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Absolute Advantage Podcast

The Absolute Advantage is about learning from some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs, leaders, and achievers at the top of their game. When chasing your dreams, a lot of times there isn’t a need to reinvent the wheel. Instead, shorten your path to success by learning from the stories, strategies and concepts shared by our guests. Then shorten it even further by learning about amazing resources (books, webinars, tools, software, events, coaching, etc.) that should be on your radar. You are not alone in the challenges you face! It's my mission to help you walk away with at least one idea you can apply each episode and to offer content that inspires, encourages and helps you grow and progress QUICKLY both professionally and personally.
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Now displaying: March, 2017
Mar 30, 2017

Michael Hauge works with people who want to change more lives and make more money, by telling better stories. He is one of Hollywood’s top story experts, script consultants, and authors. He now uses the principles of blockbuster storytelling to help entrepreneurs, consultants, and business leaders with their speeches, articles, and marketing emails. Michael has presented seminars, lectures, and keynotes in person and online to more than 70,000 participants worldwide. According to Will Smith, No one is better than Michael Hauge at finding what is most authentic in every moment of a story.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Michael’s background working with Hollywood storytellers to tell better stories, and how and why he’s brought that to other industries
  • The critical evaluation of Michael’s script coaching and how he used that feedback to improve his coaching services
  • The three secrets to success in screenwriting Michael learned from his mentor Art Arthur (which can be applied to all forms of writing)
  • Why stories are a great way to an emotional question between you and your audience or you and your clients
  • The six steps of a success story (and how to apply them to your business)
  • The common mistakes business owners make when telling a story
  • Why you will tell a better story and connect with your audience better when you own your fears

Ways to contact Michael:

Resources:

Mar 28, 2017

Randy is a Principal at The Spur Group and a leader in executive communications and staffing practices. He has over 20 years of experience in the consulting industry.

He has written internal & external communications, developed presentations & speeches and created communication plans for many executives at clients including Microsoft, Cisco, Nokia and Juniper Networks. In addition to the communications experience, he has led large team projects for the clients I just named as well. Excellent training and management of his teams have led to the development of a practice line of placing highly talented, highly skilled people in fast-paced environments with great results.

The Spur Group has been recognized for its culture and investment in people in magazines such as Seattle Business Magazine for the last three years.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Always looking for the beauty in the people you work with, for, and around
  • The lessons of respect Randy learned from his father
  • Why you need to get really clear on your “what” and your “why”
  • How The Spur Group overcame their struggles with scaling
  • What Randy and his team looks for in candidates during the interview process
  • What The Spur Group’s culture looks like
  • Why you need to give candidates a well-rounded view of your business throughout the interview process
  • The week-long paid training program The Spur Group has candidates go through before deciding whether to hire them as employees or not
  • Mentors, Career Managers, and Engagement Managers: the three people each employee is assigned to help aid them in their career at The Spur Group
  • Why you should offer your “A-Players” the opportunity to lead
  • How to prepare for key employees leaving
  • Why you should force employees to answer their own questions
  • Why you need to really focus on getting every engagement right from the beginning
  • The importance of being open and inclusive

Ways to contact Randy:

Mar 23, 2017

Valerie McMurray, President/CEO of NorthStar Consulting Group, has 25 plus years of human capital management experience with leadership roles in human resources, organizational and leadership development, coaching, and training. She has held strategic HR positions in the financial industries, professional services, manufacturing, and distribution. Valerie has an extensive background in the development of innovative human capital management programs and leading cultural change emphasizing collaboration and effective employee engagement initiatives. As President/CEO of NorthStar Consulting Group, Valerie works with individuals and organizations to expand capability and capacity with innovative human capital management initiatives building on the strengths of clients to move toward their greatest potential. As a board certified executive coach she works with profit and nonprofit leaders and managers to coach them in leadership, professional development, and career transformation.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Valerie’s journey
  • The WISE (Women’s Inventory of Success Empowerment) Profile tool and how it can be used by both male and female leaders
  • The lessons of self-awareness Valerie learned from her mentor early in her career
  • Why you can never stop working on your own personal development
  • Why underestimating your own limitations is so crucial
  • Valerie’s daily reflection and planning strategy that keeps her focused on her priorities
  • Why you should think about “how you can be a better…”
  • Why you need to be aware of your own emotions and the emotions of those around you
  • Developing processes to mitigate unconscious biases in the hiring process
  • Why you can’t afford to hire people that are just like you
  • Structuring your interview process so that you come away with the information that you actually need
  • Why you need to understand the individual motivations of every member of your team
  • Why you need to set up an onboarding process and longer success path (30 days to a year, depending on resources) to make sure new hires achieve success
  • Why you should always seek out as much feedback as you can

Ways to contact Valerie:

Mar 21, 2017

Ryan Neal is a seasoned investor, director, and advisor with more than ten years of experience in collaborating with the owners and managers of private companies to increase their value. Ryan is the President and co-founder of Blueprint Consulting Services, LLC. He also is an active member of the Seattle chapter of Entrepreneurs Organization.

Blueprint Consulting Services is Washington State’s fastest-growing private company for 2015 and 2016 by Puget Sound Business Journal. They’ve also won Best Company to Work For by Puget Sound Business Journal and Seattle Business Magazine.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Ryan’s background
  • How Blueprint Consulting Services bridges the gap between strategic analysis and solution delivery
  • The challenges they’ve faced growing from 0 to 600 employees in just four years
  • Why you need to be uncomfortable to keep growing
  • How and why Ryan vets applicants so that their team is full of people who take challenges that would intimidate most people and figure out how to better their company through the solutions to those challenges
  • Why Blueprint treats all their employees like entrepreneurs and gives them the freedom to spend their time wherever they want
  • Why Blueprint celebrates when then their employees leave (and what they do when an employee leaves for a reason that is Blueprint’s fault)
  • Why you have to have crashed and burned to learn the lessons you need for success as an entrepreneur
  • Why you should never stunt an individual’s growth because you “need” them to service your business in a certain way
  • Why you need to reevaluate your processes and be self-reflective as an entrepreneur
  • Aligning your priorities so that what you focus on is aligned with who you need to be
  • What Ryan’s learned from his mentor John Connors
  • Why you need to have the humility to not be an expert

Ways to contact Ryan:

Mar 16, 2017

Kelly Hatfield is co-founder of Enginuity Advantage, Advantage Staffing Group, Enginuity Virtual Recruiter and Impact Real Estate Real Estate Group based in Everett, Washington. She has been in the recruiting and HR field for over 20-years and loves serving others. Kelly and her business partner have built three successful companies with the purpose of helping others succeed and delivering remarkable results. Kelly and her team strategically align themselves as “The Partner of Choice” with clients and strive to be the first place clients call when they are looking for extraordinary service, quality, and reliability. The resulting outcome has been an outstanding referral network that has built and continues to build their companies.

As Co-Founder and Owner of Enginuity Advantage, Advantage Staffing Group and Enginuity Virtual Recruiter, April (together with her amazing partner) has created and developed three successful businesses aimed at matching exceptional talent with the top organizations. With 17 years in the human resources and staffing realm, April has experience, knowledge and a love for people and aims to offer solutions to all who are served. Being a natural problem solver, she prides herself on developing and leading a team of recruiting professionals whose mission is focused on connecting people to opportunity. Through creative and exhaustive methods, the Enginuity Group successfully matches the right talent with the right businesses each and every day.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Why a hiring search will lose direction and momentum if a Project Champion is not in place
  • Why having too many people working on a hiring search instead of just one Project Champion can make the whole process very confusing
  • How not having a Project Champion can leave candidates with a bad impression of your company
  • Why having a Project Champion to keep things moving has a bigger impact on your business than you realize
  • Why the Project Champion must have a vested interest in the success of the search
  • The qualities that make a person a great fit to be your Project Champion

Ways to contact Kelly:

Ways to contact April:

Mar 14, 2017

Ray is the Managing Principal and leader of The Spur Group, Inc, a business consulting firm. He brings over 30 years of experience to Spur’s consulting business. As the leader of Spur’s communications and operations practices, Ray is responsible for developing and delivering offerings that drive organizational impact and business attainment. Prior to founding The Spur Group, Ray was the Managing Principal of Touch Business Consulting where he grew the business to a nationally recognized consulting firm.

The Spur Group won several awards in 2016 from the likes of Inc Magazine, Consulting Magazine, and Seattle Business Magazine.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Ray’s journey
  • Connected communications: how The Spur Group builds marketing and sales materials around difficult and technical topics
  • How to manage rapid change
  • What The Spur Group’s great culture looks like
  • The nine attributes that make up Spur’s “A Players”
  • Spur’s clear career paths, challenging work, and shared profits: how they keep their “A Players”
  • Why Spur’s training program is based on having team members work on their strengths — not their weaknesses
  • Why Spur’s attrition rate is so low — and why they’ll often have people who have left come back
  • Asking your team what they know vs. what they suspect
  • Why you need to constantly assess if you’re focused on what matter
  • The importance of picking the right partners
  • Why you need to say hello to everyone you can in your business every day

Ways to contact Ray:

Mar 9, 2017

Kelly Hatfield is co-founder of Enginuity Advantage, Advantage Staffing Group, Enginuity Virtual Recruiter and Impact Real Estate Real Estate Group based in Everett, Washington. She has been in the recruiting and HR field for over 20-years and loves serving others. Kelly and her business partner have built three successful companies with the purpose of helping others succeed and delivering remarkable results. Kelly and her team strategically align themselves as “The Partner of Choice” with clients and strive to be the first place clients call when they are looking for extraordinary service, quality, and reliability. The resulting outcome has been an outstanding referral network that has built and continues to build their companies.

As Co-Founder and Owner of Enginuity Advantage, Advantage Staffing Group and Enginuity Virtual Recruiter, April (together with her amazing partner) has created and developed three successful businesses aimed at matching exceptional talent with the top organizations. With 17 years in the human resources and staffing realm, April has experience, knowledge and a love for people and aims to offer solutions to all who are served. Being a natural problem solver, she prides herself on developing and leading a team of recruiting professionals whose mission is focused on connecting people to opportunity. Through creative and exhaustive methods, the Enginuity Group successfully matches the right talent with the right businesses each and every day.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Why you need to really get clear about what your reputation is
  • How to figure out what your employees and customers think of you
  • The kind of feedback about companies that we receive as recruiters
  • Sites like Yelp, Google, and Glassdoor where you can find feedback
  • Why no presence is as bad as a bad presence
  • Why you need a person keeping their finger on the pulse of social activity
  • What to do when something negative happens online
  • Why you should always share anything that makes your company look positive
  • Making sure you’re visible when people are searching for jobs
  • How to use your reputation to retain employees

Ways to contact Kelly:

Ways to contact April:

Mar 7, 2017

Shep Hyken is a customer service and experience expert and the Chief Amazement Officer of Shepard Presentations. He is a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author and has been inducted into the National Speakers Association Hall of Fame for lifetime achievement in the speaking profession. Shep works with companies and organizations who want to build loyal relationships with their customers and employees. His articles have been read in hundreds of publications, and he is the author of Moments of Magic®, The Loyal Customer, The Cult of the Customer, The Amazement Revolution and Amaze Every Customer Every Time. He is also the creator of The Customer Focus™, a customer service training program which helps clients develop a customer service culture and loyalty mindset.

In 1983 Shep founded Shepard Presentations and since then has worked with hundreds of clients ranging from Fortune 100 size organizations to companies with less than 50 employees. Shep Hyken’s most requested programs focus on customer service, customer loyalty, internal service, customer relations and the customer experience. He is known for his high-energy presentations, which combine important information with entertainment (humor and magic) to create exciting programs for his audiences.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Shep’s background
  • How to get great feedback (and how to understand feedback that you’re not being given)
  • Why your job is not the product or service you create
  • The six steps for creating a customer-focused culture
  • What you can learn from Walt Disney about great customer service
  • Why everyone in your company is your internal customers (and why you must treat them as such)
  • Learning from Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh’s 10 core values that their culture is built upon
  • Why you need to create a journey map for the journey you want your customers to take
  • Thinking outside to take away customers’ complaints
  • Why you need to make it easy for your team to succeed (and how that ties into having a clearly defined mission)
  • The difference between learners and successful learners
  • Why you must act and behave like you want others to act and behave
  • Shep’s virtual training course

Ways to contact Shep:

Mar 2, 2017

Menlo Innovations CEO Rich Sheridan had the all-consuming thought during a difficult mid-career in the chaotic technology industry that things can be better. Much better. He had to find a way. His search led him to books, authors, and history, including recalling childhood visits to Greenfield Village every summer. The excitement of the Edison Menlo Park New Jersey Lab served as his siren call to create a workplace filled with camaraderie, human energy, creativity, and productivity.

Ultimately, Rich and his co-founder James Goebel invented their own company in 2001 to “end human suffering in the world as it relates to technology” by returning joy to one of the most unique endeavors mankind has ever undertaken: the invention of software.

Their unique approach to custom software design, they named it High-tech Anthropology® has produced custom software that delights users rather than frustrating them. The programming team creates the software that works every day without the emergencies that are all too common in the tech industry. The process itself is so interesting that almost 4,000 people a year travel from around the world just to see how they do it. Many spend a week or more studying “The Menlo Way” being taught by the Menlonians who love to share their experience and knowledge.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Rich’s background
  • Menlo Innovations’ joyous culture that people come in the thousands every year to witness
  • Why you need to turn your sights outward to who you serve and deliver joy to them
  • Why Menlo has its employees work two to a computer and bans the use of earbuds
  • How Menlo simulates the work environment during the interview process
  • Why Menlo doesn’t even look at resumes
  • The three-week paid trial new hires at Menlo enter into
  • The tower of knowledge problem that becomes a prison on knowledge problem in the IT industry and what Menlo does about it
  • How Menlo systematically gives each other feedback
  • The one meeting Menlo has every day (and why they avoid other meetings at all costs)
  • Why the Menlo team doesn’t even look at email on vacation
  • Why staying the same is riskier than growing

Ways to contact Rich:

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