Category: Customer Stories


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.

 

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!

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!

Outside-In® Chronicles: Why Values and Culture Matter More than Rules and Handbooks

September 17th, 2014

DSC_0372-300x199As a leader of a successful recruiting company and the coach of a local high school soccer team, I’ve come to understand that too many organizations attempt to create order and discipline through handbooks and rule books.  Don’t get me wrong – they have a place. However, I believe that too many organizations make rules for the 1 in 100 that take advantage of the system, and then 99 have to suffer because of it. Yet, values are forever. They force a union and ownership amongst employees and leaders just as they do players and coaches. Values are enforceable by an entire organization, and there are a lot more players then coaches! This puts the emphasis on all having say and ownership!  Like the saying goes, “Treat people the way they wish they were treated and they just might live up to that standard!”

So if your not convinced, picture me coaching in a game. Imagine my superstar player who is losing his cool or maybe drawing attention to himself in away that puts him above the team. I can promise you that this happens. I might need to talk to him, but 18 other players will step in remind him of the value that  team comes first at all times! Or perhaps we get behind in the score and some players get down on themselves. I hear over and over again about the value that our soccer program never, ever, ever, ever gives up.

My personal favorite though is “Nothing negative said, nothing negative received”. I think every business, HR firm or not, needs this value. This one is about team or group trust. Too many times we assume that something said was negative, and too many time we hear it as such. We want a positive atmosphere, where we maintain a benefit-of-the-doubt team culture. We want to trust the gap between what we see and hear and what happened!

I hope you enjoy seeing how our values work for the team. By the way, this is my third year with the team and results come slowly (when they are going to stick)! This is the year we win some games! Our philosophy: Our goal is not to win alone, but to build and improve every day in order to play the game perfectly.

Below is a list of values that we hope all players at Elkton High School can embrace. If we can accept and practice these values, we can better our team and the soccer program, but more importantly we can better our lives and better serve others around us.

Elkton Soccer Program Values:

1. We never, ever, ever give up.

2. Nothing negative said, nothing negative received.

3. Our goal is not to win alone, but to play the game perfectly.

4. We will outwork our competition on and off the pitch.

5. We will follow our player agreements.

6. Everyone plays, that is how we get better as a program.

7. Team comes first at all times.

8. We will play with emotion, not show it.

9. We will do everything with intention (practice, training, pregame, off the field).

10. We must be willing to teach and learn.

11. Every player, regardless of their background, brings an important and necessary element to the team.

CBI Way: More Jobs, More Candidate Engagement

September 10th, 2014

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

Recently, the idea of an improving economy and job environment  has been mentioned often, with the support of statistics released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Along with the aforementioned numbers, we’ve spoken to the challenges of sourcing and recruiting within a changing employer/employee market. To support strategic sourcing techniques, there are a few ways to keep potential candidates (and customers) engaged while there are 4.7 million open jobs.

That’s right. According to the BLS, there were 4.7 million open jobs on the last day of July, 2014. That is more than any time since February, 2001. The increasing number of open jobs has also led to the lengthiest time-to-fill average nationally in thirteen years at 24.9 days, according to Dice Holdings, Inc. recent survey.

ID-100249000We are all aware that time is money, and time-to-fill is a critical metric when recruiting. A great way to cut down on the time-to-fill a job, continuous engagement with the candidate and customer, should be a point of emphasis. Specifically, those passive candidates, who again, have other options with 4.7 million jobs currently open. Keep the candidate involved in the process, don’t let them slip away and let your job contribute to that lengthy average time-to-fill. Respond quickly, keep them informed, and help your candidate understand the process. Keeping a candidate guessing is a great way to lose interest, think, “more is always better” when considering engagement with passive candidates.

Candidate engagement isn’t alone when trying to cut down on a lengthy time-to-fill. The customer can also become “lost”, and keeping your customer completely engaged should not be overlooked. In the next CBI Way blog, we’ll explore how to keep the customer engaged, and the factors than can be influenced otherwise.

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.

Are You a Sales Person or Are You a Consultant?

September 3rd, 2014

Salespeople and consultants have a lot in common. While both strive to improve their client’s business performance, each take a different approach to providing their client with the best experience possible. Here are how salespeople and consultants differ when it comes to how they approach the overall client process:

A salesperson asks for the order. A consultant is helpful along the way, making little problems disapear and providing insights and information that guide the buying process.

A salesperson chases the customer. A consultant thinks ahead and has the time scheduled because of the value they can create with the insights and information they provide.

A salesperson can’t get customers to call them back and often quits on the 3rd, 4th, or 5th effort. A consultant understands human nature and the modern workplace and they know it is their role to be visible and to connect appropriately with their customer.

A salesperson asks, “Do you need anything else or do you have all the information you need?” A consultant knows what the customer needs and wants and they offer it up.

ID-100163128A salesperson asks what the next step is. A consultant shares all of the steps with the customer in advance.

A salesperson cannot understand why a customer did not buy. A consultant advises the customer that their solution is not the right one. Yet gets them to the right solution anyway.

A salesperson is a stereotype. They are selfish and take orders. A consultant is also a stereotype. They are selfish, guiding, disruptive, and knowledgeable.

A salesperson is not on sales quota. A consultant earns their clients but wins in the long run.

Are you a salesperson or a consultant? Which would you rather be?

Outside-In® Summer Reading List

August 27th, 2014

Summer reading is a part of the fabric that defines my free time as well as my summer vacation. The challenge is to decide how to recharge and rejuvenate with that precious time off. Do I really want to read an industry publication or study for that upcoming webinar to keep continuing education credits flowing? It’s not that I don’t like my industry or chosen profession, I just need space and time to decompress. The more space I can create or make more time to think, the more likely I am to find new ideas and thoughts that help with my day-to-day work!

However, sometimes it’s hard to get away without our smart phones tethered to our hand 24/7—we all have to find some compromise, right? The very device that lets you order pizza while on vacation or text the teenagers to find out when they will be home is the same piece of technology that pings every time there is a new email and some work issue that either ruins your vacation mood or requires immediate attention!

I once heard the pile of unread business magazines, articles, books, and white papers on your nightstand or work station referred to as the tower of guilt! I, for one, feel good when I take that pile of work and plow through it. Sometimes I read three or four books at the same time in rotation just to change topics for the sake of staying current. However, this is not the approach I like to take for summertime reading.

So if you’re trying too hard to work and want to recharge while coming back with a new perspective on your business, here are my top three must reads:

ID-1001841481. Anything by Gladwell. Malcom not only sees the world differently, but he does the research to back it up. Try The Tipping PointWhat the Dog Saw, or my all time favorite, The Outliers. If you want to think about your business place in a different way, try escaping to the world that Malcom creates!

2.  How to Win Friends and Influence People. So many smart people know something about their field of study or the technical aspects of their profession yet few invest in their relationships.  No books exists that is more time tested for helping you with tools and tips for great human relations skills!

3.  Zen and the Art of Happiness. Everyone gets down in the dumps from time to time. As Dale Carnegie is for great human relationships this book is for realigning your perspective on your daily life. Things happen to us each and everyday, it is what we do next that matters.

If you have a book that recharges and lifts your energy while helping you reflect and improve your business or your leadership persona please let us know!

Outside-In® Chronicles: Leaders, Admit When You’re Wrong Please!

August 20th, 2014

Originally posted on April 3rd, 2013

Today’s companies operate differently than a decade or two ago. Globalization, technology, cultural and social change, demographic trends and shifts have all impacted the way business is conducted. This structural shift has impacted the worker too. Today’s worker must be focused on knowledge building and embracing change skills to maximize themselves.

ID-100147926However, I think this structural shift has impacted the way leaders need to lead. One of my personal pet peeves is when leaders don’t take the time to admit fault. There is this funny thing called “leadership pride” that keeps our lips shut.  We may act like we did something wrong, we may make amends or attempt to fix a mistake, however, we don’t often vocally admit mistakes enough. When we don’t admit our mistakes, we damage trust on our teams and in our company. Trust is a funny thing. Easy to lose. Hard to get back.  Must be built through your actions and of course, your words.  They better be close to one and the same.

By not admitting mistakes we look fake and disingenuous. Today’s worker must do their job on the edge of their seat and take risks in their job to create some wow (or do something Nth degree in Outside-In® language). But the risk is the key.  If you won’t show vulnerability as a leader and expose yourself how do you expect others to do so?  And if you expect creativity or new thinking from your people, then celebrating mistakes is a requirement.

Making mistakes makes you real.  By making mistakes you are human. By admitting them, you allow others to admit them and creates an open channel for improved communication to blossom. A problem said out loud, is a problem half solved! Openly addressing mistakes you’ve made as a leader allows trust to grow and build between you and your employees. It’s about being Open Book — being honest, vulnerable, and transparent – and living Outside-In® leadership, where accessibility and trust are key components of a strong leader.

We all need a culture of admission, right?

CBI Way: Strategically Sourcing for Success

August 13th, 2014

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

It’s well known that sourcing is an integral part of any recruitment strategy, the groundwork for generating quality candidate pools and identifying top talent. In the last CBI Way blog we discussed the growing trend of passive sourcing, coinciding with decreasing unemployment and a large number of jobs added. Passive sourcing is strategic, it takes time, and a well thought out plan. An essential technique in sourcing passive candidates is promoting the opportunity through your network, not just targeting those individuals who might be a great fit.

ID-100164388Promoting your opportunity includes reaching out to varying professionals. Creating excitement, generating interest, and establishing relationships with individuals who you feel may be that quality talent you are looking for is effective, but strategic sourcing is about thinking outside of the box as well. For instance, who might be the professionals in your network who tend to work with the type of people who would be interested in the opportunity? Are you searching for an architect with experience in hi-tech industries? Try connecting with electrical engineers who have worked on pharmaceutical or medical laboratories. Ask for their expertise and suggestions for identifying qualified individuals. Sure, they’re not an architect, and neither are you; but, chances are they have worked closely with professionals in that field during their career.

Thinking critically and objectively when strategically sourcing is key to success. There is more than one way to obtain the information for which you are looking. It is easy to think about a new requisition with a singular focus on that specific talent. But that individual is not always right in front of you, and finding alternative methods and sources of great information can be the difference between impressing the client, and underwhelming them.

Outside-In® Book List

© Year CBI Group. All Rights Reserved. Site Credits.