Former two-time Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld once delivered a speech about the “unknown unknowns” in addressing Iraq and its purported link to weapons of mass destruction. The quote, confusing in its repetition yet stunningly logical, pointed out that “There are known knowns, things we know that we know; and there are known unknowns, things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns, things we do not know we don’t know.”
Without pulling on any logic threads, most of us are bedeviled by the “things that we know we don’t know” because they can produce frustration, anxiety and a degree of imposter syndrome when related to our work. But the road to wisdom doesn’t need to be a bumpy one.
Take Peter Davey, the vice president of solutions and professional services for Toshiba America Business Solutions. Earlier in his career, he was an IT director, a vocation that by its very nature is constantly adding reams to the pile of “known unknowns.” But when Davey shifted gears from being a digital specialist for Konica to a production system specialist for IKON Office Solutions in the 1990s, he found the learning process was only beginning. Yet, he remained unfazed.
“My time at IKON was a turning point for me,” said Davey, a 2023 ENX Magazine Difference Maker. “I realized I knew much less than I thought I did, so I put my head down and learned everything I could.”
Davey focused heavily on the solutions and professional services business, which set him on a path that would eventually lead to his 19-year journey with Toshiba. He’s solidified a reputation for getting things done. Being long since at ease with his knowledge base (although not complacent when it comes to expanding upon it) Davey loves to focus on developing fellow teammates at Toshiba.
It’s a matter of paying it forward, really. Davey cites a former VP, John Bihr, who worked with him at all three stops in his office technology career. Bihr took Davey under his wing and provided him with insight and perspective. In addition to helping him think strategically, Bihr “saved me from falling flat on my face more than once,” Davey admitted.
It’s a reminder that organizations have a vested interest in ensuring those still-developing individuals have a safety net, which ultimately benefits the customer. “More than anything, our employee’s growth has the biggest impact on our ability to change and positively impact our clients,” Davey noted. “What drives me is helping to make our company transition to being much more services-led and focused on delivering client outcomes.”
In his current role, Davey quarterbacks the development of Toshiba’s national solutions and services strategy, along with its go-to-market approach. Blessed with advanced organizational development, project management and implementation skills, Davey set the tone for his career with the organization in 2004, when he developed, built and increased both the revenue and profitability of the company’s professional services business in Florida. That led to his ascension to leading Toshiba’s national professional services business.
It’s been an exciting time for Davey and his team. Toshiba captured several large stand-alone software and service deals in 2022. In the process, he feels the team is exhibiting a higher level of capability and sophistication than it did previously, which is laying a strong foundation for growth moving forward.
Davey hopes to build on his own value proposition by becoming a stronger leader, setting a better example and having more patience. If his department’s performance is any indication, Davey is heading in the right direction.
“We have gotten our services business to a point where it’s a significant part of our overall business,” he said. “Growing and scaling the business while bringing our clients greater value is and will continue to be our focus for 2023 and beyond.”
A fun fact about Davey: he is a former rugby player, with an emphasis on former (“I’m too old for that now,” he noted). In his spare time, he enjoys hiking and lifting weights.