Category: Outside-In®


What if There Was a “Back to Business” Holiday?

January 7th, 2015

ID-100263930Now that the holidays are behind us, I find myself waking up with the Holiday Blues. The holidays are a constant buzz of exciting activity and stimulation. All of us get so busy preparing, traveling, eating, and then recovering, that the world slowly limps into that first week or two of January. Even if you’re a Scrooge and intend to plow right through the holidays, the world around you is going to slow down so much that there will be less you can do to feel active!

Although the holidays are much needed (and well deserved) for employees, they are not very beneficial for the shareholders and customers of the business. The holiday season causes delays in production and hinders decision making due to limited staff in the office for meetings. Getting back into work and beyond the blues is easier said than done. It will take a few days to dig out from all of those emails, for schedules to free up, and for important meetings to take place. Then maybe decisions will be made and maybe next week business will be normal again.

The frantic pace that built up to the holidays when everything was either done by December 19th or left to January 2nd to deal with has officially dwindled. My point is that it has been a while since we have had a normal business week. I’m not sure we can all survive a five day work week after the frenzied rush before holidays and the post-season blues!

All joking aside, I think we are longing for some normalcy. Forget all of the January stereotypes regarding goal setting, New Year’s resolutions, and new annual business budgets that go live this month. There is so much pressure on performance both personally and professionally; yet there’s only so much we can do about it. I would like to see a business holiday formed inspired by the idea of going back to work now that the holidays are over. Everyone go to work that day and know that the playing field is equal and all businesses will be getting back to the grindstone at the same time—Imagine that!

Now that we’re back in action, we want the phones to ring, the emails to start flying, and for business to get back to normal. We all need this fast because before you know it snow and MLK day will cause the next business delay!

Upcoming 1/29 Talent Seminar: Influencing Cultural Transformation – One Small Step at a Time

January 5th, 2015

Please join us on Thursday, January 29th (7:30-9AM) for our Outside-In® Talent Seminar featuring guest speaker, Beth Bunting Arnholt. Sometimes change requires large-scale process. But often you can have more impact by creating seemingly small opportunities and leveraging them as catalysts. Beth will share how she influences cultural transformation one step at a time in her role as VP Integrated Talent Management at Comcast/NBCUniversal.

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

ID-100289097WHO SHOULD ATTEND?

You should join us if you are:

  • An HR Leader
  • In Talent Management or Recruiting
  • A business leader planning to implement or improve his/her company’s culture
  • Looking to expand your knowledge on best business practices
  • Seeking HRCI recertification credits*

*This seminar is pre-approved for HRCI credits.

ABOUT OUR GUEST SPEAKER

bethbuntingarnholtBeth Bunting Arnholt serves as Vice President of Integrated Talent Management for Comcast/NBCUniversal. In this role she partners across Comcast Corporate, Comcast Cable, and NBCUniversal on the design and implementation of world-class Talent strategies. She works closely with the Cable and NBCUniversal teams to build a culture that takes a future focused, enterprise wide view of talent as a key business driver.

Beth joined Comcast from BDC Consulting where she served for five years as Principal and Owner, providing strategic human resources and organizational development counsel to a variety of companies including Comcast Cable, Conectiv Energy, BAYADA Home Health Care, The Reinvestment Fund, Versus, and The Golf Channel. Prior to BDC Consulting, she held various roles at Comcast Cable, most recently serving as Vice President of Human Resources, and before that, Vice President of Recruiting and Career Development. She also held positions at Acsys Resources, Inc. and Mobil Oil Corporation.

Beth is a member of the Dean’s Advisory Board for LeBow College of Business at Drexel University, a Big Sister in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, a Philadelphia Advisory Committee member for Women of Tomorrow, and actively involved as a mentor for Comcast/NBCUniversal’s Employee Resource Groups and Executive Leadership Forum. She holds a Master in Business Administration from Drexel University and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Delaware. She resides in Garnet Valley, PA with her family.

Everyone is a Leader—How Do You Lead?

December 31st, 2014

Everyone is a Leader is the hardest Outside-In® value to live and the most important value for us to get right! Culture is our secret sauce and our choke point. Our culture is “free.” Anyone can see it, read about it, experience it, and copy it. Then why is it so hard to mimic? Ego, success, habits, what exists, to name just a few. Giving everyone a chance to be a leader when there are so few good ones? Well, that just might be the point after all. Would you rather have one, or two, or many? I think getting all to embrace and understand the essence of leadership gives us a real marketplace advantage.

ID-100260051Imagine an organization and the advantage it could possess if its workforce dedicated itself to learning about leadership? Would growth be more manageable as key openings were easier to fill? Especially if you can fill these roles from within?

Living a value and being a great leader are obviously different. For our companies we want and expect:

  • All to have a say, especially in customer matters
  • All to learn how to make effective decisions
  • All to learn how to develop leadership capabilities
  • All to practice leadership skills

Leadership Mastery is a 10,000 hour pursuit. Thats 3 hours a day for a really long time—over ten years! Living the value of Everyone is a Leader frankly takes just as much organizational energy. But like I said if we do it well it is a free advantage that is extremely difficult to copy!

Customer Service: Nth Degree Mindset

December 17th, 2014

There is so much talk about customer service yet so little of it sticks. Every business, every leader, every single one of us, has good intentions. None of us go to work saying, “Today I am going to plan to disappoint a customer when I interact with them. Let’s hang up on them. Avoid them. Get their order wrong. Misinterpret them. Let’s just be average and kind of ‘blah.’ That is where most of us end up really. In the Valley of Blah, we don’t quite fail or flob, however, we are far from memorable. Being memorable requires you to understand those critical “Moments of Truth.”

ServiceNMoments of Truth are those customer points of intersection. A great culture helps. At the Outside-In® Companies, we have a value “Service to the Nth Degree” and our goal is to go above and beyond expectations. We provide service without boundaries, limits, or governor. Just push service as far as you can. A good culture helps an employee trust that they can serve without barriers. The company system supports and rewards those customer service behaviors! Have you ever had an experience where a cashier or customer service representative indicates that they need manager approval and the manager never comes or arrives in what seems like an unacceptable time frame? All of this for a simple product return or change in your purchase! That’s a poor business system at it’s best.

We think empowering employees to think to the Nth Degree is just part of the answer to providing an Outside-In® experience. This enables us to create Nth Degree moments that are spontaneous and authentic.

However, the real magic in creating Moments of Truth is to think about those key moments of interaction with your customer. How can you save them time? Speed up the process? Enhance the experience? How can you make that moment memorable and ensure every customer experiences that Moment of Truth? Our goal is to make Outside-In® and Nth Degree a repeatable thing. Full of great in the moment Moments of Truth and planned Moments of Truth.

The sky’s the limit to Nth Degree service thinking. The key is to take each part of your business and brainstorm how to be more Nth Degree. One of the ways we practice our Nth Degree value as a team is to partake in charity work for our community. We have a charity of the month program where each month we fundraise and donate our time and services to a charity in need.

Try and pilot it. Measure it. Operationalize. Then repeat!

Here’s to Nth Degree moments!

3rd Annual Holiday Infographic

December 9th, 2014

Happy Holidays from the Outside-In® Companies!

We looked back on our year through mint, gold & rose colored glasses. Take a look at our year in numbers through our 3rd Annual Holiday Infographic!

 

Happy Thanksgiving from Outside-In® Companies!

November 26th, 2014

Each year, the Outside-In® team likes to express our gratitude in a fun and unique way. This year we asked our team members what they are most thankful for and had them write it all down on a piece of paper to create an appreciation wall. View our video below to see what we are most thankful for!

Wishing all of our customers a safe & happy holiday!

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.

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 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?

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