Sharing ideas

Even though she’s been in
the business for two
decades, Lori D. Marcus still doesn’t think she knows
it all, and she doesn’t hesitate
to ask employees for their
opinions.

By getting employee input, the
principal of QUAD656 LLC — a
recruiting firm that posted 2007
revenue of about $10 million —
can then use the best pieces of
advice to complete a task.

“Now that’s not to say what
you tell me I’m going to necessarily do, but through that conversation, something else might
arise or it might give me a different way of looking at something,” Marcus says.

Smart Business spoke with
Marcus about how to communicate with your employees to
build a successful company.

Q. What are the characteristics of a good leader?

It’s all about communication
when people need help. It’s a
very open-door policy. You can
help somebody through a
process and … you can work
with them hand in hand, and
you can role-play a particular
situation.

You can share with them your
ideas, and that’s valuable as
being a team. You can elicit
information from a whole bunch
of people. You can get their perspective. Everybody is going to
have their own style, and when
you’re young in your career,
whether you are on a leadership
track, a management track, you
are building a foundation.

So, that foundation, you need
to have ethics, and you need to
be loyal, and you need to be
honest, but you are going to
adapt your own style based upon what you pull from each
person you are working with. I
think that helps to build a good
leader.

Q. How do you set up an
open environment?

Communication is really the
key. When you set that groundwork when you bring somebody on board that that’s the
expectation, then you foster
that expectation. You reach out
to your team members or to
your employees, and you share
information from them,
and you solicit information back — that makes
them feel a part of the
organization.

Q. How do you communicate your culture to
new employees?

That’s part of the interview process. You want
to surround yourself with
people who have positive
attitudes, people who are
solution-oriented, people
who communicate well
and show very good listening skills. Those are
the types of people that
we like to bring on board.

This is not an environment where I tell you what to
do and you do it. This is an
environment where you will
create your own success, and
by gathering information from
every moving part, you’ll be
able to form your own style.

Q. How do know during the
interview process that what
you’re seeing is the real
person?

Part of it is to make the person feel comfortable in your
environment so that they open up a little bit more than just the
typical, standard interviewee.
Work through situational examples with them and see what
kind of solutions they bring to
the table.

It’s very, very easy to find the
person that comes to you with
the problem. It’s a lot harder to
find the person who’s going to
come to you not only with a
problem but with a series of
solutions, and have a true discussion with you as to the positive and negatives to each of
those solutions — which one to move forward with and which
one makes the most sense
given whatever the situation is.

The perpetual critic is what
you want to be careful of. You want the person who comes to
you with the solutions, as well.
It’s very easy to sit back and
identify problems. It’s that
much harder to identify the
problem and have the solution,
as well.

Q. What is the best way to
communicate?

E-mail is great. But nothing
beats a face-to-face meeting,
and it’s always important to
know, when you are going to
have that meeting, that people
who are called into that meeting know what the agenda is.

You have to take away any
element of fear or surprise.
When I worked for somebody
and every time he would call
me into a meeting, I would
never go until I knew what was
on the plate. That’s a recipe for
disaster — to call an employee
in and have fear. That’s not productive.

People make mistakes.

They’re a part of life. People fail
at things, and it doesn’t necessarily go to the crux of who
they are as a person. It just
means they made a mistake or
they need to do something differently. If you can look back
on it and use it as a learning
experience and you can look at
it calmly and put perspective to
it, that’s the way to learn.

If I want to have a productive
conversation with somebody, I
want them to be prepared. The
element of surprise doesn’t
make a good leader. You want
somebody who is thought out,
who’s had an opportunity to, as
I said before, come up with
solutions. If there is a problem,
come to me with solutions.
Let’s figure out together how
we are going to work on it.

HOW TO REACH: QUAD656 LLC, (610) 687-6441 or www.quad656.com