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Social Capital

Welcome to Social Capital, a weekly podcast where we dive into social relationships and how the investment you put into them establishes trust, reciprocity, and value within your network. Your host, Lori Highby, will connect with top business professionals to dive into their best techniques and stories to share with you!
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Now displaying: December, 2021
Dec 15, 2021

Meet Scott

Scott has spent the past 35 years working in the financial services industry. In his career, Scott has been fortunate to work with consumers and small businesses in several capacities and has worked closely with businesses that have been successful as well as businesses that had to close shop. He's listened to the owners talk about what worked, what didn't, and what they wish they would have done.

How has your experience led to where you are today?

I've had to do a lot of research on companies and a lot of internet searches. I've worked closely with friends and family that are business owners and we've gone through this process. We realize a lot of their struggles have been just trying to connect with people and trying to find information. So many of them don't have resources that I for example have because, in my capacity at the bank, I've gotten to know accounts, I've gotten to know attorneys and all the support services where that makes me a little bit different than a lot of small businesses that don't have those resources, and they don't know where to go to find them. As we talk to more and more people about this, including customers and friends, we learned that they do need a resource. If you go to a Google search, a billion results will show up and it's really easy for that small business owner to get buried in the back pages of a search. But then they get frustrated when they're looking for somebody so that led us to build the one search direct platform.

Can you tell us a bit more about the platform?

The way the platform's designed, you set it up right now, where there are four primary areas. The first one is called a need where I'm looking for something and I can go to the website, I take what we're calling specialty news which is simply what somebody does. If I'm looking for marketing, I type that in, I type a brief description, and then hit send. What that does is it goes to the site and it will look for other people that are involved in marketing in my geographic area and that person if they're signed up on the platform, will automatically get the second tab, which is called the lead. So it's a way for a user to connect directly with one another on a topic that's a common interest between the both of them, and they don't have to do an internet search. There are no search results, you remain totally anonymous so that if I search for marketing I don't get hit with a bunch of phone calls or emails from marketing companies looking to reach out to me. So those are the first two primary tabs that we have on our platform right now. The next one is called an offer. So let's say if you as a marketing person wants to offer a free website inspection for prospective customers, you could actually do that to the platform. So you could go out there, do a brief overview of what you're looking for, and when you submit that offer it will go out to any users on the platform that says they're looking for marketing tips. But it's a great way to promote yourself. On the other side of that, as someone that would receive that, it's a great way to find only the things that I'm looking for which is exactly what the platform is designed to do. I can take marketing, and I would get that offer right away. Then the last tab is our Articles tab so when you talk in the intro about your tips, this is a way for you to send tips directly to people. It is very similar to the Offers tab, the biggest difference is that the offers have an expiration date, where articles would stay out there until you remove them. So there are four primary tabs and we felt that those were the ways that businesses at this point communicate most often so.

Over the past seven years, what have you learned about all this?

My biggest experience was going from someone who had to listen to other business owners talk about what they need to actually be someone that has experienced it. At one point, I needed to find some developers and that was an area that I had to go out and do some research on. So it made me realize that there is just a lot of legwork for the small business owner. But it also made me realize that there's a lot of areas that we hadn't even thought about initially. In fact, one of my friends told me early on that I should be prepared for this to go in a direction I never planned it to. As we started developing this more and more, the initial concept was built around helping community banks. It's now going from small businesses to freelancers, especially, let's say over the last 18 months with the impact of the pandemic so many more small businesses have popped up as a necessity. So it's really kind of taken off and has expanded a bit more into those areas. Again, there's a lot of competition out there right now, and hopefully, we can help people connect directly with one another and save some time.

So what's next for you here?

Well, right now the study is up and running and we're in the process of growing it. But before we got to that point, as we're developing it, we also have a series of several enhancements that we planned. We plan to create a focus group or user panel that will actually help us by looking at the enhancements we have planned. They're very industry-specific. So marketing ultimately will look a little bit different than let's say insurance. So we have the panel set for the first group and they will help us identify what's important, and give us some direction in terms of what's most important to be able to prioritize things so that we're focusing on what the end-user wants. We are looking at this as that end user will actually be considered more of our board of directors because we really want to listen to them in terms of where we go from here, as opposed to just doing things arbitrarily and putting something off that no one has an interest in.

Can you share with our listeners one of your most successful or favorite networking experiences that you've had?

There's been quite a few actually because, for the longest time, I was a sales rep for a bank. I never really was into going to the formal meetings, I enjoy going to different outings like golf outings, or things of that nature, and just trying to make a point of meeting as many people as I can. Because to me, a lot of those people were the ones that I would be doing business with. So I think that was probably the most successful for me and I started to enjoy more of the relaxed type functions versus some of the more structured ones.

How do you stay in front of and best nurture the relationships you’ve created?

On LinkedIn right now, I think I have 23,000 followers. So what we're doing is we're continually putting regular posts out there. I try to get in contact with my customers whenever possible. I'm not necessarily a believer in banks where they tell you to meet your customer once every six months or so. Whenever possible, I will do that if I come across articles or something I think would be beneficial to a customer, I make an effort to get those into their hands. So you look for different and creative ways to get in front of them and make those experiences as memorable as possible.

What advice would you offer to the business professional who is looking to grow their network?

Step outside your comfort zone, try something you haven't done before. I can guess one of the challenges we face with the platform is just looking at things that we never thought possible. So, again, I think you just have to step outside of your comfort zone and don't be afraid to make a mistake.

If you could go back to your 20-year-old self, what would you tell yourself to do more or less of or differently with regards to your professional career?

Honestly, I don't believe in doing something different just because I think that's why I'm at where I'm at, and I'm okay with that. I think I would have been more aggressive in going after some different jobs. I would tell myself to not be afraid to take risks because I was afraid to take those risks early on and that would have been the one thing I would do differently. 

I understand you have an offer to share with our listeners?

Yes! What we would like to offer is a seven-day free trial for the website and then after that, we're going to offer 12 months for $99. If you have questions, and you want to reach out to me, you can go to our website, https://onesourcedirect.net/ and then you can read information, you can see our short demo videos and I'd be more than happy to talk to you to discuss how to use the first seven days in terms of taking those articles are marketing tips that use regularly, and getting them on to the website so that you can get out there and help yourself get in front of as many people as you can



Connect with Scott

 

Website: https://onesourcedirect.net/ 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/scott-e-lebeau-826a0512/ 

Dec 7, 2021

Meet Tatyana

Tatyana St. Germain is the founder and CEO of Great People Management, a consulting firm located in Kenosha, WI, serving clients nationwide. They offer leadership coaching, hiring and development assessments, talent optimization tools, and talent management consulting. Tatyana is an expert at understanding and solving complex people challenges in the workplace and helped over 1000 clients worldwide select, retain and develop the right people who get results and smash the competition.

How can companies improve their chances of hiring productive employees?

The biggest challenge I'm finding with my clients and with conversations I'm having in my business network is actually finding people. That's the biggest challenge and that's probably a whole separate conversation. But once you have a candidate, if you're lucky you may have a couple of candidates, the best way to ensure that they're productive is to look for job fit and look for culture fit. This is where some of those resources out there can really help and one of those resources is predictive assessment tools that companies can use to help them understand their people. These assessment tools are not designed to screen people out because what I'm hearing right now is, "Tatyana, we don't even have any people apply, how can we talk about screening people out or using any kind of tool for job matching?" Well, it's really to ensure the productivity, engagement, and long-term retention of the employee. That's the information that the assessment tools give you. So don't skip that step, the vetting step, and do the due diligence on the front end when you're hiring employees, even if you just have one to choose from.

What can managers do to keep their employees?

Once you get somebody in place, and congratulations if you hired a warm body, the next question is now what? How do I ensure that I have a productive onboarding experience to engage them? It starts with understanding what people really care about. Your onboarding and your retention start with the interview process. You want to make sure that you understand your employees, ask deep, meaningful questions and then once they are on board, you have everything in place for them. Obviously, the benefits, their desk, their computer ready, and all the logins, but also the next step is building a deeper relationship with the team. One of my clients shared a great success story that he incorporated those assessment tools in the onboarding process, generating a team report that shares with each team member what their differences and similarities are, what their talents and challenges are, and having maybe a 90-minute conversation with a new team member over lunch is going to help the new team member to ask some questions, maybe laugh about some of the quirks and personality that other members on the team have. Most importantly, focus on the talent. We're all behaviorally diverse when we're working on the same team and the key here is to complement each other instead of perceiving our differences as difficulties, which is how we are wired psychologically to be, that's the knee-jerk reaction. When we meet new people there's a lot of uncertainty and that creates that wall and engages fear factors in the brain that shuts down the rational brain. So it takes multiple months, and sometimes years to get to know your co-workers to build a productive relationship. But utilizing assessment tools, you are actually able to build that relationship within the first week and that's what my client shared. It's feasible that you can squeeze your onboarding, the length of onboarding from months, to just weeks. Bringing onboarding into the conversation about retention starts to build loyalty and connectedness. This is what people care about. Yes, they do care about bonuses and compensation and benefits packages that are being revamped right now with many organizations. But with those tactical transactional items, you can only go so far. Frankly, smaller companies can't even afford all those benefits in compensation packages. So it's about relationships. 

Why are you so passionate about helping companies solve their "people problems"?

When I got introduced to the assessment industry, my former boss and mentor brought me into the second interview and he showed me my scores, and not knowing what I was looking at because I didn't know anything about assessments at that time, I was kind of mortified because one of the behavioral traits that were assessed was attitude. And on a scale of 1 to 10 I was a 1 so I automatically assumed 1 is bad, 10 is good and why am I even here? Then he pulled up his report and show that he's a 10 so we're polar opposites when it comes to outlook on life and people and trust. Then he said in the small office of seven people, all of us are over six on a scale from one to 10, and me being the leader of the team I'm concerned that I'm so optimistic that I might lead this team right off the cliff thinking and hoping there's an invisible bridge so if nothing else, we actually want you on our team, we want you to ask questions, we want you to be our anchor. So this skeptical attitude that I've carried through throughout my life, and I've always thought it was a burden, it was a negative thing about who I was, all of a sudden became an asset. It's about how you look at it. It's about how you channel your strengths and mitigate your challenges and we have both, we all have that. Finding a position where you can channel even some of the adversity that you may have about your personality into a positive area that's what builds loyalty. This is what makes people go the extra mile and that's what it did for me. It was amazing, I was given permission to be myself. In fact, I was valued for who I was not even my contributions, because he didn't know what I could do at that point. It was just the interview, but my potential, and how I would interact and complement the team. So I was given permission to be myself on the job and needless to say, case, in point, I am still in this industry. This was so life-changing for me personally, and I thought if I could do this for other people, individual people, or the leaders, business owners, and entire organizations because it is such a scalable process. You can apply it to everyone and I worked with companies from five employees to 55,000. If you can give this kind of information and put people in positions according to their talents, according to their potential, where their contributions in their innate talents would be valued, how much better our decisions would be, how much better our productivity and engagement would be, and would people really be leaving companies? That's my question, if all companies were using and had the same experience as I did would people be leaving? This year was rough for everyone, but it never crossed my mind to get out of the business or change careers.

Can you share with our listeners one of your most successful or favorite networking experiences that you've had?

First of all, when we network, you never know who you're going to meet and who you might end up getting connected to. Some of the best referrals come from unlikely sources. I learned that early on so I don't ignore any opportunity to network. I had great experiences with a variety of networking organizations. Right now I'm working with an amazing content writer who's located in the UK. I got introduced to her probably three years ago and there was one person who introduced me to another person. So this is probably a fourth-level connection and she's amazing. So whether you get connected to resources or potential clients, I never discount the power of networking and then building credibility through your network as well.

How do you stay in front of and best nurture the relationships you’ve created?

You have to think on purpose about the people in your network. What I mean by that is knowing what they care about, what they're looking for in terms of business if this is a business relationship, continuously look for opportunities, and train your ear to listen for them. For example, yesterday, I had a lunch meeting with one of the people in my network who just purchased a new business. He gave me a tour of the facility, we had lunch and it was lovely, but towards the end of the conversation. He mentioned something about benefits. My ears perked up because I've been listening for those clues and I mentioned one of my network partners who do benefits. So I will be connecting them today, making that soft, warm introduction. So I think that's probably the most important thing and it's not quid pro quo, it's really about being generous and being passionate about connecting people to people and connecting people to resources. It's not about what you get back, it's about what you can give. When you have that outlook, you're going to be able to hear more of those opportunities and connect people to those resources.

What advice would you offer to the business professional who is looking to grow their network?

I've done all kinds of things, starting with trade shows. I've done a lot of those early on in my assessment career, and coaching career. That's basically collecting business cards and building the list and then doing email marketing. But I would say in the last 10 years, LinkedIn has been a keystone for all of my networking. People are willing to connect and people are willing to listen. I would say get on LinkedIn spend and I can recommend a couple of people who help you maximize the value of LinkedIn, how to connect with people, get the Premium Package, spend whatever you need to spend to invest in building the network. But I think that's been the best one. It's amazing how responsive people are even if you just ask a question. You can build a group, you can have a webinar, you can do all sorts of things. The sky's the limit!

If you could go back to your 20-year-old self, what would you tell yourself to do more or less of or differently with regards to your professional career?

Growing up in the Soviet Union, there's kind of the power of necessity that drove me always. So I never remember myself not striving to do more. So first, it was getting myself out of that country with education, working hard, and not passing up opportunities, and I've taken on some crazy opportunities. I would say when opportunities knock, do not pass them up because then you always wonder what if. I'm happy to say that, and whether it's because of who I am, or the power of necessity because I was really driven to succeed and build a better life for myself and for my future children I did that and I would always say to take risks in the early years.

I understand you have a free assessment to share with our listeners?

Yes, so I do offer a couple of different assessments because I believe that every organization and every situation is unique so one size does not fit all. But one of the flagship assessments that I use is the PXT Select tool that is developed and validated by Wiley and Sons. They also provide assessments such as 5 behaviors of a cohesive team, in addition to the PXT Select. So I've sourced this one and I've used this for the past 17 years. I find that it is most predictive, most robust and sophisticated, and most importantly to me, it is valid and reliable. So I'm all about the numbers and the technical manual. But I wanted to offer this assessment to the listeners and it takes about 45 minutes to complete and then it would be maybe an hour of a debrief so we can chat about insights that they can get out of the reports, to improve their leadership skills, understand their strengths, understand some of the challenges that they may be experiencing, and how to mitigate those and become more self-aware, because the journey of improvement starts with self-awareness. You can't get to point B without knowing your point A so the PXT Select is point A and I would love to offer that to more people out there.



Connect with Tatyana

 

Contact Tatyana to schedule your assessment! https://greatpeoplemanagement.com/contact/  

Email: tatyana@greatpeoplewin.com 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tatyanastgermain/ 

Dec 1, 2021

Meet Mayra

Marya Wilson, PhD is the Principal and Organizational Dietician for MW Advising.

Marya has an extensive business and industry career in the areas of manufacturing, information management, telecommunications, ISP, and the semiconductor industries of the Silicon Valley, CA at the companies 3M, Imation, and Pentagon Technologies, and various others.

She is also the Director of the Leadership Institute and an Assistant Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. She teaches in the areas of organizational leadership and behavior, operations management, quality management, training and development, and sustainable management. Her research interests include psychological contracts, trust and emotions in the workplace, and organizational exit. Her current research involves the understanding of the lived experience for professionals who are pushed out of their careers.

Marya serves the manufacturing, service, higher education, non-profit, and government sectors. She brings not only first-hand knowledge to the learning experience but also a clear understanding of the underlying emotional processes that drive behaviors and create individual and team success. She has a BA in Psychology, MS in Management Technology, MA in Human Development, and a PhD in Human and Organizational Systems.

Why is trust so important to the success of an organization?

So along with my entrepreneurial endeavors, I also teach at The University of Wisconsin Stout so I have a pretty extensive research background as well. The research that I get into is in organizational exit. So why are people leaving organizations? Usually, I get a sort of that "Duh'' look because most people think they know why people leave, but there's so much more to it. It's so important for organizations to really understand why people are leaving, especially their high performers. Pretty much the number one reason that people leave their organizations is because there's a betrayal of trust. There's this trust factor that is so important in organizations and so one of the things that I do is work with leaders and work with organizations to strengthen that trust between the individuals of the organization as well as the leaders and their organizations. Losing people isn't just a financial hardship, it's a really big hit on morale and the overall organizational culture. The last thing any organization wants is to hit that toxic realm and it's easy to do when we're not paying attention to trust and not paying attention to those relationships that are part of that organization. Yeah, we've got a job to do, there's no doubt about it. We've got things to do, we've got expectations to meet, we've got goals to meet, we have customer expectations, but that relationship side of the organization is as important as getting the job done, sometimes I'm fairly certain it's a little more important. So trust is a big factor and it's one of the things that I love to talk about and love to continue to research too.

Is organizational trust the same in face-to-face and remote work environments?

March 2020 was one of the most disruptive changes we've seen in almost 100 years. The definition that I use for trust is an individual's belief and willingness to act on someone's actions, decisions, and words. The truth of the matter is that there's no difference between that face-to-face and in the remote or the virtual. It's all in our actions, it's all in what we say, it's all in how we interact. Is it different? Of course, face-to-face is much richer, you can see the nonverbals, you can see body language, you can see those facial expressions. There's just so much there that you can see that you can't necessarily see in a virtual or remote environment. But one of the things that have been interesting the last couple of years is listening to leaders go, "We need everybody back and we need them back now because we don't have good relationships anymore." So I'll ask them why that is and they'll say, "Well, people can't see each other," and I thought, "Okay, but you're doing these great video meetings, you're doing these great virtual events so why do you have to necessarily be in the same room in order to build a relationship?" And you don't. It's different, but there's so much that we can glean in a virtual setting. I mean, look at us. We're doing this podcast, I can't see you, but I can hear your voice and so we can build a relationship that way. So is it different? Yes, but the tenants are the same. Building trust, being able to believe and act on someone's words, actions, and decisions. It's the same thing in a remote or virtual environment as it would be in a face-to-face. What I would say as well, is that it falls on us to be more cognizant of it. When you're face to face, I don't want to say it's easy, but in some ways it is. We've been face to face for so long that we haven't really learned how to do that trust-building and relationship building when we're not face to face. So it's really pushed a lot of people out of their comfort zone so it's been interesting to watch over the last couple of years. I will say that the companies and clients that I work with that are successful at this trust-building approach and relationship-building approach make time to connect. It doesn't have to be on a video call, it could just be a phone call, it's about the connection.

Do you think that some companies and employers are overthinking this?

Honestly, I don't think they're thinking about it enough! Think about this: We were going through this massive disruptive change, which is extremely scary. Any change, positive or negative creates uncertainty and uncertainty creates fear. If we don't pay attention to it, that fear will create chaos. So the great thing about communication is the ability to keep people in the loop. It shows respect, it puts accountability there. Communication builds trust. People may not like what you have to say, but the fact that you're telling them shows a level of respect that you're being transparent about what's going on. What I'm seeing right now is that there's a level of fear. Let's just take manufacturers in Wisconsin, I just did a panel discussion with a couple of different manufacturers in the state and what we discovered is that we have a lot of leaders of organizations that are very scared and they're trying to survive. The supply chain has been massively disrupted so our leaders are fearful which is understandable. But what happens is when people become afraid, that's when the chaos ensues so when I'm saying that they're not thinking about this enough, our leaders are kind of getting caught up in their own ego. I don't mean that to belittle anybody, it's actually a normal human reaction. But in leadership, we need to really think about how in uncertain and fearful environments, that communication is absolutely crucial. It needs to be regular, and it needs to be thought about, and it needs to be at the forefront because that's what helps get people through uncertainty. 

Can you share with our listeners one of your most successful or favorite networking experiences that you've had?

I think some of the more fun ones have been the ones that I wasn't even planning. This is from my days in the Silicon Valley, I was actually laid off from a job. So I'm driving around and I stop off because traffic was horrendous and just stopped off. There was a restaurant near one of our clients at the time which was Intel. So I stopped off and tried to let traffic die down. I'm sitting at the bar, and just having conversations with people and the gentleman sitting next to me was about to become my future CEO. It's that conversation, just connecting and those kinds of things. Those are the things that you don't plan for, the stuff that I plan for probably the most fun that I have is LinkedIn right now. I have met some of the most amazing people on LinkedIn. I met my business partner on a goof, she read one of my blogs, we connected on LinkedIn and now we're business partners even though she's in Europe and I'm here in the States!

How do you stay in front of and best nurture the relationships you’ve created?

There are a lot of different things I do. I work hard to even just send short messages like, "I haven't talked to you in a long time and I just wanted to reach out to let you know I was thinking about you, I hope everything is well." I don't do that from a brown-nosing perspective, so to speak. I know some people think that's really trite, but that's genuine for me. If you get a message like that from me, it really does mean that I was thinking about you and that something made me think about you, and I just wanted to reach out and let you know. That's big for me.

If you could go back to your 20-year-old self, what would you tell yourself to do more or less of or differently with regards to your professional career?

What I would tell myself is to have more confidence and be strong in myself. I was such a comparer and that constant act of comparing myself to others was such a roadblock. So just be you, be confident, focus on your strengths, because everybody on this planet has got something of value that they can give wherever they're at. But that comparison thing is just a killer. The best example that I can use is that I got my PhD later in my career. I did it in my 40s and I have a friend that wants to get a second PhD, and I'm really questioning her mental state because it was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life! I had this extensive business industry experience, which was amazing and I worked on my PhD a little later. So I'm in the academic life a little bit later and I'm in this entrepreneurial role a little bit later and if you're gonna compare yourself to everybody else, it's really easy to start questioning the things that you're doing. The things that I'm doing right now are really great and I'm insanely excited for 2022. I've got a book coming out, I've got new research coming out, there's some really great stuff going on with my company, I'm just so excited! But it's super easy to get caught up in that comparison and I wish my 20-year-old self would have known that a little bit more because it can be a bit of a roadblock.

 

Connect with Marya

 

Connect with Marya through her website at https://www.mwadvising.com/contact and schedule an appointment!

 

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