Posts Tagged: Superheroes


What Would Alan Burkhard Do?

July 30th, 2014

Throughout most of my formative years as a leader, I started off my thinking with the basic question, “What would Alan do or say?” Alan Burkhard is my Pop, a serial entrepreneur, a good Father, an activist for the community & any underdog that he comes in contact with, and most importantly, the most unique leader I know.

Alan's PictureFor example, I used to call him every Friday when we worked together and without fail he thought differently than most leaders. For most situations he would not give me the answer I sought. Rather, he would point me back to the information. He would say, “You don’t have enough information to come up with the solution. Go back and get more.”

Recently, the Outside-In® Companies was awarded with a very large contract. We have worked for it for years. As is typical of a comprehensive workforce program, the customer needed help well before we finished implementation! We had a choice stick with our higher retail price for services until we implement or give the volume price and trust that this is the right thing to do.  Do we have more margin now or do we establish a great “wow” moment of trust with a new customer? What would Alan do? Most grab the margin. We gave the volume price and we will trust that the rest will take care of itself!!

So my statement, “What would Alan do or say?” has nothing to do with seeking fatherly approval or anything like that. It is simply a phrase that keeps me sharp and focused on what being an Outside-In® leader is really all about.

Another example of his unique leadership occurred while at a recent baseball game. Alan commented on the recent security changes at the MLB ballparks. Essentially, ballparks are going to be like airports and large office complexes in the sense that game goers will be patted down and go through scanners. All in the name of homeland security. We might mumble and grumble about our loss of rights and civil liberties but we go along with the crowd and think that this is just another precautionary measure. Not Alan. He brings forward the classic Outside-In® leadership principle. We always seem to police and create rules for the handful of wrong doers and then punish everyone else. Security is serious business of course. However, I get his point as he as always applied this to his business.

Stereotypically speaking, leaders create too many rules and over complicate things. We create policies and handbooks galore. Don’t misinterpret me, I believe some structure and system makes sense. Just don’t over do it! Allow good people to follow simple rules and be allowed to operate freely within that loose system. That is why Outside-In® leaders lead with values. Values are there when we are not (which is often). Besides, bad leaders want to be superheroes anyway and are much too quick to dole out answers. That is NOT what staff wants. Staff wants to grow and be challenged in their job.

So for me, “What would Alan say or think?” is my mantra. It keeps me sharp. I am reminded that it is OK to cut against the grain and to be Outside-In® every moment of every day. This is very hard as most of those in the leadership world would rather make a rule than to actually lead or take action!

4 Things The Avengers Taught Me About Talent Acquisition

April 9th, 2014

By Outside-In® Team Member Caitlin Olszewski

TAMarvel2Anyone and everyone in the industry knows that finding superhero talent is rare and extremely hard to do. When looking for new talent you need to ensure that their skillset can coincide with the team and work together to fulfill the purpose of the business. Each member of your team must bring a unique expertise that ultimately strives for the success of the organization and the growth of the company.

Here are some things to remember when looking beyond masks and capes:

1. Superhero powers are rendered useless if not harnessed and executed properly. Nobody wants a hulk candidate smashing everything in sight, or an archer that cannot master the skill to hit a target. It’s important to look for talent that not only meets the skill requirement, but also has the proven ability to use said skills in action. Screen for specifics and ask for examples of a time your candidate used these skills to overcome common obstacles in your industry.

2. Resumes can be deceiving. Sure, they graduated top of their class from MIT and have two master’s degrees under their armor prior to the age of 19. That doesn’t mean the man behind the iron is the right person for your team or a cultural fit for your company. Face to face interviews with the entire staff are crucial. Bring them into your office and see how they interact with every single person in the company and try to weed out any signs of evil.

3. Candidates must be up to date on all technology and facets of your industry. Although your super serum-enhanced candidate can wield a shield and have an unprecedented patriotism toward your company, they may have been asleep for the last 70 years when it comes to current technology and practices. Whatever your industry, it’s important to troll for candidates that are ahead of the game and know “the next best thing.” If your stellar candidate is slightly lacking in this category, make sure that they have the willingness and drive to learn quickly.

4. Always be comfortable with being in BETA. A company’s work is never “finished”. Look for candidates who can wear multiple suits and focus towards creating a 2.0 improved version. Businesses boom when employees are superhuman and innovative. Troll for candidates with diverse backgrounds within your industry and you can bet on an unstoppable force of business growth and development.

You don’t need Charles Xavier or Cerebro to locate your next talent. At Outside-In® Companies, we offer Blank Sheet of Paper Recruitment Solutions that are completely customizable for your needs! We can help you.

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