I am inspired beyond belief and like many entrepreneurs, having the motivation to kick goals, climb any mountain and put on a brave face even though you may be scared shitless - is something that comes very naturally to me.
After listening to the most fascinating man I have ever had the privilege of listening to on team work yesterday, I am completely empowered to bring my team to one level, together and with the same philosophies of a Navy Seal Team.
In fact, I bought some copies of two books today; No Easy Day and No Hero, from a former Navy Seal, hoping to inspire change.
But what if the results are not forthcoming? What if key people have read the strategy yet are not "making it happen"? As we near the end of January, many companies are realizing that targets are not being met, and while some may scratch their heads, the real leaders are taking action.
As someone who is always too busy, I have left the on-boarding to our previous CEO and Area Managers, with my role being minimal other than an introduction.
However, like most entrepreneurs, January is a time to re-think your business in every way; finance, recruitment, human resources, marketing, sales, products/services etc.
This has given me an opportunity to see just what is going on and I have to say, we have some gaps. As a marketing and communications based company, Marketing Eye plays a pivotal role in communicating a company's brand and culture to employees of our clients. We develop and design on-boarding manuals, podcasts, corporate videos and interactive presentations on the company, people and history.
What I have realized is that we are not dissimilar to a mechanic who never finds time to fix their own car.
With that, off came the gloves and I rolled up my sleeves to have a better insight into our on-boarding processes.
Here are some clever best practices that we teach our clients and implement on their behalf:
- When writing an advertisement for a position, include a link to your website which talks about the company culture and the type of person that will fit in. This is great for the applicant and even better for your company as it sends people to your website and drives traffic and engagement.
- Ask applicants to like your company on social media. If they don't want to do this, then they are definitely NOT interested in your brand, culture or the future promotion of your company - so strike them immediately off the list.
- When an applicant comes for an interview, ensure that someone from your team rings them the day before, introduces themselves and talks to them about a normal day in the office. It's a great way to give the applicant an idea what it is like to work for your company and also shares with them an insight into the culture and type of people that they need to fit in with.
- Do something clever to get the applicant to remember your company like sending them an inspirational email with a famous quote. Ensure that it is written on a picture to give your brand a "lift"
- On arrival at the interview, give them an iPad with a presentation and video of what it is like to work for your company and what type of people perform best.
- In the interview, present your company like you would present the company to a client. Then ask for the applicant to talk about themselves; share insights that do not come across clearly in their CV's and ask them to explain why they think that they would be a good fit.
- When they leave, give them a company brochure and any literature related to your company that may be of benefit to them.
Humbled by an employee discussion in our Atlanta office, I was pleasantly surprised that given the hypothetical situation of winning the lotto, all employees said that after a brief holiday, they would want to come back to work at Marketing Eye.
The engagement level on a day-to-day basis in our Atlanta office is very high – not to say, other offices are not the same. Company culture is everything and there are many reasons why it has a direct impact on bottom line.
There are a number of lessons learned from having a start-up in Atlanta that is inherently different from other offices we have.
The first being that all employees have chosen each other
Usually, a senior manager or myself makes the ultimate choice on who is going to join the team and in what capacity. Instead, in Atlanta, I have been over-ruled twice, and both times, I had to put my hand up and say that my choice would have been wrong for the team.
Embarking on global expansion has been the most fascinating experience and in particular, working in what is one of America's most untapped entrepreneurial hubs of Atlanta has not only been rewarding, but also very invigorating.
Atlanta isn't the sleepy town that some of the cities counterparts seem to think it is. In fact, it is quite the opposite. The city is full of promise, spirit and an attitude that is less ruthless than say New York, Chicago, San Francisco or Los Angeles. Behind the politeness and accomodating attitudes of Atlanta's business folk are smart, determined, ambitious and thoroughly capable people who drive small businesses in an endeavour to become big businesses.
Capitalizing on an ability to cap salaries and deliver products and services to a national and international audience with America's most proficient transport hub at its disposal, Atlanta entrepeneurs are dreaming big. You heard it right - they are dreaming big. Not too dissimilar to their New York small business friends who have inspired a national through a carefully executed tabloid and magazine advertising campaign that let's the world know that in New York "This is no place to dream small."
What strikes me about the people of Atlanta is their attitude to helping others and in turn, helping themselves. It seems that those who don't come from here, tend to be the one's to watch, whereas if you do business with a true Atlanta local, you are guaranteed that the good old fashion handshake on a deal is exactly that.
Today I had lunch with two talented mergers and acquisition partners at Deloitte. They both are very busy people but were kind enough to take time out of their day to have a chat about business, tax and the run of the land in setting up in Atlanta, buying a home and a motor vehicle.
Truth be known, I don't think I am very smart at all, but collectively with the talents of my team at Marketing Eye, we help small businesses grow and most of our work is pretty awesome (if you ask me!).