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Priorities for Growth | Middle Market Thought Leader

Most small companies stay small, most big companies grow slowly -- the middle market is where growth resides. We explore and dissect the unique business priorities and challenges faced by middle market business owners and leaders.
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Priorities for Growth | Middle Market Thought Leader
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Now displaying: 2017
Sep 1, 2017

Join us when Lee Mandel, CEO, Intralogic Solutions Inc. explains how integration capabilities and IT knowledge have empowered his company to marry traditional alarm systems with IT networks and software opening the door to a new chapter of growth. 

 

Aug 28, 2017

How do you make a great hire?

Spalding:  The first thing we do is we look at our best people in each of our areas, right. So, our best technologists, what are the characteristics that make them really good? Who are our best sales people? What are the characteristics that make them really good? Right. And there might be some obvious things like, hey, they're very responsive to the customer, they present well, right, there's an experience there, there's a knowledge, they think strategically long-term. But, we try to capture those in a profile, and then we benchmark that against any candidate coming in.

And we do that through a few ways, we do that through some testing that we do around different profiles, and so forth to match it up, kind of customize testing against our profiles. We also do that during the interview process. So, we tend to have, we get accused of hiring slow sometimes because we really believe that we want to have a variety of different people interview the candidate. And then, frankly, we want the candidate to get a really good sense of what is Peak 10 all about. What is our DNA? What makes us tick? Because no one wants to have that meeting six months down the road and say, "Hey, you're really not a good fit here." or, "Gee, this isn't the right company to be at."

So, we try to minimize all of that by sharing as much as we can right up front. How we operate, how we think about our customers, how we do things internally, what we expect, etc. It's a little bit of a longer process than perhaps most, but at the end of the day we have to bring in the highest quality talent we possibly can to, you know, to match what we're doing for our customers, and that's being an extension of their business.

So, those are some of the things we do. And tactically where we serve in markets, we're very community-oriented, we build relationships with the local technology schools. So, we're able to do some internships, and we're able to get some early views on potential, strong candidates, and they get a little more experience in the technology and service provider world and see if there's a match. So, we're doing some of that as we continue to get larger and be more innovative around that.

Aug 21, 2017

How do you make a great hire?

Matt Calkins: In order to make a great hire there are a couple of steps. One is finding and motivating the potential employee to work with you. And I don't want to focus on that, because I think it's relatively obvious how you do that. You raise your profile, you meet people, you work the channel, you ask your employees for contacts, those things are pretty well known.

I think I'll instead focus on how you select the individual that you want to hire. How do you know who you should bring on? Here's what I look for. It's my formula.

I look for people who have a great deal of talent. And you can tell that by talking with them, exploring the things they care about, looking at their resume, looking at their job trajectory. All that will give you a sense of their talent. It's relatively easy to tell that compared to the other things you have to detect.

Second, you want to be sure that they are a good fit with your culture. In Appian's case we look for people who are harmonious with each other, generous with their time, rally around a goal, and positive energy.

Third, you look for people who are habitually successful. The things that they do, and I don't necessarily mean jobs, I mean their hobbies. I mean whatever they've chosen to put their time into, are they successful? Can you see not just the expenditure of time but the achievement with it? I love to ask people about their hobbies, about their interests. And see how well they've explored that interest and whether they've done anything with their time on that.

So you could see it in their jobs if that's what they're focused on, you see it in a hobby. But I'm looking for people who have a habit of excellence, who have a tradition of it, who exude so much excellence, it just comes out in every direction. And wherever they touch something they want to make it better, they want to create something great.

So I'm looking for this habit of excellence. Those are my three things, talent, culture fit, and a habit of excellence.

Aug 17, 2017

Sandbrook: References count for me, references that I trust. Because in that hour interview or whatnot, you can get some sense but you can't be 100%. You're not always a 100% knowing that individual, what their work ethic is, how they really handle pressure, what are their true innate problem solving abilities? And I'm not a huge fan of canned tests. I think that leaves out another dimension and I think it demeans the individual. That I'm gonna look at all your test results from all these different prognostics and I'm gonna come up with who I think you are. So, I will tell you, what counts the most for me is somebody that I trust, maybe in another company that I've worked with before, to give me an honest opinion of the pluses and minuses of that individual. That outside reference is so critical to me, and it won't come off of that individual's list of references. It'll come off my own personal references that I'll find somebody that knows that individual.

Aug 11, 2017

Our C-suite leader guests answer one of the middle market's most daunting questions: How do you make a great hire?

How do you Make a Great hire?

So, we do a couple things to enhance the hiring process. The one most important thing I think we do is about two years ago we began to document our culture. And so it was writing down in what has turned into nine culture code statements that really we believe encompass our culture. And when I say document I think it’s important to remember that culture, well, you can write down whatever you want…you think you want your culture to be. But often times, our day to day actions turn into culture. That is, in fact, how culture gets built around the world, even like local country culture. It’s a sum of the series of actions and behaviors that a group of people take.

And so we want to document that though to see what are the things that we seem to value and what are the things we seem to not value and, in fact, devalue or cause us problems? And so as we did that it became this really good framework for interviewing potential team members. And so about half of our interviewing process is skill set, so do they have the right skills for the job? And that’s a relatively easy thing to get through. I mean, the resume helps and then, you know, a series of interview questions just to understand are they technical enough. We actually run people through a project of some sort, so if you’re a developer we actually want to see you code. That’s extremely illuminating to kind of get a sense of how you operate and how you work.

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Aug 8, 2017

Our C-suite leader guests answer one of the middle market's most daunting questions: How do you make a great hire?

Workforce Resources for Growing Companies

 

How do you make a great hire?

“Be quick, but don’t hurry, number one. And number two is, there is a process. I mean, as we talked about previously, most processes involve … in today’s environment, when you’ve got employees all over the United States, one. And two, a lot of the corporate personnel, particularly in our space, the mortgage banking environment, a lot of these professionals work from home. Which is perfectly fine, because we measure by results and not effort.

“And the ability to work from home is a big advantage to individuals, and it’s perfectly fine with us, but how does someone that works from home really understand about the organization that they’re going to work for? If the interview process just simply takes place over the phone, you take a look at a resume, and maybe call a referral or two, or you know, check on some references. It’s very difficult to have a long-lasting relationship with such a short ‘dating phase.’ I mean, think about when folks get married, do you get married the same way that you interview people for your company? I don’t think so.

“But if you went through the dating process, and our process starts out with a phone call with me, a phone call with the manager of the department that is going to be responsible for that individual. And if those two things work out well, I will fly that individual, no matter where they are in the country. I will bring them to our corporate office for a full day, and what I tell them … I walk through the entire process that they’re going to go through at our corporate office, so they understand and can see what’s happening versus just kind of wondering what’s going to happen in the next hour. And I tell them, ‘My commitment to you is that all you need to do is get to the airport. I’ll take care of the rest, it’ll be white-glove service from the time you leave to the time you get home.’

“But by the time you go home, if we are going to proceed with this job offer, I’m going to put you in a position to make a decision one way or the other by the time you step home and talk to your spouse or have your ability to go through your decision-making process, whatever it may be. And we really introduce the individual to our company, they can see our culture, see our environment, see our people. Are they walking around, are they smiling? Are they wearing Bermuda shorts and flip-flops, are they dressed professionally? What is it like? Because what you see here at our corporate office is what permeates throughout all of our offices across the country, this is where it starts. So you might as well be able to go back and back it all the way up to where it starts, which is here, and see if that’s something you want to be a part of. That’s the way we do it.

“Look at it this way. The first thing that I talk to a prospective candidate about when I get on the phone is, I’ll ask them straight up. Let’s say that, as an example, you’re interviewing for an underwriting position at InterLinc, right? I’ll ask the candidate, ‘On a scale of one to 10, how good are you?’ And they’ll kind of hem and haw, and then they’ll give me an answer. And I’ve got some that have said, ‘I’m an eight, I’m a nine, I’m a 10.’ Some have said, ‘I’m a 12′; I love it when they say, ’12.’

“On the flip side, I’ve had some that said, ‘Man, I’m about a six.’ And if they give me anything less than an eight, I’ll say, ‘Man, it’s been fantastic talking to you, but we only hire eights or better. As you progress in your career, and you become more and more advanced, and you think you’re an eight, man, give me a call back. I’d love to talk to you again.’ Because imagine the organization, if you were a client doing a home transaction with this company, and you asked me the question, ‘Jim, on a scale of one to 10, what type of people do you hire?’ And I say, ‘Great question, we hire a bunch of sixes.’ You’re going to be like, ‘Fantastic talking to you, I’m going down the street.’ But if I tell you, ‘We hire eights or better,’ then you feel pretty good when you talk to your wife about doing business with InterLinc.” —Jim VanSteenhouse, CEO, InterLinc Mortgage

 

Aug 2, 2017

Our C-suite leader guests answer one of the middle market's most daunting questions: How do you make a great hire?

Workforce Resources for Growing Companies

Jul 10, 2017

When Nino Tarantino moved to Boston from Rome, Italy nearly 20 years ago, he had no way of knowing that he would someday be charged with building the North American subsidiary of a brash European technology startup

As fate would have it, Tarantino received a call from Fabio Sbianchi, a former colleague from the 1990s, who had a unique North American opportunity to discuss.  Sbianchi had been busy making headlines in Europe inside the fledgling field of telematics - the leading edge technology that was upending traditional auto insurance consumer models by empowering insurers to more closely track the driving behaviors of customers.

Founded in 2002, Sbianchi's company Octo Telematics quickly surged into the ranks of Europe's middle market companies, and the entrepreneur was now looking for someone to lead the charge in North America. Tarantino was more than intrigued and accepted Sbianchi's forthcoming job offer. 

Only four years after its launch, Tarantino's North American business passed 1.5 million telematics policies users throughout the U.S. and Canada, according to a recent press announcement. Join us when Nino recalls the opportunity that came knocking and the path to grow he is now blazing.

Jul 3, 2017

Dropping the accelerator on a disruptive cloud computing model in the midst of an economic downturn may not have been the smoothest path to growth, but when Tom Franceski and two partners acquired docSTAR in 2007 they understood the cloud  transformation path was the surest bet for a software firm in the digital age. Ten years later docSTAR is recently became part of Epicor Software, the fast-growing ERP contender, currently in the midst of its own cloud-computing transformation.

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