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Channel Influencer Spotlight: Craig Schlagbaum Talks Comcast Success, Qwest-Level 3 Legacy

Comcast Business' Craig Schlagbaum

… inconsistent. You’re never going to prevent it because there’s always going to be channel conflict; it’s more about managing it. The real issue is, how do you keep it at a healthy level? You want some level because then the direct team and partners are hungry.”

Highs and Lows

Looking at his career, Schlagbaum considers building his current team at Comcast Business to be among the highlights.

“What we’ve done with Comcast is built a multimillion-dollar channel from scratch, and a team that was only a couple of people to now well over 100,” he said. “I feel equally proud about some of the things I’ve done in the past at Level 3 and Qwest as well. And long ago, when I was a young buck out of school, I was a top achiever in a number of companies, but particularly at IBM I had the fortune to be part of IBM Software and Lotus, and had a lot of success in those two.”

And now Schlagbaum likes seeing it come full circle, with those who used to work for him becoming his peers in the industry.

“I’ve seen that happen a number of times over, and I’ve seen them progress in their careers, and I feel really good about that — maybe even more so than my own achievements,” he said. “There [are] a lot of younger folks here who want to see how they can be part of this, so day by day I’m training a lot of them. Some are directors in their 20s and 30s … and one of them unfortunately for me just left and went to one of our top partners, but that’s an example. I brought him up from being a young rep who was a channel manager here to being a director here, to being senior director and eventually he moved on and went to run sales for a partner. And I was glad to see that because he took all of the lessons he learned that I taught him and now he’s going to try to take it to the next level. Things like that have been really rewarding to me.”

On the other end of the spectrum, Schlagbaum counts enduring the “telecom nuclear winter” in the mid-2000s among the tougher times in his career.

“There were big challenges in the economy. People weren’t spending as much money, and to endure that, there were many layoffs that had to happen in those days and letting folks go during those times in order to maintain and cut costs,” he said. “Those were probably some of the more darker times in my career having to deal with those issues, and certainly we’ve improved.”

Enduring tough times makes you a better leader because it’s easier to flourish in the good times, Schlagbaum said.

“It was a learning lesson and I’ve had the chance to see how partners react to some of that stuff, some of the things competitors have done, and policies in the channel as well … so I think those were …

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One comment

  1. Avatar Matt Heron March 9, 2018 @ 8:59 am

    You and your fantastic team at Comcast continue to greatly influence my role in the Channel at Shaw here in Canada. You have definitely build a strong program, but most importantly, you have built one of the strongest teams I have seen in any industry.

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