Date: October 16, 2013
To hear the entire show, click http://tiny.cc/podcast_ganguly_kean
Hosted by Chris Dyer, the CEO of PeopleG2. Talent Talk Radio features engaging conversation with CEOs, thought leaders and HR executives. Talent Talk connects professionals who care about talent-related issues and human capital management.
Today’s guests are Don Ganguly, CEO of HomeUnion Services; and Jim Kean, CEO of WellnessFX.
The ability to step back, assess the market and fill a need is a signature trait of a leader today, and one that is exemplified by both of today’s guests – though in drastically different industries.
An entrepreneur at heart, Ganguly is CEO of HomeUnion Services, an online platform where investors can buy fully-managed real estate properties beyond their own backyard. The company addresses two needs: providing more reliable real estate investment opportunities for investors who may not live in the same market as the investment property, and meeting the needs of people from all walks of life who require a fixed income.
Big Company Soul
As a venture-funded young start-up, HomeUnion’s talent requirements revolve around two key tenets: tech-savvy skills and a grasp of the real estate industry. Beyond this, the company tends to hire over-qualified people, or as Ganguly puts it, “talent with big company soul in a little company body.” Ganguly continues, “The Issue when you have a start-up is you don’t have the luxury of hiring people who are learning to build the engine as you fly.”
Culture of Autonomy
Ganguly has worked to create an organization that is not political, but one where “the best idea wins.” In order to get the most out of each person, Ganguly believes this is rooted in trust. If employees are constantly second-guessed or micro-managed, they will never perform at their highest level. Creating a culture of autonomy allows them to get creative and thoughtful, while keeping up their pride in what they do. In fact, Ganguly recalls the head of Spanx sharing that she would be asked: “What mistakes did you make today?” The lesson: “If you didn’t make a mistake, you didn’t push hard enough.”
When it comes to successful brainstorming, Ganguly cites two critical ingredients: employees who are well-trained in their jobs and hence have a solid foundation of knowledge to work from, and a good facilitator. “Brainstorming is a no-judgment…session…but at the same time it’s not free-form, boundless, bouncing off the walls. It has to be within the framework of a solution set and…the leader has to drive that.”
Focus is at the heart of a good leader, says Ganguly. “You have to know your core value proposition.” This is especially true when opportunities not within your value proposition present themselves; this is when leaders act with integrity and stick to their true mission.
Ganguly also believes passion is essential, particularly for younger companies. Much the same way actors pour countless hours into their craft, Ganguly offers: “The reality is when you build a business you are an artist of sorts and you have to have a passion for what you are building…without that…you never get that excellence.”
His biggest leadership learning was to step back and listen to others. An assertive and passionate speaker, he excels at selling an idea but has realized over time that he has to “really listen to other people who may be quieter but may have a gem in what they have to say.”
What are you Reading?
Ganguly is reading an old book by an Indian teacher about yoga and meditation. For Ganguly, it has business implications as a “very prescriptive way of how you can actually silence your mind…and keep it focused.”
How Can I Connect with You? Ganguly can be reached at LinkedIn or his company’s website, www.homeunion.com.
Since graduating from Dartmouth, Kean has been on a journey to “consumerize healthcare” via cutting-edge technology. He describes the era starting in 2008 as “Health 2.0,” when tools such as video, mobile and cloud platforms made their way into healthcare. It’s against this backdrop that Kean launched WellnessFX in 2009 to provide health diagnostics and telehealth nationally.
Typically, the healthcare industry hasn’t been consumer-centric, so WellnessFX represents a shift in how healthcare is marketed. That’s why Kean is so proud of their Net Promoter Score (NPS), which is a high of over 70 in an industry that’s typically a negative 5, and is more than double the highest-known NPS in the healthcare industry.
One of the key drivers for this high level of satisfaction is what Kean describes as a daily focus on quality. They review their NPS scores regularly and handle any issues quickly and effectively. Kean also describes WellnessFX as an “agile company” that is constantly in development. For instance, they rotate their website content on a randomized basis, analyze the user experience results and make adjustments as needed to provide the most accessible consumer experience.
Talent with a Mission
Outside of specialized technical talent, sourcing quality candidates has been fairly seamless for WellnessFX, sometimes sifting through hundreds of candidates for a single position. A common factor among prospective talent, Kean has noticed, is an excitement about the mission of the company, and the opportunity to be a part of changing the way consumers interact with healthcare.
What are You Reading?
Kean is currently reviewing Ben Musholt’s “Mad Skills,” a catalog of body movements to improve flexibility and athleticism.
How Can I Connect with You? Visit www.wellnessfx.com or find Kean on LinkedIn.
Both of these entrepreneurs have met the challenges presented by human capital management. Tune into the show next week, and remember, do what you love….and show the world how talented you can be, today.