Talk the Talk… Walk the Walk

By | Culture, Life at Daxko, Workplace | No Comments

One of the things that differentiates DAXKO in the markets we serve is our knowledge of those markets, our business, and how the two fit together.  We (that’s everyone in the organization) pride ourselves on speaking the language of our customers and knowing their business just as intimately as they do.

Some team members come to DAXKO with experience serving in those markets… they’ve walked the walk.  For the rest of us, we have to work at it.  We ask, we listen.  We study, we learn.  Then… we TEST!

That’s right… recently everyone in a customer-facing role (including our Leadership Team) put their market knowledge to the test with a 100-question assessment.  Questions cover a wide range of topics from customers to competitors, from partners to prospects.  And it’s NOT an easy test.  Granted… if you fail, we probably won’t fire you.  But you do have to study up and retest.  (I recommend dusting off the study skills you filed away after college.  You’re going to have to put in the reps to pass this one on the first try.)

Check out the video below for a couple of different perspectives from my fellow test takers.  (Jeremy, didn’t your momma tell you no one likes a bragger?)

Team T’s

By | Building a Company, Culture, Talent | No Comments

You thought I was going to write about DAXKO’s Kick-Off T-shirt design, but…that’s not it.

The Team T’s I’m talking about here came from an excerpt from “The Game Changer” that Dave G. left on my desk.   The article is about building an innovation team.  I like it.

One of the things that hit home is the importance of intellectual diversity on the team.  In short, to innovate a great product that will succeed in the marketplace takes a few key people with diverse “thinking styles.”  Intellectual diversity means people approach problems and opportunities in very different ways.  There are idea people, project managers, executioners (not as bad as it sounds!), and leaders.  A successful innovation team needs them all, and sometimes more than one from each person.

Different people are going to get to the goal in different ways.  Example:  Market people will look at a market problem and attempt to solve it for a profit (looking out for the business).  Product people, like artists and engineers, fall in love with design, novelty, or functionality (enamored with the killer product/service).  Successful innovation takes both, and will only work when both types recognize the value of the other in reaching the end goal.

Tim Brown of IDEO uses the term “T-shaped” disposition to describe the intellectual profile of innovative teams.  IDEO looks for people with depth in one subject (the down-stroke of the T).   They must also have a breadth of curiosity and willingness to consider other people’s skills (the top part of the T).  These “Type T” people are not easy to find. With drive and passion often comes ego and self-righteousness.  Building a trusting team of T-Players is critical to getting our Association business on a success track.  I am Thankful—with a capital T—that the players on the team already show great signs of being T-Players.

Kick-Off… the Greatest DAXKO Show on Earth

By | Culture, Life at Daxko | No Comments

We’re fast approaching the DAXKO event of the year… a little adventure we call Kick-Off!  The much-anticipated event rolls around every January, and details remain under wraps until day of.  Seriously… it’s a “if I tell you, I have to kill you” kind of secret.  This annual retreat isn’t limited to the bigwigs at DAXKO though.  Instead, the entire team heads offsite for a major planning session.

The agenda includes a candid review of the past year – opportunities we capitalized on and those we missed, proud achievements and where we fell short.  We lay out our goals for the coming year, and teams develop their attack plans to make it all happen.  We usually wrap up the occasion with a crazy fun teambuilding activity – think urban scavenger hunt, inflatable obstacle course, high speed go-kart races, and Amazing Race… DAXKO style.  (See pics of past events)

Check out the quick clip below to hear from this year’s event organizer extraordinaire, Barb.

Barb Talks Kick-Off from DAXKO on Vimeo.

Candidates: If You Want to Make a Hit, You’ve Got to Make it Quick…

By | Culture, Free Career Advice, Interviewing, Job Hunt | No Comments

You know the drill.  When you hire for a living, you verify whether the person has the knowledge, skills and abilities to do the job the way you need it done, then you go by your instincts.  Do you want to work with the person?  Are they going to drive you crazy?  Liking the person and feeling the flow/connecting matters more than the science of interviewing would indicate.

One of the quickest ways to blow it in the interview and make hiring managers turn away from you is to talk ON AND ON.  As it turns out, the
higher your career level, the more likely you are to give a 5 minute answer to a simple question.  After all, you’ve been in charge in the past, and people have been paid to listen to you, not the other way around.

Unfortunately, if you’re in the job market right now, that’s probably working against you.  More on reprogramming executives to network and interview from the New York Times:

“Mark grew up in an age when being understated about yourself was valued,” said Mr. Redmond, a partner who has been at New Directions since its founding 23 years ago. “At 53, he has to learn to tell his story and, like a marching band, toot his own horn.”

“Like a lot of senior executives, Mark was used to going on and on,” Mr. Redmond said. “He used to give speeches to thousands of people. When there was quiet, he was the one filling in the air.”

They practiced answering questions in 45 seconds.

“Jeff told me I could just talk 40 percent of the time,” Mr. Gorham said. Mr. Redmond had him write a one-page script. “We rehearsed to get it shorter,” Mr. Redmond said.

“Before calling,” Mr. Gorham said, “I must have rehearsed five more times at my office at home.”

Less is more in interviewing.  If you’re a candidate, make sure you aren’t rambling.  In and out in under 80 seconds for each question.  If you’re working with a good interviewer, you’ll get a follow-up question.  The best interviews sound like conversations, and that is a byproduct of both the interviewer and the candidate knowing what they’re doing.

Which brings me to another interesting point to end this post.  Know any interviewers who talk 80% of the time?  I do.  Don’t be one of them.