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Strong Suit Podcast

Strong Suit is the playbook for recruiting Rockstars. You'll learn how to hire twice as fast. With half the mistakes. No more bad hires. ... Ready! Aim! Hire!
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Apr 19, 2018

You should be so lucky to have David Cancel’s problems.

He’s founded 5 companies. His current one, Boston-based Drift, continues to double year after year. Drift gives you a unified view of your customers across e-mail, web, social media, mobile channels, plus the ability to trigger marketing campaigns based on real-time  behavior. Pretty slick.

That’s Hypergrowth mode. 

And it creates unique challenges when it comes to recruiting: Hiring a team of consistent Rockstars, while drinking from a firehose.

Yet he’s done it time after time. Heck, his previous startup Performable was acquired by HubSpot.

So, I had to ask David how he does it. He’s known for building great teams.

He attributes much of his success to an unorthodox way of Interviewing candidates, and Onboarding them once they accept (And they usually accept!)

In this 20-minute conversation, David shares his secrets. And the rookie mistakes to avoid.

Apr 17, 2018

If I had one quarter, and I had to place it on the betting table when it comes to recruiting…

I’d place it on Referrals every single time.

Referrals are cheaper, faster, better. They stay longer. They match your company’s DNA better.

So how to find more referrals?

I asked Nick Cromydas, CEO of Chicago-based Hunt Club, a new type of recruiting firm. They leverage referrals to fill roles faster & better.

Cold calling, spamming on Linkedin, impersonal mass mails, treating candidates like a transaction ... These no longer work in today's war for talent.

If you’re tired of posting & praying on job boards, take a sip from the elixir of Referrals. In this 20-minute episode, Nick reveals the best practices and the mistakes to avoid.

Apr 12, 2018

I’ve read every word written by Josh Steimle. 

He’s an author, speaker, and entrepreneur who has figured out how (and why) to make your company’s CEO an “Influencer”

It’s a gamechanger to make him or her the face of your company & your mission.

Josh has written over 300 articles for Fortune, Time, Forbes, Inc. He’s the author of the book “Chief Marketing Officers at Work” (recognized in Success Magazine as 1 of the 5 best business books in 2016)

He’s also the founder of Influencer Inc., a publishing, training, and events company that turns executives into thought leaders.

In this 20-minute discussion, Josh reveals how to go about making your CEO a visible thought leader, and how it’ll make your recruiting job that much easier.

Apr 10, 2018

What is a talent strategy & when do you need to create one?

If you’re like most business leaders, your firm has a product strategy, a sales strategy, a funding strategy, a marketing strategy. But NO talent strategy.

Yikes!

Why is the most important thing also the most overlooked thing? Let’s find out.

Will Staney is Founder of Proactive Talent Strategies, the talent acquisition company focused on helping organizations optimize their recruiting & employer branding. His clients include GoDaddy, GE Digital, Realtor.com

He’s also the former Head of Global Talent Acquisition at rapidly-growing startups Twilio & Glassdoor. Prior to that, he held recruiting leadership roles at VMware, SuccessFactors, and SAP.

In this 20-minute conversation, Will explains what is (and isn’t) part of a successful talent strategy, how & when to create one, and the rookie mistakes to avoid.

Apr 5, 2018

What can firefighters teach us about teamwork & its impact on the bottom line?

A ton, according to today’s guest Erica Keswin. Erica & I went to school together many years ago.

Since then, she’s worked in organization & leadership development at Hay Group and Booz Allen & Hamilton and worked as an Executive Director at Russell Reynolds Associates. Her book ‘Bring Your Human to Work’ debuts in Fall 2018.

Erica was fascinated by a 2015 Cornell study showing that firemen who eat together are actually better at their jobs … they save more lives!

So she crafted The Spaghetti Project, to examine how relationships at work lead to increased performance. It’s based on the concept of bringing the ‘whole self’ to work, with an emphasis on trust & vulnerability.

In this 20-minute interview, Erica reveals how you can improve the level of connectedness of your team, and thus improve your business results.

Apr 3, 2018

David Allen’s book “Getting Things Done” changed my life. I read it when it debuted in 2001 & multiple times since.

Now published in 28 languages, “GTD” is recognized as the definitive book on personal productivity. And David is the world’s leading authority on the topic (Even Howard Stern is a believer.)

GTD rests on the idea of moving planned tasks out of the mind by recording them externally & then breaking them into actionable work items. 

David was the first to establish that the mind is exceptional at having ideas, but not so great at holding them. After decades of in-the-field research, David wrote the international best-seller.

In this 20-minute episode, David & I tackle one of the biggest stumbling blocks for leaders:

Do I do it or delegate it? (Some do too much; others delegate too freely.) 

It turns out, there IS a way to decide. And you’ll discover it here.

Mar 29, 2018

I’m always on the hunt for untapped sources of great talent. With record-low unemployment, you’ve gotta dig deep.

And I found one.

Allison O’Kelly created Mom Corps out of necessity. In 2003, she was a mom with 2 kids under 2. A talented MBA & CPA, she realized that full-time work wasn’t practical at the moment.

So, she created the perfect job for herself. Then, she made it her mission to help other experienced professionals so the same. 

Today, Mom Corps has grown to a nationwide talent advisory, search, and staffing firm.

Allison’s received the Ernst & Young Entrepreneurial Winning Woman Award, and been featured on The Today Show.

In this 20-minute interview, she reveals what she’s learned along the way. How to tap into this massive talent pool. And the biggest mistakes to avoid.

♡♀

Mar 27, 2018

Once you’ve worked your tail off to recruit a team of Rockstars, how do you manage them around projects?

Yes, even Rockstars need to be led & held accountable. Our goal is to get the best work from them.

So I sought out an expert on how to do it. And I found him… in Estonia 

With just 1.3M population, it’s the home of Skype and has some fascinating things to teach us about leadership. 

Jüri Kaljundi is Co-Founder of Weekdone, a team management, weekly reporting, and internal communication tool for hassle-free weekly employee status reports. Weekdone makes managers & employees more productive. 

In this 20-minute discussion, Jüri shares what he’s learned about best practices & the biggest mistakes when leading your team.

Mar 22, 2018

After you work so hard to win the war for talent & hire Rockstars, how do you keep them engaged & happy? 

Let’s be honest.

Your employees are overwhelmed. And like most managers, you’re likely stuck in a rut of managing meetings, slipping deadlines, and frustration about the nature of work.

I didn’t want the 50,000 foot hoity-toity strategy. I went looking for practical & actionable tactics.

And I found it in Sacramento, of all places.

Shawn Murphy is the author of “The Optimistic Workplace” and a weekly columnist in Inc. He’s also the Founder & CEO of WorqIQ.

Shawn has identified potential levers that can help you dramatically improve the experience of work. 

In this 20-minute interview, he shares actionable ways to hang on to your most talented folks.

Mar 20, 2018

In this over-heated market, finding an investor isn’t hard.

But finding an investor who adds Real value to your business is another matter.

The difference between dumb money & value-added money can’t be overstated. So I tracked down a brilliant woman who recent did just that.

Amanda Lannert is CEO of Jellyvision, the progressive & legendary business based in Chicago. She’s been a key figure in driving its growth since its founding in 2001.

She recently sealed a sizable funding for the company. In this 20-minute interview, she shows us how. Amanda started with a unique recruiting approach: “The board works for me.”

Under Amanda’s leadership, Jellyvision has grown to serve 1,300 mostly Fortune 1000 clients with ALEX, the most helpful employee decision support platform on the planet. Meanwhile, the company has been recognized as a best place to work.

Amanda has been named CEO of the Year multiple times.

This interview helps explain why.

Mar 15, 2018

If you’re like most business leaders - woman or man - you’re trying to figure out how to recruit more women. 

At all levels. In all roles. 

From software developer to board of directors.

So, I sought out an expert to show us the way…

I’ve been a fan of Joann Lublin for a long time. For 15 years, she’s been at The Wall Street Journal as its Managing News Editor.

Joann covers leadership & management issues, including a monthly career column called “Your Executive Career” She also knows a ton about improving the gender balance, which she wrote about in her 2016 book "Earning It: Hard-Won Lessons from Trailblazing Women at the Top of the Business World”

In this 20-minute conversation, Joann reveals what’s truly important to women. Best practices to bringing more into your company. And the biggest pitfalls to avoid.

Mar 13, 2018

If your company recruits creative types, you need to know how to pursue them the right way. You know, designers - artists - writers - software developers.

Because they think completely differently, and need different things than your left-brained folks.

So, I sought out an expert to show us how.

Marc Landsberg is CEO of SOCIALDEVIANT, the native social media agency he started 5 years ago in Chicago. They create cross-platform engagement & content to help companies tell their brand stories.

He began his creative career at Leo Burnett, the legendary ad agency, as EVP Corporate Strategy. Marc’s even worked in private equity.

In this 20-minute interview, Marc reveals the best practices for finding & landing right-brainers. And the biggest mistakes to avoid.

Mar 8, 2018

Can I be honest with you?

If your company is like most, your job descriptions stink.

Boring. Lifeless. Uninspiring.

And about as likely to attract Rockstar candidates, as a fishing hook with no bait on it.

So, I sought out the foremost expert on job descriptions and it turns out there’s one simple way to dramatically improve them:

Video !

Kristoffer “KC” Carter mastered his craft during 9 years with Centro, the ad-tech start-up with a *legendary* workplace culture. Centro won one “Best Place to Work” award after another. 

Now as a culture advisor, KC teaches companies how to attract, onboard, and retain their ideal people.

And he’s mastered the “culture definition video” which shows your prospective employees why they should come meet with you.

If you’re gonna be hiring during 2018, this 20-minute episode will make your job far easier.

Mar 6, 2018

Let’s be honest. 

In today’s hyper-transparent & controversial world, something is gonna blow up at your company. The question isn’t if… it’s when. 

Then, the next question is how will you handle it? (It’s a true test of your leadership)

Today’s guest shows us the way. Dan Hill is CEO of Hill Impact, the top-ranked crisis communications firm.

Dan is trusted by world leaders, CEO’s, and celebrities to defend & repair brands. He is America's most quoted & sought-after expert on brand positioning and reputation, appearing in the New York Times, USA Today, L.A. Times, and Washington Post.

For 25 years, he’s advised public & private sector leaders. Dan is known as a true "fixer," routinely navigating complex challenges to deliver positive outcomes against seemingly impossible odds.

In this 20-minute episode, Dan shares the best practices you need to know, and how to avoid making your bad problem worse.

 

Feb 22, 2018

Let’s be honest…

The US government sure doesn’t make it easy to recruit & land a rockstar employee from outside the US.

Yet, it’s a remarkable source of great candidates.

I needed to get schooled on this, because it’s complex & rapidly-changing.

So, I sought out an expert. And found him… in Chicago.

Dick Burke is CEO of Envoy Global, the leading immigration management platform that makes it seamless for companies to hire & manage an international workforce by combining expert legal representation & proprietary technology.

They make it easy for eligible employees, families and individuals to legally live & work in the U.S.

Dick is a super-sharp expert. Prior, he was President of apartments.com

I learned a ton in 20 minutes, and I guarantee that you will too.

Feb 20, 2018

If you haven’t heard of the field of Neuroleadership, you soon will.

This is the brain-based approach to business, performance, and organization change.

Dr. David Rock coined the term ‘Neuroleadership’ and is the Director of the NeuroLeadership Institute, a global initiative bringing neuroscientists & leadership experts together to build a new science for leadership development.

With operations in 24 countries, the Institute helps organizations operationalize brain research in order to develop better leaders.

He’s also the author of the bestsellers 'Your Brain at Work' and 'Quiet Leadership'

In this 20-minute episode, David & I examine Neuroleadership and what it can do for your management style & your company’s growth.

Feb 16, 2018

Want to peek around the corner, and find out how artificial intelligence will be applied to recruiting?

It’s coming sooner than you think.

Phil Alexander is CEO & Founder of Nexus A.I., the next-generation platform that uses A.I. & organizational behavior science to help companies build teams and drive employee engagement.

Nexus emerged out of another company Phil started: Concept Drop, the marketplace that uses A.I. to connect brands with the world's leading creative talent.

In this 20-min episode, Phil & I examine how you can use A.I. to create a competitive advantage in your hiring.

Feb 14, 2018

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Can you build a durable company & a successful relationship at the same time? 

Some days, it seems like an unlikely balancing act.

One of the nation’s leading venture capitalists, and my dear friend Brad Feld, knows that you can.

And in this bonus V-Day episode of Strong Suit Podcast, Brad shows us the way.

 

Brad has been an early stage investor & entrepreneur for 30 years. Prior to co-founding Boulder-based Foundry Group, he co-founded Mobius Venture Capital. Brad is also a co-founder of Techstars.

Brad’s a writer and speaker on the topics of VC investing & entrepreneurship. He’s written some outstanding books as including “Venture Deals” and “Startup Boards”

If that wasn’t enough, he’s also an art collector & long-distance runner. He’s completed 25 marathons as part of his mission to finish a marathon in each of the 50 states.

In this 20-min episode, Brad shares the secrets of being in love while loving your business. It CAN be done.

 

Feb 13, 2018

Is it even possible to be TOO transparent with your team?

What does vulnerability mean to you? What does an open-compensation business look like? Do you show your staff the cap table of your company?

Transparency has pro’s & con’s. So I sought out an expert on the matter.

And I found him… in San Francisco

Alex Salkever has been a technology editor at BusinessWeek, a vice president of marketing at Mozilla, and a visiting scholar at Duke University.

He’s also author of 2 acclaimed books: "The Driver in the Driverless Car: How Our Technology Choices Will Create the Future" and "The Immigrant Exodus: Why America is Losing the Global Race to Capture Entrepreneurial Talent" 

In this 20-min episode, Alex & I answer the question: How transparent should you be with your staff?

 

Feb 8, 2018

So many hiring managers give up so easily. 

Before you invest a fortune on headhunters or job postings, there are a ton of low-cost ways to find Rockstar candidates.

Today I’m joined by Tim Sackett. He’s President at Michigan-Based HRU Technical Resources, a $40M IT & Engineering staffing firm. They’ve got 500 Engineers, IT pros, Designers, and Technicians onsite at clients all over the country.

In this 20-minute episode, Tim & I put our heads together on some of the low-cost, low-hanging fruit ways to find great talent.

You’ll want a pen for this one.

Feb 6, 2018

Work/Life Balance? Bah. Not so much.

I’ve long had an instinct that Work/Life Integration is the true key to a fruitful personal & career life. But I wanted to find an expert to show us the way.

I found him. In Philadelphia. At the Wharton School.

Award-winning Professor Stew Friedman not only shows us how to achieve it, but also how to help your team achieve it. Which will improve your company’s culture and performance. And your ability to recruit more Rockstars.

Stew is a Rockstar in his own right…literally. The New York Times cites the “rockstar adoration” he inspires in his students.

He’s been on the Wharton faculty since 1984. He’s founding director of Wharton’s Work/Life Integration Project, the foremost authority on the topic.

Stew’s been recognized 2x as HR’s Most Influential Thinkers and 3x as Thinkers50’s world’s top 50 business thinkers.

He’s bestselling author of Leading the Life You Want, and Total Leadership. And he hosts the weekly radio show Work and Life on SiriusXM 111 Business Radio.

In this 20-min episode, Stew reveals how and why helping your team achieve work/life integration will help everything about your business.

Feb 1, 2018

Each of your customers is unique, with different needs. You likely personalize your products, services, and approach accordingly.

So too with your employees.

Yet, most companies treat their people all the same. 

Shame.

Dorri McWhorter knows better. She’s CEO of YWCA Chicago, where she’s transforming the 140-year-old social service agency into a 21st century social enterprise. Dorri is moving the agency into the digital age with technical training for youth & adults. And she’s been named one of the top 100 innovators in Chicago.

In this 20-min interview, Dorri & I discuss personalization for your employees & your teams. How to treat them differently, uniquely but fairly.

Jan 30, 2018

How do your Rockstar employees derail? As their manager, can you prevent it or get them back on track? What are the early warning signs?

Carter Cast knows.

My friend - and fellow Kellogg professor - derailed early in his career… and recovered. Bigtime!

Carter started as marketing manager at PepsiCo. Then he moved to Frito Lay, where he led the development of Tostitos Scoops. After stints at Electronic Arts and Blue Nile, Carter was named CEO of Walmart.com

In 2011, Carter joined the faculty of Kellogg School of Management, where he’s an award-winning professor, teaching entrepreneurship, leadership & marketing.

In addition, Carter is a venture partner for Pritzker Group Venture Capital, where he assesses potential investments and advises portfolio companies.

And now, Carter is author of the outstanding book “The Right (and Wrong) Stuff: How Brilliant Careers are Made – and Unmade” It defines the 5 archetypes that derail successful careers.

In this 20-minute episode, Carter & I explore the role of the manager in this derailing. How to identify it, prevent it, and recover from it. If you hope to be a Rockstar - or recruit & lead them - you can’t afford to miss this episode.

Jan 25, 2018

It’s not often that I get to unveil hot-new research on our Podcast.

Bersin by Deloitte is THE go-to firm when it comes to talent acquisition. They just released a brand new research study, years in the making.

This is big.

My guest today Robin Erickson is VP Talent Acquisition, Engagement, and Retention Research. She leads the research on best practices — what’s working, what’s changing, and what’s missing.

In this 20-minute episode, Robin shares the key findings of this new study. If you’re planning to hire even one person this year, you can’t afford to miss this episode.

Jan 23, 2018

I. Was. Nervous.

When you finally meet one of your business idols, you find yourself tongue-tied. And it shows in this episode.

His book changed my life 25 years ago.

You’ve heard this word: Onboarding. If you hire a fast-learning Rockstar, you shouldn’t need to. Just throw them in the pool, right? Wrong.

Michael Watkins is the world’s leading expert on accelerating transitions i.e. Making sure your Rockstar new hire is successful once they join your company. He’s spent two decades studying, learning, and teaching this.

You can totally mess this up. But Michael will make sure that you don’t.

Most notably, his works include the international bestseller The First 90 Days: Critical Success Strategies for New Leaders at all Levels. The Economist recognized it as "the onboarding bible." 1 million copies sold in 24 languages! Amazon declared it “one of the 100 best leadership & success books to read in your lifetime.”

He’s Professor of Leadership and Organizational Change at IMD, the well-known executive business school in Switzerland. Prior, he was Associate Professor at Harvard Business School.

In his role as co-founder of Genesis Advisers, a transition acceleration consultancy, Michael advises executives globally & the firms that hire them.

In this 20-minute episode,  Michael reveals

what you must do as hiring manager in order to ensure a successful ramp up. If you plan to hire even one Rockstar in 2018, you can’t miss this episode.

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