Leadership Culture: Mark Monaghan, VP of Corporate Training and Development for iQor and Joel Bigley, SVP of Worldwide Operations and Business Execution for Deluxe Entertainment Services Group

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.  Company culture and leadership culture are two keys that help define the type of talent needed to create a fantastic workplace.


Today’s guests are two people who understand what it takes to create a solid leadership culture.  Mark Monaghan, VP of Corporate Training and Development for iQor; and Joel Bigley, SVP of Worldwide Operations and Business Execution for Deluxe Entertainment Services Group.  To hear the entire show, click here

MARK MONAGHANleadership culture

Monaghan started his career with 16 years in the restaurant business, in part as a managing partner for Outback Steakhouse. Craving a transition, he headed back to school, receiving a dual masters in HR Management and Development. With this expertise in hand, he went to work for a growing tax company as its Senior VP of HR.

Monaghan started with iQor as VP of Global Training. Since his first week, the overarching theme of his experience has been nothing short of constant change and transition in the leadership culture of the company. The CEO was replaced the same week he started. The company had also gone through several mergers and acquisitions, being in the midst of rapid growth.

Consistency Communication, Consistent Culture

In this process, Monaghan drilled down on the importance of constant and consistent company communication, especially in a global company. Through technology, its more than 30,000 employees worldwide are able to access corporate announcements, but the key is that there is one coherent message, no matter the distribution channel.

Consistency is also the key player when it comes to culture – in every interaction from hiring to onboarding. This is particularly important, Monaghan asserts, given that iQor onboards hundreds of employees each month, working across departments to ensure the message in the same through all channels. “If there’s not consistency, it’s going to fall apart,” cautions Monaghan.  Consistency in leadership culture also helps to keep the company culture in check.

Job One: Credibility

One of Monaghan’s key efforts is centered on role definition, particularly in light of fast growth and multiple mergers or acquisitions.  No matter what, it comes down to making the client happy while also providing a work place where people can excel and grow.

He offers this to new employees of all levels: “Come in as sponge.” In fact, one of his greatest lessons actually came from a former Outback Steakhouse CEO who told Monaghan that he needed to first build credibility by getting

to know the people and the business before you start making changes.  This helps to create a great leadership culture that employees can trust.

Why Talent Answer iQor’s Call

“There are a lot of people on paper who might look like they are the right match, but it’s far more difficult to find the good fit…especially the higher up the food chain you go.”

That said, once the best talent is identified through word of mouth or through their robust referral program, retention is the next order of business. Working at a call center can at times be tedious and hard work. iQor has succeeded with two main drivers of talent attraction and acquisition. The first is opportunity. “It’s a lot more fun to work for a company that is growing and doing well.” The second is that they try to make the job fun with contests and giveaways, and office perks such as food truck visits.  The leadership culture has a lot to do with these types of things being successful and making the employees feel valued.

Cool or Uncool?

Since listening is central to the organization, they run a 6-question employee feedback process a couple times a year. They allow employees to rate their experiences as “cool” or “uncool.”  “You can’t sit in your office with the door shut,” cautions Monaghan.  In fact, many people in talent department are out in the centers and many have held other roles in the company. “When a company gets big like this, it’s easy to lose sight of [caring for your employees].”

What are You Reading?

Monaghan just completed, “Bring out the Best in Every Employee,” by Don Brown, addressing generational effects on the workforce today.

How Can I Connect with You? Via www.iqor.com or on LinkedIn.

JOEL BIGLEY leadership culture

Bigley is SVP of Worldwide Operations and Business Execution for Deluxe Entertainment Services Group, a leading provider of entertainment industry services worldwide.

In his fast-paced industry, you need to be aware of what’s going on around you always. “The amount of chaos is high and the risk of falling off the track is there.”

That’s why Deluxe Entertainment’s culture is key. “Everyone takes responsibility for the entire situation, not just their own area,” speaking of their culture of encouraging others.  This is a top-down approach.  Comments Bigley, “The leadership culture is what drives the company culture.”

Customer Service at the Center

At the heart of the company is customer service, delighting customers with excellent service and products. This comes down to two elements.  The first is being on time for client deadlines and deliverables, so that the clients’ timeline isn’t compromised. The other is meeting or exceeding client quality expectations.  All of this is driven via a successful leadership culture.

But how exactly do they know that they are a success? “Success if when we are able to invest back into the company and into our people,” offers Bigley.

It also comes down to hiring and building a team dedicated to excellence.

“It’s important to hire for behaviors first. Skill can be taught more than behaviors can.” “But first you should identify what those behaviors are and find candidates who match those behaviors through a rigorous interview process that reveals them,” advises Bigley.

Two Areas for Improvement

Bigley identified two areas for improvement, the first being active listening. “Executives need to solicit information,” says Bigley, and they often don’t know the details just a few levels down from them.  He also believes leaders need to provide tools and skills for problem-solving as well as decision-making. Above all is simply respect for everybody you work with. “Disrespect just takes the wind out of everyone’s sails. Ego doesn’t really help when it comes to the pursuit of excellence.”  A leadership culture that advocates for respect and listening can help maintain these two key areas.

Father’s Leadership Lessons

Bigley’s father’s management style had a huge impact on him. He watched as his dad created trust in the organization, maintained a calm demeanor in times of crisis and delivered out-of-the-box ideas for growing the businesses he served.  This type of leadership culture helped to form him into the leader he is today.

What are You Reading?

Bigley is reading American Public Policy,” looking at issues in depth to see what’s under the surface.

How Can I Connect with You?

Via LinkedIn is the best way.

Remember, do what you love….and show the world how talented you can be, today.

Air Date: June 10, 2014