Knocking Out Breast Cancer

October 30th, 2014

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, The Outside-In® Companies have been spreading awareness and raising funds for The Breast Cancer Charities of America as part of our Charity of The Month Program.

Breast_Cancer_Ribbon_Pink_MIThe Breast Cancer Charities of America exists to eliminate breast cancer as a life-threatening illness. They bring together organizations representing all health and social service disciplines in the commitment to establish new and unprecedented levels of effectiveness in research, education, advocacy and support. BCCA is the only non-profit bringing the ‘integrated cancer care’ message to women of America. Their focus on Prevention, Research, Education, Survival, and Support works to empower and educate woman across the country.

The Outside-In® Team banded together to engage in some friendly competition in a knockout pool for the football season. So far we have had 21 participants enter the pool with the goal of fundraising and donating half of the monies raised to the charity. One of our Staffing Support Specialists, William Poore, just won the “second-chance” pool, and we have two employees left in the main round. “The football pool has been a fun way to interact with coworkers and build relationships all while supporting a good cause and spreading breast cancer awareness,” said William. “I’m looking forward to being a part of new fun and innovative way to contribute to charity in the future.”

If you’d like to join us in the fight against breast cancer, please donate via our YouCaring page here.

What I Do, Why I Do It, and How I Do It

October 29th, 2014

The Outside-In® Companies exist to optimize customer talent challenges. I believe this is best accomplished by making sure our culture acts as our internal compass. Everyone is in charge of their own career and our values exist to enable employees to maximize their performance in their work. This natural culture promotes quality customer work in the purest sense—if you’re empowered, have challenging work, good training, and a servant leader mentality, you will create a special work environment.

ID-100278237I listen. I listen to customers, prospects, employees, and applicants. Even partners and suppliers. Then I aggregate information to see patterns and trends. This is our R&D. This is how we will build new service lines and brands for the Outside-In® Companies. We all want to survey customers and have focus groups. Formality in market testing ideas is fine, but knowing what your market place needs is a risk I see us continuing to take.

We will continue to listen. We must continue to be workforce and workplace experts. Our customers need the consultation as being in business and its many changes really impact how work gets done today. The workforce knows it needs different skills and assistance today—we must be its agent to help navigate.

The economy seems to be in constant change and flux and we are in industry that celebrates and suffers along with it. We need to continue to look to reduce that volatilty with our plans. I imagine this will take on a combination of geographic expansions, customer penetration across our brands, and the inevitable expansion into new and different service lines.

I create the routine. My job is to create the pulse for the business and to drive its rhythm. How do we communicate to whom? How do we plan and share information? I keep this pulsing like clockwork.

I encourage the heart. We want to create an environment where hard work and living our values creates extrinsic/intrinsic rewards for employees. Anyone can solve a problem, tackle a project of their choosing, or speak to whomever they want in the business. The why may not be obvious here. Innovation, confidence, proactivity, and engagement all come from within when the right environment is nurtured.

I am a teacher and a coach first. I love to help others know more and believe that knowledge should not be used as a bargaining chip in business. The more my team knows, the more confidence and self esteem they have and I trust the correlation between the two. We must be a market leader with training—there is only a cost when you don’t train.

I help my team interact with prospects and customers differently. We are consultative in a world where this is typlically just considered words that mean nothing. I continue to show that when you’re able to translate your expertise to your customers’ challenges and opportunities, the rest comes easily. The very act of learning their business builds lasting relationships and a trust that fully takes you from being in sales to a trusted partner.

Salespeople: Be Yourself and Keep Your Commitments

October 22nd, 2014

ID-100256646Sales is so full of stereotypes that it’s not even fun to use them anymore. I have found that failures in sales happen because there is a general lack of understanding that onboarding a new customer is a process just like ordering office supplies or sending out an invoice. Somehow those processes seem more tangible and visible to the world. Sales is a diva business. Sales is magic. Sales is that thing that no one can understand. A handful can do it, and even fewer want any part of it. Sales is about knowing what you’re doing, following a good process, always doing what you say, and being your authentic self along the way. Be fake? Try to be something you’re not? Well, prospects buy from people they like and if you would be yourself they probably would.  Be what you are—not what you think a salesperson is supposed to be!

A sales process is nothing more than a series of steps to be completed with your prospect. The big challenge is that your prospect does not have that matrix or checklist and is probably unaware of where you are and what you need to complete the sale. That is where you come in.

You could hand the customer the steps to be completed and let them participate. Or at the very least tell them what to expect next. However, this is most likely not your customers job. I bet it is not your only job either. You have other parts to your role like being a part of your team, or delivery, or internal projects, maybe even other prospects.

This is where it gets tricky. Sales people are human. We are flawed—busy, lazy, new, overly confident, on plan, off plan. We are all this and much more. These flaws show up in how we do our business and whether or not we follow our process. It is our commitment to the next step and our ability to deliver that makes all the difference.

This is at the subconscious level mind you with your prospect. They probably don’t say anything if you call later than expected or miss a deadline. They definitely don’t say anything out loud if you’re trying to be something you’re not. They simply don’t buy.

Outside-In® Chronicles: He Who Can Provide Outside-In® Leadership Has the Whole World with Him

October 15th, 2014

Each month our leaders focus on learning and development. Do you consistently allocate time for shared leadership experiences and discussion? This form of renewal really brings the team together and gives us time to think about how accurately each of us lead. Recently, we have been working from Dale Carnegie’s original self-help book, How to Win Friends and Influence People. This book is one of the most important influences on the way we do things as a business—specifically how we deal with people!

images2We have been focused on Chapter 3, “He Who Can Do This Has the Whole World with Him. He Who Cannot Walks a Lonely Way.” My leaders discussed and discovered that we have a tremendous role in understanding our staff’s needs and wants. How many times do we present ideas or share our opinions in a way that is good for us? How often do we think, write, or present in a way that is of the other person’s interest? We all think about ourselves before others—this is simply human nature. However, to be truly Outside-In® leaders, we have to start with the other person’s interests first. As the book says, we must learn to “bait the hook to suit the fish.” Just because you like something doesn’t mean that others will and vice versa. Are we really ready to talk in terms of someone else’s interests? We better be.

We can use our title as ammo or yell as a leader to get things done for a moment. Cracking the proverbial whip works once or twice but only for a very short period of time. A sales person can be successful every now and again when they talk about what they want, their product and service, their quota, their tough day, etc. However, consumers want to feel like they are really being listened to. They want to buy, not be sold to. And they want to know that their needs are being met.

How can you take into account the other point of view? We made our list together as leaders.

  1. Listen. Talk less. Be clear that we understand what others want and need.images
  2. Be clear about what needs to be done, especially as we understand how staff wants to do their jobs.
  3. Create a reminder of the hook and the fish concept. What bait do you need to have an effective employee, customer, or family discussion?
  4. Be aware of wants and needs as we delegate. If done correctly, delegation is the key to knowing exactly what these wants and needs are.
  5. Be clear about expectations.
  6. Give staff the opportunities to explore.
  7. Remember that not everyone’s way works all of the time. Sometimes a good leadership push is in order.

CBI Way: What About Customer Engagement?

October 8th, 2014

Guest blog spot by Outside-In® Team Member Alex Patton

Last month, CBI Way brought attention to the problems a lack of candidate engagement can create, especially with millions of job openings. Well, you guessed it, reported by this month’s BLS Job Opening and Labor Turnover report, there were even more (predicted) job openings on the last day of August. Up to 4.8 million, the number of open jobs has an effect on a candidate’s potential options, and reiterates the importance of steady candidate, and customer engagement.

ID-100264594Client engagement can sometimes be overlooked, but in a partnership, active communication can set you apart from other providers in satisfying critical metrics with the customer. Established guidelines in the Service Level Agreement for feedback, timelines, and continuous improvement can be negatively impacted without making sure the customer is fully engaged. A daily or weekly meeting between the two partners is a great way to keep the customer informed, and reiterate the need for quick and thorough feedback.

It’s not difficult for a candidate to become uninterested in an opportunity, or simply think he or she is out of the running, especially passive candidates. That candidate engagement is directly altered by the feedback and turnaround by the customer. As a candidate, would you feel confident after waiting twenty days for feedback following your initial conversation? All parties involved are hurt by poor engagement; with money, quality talent, and ultimately, success, among the casualties.

Diagnosing problem areas or identifying needs for change can also be supported by great communication and commitment. In the next CBI Way blog we’ll identify some of what could go wrong, how to prevent, and if needed, how to resolve problems in an RPO partnership.

The CBI Way blog series explores the tools and practices used in Talent Acquisition. CBI Way is CBI Group’s recruiting approach and methodology – it’s how we do what we do! Check in with CBI Way for insights around workforce education and training, the latest trends in recruiting technology, and how to best utilize these tools towards improving your own recruiting practices.

 

Upcoming 10/30 Talent Seminar: The Happy Harry’s Story

October 7th, 2014

Remember Happy Harry’s?

Whether or not you remember this family-owned drugstore chain whose humble roots stem from Delaware — the story is one you will not want to miss. The Outside-In® Companies host a monthly series of seminars, which feature stories about people, talent best practices, company culture, and local business successes. For our next Talent Strategy Seminar on Thursday October 30th, Alan Levin, the former CEO of Happy Harry’s (and the son of Harry himself) will present The Happy Harry’s Story.

Alan will share a number of stories about the founding of Happy Harry’s and growing up in the family business, his management style and approach to hiring team members, and his commitment to customer service and the community. The first store on Marsh Road eventually grew into a drugstore chain that was acquired by Walgreens in 2006 when sales had reached nearly a half a billion dollars.

Reminisce with us and learn valuable business lessons from a successful and distinguished Delaware leader!

Eventbrite - Outside-In® Seminar: The Happy Harry's Story

WHO SHOULD ATTEND?

You should join us if you:

  • Are a small business or startup leader
  • Manage people
  • Are from Delaware and committed to our community
  • If customer service important to you
  • Are in talent management or recruiting
  • Need HRCI recertification credits?

PRE-APPROVED FOR HRCI CREDIT

This seminar is Pre-Approved for 1.25 HRCI credits! In this workshop the participants will learn of the programs, initiatives and strategy that drove human capital contributions at Happy Harry’s. This program directly relates to the body of knowledge including Functional Area 01 and 02: Business Management & Strategy and Workforce Planning & Employment.

The use of this seal is not an endorsement by the HR Certification Institute of the quality of the program. It means that this program has met the HR Certification Institute’s criteria to be pre-approved for recertification credit.

ABOUT OUR GUEST SPEAKER

Hon. Alan B. Levin, Director of the Delaware Economic Development Office, serves as a Secretary in Governor Markell’s cabinet. In this role, Mr. Levin is responsible for the business and economic strategies for the State of Delaware, focusing, among other areas, in the technology, life science, and venture capital business sectors.

Previously, Mr. Levin served as President and CEO of Happy Harry’s, the tenth largest drugstore chain in the United States, until it was acquired by the Walgreen Company in July 2006. During his tenure, he grew revenues tenfold to nearly half a billion dollars, 76 locations and 2,700 employees, making Happy Harry’s one of the area’s largest employers. After the sale to Walgreen’s, Mr. Levin became the Founding Partner of Innovation Capital Partners, a later-stage growth equity venture capital firm. To read more about Mr. Levin’s distinguished career, please click here.

ABOUT HAPPY HARRY’S

The Happy Harry’s story began with a small store on Marsh Road owned and operated by Harry Levin. Through hard work, a devotion to quality and the development of a dedicated workforce and a loyal customer base, the store grew into a company that became the tenth largest drugstore chain in the United States. At the time Happy Harry’s was acquired by the Walgreen Company in 2006, the company had revenues of nearly half a billion dollars. Alan Levin played a key role in the development of his father’s company, inheriting the core values that made Happy Harry’s successful and implementing them in his role as Secretary in Gov. Jack Markell’s cabinet and as Director of the Delaware Economic Development Office.

The Entrepreneurial Life: That Impossible Priority

October 1st, 2014

ID-100100023Working with small business leaders for a living has both its perks and its perils. What are the toughest business learns for every small business owner or bootstrapped leader? We want to do everything. Fund it all. React to every new idea. Solve every single problem. Serve each and every client. Hire every good talent that comes in the door. Finish every project. Go to every networking meeting. You get the idea. We want to do it all. This is contagious. It builds and snowballs into a doing frenzy.

I was taught to focus on revenue generating activities from 8-5 and to run the company before 8 or after 5. I did that during the early years. Careful to mix the two. This did not prevent me from working until midnight or on Sunday mornings. In fact, in the I would have “meetings” with the foreman of the commercial cleaning crew that went through each night after 9 pm! That foreman would do odds jobs; hang white boards, move desks, and join me at my conference table when I wanted and needed to talk. Fascinating times with incredible experiences. I think you can really only bootstrap once—it takes much energy and stamina.

Over the years, books and consultants have changed my perspective on the do it all and fund everything mentality that came to me naturally.

I now preach limited priorities. Focus, execution, and getting things done is my new philosophy. The hardest things of all is deciding what 3-5 items should be yours to tackle! Every leader I have ever coached says the same thing: I have many more things to do than that! We all do. The point is to choose what part of your business to tackle and understanding how if you fix or adjust that part will impact other parts of the business. It’s like business centrifugal force. Fix one thing, it makes something else move along too. But too much and it will make other parts of the business need future fixing!

How do you chose the part of your business to tackle? Stay tuned for a future blog!

Chris Burkhard to Present at Small Business Owner’s Boot Camp

September 26th, 2014

workforceChris Burkhard will be participating in a panel discussion while presenting his well-receieved talk, Trends of the Contingent Workforceat The Small Business Owner’s Boot Camp on Sunday, October 12th at The New Castle County Chamber of Commerce. The event is a FREE, comprehensive two-day education program for small business owners. Join Chris as he takes a look at realities of today’s workforce and the exciting evolution happening in the working world today!

The program will feature a series of panel discussions led by experienced business experts who will provide a broad overview of the challenges facing small business owners today. Audience members will have several opportunities to interact with the expert panelists throughout the day. Complimentary lunch will be served on both days.

The Boot Camp will be held Saturday, October 11, 2014 and Sunday, October 12, 2014 from 9 AM to 4 PM both days at the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce at 12 Penns Way, New Castle, DE 19720. Space is limited. For more information and to reserve your spot, click on this link to RSVP.

Not a small-business owner but would like to gain more industry knowledge and are interested in some networking? We have 5 guest speakers booked for our upcoming Outside-In® Talent Seminars, starting with Alan Levin, the former President and CEO of Happy Harry’s, to share a Delaware business success story. View the lineup and reserve your spot here!

The Small Business Owner’s Boot Camp is sponsored by Xan Hong’s State Farm Office and PNC Bank in Partnership with the Delaware Office of Supplier Diversity. Hosted by the Emerging Enterprise Center, A New Castle County Chamber of Commerce Initiative.

Are You a Sharing Leader?

September 24th, 2014

Being a leader in today’s work environment has it’s share of obstacles. The culture of your company directly impacts how you lead and what you do in your role in every circumstance. For example, let’s take the topic of communication and your responsibility relative to cascading messages. Often times leaders maintain the proverbial upper hand by distributing information (or frankly misinformation) to suit their personal goals and objectives. This does not have to be a nefarious or illegal thing by the way. Sometimes as leaders we are simply overly competitive or selfish. Being the leader that always has to win means you’re going to do anything you need to do to come out on top. That often means controlling what you know. Selfish leaders? Well, they are probably just protecting their job and paycheck. Everybody is doing it right? So what’s wrong with it? It’s like a teenager explaining staying out too late or a bad test grade, “…but Tommy is allowed to.”

Today’s world is about information. That’s why it’s called the Information Age. Why not empower today’s knowledge worker with as much as possible? Why not make it a point to share as much as you can? A group perspective is often more right and more powerful than the views of a handful or the privileged.

To be a sharing leader one must:

  1. ID-100161829Be clear on what their role is as a leader. Is it your job to share what you hear and learn in terms of strategy, vision, or simple business updates with your team? If you’re hearing these messages and you don’t see them in newsletter, town halls, or email updates then I bet it is part of your role. Be a messenger. There is good power in doing this well!
  2. Share it all. Don’t hold back an inch. Employees can sense when your holding back and not sharing. Trust them. They can handle the truth. Of course there is confidentiality. This is not what I am talking about. Stop protecting. Quit isolating staff from business news they can help with. They might even view the problems of the business as interesting new projects to tackle to grow their resumes!
  3. Use all means as possible. Some messages are tactical. Some are strategic. Some serious and some not so much. Pick your forum. Have huddles every day for daily sticks. Do a weekly discussion for businesses. Have a phone call or town hall meeting when you’re dealing with longer term updates or when you want to get some real engagement and feedback.

The key is to make communication a part of your daily leadership plan. It will always take a back seat to your inbox and to do’s if you let it!

5 Guest Speakers Booked for Upcoming Outside-In® Talent Seminars!

September 22nd, 2014

2014-9-Talent-Seminar-Announcement

At the Outside-In® Companies, we host a monthly series of seminars, which feature stories about people, talent best practices, company culture, and local business successes. Our goal is to facilitate the mutual learning and sharing of best practices in Talent Leadership.

After hosting a successful talent seminar with a local guest speaker in July, we sought out to connect with local business and HR leaders to see if they wanted to share their story in an Outside-In® forum. We are excited to announce that we have booked 5 guest speakers (one being a duo!) for our upcoming talent seminars.

Mark your calendars for the following dates:

We launched the Outside-In Talent Seminar Series in January of this year and plan to continue growing the program throughout 2015. Next year we will host up to 10 talent seminars in locations from Wilmington to Philly. They will be held either in the morning before your work day starts or in the early evening. We’ll add to the schedule, which can be found at www.OutsideinCompanies.com/events, as the dates and speakers are confirmed. All seminars will be submitted for potential HRCI credit. We would be delighted to have you participate in our future seminars.

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