of showing it.”
As a person who built success in his early career years as an individual contributor, Haney admits that it was hard to make the transition to leadership. Today, he shares his experience and his advice for young people making a similar career leap.
“I built my career based on what I did, so having to switch my mindset to empowering people was hard to learn,” he admits. “The things you did to get to that point aren’t the same skills you need moving forward. What encouraged and helped me was getting the training I needed in addition to reading people books on dynamics, relationships, leadership, and thinking more about the philosophy of an organization that I wanted to build.”
Scott Haney on Partnering with Business Colleagues
“It’s very much like a dance in that you have to learn the rhythm of the person you’re dealing with and how you’re interacting. You need to find a way to be valuable to whatever their goal is. IT is a business facilitator, not necessarily a money maker. In some areas, we’re seen as overhead, ‘the group of no,’ or where progress goes to die. So being a servant leader in that you’re just looking to help the business grow is my key philosophy. I just want to win by seeing the business win.”