Posts Tagged: values


5th Annual Happy Holidays Outside-Infographic

December 2nd, 2016

Happy Holidays from the Outside-In® Companies!

Take a look at our year in numbers through our 5th Annual Holiday Infographic!

Take a look at our infographics from the last four years: 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012

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.

How to Make Your Business a Talent Magnet

September 21st, 2016

Every company, large and small is challenged when it comeVector business conceptual background in flat style. The hand of businessman holding magnet and attracts happy customers or clients of different age and race to the business.s to attracting, developing, and retaining the best talent. For decades now, “lean” has been the buzz word in manufacturing. The lean business model has spread across industries, including the recruitment of quality talent. Here are a few tips to help you attract and keep the best and brightest, while remaining efficient:

Attract

What if, instead of bearing the cost of recruitment, (fees, travel expenses, etc.) you could have all the top candidates be drawn to you like a magnet? Corporations such as Apple and Google have perfected the art of employer magnetism. But you don’t have to be a tech giant to create a similar attraction.

Businesses need to focus on creating a workplace environment in which people enjoy working, according to Roberta Matusun, author of Talent Magnetism: How to Build a Workplace That Attracts and Keeps the Best. She also points out that, apart from the product or service they offer to consumers, businesses should also brand themselves as an employer.

Create Purpose

A mid-sized California BioPharm company has been able to capture the element of purpose. They boast a job satisfaction rate of 77% of their 18,000 employees. Almost all of them (90%) stated that they feel as though they have a “high job meaning.” Purpose is especially important when you are targeting a younger workforce as Millennial generation; it is said, work for the purpose, not the pay.

How to Create Purpose

Graham Kenny, writing for the Harvard Business Review says purpose, is not a company’s values, mission or vision. Your purpose statement needs to say; “this is what we are doing for our customers.”  To craft an effective purpose statement, it is important to convey the impact your organization has on the lives of the people it serves. Success in this area will inspire your employees to become invested.

Engage, Motivate, Retain

Face it, at times it is simply hard to get out of bed in the morning. Imagine working in an environment where you wouldn’t be missed if you didn’t show up at all. It is imperative that the modern workplace is structured to make employees feel integral to the day-to-day operations. Doing so creates a culture of engagement and a feeling that the success of their organization is dependent on the full participation of each individual, no matter their position. When employees feel motivated, they become more engaged, and that translates directly into improved retention.

By creating a corporate culture in which employees enjoy working, feel they have a purpose, and understand how they connect to the overall “big picture,” you will not only attract the most desirable talent but most importantly, inspire them to stay.

Is “No Silos’ an achievable goal?

February 10th, 2016

Silo Mentality‘ is “an attitude found in some organizations that occurs when several departments or groups do not want to share information or knowledge with other individuals in the same company.” (Investopedia)

The key phrase I’d like to point out in the above definition is “do not want to share.” Why? I’ll get to that, but first let me set up where I am coming from.

No Silos is one of our Outside-In® values. We like to brag about being one team where politics, title and departments do not create barriers to doing business for us. With multiple brands, teams and functions this value symbolically declares our equality — regardless of title or role — to everyone internally and externally in the business.

Silo MentalityBut I am here to say that we have silos, and probably always will. There are a few sources of silos that are unavoidable. For one, it is only natural for people to imprint strongly or bond with a team, a client, or group of people (when you start in the same orientation class, for example). Folks are always going to find some commonality to silo around. Everyone looks to self identify — where we live, who we know, what we know and of course who we work with or share information with. We tend to discriminate or create silos when we don’t know others. It is easier to not help or not share when you are strangers. So with strong relationship bonds, silos are naturally created.

Another example of unavoidable silos in business are organizational functions. The operations, finance, HR and sales teams (and so on) are by nature separate functions that create silos for a number of reasons: knowledge/expertise, common projects & goals, shared leadership, or even the fact that people sit closer together. Work is organized in such a way that you spend a lot of time together working on similar work, and therefore barriers are created between one functional group and another.

So yes, companies and organizations will always have silos. There will always be groups of friends, project groups, account teams, functional departments and leadership at every company. Let’s go back to the phrase “do not want to share” in the definition of silo mentality. There is one thing that separates a company with silo mentality and one without: it’s the willingness to share information.

If you sense a Silo Mentality at your company, dig deeper into the why. 1. Are people unwilling to share information with other teams? 2. Are there rules from leadership that prevent information sharing? Or 3. Is it the organizational structure that makes it hard (but not impossible) to work across teams and departments?

At Outside-In® Companies, we have experienced a lot of organizational change lately as we get organized for growth and scaling. As we define roles and put infrastructure in place, we are experiencing some of #3. But what I can tell you, is that our issues with silos are not as severe as the stories I hear about from companies that experience #1 and #2. How about needing to fill out an actual form that must be approved by each department head to receive permission to talk to another department? So much for collaboration at the water cooler or getting together for happy hour to create, solve or address business problems, large or small.

Or this recent one. Sales and Account Management teams refused to include the Service team in the customer conversation. These departments misconstrued who owns relationships, and maybe most importantly who is involved with delivering an experience to the customer! Imagine trying to get anything done!

So yes, at the Outside-In® Companies, we do have Silos. But our Silo Mentality is not because we are unwilling to share with our team members or because we have rules in place that prevent cross-team collaboration. In fact, with No Silos as a value, cross-team collaboration is encouraged. The No Silos value is about building relationships because you can. And encourages reaching out across silos — without rules, forms, sign up sheets or leader’s permission. Regardless of a one leader’s behavior, one can always talk to or work with whom they want.

Now, back to the question at hand, “Is ‘No Silos’ an achievable goal?” No Silos is an aspirational value. It’s impossible to have No Silos in a business. But you can reinforce a ‘No Silos Mentality’ and adjust your organizational structure to break down barriers that prevent departments or teams from working well together. The mentality or mindset is achievable, and one we always strive to improve upon.

Does your company have a Silos Mentality? If so, you have a leadership problem. Yup, I said it. Silos exist because leaders allow it, can’t address it, or are rewarded or incentivized to allow them to exist. So dig deeper to find out the why.

4th Annual Holiday Infographic

December 10th, 2015

Happy Holidays from the Outside-In® Companies!

Take a look at our year in numbers through our 4th Annual Holiday Infographic!

Why Being an Intrapreneur is Good for Your Career

November 18th, 2015

Where are new jobs being created? Small to mid-size businesses! This is where most of the world works. And if you don’t already work for a small or mid-size business, this is where most of you will find work in the coming years. Being entrepreneurial is all about creating, building, and problem solving! Entrepreneurial companies are about building jobs, creating economic value, finding new markets, innovating and solving unsolved customer and marketplace issues. That is why the jobs are in growth companies. A free market works this way. And these are not the type of jobs that your great-grandfather had turning a wrench on the assembly line, working for a big company. These companies create jobs that demand intrapreneurial behaviors and actions.

Small to mid-size business requires a very different mentality and shift in employee thinking and behaviors. If you don’t want to start your own business and take on the burdens of business ownership, then go work for a growth business. I call that being an intrapreneur. As an owner, we choose to create an entrepreneurial environment, in which you can think and act like a business owner, which is being intrapreneurial! For the Outside-In® Companies, well, we made intrapreneurial a value because we want entrepreneurial behaviors in the business.

intrapreneur-entrepreneurialWe want to encourage all employeees to lift their head, to think and see business problems that need solving and to find solutions to them. Intrapreneurs see business opportunities. Take calculated risks. Will never say that’s not my job. And typically that is what it will take to manage and handle a growing business. All hands on deck. Intrapreneurial employees are interested and clear about the company mission. And have an attitude about their job that is different than those who work for a big company or have a government job.

Intrapreneurship means anyone will do whatever it takes to move the company forward in its mission. And this may seem extreme or impossible if you work some place that says just do your job or says no to every idea that you have. But, imagine a place that wants and collects your feedback and ideas. Or that is pleased when you do something that is not on your personal scorecard but it is great for the business.

So what is the opposite of intrapreneurial?
If you work for the government or a really big company, you’re mostly paid a wage to do a job — nothing more or less. If a wage is what you’re after, great! You found nirvana. But many workers get frustrated and feel like it is hard to have any kind of greater impact. They are made to feel or are told to color within the lines. Don’t challenge. Keep new ideas to yourself. Don’t work too fast. These behaviors will call attention to you, or worse yet others on your team. Many leaders want to change this reality and a few do. BUT, most quit trying for the very reasons others have — it simply takes energy that is not worth it. And in the end, these behaviors are not welcomed because they are a threat. To go above and beyond, one must feel appreciated for it. When they aren’t appreciated, one of two things happens:

  1. Some start to just do the minimum and learn to keep out of the way.
  2. Those who are more intrapreneurial leave!

Contrast that to an entrepreneurial, fast growing and changing business. You’re hired to create economic value. In fact, your earning power is much more directly tied to the power of your ideas and output! Not just the work you do. And in the end, this creates a career path that is more matrix-like, than a ladder that you climb. And climbs take time right? When you slide diagonal and side ways? It happens faster!

So try to behave in these intrapreneurial ways :

  1. Create value. Look around and see what is broken or wrong in your area. Figure out how to fix and then, fix it!
  2. Keep growing and learning. Think this is a silly? Well, many won’t invest in themselves, but the world demands it. Keep up or suffer the outcome.
  3. Understand how people handle change. You must change personally or know how to help others.
  4. Know your market. What are customers saying to you? What is the market sharing? I bet your company can get better and so will your career if you know and work on this.

Try this Inexpensive Way to Improve Service

October 21st, 2015

In every office and warehouse in all corners of the globe, there are responders (responsive employees) and late responders (unresponsive employees). As you read this you probably patted yourself on the back or nodded your head, “yeah I one of the responsive ones.” Next, you thought of that person on your team or in another department that never seems to, well, respond to anything or anyone. How do they keep their job anyway, you wonder.

We all know late responders, we all have stories about them. YouTube “bad service” and watch customers answer the phones in retails stores because no employees would do it. Try calling the government on a service hot line. I don’t mean to pick on the obvious, however, I just called my state government and was told “your call is very important to us, there are currently 97 callers in front of you and we will answer your call in 1 hour and 24 minutes, please go to the website…” I had to wait. I eventually talked to a responder, but wow, their overall service is much more about being a late responder! So what are the responsive and non-responsive behaviors?

Non-responsive Behavior

  • Ignoring emails and any repeated attempts to engage — (After many attempts to combat this behavior, others may even make excuses for late responders [they are busy, they have a hard job], but these are excuses for non-responsive behavior.)
  • Letting calls go to voicemail because you can — I am not talking about general opinions about phones and texts here. I am talking about flat out avoidance of work.
  • Cancelling meetings
  • Not listening — (Late responders do all of the talking.)
  • “Quitting and staying” — I don’t have enough help or I have issues at home, they say. Whatever it is, late responders can’t help you, no matter what kind of customer you are. Have you been to an overwhelmed, fast food restaurant lately?
  • Complacency — Late responders have no reason to try too hard. Perhaps they are comfortable, or hiding from you. Regardless there is no internal reason to respond any faster than they feel like.

Responsive Behavior

  • Take action and engage
  • Showing respect for and appreciating others
  • Know, build and maintain important relationships in and out of the company
  • Balancing the need to get to the to do list with the needs of others
  • Caring — Sure it helps when you like your company and believe in its cause.
  • Liking what you do — It also helps to have a boss that cares about your aspirations and looks out for you.

If you’re smart, you’re realizing that these responsive behaviors are a personal choice that your employees have to make. A great company focused on service realizes that this is a wonderful way to add value to customers’ and employees’ worlds. And it’s free. So try this inexpensive way to improve customer service and adopt or promote responsive behaviors in your workplace.

  • Being a non-responder or owner of a company full of them is not free. It’s bad for business, and in fact, hurts your paycheck or your income statement.
  • Being a responder is free, a competitive advantage and good for stakeholders.

p.s. If you really are a responder, you can work for me anytime. Send your resume to icanhelpyou [at] thecbigroup.com

When do company values go wrong?

September 16th, 2015

We are in an era where workers are looking for reasons to why a business exists beyond making money. A time when it’s commonplace to discuss the greater purpose of a business and the values that are important to both the leaders and employees of a company. The values of a company are the personality of the place. The behaviors that the founder(s) and leaders want from all employees in their absence. These behaviors act as an ongoing compass that provides employees direction when they are on their own or faced with an opportunity or crisis in the business. When the business purpose is not clear, it is almost assumed that the purpose is to make money. But today there are so many other reasons for the business to exist; to do good for social causes, to be active in the community and to exist for greater good!

So, in the modern business world we celebrate values. Google is famous for the value or corporate motto “Don’t be evil”, which really encourages all employees to think morally about the impact of their decisions on the people who use their service. And as the legends suggest, software engineers often pound the table when a suggested change will do evil.

Despite businesses as large as Google or Zappos having values and a greater purpose than just making money, I am asked frequently about the implications of having corporate values. What happens when the company values are misinterpreted by employees, or even customers for their personal gain? “Don’t be evil” is regularly misquoted as “Don’t do evil.” Big deal? Not so sure.

One of our values that is often misquoted at Outside-In® Companies is being Front Door. Picture a house with three doors; a front door, side door and back door. Now imagine how communication flows in any good size group. Inevitably issues and opportunities arise. Conversations need to happen. Not everyone likes, knows how or knows when they need to have the hard conversations that represent being Front Door. So being direct is front door, being indirect is side door, and water cooler chatter or gossip is back door.

front-door

Now imagine that an employee misinterprets the Front Door value as their right to say anything they want directly, regardless of tone or its impact. For instance, screaming expletives and justifying the behavior by saying, “I am just being Front Door” is an abuse of the value’s intent. And undermines the goal, which is to get in front of small problems before they fester into larger ones. Front Door is not a right to be mean or to lack other professional attributes when you go about your business. When this happens, it can mean one of two things. The employee has a misunderstanding of the meaning of the value OR that employee is misusing the value with intent of personal gain, and therefore is not a culture fit.

To elevate this another level, what happens when a leader appears to behave in a way that defies the values? When leaders run a company in defiance of its values, only bad things happen and a decline is inevitable. For example, when a leader continues to promote an employee that habitually defies the company values, a ripple effect of decline is inevitable. The key word for leaders to note is “appears.” A leader may be acting within the definition of the value(s)’s intent, but the appearance of defiance can have a ripple effect as well. In this case, the onus is on the employee to be Front Door with the leader to say “you are not living X value.” This gives the leader a chance to explain the missing perspective and prevent a decline. Having company values feels good, but living values and holding teammates accountable is the mark of a true values-based organization.

I am collecting stories where values have gone bad or have been misinterpreted or misquoted for the purpose of personal gain. Please send them to me at Icanhelpyou (at) thecbigroup (dot) com or share them in a comment below.

Be Vulnerable, Be Curious

June 10th, 2015

Outside-In Companies are working on the value of being Open Book. To be clear, Open Book is the concept of opening your books to your shareholder(s) and employees so that they may use the information to improve or enhance the way the business is run. Not everyone likes or even grasps the financial concepts that make up financial statement, balance sheets or cash flow statements. BUT, if all see profits and losses and understand how their performance and decisions affect the numbers, then they can play a big part in impacting the success or failure of the business. There is strength in numbers, as they say.

Open-Book-FishLast week we celebrated our Open Book Values Holiday with some symbolism. To illustrate the meaning of Open Book, team members adopted a goldfish for the Outside-In office. We call him Vulnerable and he swims centrally in the office in a fishbowl for all to see. Vulnerable’s fishbowl represents the transparency and clarity you should expect from an Open Book company. Share, share, share it all! All of us should be willing to open our office doors, let customers into meetings, or share information about the state of the business freely. This requires the information to share. And it requires a culture that encourages, craves, even demands insights and information into running the business.

Having no information usually equates to risky decision making. More information gives you a real advantage or leg up on the competition. Most don’t bother, we prefer to take action rather then back up our thinking and really get clear on what the information is telling us!

We are far from great at being Open Book. This is an ongoing work in progress. For example, in order to be open book we must do a better job of encouraging critical thinking and information gathering by all. We must be curious. This concept must be led and encouraged by the leadership. We must teach and insist that all learn to gather information to make good decisions. And we must create opportunities for teammates to learn the financial concepts as well! We must appreciate the curious and insights that make ideas happen.

As we provide information on the business, we want it to spur further questions, which creates the need for more information, more reporting, and so on and so on. This is a never ending, self-perpetuating cycle right? We must be structurally ready to handle this need for reporting and information! We must be able to provide reports and data when needed so all can run their small business.

Our journey with Open Book is just beginning. I think we have much to do to maximize its potential on our companies. Do you work in an Open Book company? Jack Stack started all this with the Great Game of Business over 20 years ago. There are few concepts more polarizing and challenging to implement. However, if done well? Few values can create such far-reaching organizational value!

Outside-In® Chronicles: Summer Reading List

June 3rd, 2015

ID-100249568Summer 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:
1. 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® Book List

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