Outsourcing. To many, this word is a harbinger of doom. Mere utterances of it fills employees with dread over the loss of their jobs. Management cower with back-pocket anecdotal feelings of letting strangers handle the nuances of their businesses culture, product, and customers. The term, sadly, is dirty as a piece of coal left in a naughty boy or girl’s stocking.
A few weeks back, our CEO shot a quick video at a friend’s office. In the video, Michael touched on shaping a company’s environment to match their goals. He never drives into specifics – more or less touching on the basic idea to get you to think about how the office your employees inhabit can be augmented to drive success. But I digress.
Behind Mike, framed wonderfully, was a bit of wall art that inspired me to write to you this week. The phase “Stay Humble, Hustle Hard” rings true to DreamCSX, and as such, deserves some attention.
You know some weeks, our CEO makes it a little too easy to bring you an interesting topic. As I hope you took some time out today to watch the video above, Chief Dreamer, Michael McMillan, posits a very direct question?
Are you a problem solver?
We’d all like to think so, right?
But as Mike breaks the term down, I’d believe many of us taking an honest inventory of our careers might find that each of us has trading up and down through the roles he defined. As an exercise in both education and humility, all me, the Marketing Dreamer, to show you how all of us work through Mike’s Buckets of Problem Solving from our first roles in business through to today.
The Problem Creator
When we begin our careers, we often are giving a limited set of responsibilities, and more typically, a very exhaustive process by which to complete them. All too often, either of our own volition or by proxy of the instructions given, we become a Problem Creator. Let’s just go ahead and toss away the typical mistakes of our youth though. It’s rare we step out from college, into an internship, and waltz into an entry-level position with absolutely no mistakes to our name. Toss the baby out with the bathwater there; being a creator because youthful hubris leads to a clerical error, or other smudge on our record is simply a given.
As Mike hinted above, where Problem Creators become a valuable resource for our companies comes into play when their following of a process gives way to never-seen-before issues. All too often when people transition out of a job, and are left to leave the instructions for the next guy things can get hairy fast. Directions too detailed can complicate simple processes into mind-boggling tedium. Conversely, lax instructions can lead a newer employee to either be dependent upon their supervisor to finish their tasks… or worse… be left making crucial decisions they’re not equipped to handle. When we find these Problem Creators we should celebrate the discovery of ways to improve our business. The creators grant us the opportunity to better ourselves in truly tangible ways.
The Problem Finder
Let’s be honest. When an employee makes a mistake, they don’t often proclaim it loudly (except when they learn that Reply All is right next to Reply!). Our Problem Finders become our key players to sniff out the issues, and shine the light on them. There’s not much more that needs to be said here. Most often well-placed in HR and Operations, your Finders exist to help flesh out areas and processes to improve. Use them as your guides, and you’re left with a roadmap to your future prosperity and success.
The Problem Complainer
When an issue arises in our businesses, It’s a needle to thread; how do we solve it can often be losts when a Complainer sits in our midst. These ne’er-do-wrongs tend to find the problems, not unlike our Problem Finders, but miss that crucial skill to offer a path to improvement. As Mike details, there is value to a Complainer on staff, when your Finders are perhaps more introverted.
The Problem Follower
On your front line, the Problem Followers are your day-to-day grunts. Not to be uncouth about it, but we recognize who they are. Those folks who punch in on time, eat lunch on time, take a piece of cake on the birthday celebrations, and leave like clockwork at the stroke of five. Issues that come up are left right where they were when your Creators were making them, your finders were sleuthing them out, and your Complainers were loudly discussing it in the breakroom. Finding your followers, and mentoring them into your Finders and eventually Solvers is one of the key tasks you should focusing on as a manager or leader. Your Followers are clay to be molded. Never shaking the boat is an indication they can one day steer your ship.
The Problem Solver
Last, and truly most important, are your Problem Solvers. Those key staff members who actively engage you and your business with an eye to constantly evolve. Staff members willing to identify issues, offer solutions for them, and most importantly… roll up their sleeves and get dirty eliminating. The more of these folks on your team? The more your bottom line always stays clearly in the black.
Your role here is to not only be your companies’ biggest Problem Solver, but to also deputize, train, and lead the future Problem Solvers throughout every department under your roof. These folks are your C-Level managers; whose responsibilities and measurables grant them the burden of always seeking the best solutions for the company. They think lean, and win big. They plan, and execute. They are always begging for forgiveness, not seeking permission. They turn a large breadth of skills into tangible results you can count on to deliver success from errant failures. They are your team captains, and as such, should be ones bringing you the big-picture-ramifications having always been in the trenches wrestling victory away from defeat.
And now? HOMEWORK.
Yup, you better believe we weren’t going to let you off the hook this week. We want you to pull up a roster of your employees. Go ahead. We’ll wait.
Now, next to each employee, evaluate and grade them (Creator, Finder, Complainer, Follower, and Solver).
Look over your list, and start seeing the forest for the trees. How many solvers do you have? How many Followers and Finders are ready to take a step up?
Make your plan of action, and promote someone this week. Fortune favors the bold. And the bold don’t scurry away from the problems that plague your business. They solve them.
DreamCSX beyond the basic elevator pitch, is the sum of many moving parts. But what binds those parts, rote as it may be, is the constant of aspiration. The company was formed by Dreamers for Dreamers. In short: business men and women whose eyes are purposefully bigger than their stomach. DreamCSX wants to find each and every last one of those people, and give them the Buy One Get One coupon right to the Vegas buffet of business success.
- Tell us a little about yourself prior to working at DreamCSX. What career highlights would you like to spotlight?
I’ve had a fun career so far! I started in TV production at a local NBC affiliate, went to national cable programming (HGTV, DIY, Oxygen), on to PBS... and then went corporate! My biggest rewards have been meeting community changers — you know, those people that are really giving it their all, and making a difference in their community. It was my role to help these people wanting to share their story on TV.
I’ve always been a curious person and being in TV production gave me access to meet all kinds of people from all kinds of backgrounds. While I benefited from being exposed to many ways of life and schools of thought, I was also able to apply my skills to help them share their voice.
- Now, tell us about what you do at DreamCSX. How do you apply what you learned from previous jobs to make what you do at DreamCSX special?
I’m the Dream Hunter here at DreamCSX. I help our company find talent across the entire business spectrum, and I’m looking for people who want to have a greater impact on the world than what they’re already doing. People who want to find a company that values their contributions and wants to see them grow!
I’ve worked in Casting and I apply similar skills to finding good talent for DreamCSX as I would for a TV show. I’m a people person and I thrive in organized chaos! That comes from working in newsrooms, being on tight deadlines, and knowing I have a responsibility to do my job accurately and professionally. For me, organized chaos is loving the excitement of an ever-changing, ever-growing company, and loving me some post-it notes and lists. Oh the lists!
- Tell me (so far) your favorite moment at DreamCSX. It can be a customer interaction, landing a deal, or even something related to being on the team.
By far my favorite moment at DreamCSX was when I received my first account to handle for the company. They are of the same industry that I came from... so I knew the lingo, I knew the tone they were looking for, and I could very quickly become one of them. I hit it out of the park! It solidified what our company is all about, helping our clients take care of certain business processes so they can focus their time and energy on reaching even higher business goals. That kind of success right out of the gate happened because our senior leaders in the company have an expansive career in this business, they know what they’re doing, and who to match with what account. It’s impressive!
- When you’re not at DreamCSX, what do you like to do?
I’m a family person and everything centers around my tribe. We even have our own nickname. When I’m not at DreamCSX you can find me either in the mountains enjoying this BEAUTIFUL natural habitat, at the movies, at church, at a ballpark, or in my kitchen. I still date my husband (so important!) and we love to catch live bands playing on the weekends and discover local new eateries.
- What are you a total nerd about?
I am a NERD about awards shows. Yes, I block out my entire afternoon/evening to watch the red carpet shows. Yes I plan out my own wardrobe, and tweet about it. Yes I get emotional about acceptance speeches and have been known to YouTube them a few times afterwards just to relive the moment. No, you will not judge me.
- Last, but not least: it’s time for “3 Truths and a Lie: Dreamer Edition”. Give us 3 dreams you have for your future… and 1 lie!
1. I plan to live in a motorhome and travel the country after the kids leave for college.
2. I plan to start my own non-profit.
3. I plan to pursue my singing career one day.
4. I plan to start a podcast and it will be AMAZING.
Every morning, as I check down my various news sites to start my day… I always wind up at YouTube. While there, I’ll tag a handful of videos to Watch Later, so when I get home and have a minute or two to myself, I have some quick entertainment at hand while I catch up on personal e-mail. Fancy that only a few days ago, YouTube suggested a new channel for me.
It suggested the new vlog of DreamCSX’s CEO, Mike McMillan. #Synergy
Every month, DreamCSX will feature one of the astounding members of our Dream Team. This week, we introduce you to Paul Ownby, our Dreamer Team Experience Specialist. Read on how his background in Health Insurance led him to be a standout leader with us... and play our inaugural game of 2 Dreams and a Lie!
Amidst her time working in sales, Sara made it clear that the “…second the customers felt I was in sales pitch mode”, she’d be met with the uncompromising click of the receiver, and the all too familiar dial tone of disinterest. As with all great experience specialists… time, thoughtfulness, and an open ear became the keys to closing.
Read up on the history of McDonalds or Ford, and you’ll see a striking similarity – to the adoption and mastery of the assembly line. Their commitment to streamline process ultimately produced what their consumers wanted most; a predictable end-product that was consistently delivered, meeting the expectations desired when purchasing.
My father had spent his entire adult life working in it; first as cashier and salesman, ultimately climbing his way into managing and ultimately owning a business. Like many suburban kids, I was in awe of his journey. Moreso, I was determined to figure out what lessons my dad could impart on me. To see how the means justified his ends.
...Nervously I stammered my way through my thought process. I had no idea what the world would want from me, and because it was more important to me I get started than having a plan… I figured the smart money was to say I did it all, and see what sticks.
My cousin poked me in the chest – nicely at first – and got very serious.
“Listen to me, Marc. A jack of all trades is a master of none.
When you are building a new company, there is never enough hours in the day to reflect on how much you have already accomplished. Well that is until someone outside your company walls takes notice.
It was not like we were unaware of the article, but we had no clue that on Thursday, June 7, 2017 we would get to see the article we were being featured in take the COVER!
Traditional outsourcers do not have your companies interest at heart!
Yes, you did just read that right. The reason is not that the companies and staff do not want to help you improve customer retention, customer service, or sales. No, the issue is because the revenue and profit models of the service to need conflict.