Category: Community

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15 Years in the Making

It’s hard to believe that it has been 15 years since Bo and Paul started the Small Giants Community! Like many of us, Paul was inspired by Bo’s book and that started a series of conversations, leading to them bringing purpose-driven leaders together as a Community.

Years later, the principles Bo wrote about in his book are stronger than ever, and we’ve seen the focus on culture and values become company differentiators. All of us continue to benefit from relationships and learnings with like-hearted leaders.

Join us as Paul and Bo take a walk down memory lane, share stories, challenges and what’s changed over the last 15 years. What happened to the original companies Bo wrote about? How has the Community evolved? Are there newer common characteristics of Small Giants companies? What are Bo and Paul up to now? Bring your questions for a genuine and touching fireside chat!

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Reimagining the Client Experience

When the leadership team at Venturity Financial Partners realized they were losing clients at an alarming rate, they knew a new approach was needed. With thoughtful and intentional planning, this CXO and accounting services firm created a dedicated Client Experience work group to revitalize how they worked with clients externally and managed them internally. Fast forward to today, Venturity has a net promoter score of 91 among their clients, when most accounting firms have a score of 40!

Tune in to learn from Deanna Walker, the CEO, and Rane Lallier, the VP of Client Experience, and dig into how they’ve prioritized and executed on the goal of improving their clients’ life cycle experience, and as a result, reinforcing the company’s core values.

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Speak-Up Culture

As the Andy Stanley quote goes, “Leaders who do not listen will eventually be surrounded by people who have nothing to say.” And, that silence is dangerous.

Stephen Shedletzky – or “Shed” to his friends – has focused his career on helping leaders listen to and nurture the voices of others — to foster an environment where people feel it is both psychologically safe and worth it to speak up. In this session, we will uncover how creating such an environment is the responsibility and the advantage of leaders at every level who want to be great at leading and who want to create a better version of humanity while they do it. The bottom line, for everyone, is that organizations with speak-up cultures are safer, more innovative, more engaged, and better-performing than their peers.

A sought-after speaker, coach, and leadership advisor, Shed has led hundreds of keynote presentations, workshops, and leadership development programs around the world. As a thought leader on psychological safety in the workplace, he works with leaders in all industries where human beings work.

In this session we will:
– Unpack the two main questions of a speak-up culture: Is it safe? Is it worth it?
– Explore why speak-up cultures are good for people and good for business
– Learn tactical and proven methods to listen to your people and cultivate a feedback rich, speak-up culture
– Unpack leaders’ responsibility and advantage in building a speak-up culture

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Express Your Expertise: Marketing Tactics for Purpose-Driven Companies

As a Small Giants company, your strong sense of purpose and culture set you apart from the competition in attractive ways. But are you communicating that to your clients, prospective employees, and other stakeholders?

Mark O’Brien, CEO of Newfangled, will provide strategy and tools for marketing your expertise effectively through digital media. By leveraging tactics that involve social media, email, and online marketing, Mark will explain how to maximize your marketing efforts to gain a wider audience and greater name recognition.

Takeaways include:

  • The importance of saying no to prospective clients that don’t serve you
  • The power of ubiquity and presenting an expert, empathetic, educational perspective
  • Newfangled’s 5 Pillars of Marketing
  • How to position yourself and your unique expertise
  • The best approach to email marketing
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Better Than Fine: How to get more out of the questions you ask, starting with “How are you?”

How many questions do you ask your colleagues a day? How many of those create thoughtful conversations and stronger bonds? Good leadership requires collaboration and getting input so that your whole team feels connected to what they’re doing. But that connection needs to go beyond asking the easy questions like “what do you think?” and “how are you?”. To build a strong team with deep-seated trust requires digging deeper. We need to ask better questions.

Amber Johnson, a leadership and strategy consultant and former Chief Communications Officer at the Center for Values-Driven Leadership, will facilitate this interactive virtual event. Amber will dive into the value of asking each other better questions, and how we can do so to build trust and strengthen innovation within our teams. Through exercises and discussion, Amber will help you improve your questions to build better relationships and better results.

Takeaways include:

  • Four times leaders need to stop talking and ask a better question
  • Tips for asking better questions, to improve your leadership
  • Ideas for improving your listening skills
  • How adopting this form of leadership can lead to better relationships + results
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Break the Ice: A Toolkit of Team Building & Bonding Activities

The new year is the perfect time to think about fun and fresh team-building exercises to introduce to your organization. We’ll be talking to two Small Giants leaders who are passionate about making their people feel welcome, included, and understood.

Lisa Whealon, VP of People and Culture at Deli Star, will talk in detail about how her organization aims to make every new hire feel fully immersed in their team from the onset. This is done through fun, intentional experiences such as a “signing day”, a start day “happy hour”, and completing a recognition profile, just to name a few.

Once your new hires are immersed, it’s important to continue building those team bonds over time. Heidi Baumgart, COO at Skidmore Studio, will show us how to do just that by walking us through the user manual exercise. This exercise, which combines personal reflection with team development, allows individuals to flex their creativity, while also teaching each other how to best communicate and work together.

Takeaways include:

  • Tools and experiences to leave a lasting impression from onboarding and beyond
  • Help your team feel known and understood by you and their colleagues
  • Ways to adapt these tools for both in-person and virtual teams
  • How team building exercises can help build trust, communication, and ultimately long tenures


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Strive to Thrive: Employee Development Opportunities the Small Giants Way

You’ve gotten the talent in the door – people who are skilled, have a values alignment with your company, and are a great cultural add – but how do you keep them around? Most employees want room to grow within a company, and see that as a strong reason to stay long term. But we’re not just talking about promotions and title changes; for many Small Giants companies who have a small team or a flat structure, that’s not always possible. So, what are some other ways to help your employees grow, and give them a sense of development that they can be proud of?

Join us for our next virtual event to dig into the topic of employee development. We’ll talk to Jennifer Trakhtenberg, Senior Talent Leader of ClearVision Optical, Missy Light, Training & Development Facilitator of Pegasus Logistics Group, and Doug Kueker, Co-Founder & Chief Learning Solutions Officer of Vivayic. The panel will cover:

  • Internship programs and how they can be strategic in building your talent pipeline
  • Building Individual Development Plans to encourage learning in both hard and soft skills.
  • The benefits of curating a Skills Inventory.
  • Developing employees to become trainers and mentors.
  • The concept of “lattice learning” and how growth doesn’t have to be a straight line.
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Develop and Retain Your Best Leaders: A Small Giants Panel

Have you identified your bench of future leaders? Are they confident, emotionally-intelligent individuals who are prepared to lead? Is your organization struggling to have its values understood and practiced at every level of the organization?

In this panel discussion facilitated by Small Giants Community co-founder Paul Spiegelman, three Small Giants Leadership Academy graduates will share how the experience has impacted their leadership and organizations. These leaders will share what it’s really like to participate in the Leadership Academy and reflect on the most impactful takeaways from their year of learning.

The Small Giants Leadership Academy is a nine-month training program for emerging purpose-driven leaders to learn and grow together. With enrollment now open for the next class, this is your chance to hear from graduates and understand the program from the perspective of those who have experienced it.

Find out why one graduate called the Leadership Academy “the perfect program for an emerging leader” and learn about “the lifelong relationships with amazing people” that continue to serve graduates to this day. We’ll also answer your questions about the program, like who in your organization is the right fit and how this experience can fundamentally change the trajectory of your organization.

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The Future of Work with Steve Cadigan

Paul Spiegelman, Steve Cadigan

It’s no secret that companies and employees across the globe have experienced a lot of change in the last couple of years. The pandemic has turned many of our notions about work on their heads, but it doesn’t all have to be viewed as insurmountable challenges. Here to help us navigate this new working world is Steve Cadigan.

Steve is a sought-after speaker and talent advisor, and he has worked with some of the world’s leading organizations across a span of industries. Through research and years of experience, Steve emphasizes the adaptability of organizations around their people, and finding quality, aligned talent to build the best teams possible.

Last year, Steve published his first book, Workquake: Embracing the Aftershocks of COVID-19 to Create a Better Model of Working. Rather than focusing on the persistent language that human skills will be increasingly replaced by automation and AI, Steve wants to change the conversation. In Workquake, he talks about how being human has never been more critical and how we have more agency in applying our talents than any other time in history. He dives deep into this topic, which has been accelerated by COVID-19, through case studies, stories, and his own experiences.

Join us as Small Giants Community Co-Founder, Paul Spiegelman moderates an interactive conversation with Steve Cadigan about his book, his projections for the future of work, and more.

Understanding Motivation: Using Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to Foster Better Business Relationships

In this Fishbowl, we heard from Chip Conley, the founder and former CEO of America’s Joie de Vivre Hospitality and the Strategic Advisor for Hospitality and Leadership at Airbnb. Conley explained how applying psychology to understand his stakeholders’ motivations helped him:

  • Create a joyful workplace for himself and his employees
  • Make his customers more delighted and loyal
  • Create the conditions for legacy and financial success to the approval of his investors

How to Deliver an Extraordinary Customer Experience

Cultivating meaningful relationships with customers is part of being a Small Giant. However, what separates a Small Giant from others, is their ability to embed customer service into their culture. imageOne, a document lifecycle management company, has created a culture of customer service that has generated millions in revenue. In this fishbowl, you will learn from imageOne Co-founder, Joel Pearlman, on how to systematize and quantify customer service in your organization:

Key Takeaways

  • Why extraordinary customer service starts with an extraordinary culture
  • How to create a customer centric culture – the imageOne way
  • How to quantify exceptional customer service (and use this as a differentiator from your competitors)
  • How to anticipate customer needs and build genuine relationships
  • Learn innovative ways to get new referrals

Right Projects and Right People

Small Giants Community