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Rory Brown, Chairman of Goods & Services Partners, Shares How to Develop a Culture That Embraces Technology and Change

Rory Brown of Charleston, SC is a Managing Partner of NB & Co. and the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Ad Genius, Goods & Services, and Nearshore Technology Company. He works with management teams and experienced leaders on sales and marketing, technology, and strategic initiatives.

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Technology is developing at a rapid pace. However, employees, particularly in industries not generally associated with high tech, can be reticent to embrace change.

Often people operate under a "good enough" mentality. Unless they are suffering, status quo is the path of least resistance. They reason that if the technology and processes they've been utilizing work, why change?

But this sort of thinking is extremely limiting for the organization as a whole, as it prevents it from successfully keeping up with competitors that have created a culture that embraces technology and change. These forward-thinking companies, those that recognize technology's ability to empower employees, will almost always pass their technophobic, change-phobic peers. So in today's hypercompetitive business environment "good enough" is never good enough. But how can an organization change its culture, and go from ignoring technological innovations to embracing them?

Lead by Example

Culture can be built top down, starting with management, or bottom-up from grassroots efforts by employees. The latter is much harder to guide. So start where you can. Show your employees that management accepts new technologies and embraces change. This takes commitment on the part of your management team. They must operate as a unified front. If the employees see their managers frustrated by new business processes, they will emulate this reaction. Be certain every manager throughout your organization embraces continuous improvement.

Listen to and Empower Your Team

It's important to recognize that some employees do embrace change while others don't. It's a mistake to react negatively to the technophobic. This tends to make people entrench into their positions and resent change, which makes change far more difficult. Instead, listen openly to their concerns. Make certain they feel heard. An employee that feels included is far more likely to accept the new direction the organization is taking.

Empower those employees that do readily embrace change. Give them a voice in the organization. Publicly recognize and praise them. This creates a powerful incentive for others to emulate them. Encourage these employees to speak with their less accepting colleagues. Cultural change is driven by critical mass. Once a certain percentage of your employees embrace specific technological interventions the rest will quickly follow suit through natural peer pressure.

Make sure all of your employees recognize they are not only accountable to management, but each other as well. Employees that acknowledge their responsibilities to each other are far more likely to accept correction from their peers, and peer correction is a basic feature of the more difficult to achieve, but more lasting process of bottom-up, grassroots culture change.



Communicate the Benefits

Not all employees will "get it" quickly. Others, particularly those resistant to change, will have a much harder time learning new processes and tools. Instead of getting frustrated, keep patiently working with your team until they have a full understanding, not only of how the technology works but also how it benefits them and helps them do their jobs better. Make sure they understand how these technological interventions make the entire company more efficient, which means everyone can be more successful.

When you and your employees recognize that training isn't a "once and done" event but a process everyone will be better off. Since technology is constantly changing, it's essential for employees to receive periodic training to keep them feeling comfortable with the direction of the company and make them feel the company cares about the work that they do.

Positive Culture Creates Positive Change

If you keep your employees engaged, make certain they understand how their positions benefit the company and their coworkers, and empower them to intervene with each other when negativity creeps in you'll be well on your way to creating a workforce that readily accepts change and champions it throughout the organization.

About Rory Brown (Charleston, SC): Mr. Brown is a Certified Public Accountant and received a Master of Business Administration from the University of Charleston, SC.

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Me Saying I Don't Watch 'Game of Thrones' Is NOT Your Cue To Convince Me To Start

"Once you've accepted your flaws, no one can use them against you."

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Yes, I have flaws. We all do. But it seems as if though my biggest flaw is that I have never seen "Games of Thrones." Nope, not even one single second. I don't know why I haven't seen it, it's not that I'm particularly against the show. I guess it's just too late now for me to start it, as the premiere of the eighth and final season aired April 14th. And for some reason, I just feel that I'm too far behind to even attempt to start it.

But please, I beg of you, do not try to get me to watch it. I don't want to; I've made my decision that I have missed the "Game of Thrones" train and I have accepted my fate. It's OK, you can use your heavy TV series persuasion on someone else, don't waste it on me.

But not being a Thronie (I have no idea if you "Game of Thrones" fans actually use that term, but it's fine) comes with its own set of hardships. Yes, I know that missing out on "unquestionably the most acclaimed and beloved show on television" is probably the greatest hardship, I know, I know.

But trying to scroll through social media while seemingly every single person on my feed is posting about the show? Now that's hard. I see memes left and right, constant reaction videos, clips of scenes that I will never understand. I see people being shocked by certain characters doing certain things to certain other characters and I just cannot understand! It's tough, it really is. I feel like I'm in elementary school, sitting on the bench beside the playground watching all of the cool kids playing together. I feel excluded and uninvited to the party that is the "Game of Thrones" fandom.

It really is hard. It's difficult not understanding the jokes and comments about all the happenings in "Game of Thrones." But to those who are obsessed avid watchers, I apologize. I sincerely am sorry that I can never understand your "Game of Thrones" talk. I am sorry that my inferior self is not interested in your favorite show.

As some character that I will never know in "Game of Thrones" says, "once you've accepted your flaws, no one can use them against you." I have accepted that my major flaw is the fact that I have never seen "Game of Thrones" and that I, unfortunately, have no interest in watching. So please, don't use it against me. Besides, that one character that I don't even know said that you can't anyway.

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Robb Misso, Award-winning CEO, Describes 7 Great Techniques Small Business Owners Use to Hire Top Talent

Discovering premiere talent is no easy task, but it's one of the best investments you can make for the future of your business.

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Hiring great employees is a difficult task, but hiring them for a small business or startup is far more difficult. Not only is your budget more limited, but you're also looking for a more specific kind of person. Working in a small business is inherently more difficult due to the flatter structure and greater responsibilities, so not only do you need someone skilled, you need people who can thrive under pressure. By focusing on these seven techniques detailed by Robb Misso, the CEO of DMS and a John C Maxwell Executive Council member, you can find the right people to hire for your company.

1. Focus on Brand Development from the Start

Attracting top talent for your small business is difficult because you have no branding at the start. Some people grow up thinking about working for global corporations because they have an expectation of how it would be to work for them, either due to a positive company culture, the impact they have on the world, or both. To get people to want to work for you, your business must have that same appeal. Develop a strong brand from the start and you'll make things easier for yourself.

2. Challenge Them

To get the best people, you have to offer the best projects. Top talent generally doesn't want to waste their time on something that bores them. Give them interesting projects, stimulate their minds and imagination, and they'll come in through the door.

3. Create a Small Business with Intent

Just making a small business to make money isn't enough, though it's a good start. You must have a greater goal in mind. You must have a vision. It's that vision that will drive people with passion to work for you. You must also learn how to present that vision and mission to people in the best possible way.

4. Go Out and Meet People Constantly

When you're looking to hire more people, the best thing to do is keep meeting new people. Go out to events and meet-ups and networking conferences and talk to people. Not only will you meet more potential employees, you'll also get to develop your brand and talk to potential partners and investors.

5. Look to Your Community

There's nothing like a consumer when it comes to criticism. No one is more critical than someone who bought your offering. Chances are, parts of your community are skilled workers. Why not hire them? They're already invested in your product, making them great potential hires. In some instances, such as positions for your sales force, their eagerness can make up for their lack of initial skill.

6. Look to Other Parts of the Globe

Your small business may have limited capital and reach, but the Internet has made it easier to find remote workers than ever before. While you won't have the comfort and intimacy of face-to-face interaction, they can give your small business skills you can't find locally. It can also end up being cheaper, especially if you just need them for specific tasks.

7. Create a Positive Workplace

A great workplace environment doesn't just help you keep employees, it'll help you get them. "When they first walk into your office for their interview, they should be met with smiling faces and people who are genuinely enjoying their work," stated Robb Misso. Nothing pushes away top talent like anger, frustration, and a general feeling of negativity. Developing a positive workplace is about having the right company culture, as well as having a comfortable physical space that people won't mind spending long hours in.

Hiring top talent for your small business is no easy task, but it's not impossible either. You just have to do it mindfully. You can't just send out fliers and expect great people to walk in. Develop your brand and your company culture from the start. Meet as many people as possible to expand your fishing waters. It's time-consuming, but consider it an investment in your small business's future.

About Robb Misso:

Robb Misso founded Dynamic Manufacturing Solutions in order to go about manufacturing differently. For 25 years, he has worked tirelessly to create a positive work culture and empower skilled workers both inside and outside the office. Robb Misso is also the recipient of Austin's "Recognize Good Award," which honors community-minded individuals for local charity work.

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