Posts Tagged: entrepreneur


Why Identifying Hiring Roadblocks is the Answer to Hiring Challenges

November 30th, 2016

Most professional struggles with time management, even the most successful organizations. There are an infinite amount of things to do in any given day, and some challenges are prioritized over another. However, when it comes to hiring, it’s hard to imagine a successful business without a successful workforce plan. If you’re having trouble finding or retaining good talent, start asking some tough questions to avoid wasting time, money, and great employees.

Do you really know what you’re looking for?

In this market where loyalty is low and demands are high, it’s easy to think a lot talent management is outside of your control. But hiring is all about aligning your expectations with the candidate’s outlook. Once completely honest with the current workforce dynamics, you can start to see certain red flags that are not helping the situation. For example, if you’re willing to ignore an IT candidate’s cultural challenged in favor of their talent, then you have to expect it might not work out for the team long-term.

3d worker with hand on roadblock, barricade

Are you thinking long-term?

Hiring managers must take into account both the stress they place on staff when they’re in need of talent, and the potential problems that come from hiring someone who may not be the best candidate simply because the need is so great. Both factors are important, but contradict each other. If its beginning to take entirely too long to identify someone is that is a fit, it could be time to reassess how the hiring process is being executed.

Can you find the talent on your own?

Sometimes managers just don’t have the resources to identify talent, vet their resumes, sit down for multiple interviews and then deliberating over the final decisions. Generally speaking, fatigue will set in somewhere along the way, causing people to skip or half complete one of the steps. Partnering with recruitment firm can make all the difference, but it’s pivotal to find a partner who not only has connections, but can also really understand the role both skill set wise, and culturally. It’s possible to outsource every part of the process, or just bits and pieces, but a recruiting partner can provide great value, and a specialized expertise.

15 things I learned over 15 years! Advice I might give my 32 year old self.

July 27th, 2016

Who ever thinks about where they will be 15 years from now? Who really thinks about tomorrow? At 32, I put it all on the line and became the fourth generation in my family to take the entrepreneurial plunge – starting my first company, CBI Group.

I was asked to share a little bit about what I have learned over the last 15 years of running my own business, CBI Group and the Outside-In® Companies. Perhaps I can pass on some wisdom you might find useful, or a musing that you find entertaining? For me this is pretty darn cathartic! Write it down. Get it out. And keep pressing play and come back at it again tomorrow, right? That is what most entrepreneurs do best. As Churchill said, “Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever give up.” These are my words to live by through thick and thin.

As I think back I get emotional. I have had servers stolen, office roofs collapse, 9/11 on my first day. I have had floods and fires on Super Bowl Sunday! Through all the good, bad and disaster, here goes 15 thoughts from reflecting on 15 years in business.

  1. Most business are not pink unicorn businesses. Few entrepreneurs have million dollar business ideas, let alone billion dollar ones. So think about it as you sip your Starbucks, while shopping using your Amazon Prime account to compare rates with Walmart. To be the next Facebook, you have to have a scalable idea, a really great brand promise that is very defendable, and be a very skilled leader/founder that knows how to scale. Most of us mere business mortals build our businesses and keep them for a long time. Progress, profit, growth, real break through impact and change come slowly! And not all businesses will sell, merge or be acquired. Day after day we run our companies.
  2. What is success, anyway? The funny thing about success is that it looks easy. And is often viewed that way with envy and jealousy. However, show me an overnight success and I guarantee you it is the exception to the rule. Success is a judgement, anyway. Success comes with hard work, luck, perseverance, and fortitude that few can stomach. I am at year 15. Success is all relative.
  3. The stages of growth are challenging. If you’re lucky to navigate the growth stages, to learn from them, and frankly survive your inevitable inability to adapt and change fast enough, you have learned this too. As leaders we must change our approach/style/focus and even our goals for each phase of growth. And no one tells you this when you start! I started this business with a flip cell phone, an 89 page business plan, and a card table desk in a friend’s office break room. (Thank you, Jim!) We grew, added staff and then one day nothing worked. We adjusted and changed and then we hit another growth wall. Years later, I am now better informed on what goes into next growth stage and the challenges that we will face as a company, and that I will face as a leader. The lucky ones get a chance to learn from their mistakes and live to fight another day. Some great insight on each phase of growth can be found at here.
  4. Just how often can I change my style and role, anyway? Day 1 I did everything… Sales, marketing, customer service, hiring, billing, taking out the trash, you name it. Where did all of these employees come from anyway? 15 years, three brands, thousands of employees and customers later… think of all those budgets, strategic plans, and years of promise and change? Today, I spend my days teaching and coaching leaders and employees in through making tough decisions for their business. Our values guide me in my work and help others to forge their own path and make their own decisions. Some days, I still sell, market, answer the phone, and take out the trash. BUT, I come back resolutely to our strategy. Where we are going? And why? And then I align everyone to the plan and to the current operational plans for the business this quarter. And my role will continue to involve — what will year 20 look like?
  5. Hiring more people is an entrepreneurial answer to just about everything. We get excited about growth and enjoy opening more offices, generating more sales and of course increasing headcount. BUT, I’ve learned what you really need to do is to solve problems with better scalable systems and technologies! That is where value and scaling can come into play.
  6. Define your why. Coming to work without a real purpose or perhaps to just make money is a hollow place to be. Customers, employees, and vendor/partners get excited when your business exists to serve the greater good. Why do you get out of bed? Defining that in your business attracts folks to your business and keeps them coming back.
  7. Go find someone who has solved the problem before. If you know me as stubborn, you would not be the only one. My biggest learn over the last five years is all around this point. For years I solved the problem with what I had, my way of thinking and my team. Instead? Go get the answer, find folks that have solved it before. Gather perspective. Then make your path forward with that information. So much time, energy, resources and money have been wasted on starting from scratch! This is a problem when you have a culture that prides itself on innovation and creativity. I’ve learned that simple is often more elegant.
  8. Not everyone is going on the ride with you. Or at least the whole ride. My dad, Alan Burkhard told me once, “Not even your mother made all 27 years with me in the business.” Life changes. Business needs change. Folks do different things, they move, change careers, get married and start businesses. Or they disagree with your thinking and business direction… and they leave you. Get used it! However, treat them like they will be with you forever. I had less then 2% turnover in core staff the first 7 years. Man, I used to brag about it. Then we changed business models and great legacy folks left me. My heart was broken at the time. No one goes on the ride with you the entire trip. Get used to it. I have.
  9. Make it really hard to get in your business. But easy to leave. This is a borrowed family mantra. But it works really well. In other words, hire slowly. But throw folks a party when they leave. Loyalty and allegiance are good things. Unless that is all that is left. And it happens. Staff and the jobs they are in do not remain a good fit for long. We are really lucky if your current duties align with your interest more then a few times a year. Work is cyclical and project based. Most businesses change everything fast. Try and stay aligned to the purpose. Try to keep your quarterly goals relevant as the business changes month to month. Do your quarterly or six month goals seem outdated when you go to review them? Welcome to the pace of change today. Agile employees, agile rolling forecasts, agile performance reviews or feedback sessions. Everything must be portable, flexible and easy to move. Including you.
  10. Be way more conservative and realistic. I have suffered from and am often overly optimistic. I am reformed at this point. But at 32, I could sell, I could talk fast,  and I could and did try to outwork others. So most of the time, I was lucky enough to outwork my optimism. But the truth is I have had to be much more honest around planning scenarios. Today, work cast scenario planning really matters to me. And I prefer realistic  and conservative thinking today. And it is hard this way. Running a business can be more fun when your a gambler who goes for it all of the time. No rules in the early years of the business is fun for others right? Until you fail big time. And I have. So, today I balance long-range strategy thinking (and dreaming) with a dose of reality.
  11. Have you really mastered being a leader? I hear it takes 10,000 hours of practice to master anything. Humbly, I am triple that in real world practice as a leader. And I still have so much to learn.
  12. I wish I did not wait so long to be direct. Tell the truth. Let folks know where they stand. Give them feedback. We all crave it. Stop hinting someone to death. Love them up or out. Your team deserves to be successful, challenged, and to be the best they can be for you. Or move folks on to their next successful place. That is a leader’s job – or at least one that cares about their people.
  13. Running a business is cyclical. Economic swings, job markets and times/politics change. I always felt I was too small a business to worry about how much market share I had. BUT, I wish I had learned earlier on that the market changes. And how I run the business needs to change with it. There are times to go for it, and times to be very conservative and play things tight to the vest.
  14. I had no idea I could be this patient. If I had to give my younger 32 year old self some advice it would be, “This is going to take a while. You’re going to need to sacrifice everything. Put it all on the line, everything, your house, your marriage, your key relationships… Younger self, are you ready for all of this? Time, patience, fortitude, moxie, perseverance. At times you go numb. At times you come to the office but take the day off mentally. But most days the world will not let you. Entrepreneurs need to be relevant and focused almost every day to make it. And that says nothing about success or making it big time!”
  15. Everything changes. Good days fade. Bad days take longer to go away. Business is terrific. Then change happens. Some years you grow and don’t make money. And in flat years you’re running a better company and the bottom line is sweet! Change keeps coming. Employees come and go. Customers are bought and sold, go bankrupt and move out of town. Customers’ needs and wants change. Multi-million dollar business lines dry up. New products grow up before your eyes and become your big bell winner, your future. Rookies become managers. Managers become senior leaders. I have learned that being a student of change is my one true advantage. Embrace it, drive it, and know status quo is deadly in the long run!

So my 32 year old self was full of himself. Glib and confident. Boundless and endless energy on reserve. Every problem in the business was one I created. I celebrated those early fiascos, they were fun to try and resolve. Everything was about the vision for what I wanted to build with that early team. We were going to reinvent and create a space in staffing and professional services. We vowed to make culture important (believe it or not when those words were foreign in most business’s large and small). I worked endlessly. For two years straight I worked every single day. My theory was an hour worked today is an hour I would get back when I exited the business. The exit plan was scheduled for year nine! Well, six years later I am still at it. Today it’s much more about the journey than the destination.

p.s. if you’re interested, here are my 10 musings from our 10th anniversary in 2011!

Do You Choose to Act Like a Temporary Employee or an Entrepreneur?

May 14th, 2015

temporentreWhat would you do with yourself if you realized that the world of work has changed dramatically and that we have a choice to make? We are basically temps OR we are entrepreneurs that must choose ourselves. That is my interpretation of a wonderfully honest book by James Altucher called Choose Yourself!

We are temps in the sense that we go to work, do our jobs, and collect our paychecks. We don’t love what we do, however, we don’t even really know that there is another option. We don’t put a whole lot into our career when we act like a temporary employee. The career is simply a means to an end. I get paid and I am waiting for someone to tell me what to do and how to do it—that is the extent of the contract.

However, we are all, in essence, rented for a period of time (even though the job is not a true temporary position). Time is relative. If the average tenure of a public CEO is thirteen months, I could make the argument that it is a temporary assignment. It is our attitude, level of engagement, lack of drive to learn, and inability to grow or find ways to become more of an asset that often catch up with us. You act temporary and you don’t know any better!

Or maybe it’s not your fault at all and it’s simply the realities of today’s workplace that did it to you. No company or job is forever, right? The economy, markets, your company, and its industry, all play a key role. I think that is the point of the title of choosing yourself! You are responsible for you. No one else, let alone your current employer. You must own your skills and development and how you monetize what you are capable of! A job simply might not cut it anymore! Or perhaps it just part of you how monetize your time and capabilities?

Being an entrepreneur? Well, I think this is both literal and figurative. All of us must be resourceful, creative, hard working, productive, a risk taker, and a learner. We must find ways to create revenues for our employers and for ourselves on the side. This could be cottage industries, extra jobs, writing blogs or books. We are responsible for our own careers and for inventing ourselves!

The key to NOT being a temp? Act like an entrepreneur. Frankly, the book itself is full of implementable ways of choosing yourself and finding a way to own your income and your career. The magic is in being and thinking differently while you’re employed. Most businesses crave entrepreneurial thinking. Culture and external environment may dictate terms, but it starts within! I, for one, have supported many employees to become entrepreneurs. I have supported side projects and reviewed their cottage industry ideas. Quite frankly, I buy from them, too! This is how you choose yourself.

If cold calls don’t work, change your plans. If the product doesn’t sell, sell something else. If the meeting did not go well, then try again. This is what entrepreneurs do—and it is what great entrepreneurial employees do, too!

Want to meet great entrepreneurial employees? I have a few that get what it takes to chose for themselves! Mary Schaefer (left) is one of our Career Coaches at Barton Career Advisors, and Kelly Hocutt (right) is our Marketing Team Leader for the Outside-In® Companies.

1de43b62917a9b

What Would Happen if We Stopped Taking Risks?

April 29th, 2015

Lets start with the obvious, avoiding taking any risk is actually a pretty serious risk all by itself! This requires us to avoid phone calls and interactions with customers and associates. We need to skip team meetings and duck out of the break room, too. The longer we stand still and stay status quo the more likely we are to fall a step behind or even lose altogether—all while our competitors and peers march forward.

The Outside-In® Companies believe in our value of taking risks. We definitely don’t steer around or away from it, but why does it matter for our employees to live this value? Who really cares anyway? In fact, why should any service company encourage risk taking?

ID-100309958First off, risk taking is really about decision making, the lack of perceived authority, task discretion, and reward for doing so. Employees that do not make decisions often do so because their company’s culture discourages it. This is cultivated through the management team and their practices. This is quite often an unexpected negative outcome of a company that lacks a cultural plan to encourage customer centric actions with those that have direct customer contact.

Employees that don’t make decisions have little or no choice but to get the answer for a customer from those that have the power or information. Usually, the power lies in controlling that information and it is intended to be a business control that simply hedges risk. However, in this case, it kills the customer! This can be because of a lack of training and knowledge or a matter of policy and the preferred hierarchical nature of the company.

Close your eyes and remember when this happened to you, a roommate, someone from your household, etc. Is there anything more frustrating than when you’re on the phone with that utility, or in line at the retail store, or airport and the service associate needs a manager? All you needed was to make a return, change a seat, or get your bill in the correct name. The worst part is that the supervisor does not do anything fancy—they just need a stupid code or a key to take care of your return or to move your flight.

A culture that values its customers empowers and encourages risks that take place in the act of serving a customer!

Employees that are not encouraged to notice what their customers are actually saying and then do something about it are not serving the strategic purposes of the business. The front lines see and hear it all. How many times have you heard a clerk or phone representative say that they have told management about a customer opinion so many times but no one listens. Then their voice trails off and their interest and engagement level wanes day by day! If we listen to customers as employees they will tell you why they are angry about a program or policy change, what is never in the store, when service is slow, or when a product has been replaced that should not have been. We can always hear it as employees.

A culture that values risk taking creates an environment where employees have tools and formats to share what they hear and take action! This is customer centric and systematic cultural risk taking. What did you learn from our marketplace today? What did our customers challenge us with? What do they need and want from us? Ask employees for feedback often, give all employees a format to share, reward this flow of insights, then categorize it and teach what to do with it. Most likely your plan of improvement needs tweaking. Employees just need permission to open their eyes and be empowered to see what needs fixing. Empowerment and the confidence to stand up and share what might be the next product or service that enhances your company’s top line strategy are the keys to grow your business.

Risk taking is a cultural tool to encourage customer centric and entrepreneurial behaviors for all of your employees. You have a choice in your organization; you can either treat employees like leased resources, or you can act and create an environment that encourages entrepreneurial behaviors that enhance your customer’s experience with you.

Go sit and listen to your employees, have Outside-In® eyes and ears, and gather the information you need in order to decide how to encourage risk taking that improves the experience for your customer base. Or come visit our office and see it in action!

Outside-In® Chronicles: Game of Jobs – Talent is Coming

April 8th, 2015

The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently posted that total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 126,000 in March, and the unemployment rate remained at 5.5 percent. With Game of Thrones Season 5 premiering this coming Sunday, and the staffing numbers on a continuous rise, we decided to bring this blog back from the vault to illustrate that the War on Talent is still alive and well and the battle for quality talent is increasing every day!

Game of Jobs – Talent is Coming

Originally published on April 23rd, 2014

If you look at the numbers in TV and talent of late, it’s clear to see that a lot more people are watching Game of Thrones (#1 download this week of all TV!) Who can blame them? It’s like General Hospital in the middle ages with enough family, fighting, war, and drunkenness to satisfy everyone.

GoT-LogoAnother key insight is that there is a new, more modern war for King’s Landing brewing. This is apparent in the US talent numbers, too. It’s just going to take a little longer for all of us to really notice. Job creation is way up for four straight months, bubbling up in the 40,000 range consistently. The 121,000 announced large reductions in force for the first quarter of 2014 are a 19-year low! And private employment is up, up, and up.Temporary staffing, services, hospitality, technical roles, IT, you name it.

However, no one is talking about it. Unemployment has remained flat. There is an interesting thing about public perception. All perceptions take time to change. I propose that it takes a good six months for the general public to change a perspective. Perhaps you’re always late for work. Everyone in the office knows it. Now suppose you work to change that perspective. And you come in diligently on time or even early! But I bet few will notice. You will still be known as the character that arrives late—for a long, long time. Over time perceptions change. People take notice. Others comment. Someone might even make a joke or compliment you for your efforts. Eventually being late is nothing more than a memory.

In the war for talent our economy has putted along for so long, far from roaring and not quite stopped cold like a Stark at a Red Wedding. Our common understanding is of recession and slower business times. Businesses are doing just OK. Big Companies are hoarding cash for the next growth opportunity. Yes, the stock market is doing well but that is for rich people, right? Or that is my retirement. That does not make my day-to-day life easier or put more money in my pocket. This common view has impacted careers and work systems. Today’s hiring managers have had so many choices from which to hire people, that they still believe it. That perhaps they can always hire slowly. They can always hire who they want. Even offer them salaries or whatever they might want.

Todays Game of Jobs is shifting right before our eyes. Fifteen years ago pundits predicted a talent war around right now. This was a long-term view based on the supply and demand of talent. That there simply were not enough or the right kind of workers available. That this would be a great time to be employed and that this is going to happen. Every day we talk to employers who have an aging workforce; a workforce of allied health workers or of pipefitters and tradespeople that simply cannot be replaced fast enough.

So if you think power changes hands fast with recent Game of Thrones episodes. Well, some day soon the workers will have control and families like the Lannisters will no longer have the advantage as the employer!

Image courtesy of hbo.com.

What is a Pre-Mortem Exercise?

March 18th, 2015

Have you ever worked in an organization that pulls the whole team together to review how to launch a new product or open a new office? The idea here is to create a “no fear zone” where teams can discuss and share what went well, what did not go well, and what lessons can be applied to future projects. When completed properly, “pre-mortems” can be a great way to promote learning, improve team behaviors, and create greater efficiency.

Imagine this scenario, a CEO calls a meeting with key staff to discuss a failed product launch or a quarter that is 20% off plan. Why would this meeting be called today when the product launch is next week and the quarter doesn’t start for another three weeks? While reading The Obstacle is The Way by Ryan Holiday, I became very overwhelmed by the concept of reviewing what could go wrong before it can go wrong.

ID-100185794A pre-mortem exercise is when you openly talk about every single thing that could go wrong with a project before the process implementation and execution begins. The goal is not be dark or negative, but rather to create an environment that encourages learning and proactive discussion about the downsides of efforts and actions before minor stucks turn into problems. This is exactly why athletes workout and why actors have rehearsal—practice makes perfect! We can never have too many business dress rehearsals or scrimmages.

Each and every business can greatly benefit from understanding contingency planning. When this type of thinking becomes natural and organic, it preconditions your team’s actions to fix what breaks. In other words, if you discussed what could go wrong and one of those potential snags begins to unravel, it might get addressed before it becomes an issue simply because the team anticipated this minor crisis and is fully prepared to handle it with ease.

Try a pre-mortem exercise today—what do you have to lose? Only learning, team building, and efficiency.

Top 8 Ways to Earn the Right

February 11th, 2015

ID-100249765You asked. You sent your request. You emailed, you called, you stopped by the cubicle. You said please. Should you whine, kick, and scream? Should you remind people of your self-worth and importance by using your title, tone of voice, or some other power play? Maybe you will threaten or refuse to respond to their email? Eye for eye, right? We all need to get things done. We need people to respond to our emails, come to meetings, pay invoices, and return calls. To say yes to your next step. To go on that date. To clean the room up. Every single day we must find away to get others to act on our behalf. However, they don’t always do it.

Many times, although not every time, it is because you deserve the response you got. You have not earned the right with that person—you simply want something done. There is so much going on, so many priorities, and much to compete with your need. How do you get anyone’s attention? This is the difference between average and good, between a bonus or nothing, and between being offered a promotion or being shown the door. Success is about the things we can’t see, it is about our interpersonal and relational skills.

Here are the top 8 ways to earn the right with your stakeholders (or just about anyone):

  1. Treat people like you would like to be treated. Of course this is common sense, but do you reply to emails in the same time frame you expect from others? How about returning phone calls?
  2. Respond no matter what the circumstances. Even if you do not have an immediate answer for someone, get back to them quickly and acknowledge their request. My wife often asks, “Did you hear me? I know your thinking but please acknowledge me.” I see staff get a request and scramble to find the answer or response and then get back to the inquirer much later than was comfortable. If they had just reached out to acknowledge that the other person was heard.
  3. Establish a cultural internal service level for yourself. How quickly will you get back to someone? Give yourself deadlines to improve the quality and speed of your responsiveness.
  4. Realize that in order to get something done it is easier to know the players. Invest time in key relationships with customers and associates at work. Do it proactively, with a plan, and in advance. Why? Proactivity always pays off. By the time you get to this investment you will need it.
  5. Read the book Business Relationships That Last. Ed Wallace is someone I consider a good friend. He wrote a terrific book on how every relationship can be viewed by a relational ladder—the process to relationship building.
  6. Know how much relational equity your organization has in the moment. How long has your company worked with this supplier? How long has your associate worked on this project? Your boss knows the team. What was the last meaningful attempt reset and invest in the people? Did your team deliver last time around? Score the situation and know your relational scorecard.
  7. Build your reputation and be the giver. Be the one that does the extras for the team.  Volunteer to assist team members and spend that spare time helping. Grab the extra project or workload. Invest in others.
  8. Don’t be the taker. I met some very successful soccer players when I coached. I have had sales people that sold more than their quota. And we all know those really smart, intelligent, and talented associates that never give and only take. They are always late, always delegating, and often behind. They are a hot mess and can’t seem to do a damn thing on their own and it shows. Do not be this person.

If you can’t get things done it is your fault. If you don’t hear back from others in a reasonable time, that is on you. You might need training. Perhaps you’re low on the relational ladder and you need to figure out how to climb a rung or two. My point is simple really: To get what you want you need to walk, talk, and chew gum like the other person. Lastly, you need to give and create value in an authentic way.

Image courtesy of ratch0013 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Upcoming 12/11 Talent Seminar: Engaging a Multicultural Displaced Workforce

November 12th, 2014

Please join us on Thursday December 11th (7:30-9AM) for our Outside-In® Talent Seminar featuring guest speaker, John Tooher. John is currently a Managing Partner at HeadRoom LLC, and will share his experiences as President and General Manager at YellAdworks, a 3,000 person global advertising agency. Companies today have many factors to think about to engage a workforce in which people are spread out globally or where teams are dispersed in multiple locations. John will focus on the best people, talent and policy practices that led the organization to top performance at this global multi-media company.

ID-10077821Eventbrite - Outside-In® Seminar: The Happy Harry's Story

WHO SHOULD ATTEND?

You should join us if you are:

  • An HR Leader
  • In Talent Management or Recruiting
  • A business leader planning for growth
  • 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

tooherJohn is currently a Managing Partner at HeadRoom LLC based in Media PA.

HeadRoom provides an enabling environment through the provision of shared office space and associated services and creates a transformative mindset by helping businesses and start-ups develop strategic roadmaps to their future vision.

John joined HeadRoom after 10 years as President and General Manager of YellAdworks Inc. based in KOP, PA, where he lead a 3,000-person global operation engaged in the production of print and online advertising solutions. With multiple sites in the US, UK, India and the Philippines, John gained considerable experience in the challenges of nurturing a workforce participating in a 24/7 global production workflow. The eight operations centers across four countries created over 2.6 million new media and print advertisements annually.

He began his career in 1986 as a process engineer with General Electric. From 1988 to 1997, John worked for 3M where he held various senior technical and manufacturing management roles. From 1997 to 2002, John worked for a 3M spin-off, Imation Corp., and was responsible for European technical, manufacturing and service operations for a number of divisions.

John holds a B.Sc. in Science from the National University of Ireland and a M.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering from Trinity College in Dublin. Mr. Tooher and his wife Kirsten have two children and enjoy living in the beautiful Chester County, Pennsylvania countryside.

Outside-In® Talent Seminar: The Happy Harry’s Story

November 10th, 2014

Last Thursday, we partnered with Alan Levin, the former CEO of Happy Harry’s (and the son of Harry himself), to present The Happy Harry’s Story at our Outside-In® Talent Seminar. Business professionals and knowledge-seeking individuals joined us at University of Delaware’s Goodstay for some networking, a hot breakfast, and to learn valuable business lessons from a successful and distinguished Delaware leader. Alan led the talk on the beginnings of Happy Harry’s and credited several variables to the success of the business.

Alan stated the importance of having customers and frontline employees at the top of the organization. “People in Delaware are extremely loyal,” said Levin. “Our fortune is credited to being located in Delaware. It’s important to give back to people. If you have the right people and the right customers, you will do well.

0240_001The discussion then turned to Levin’s 11 Rules for Business Success, a comprehensive list that includes empowering your employees to make decisions, giving back to the community you serve, and having fun. He reinforced, “Life is a people business and how you treat people makes all the difference in the world.”

Overall, our guests enjoyed Levin’s heartfelt talk, and appreciated his humor throughout the presentation. “There were several take-aways, with probably the biggest being the emphasis on people,” said guest Frank DeSantis, “The common themes were respect, empowerment, setting examples all resulting in the development of a relationship with both customers and your employees.”

Alan concluded the talk with the sentiment, “Do what you enjoy and you’ll have a much better life and not have to get out of bed every morning to do something you don’t enjoy. I never had a bad night of sleep because I had people that I trusted and people who trusted me.”

Interested in attending our Outside-In® Talent Seminars? We have several guest speakers lined up, continuing Thursday, December 11th with Talent Strategy: Engaging a Multicultural Dispersed Workforce. Our feature presenter John Tooher, currently Managing Director at HeadRoom LLC, will share his experiences as President and General Manager at YellAdworks. Join us for a breakfast, networking, and a valuable discussion! Get your tickets 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.

Outside-In® Book List

Review-Us-Blog-02
© Year CBI Group. All Rights Reserved. Site Credits.