Talent Development and Culture: Josh Ritchie, Co-Founder, Column Five Media and Devin Hornick, Managing Partner, Kore One Technologies

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 talent development. 


Today’s guests are Josh Ritchie, Co-Founder, Column Five Media; and Devin Hornick, Managing Partner, Kore One Technologies. Both demonstrate the power of company culture that lives beyond words on a plaque on the wall or a mission statement in an annual report.  Culture can help facilitate talent development within a company as well.  To hear the entire show, click here.

JOSH RITCHIE Talent Development

Launched in 2007, Column Five Media is a creative agency for startups to Fortune 50 companies, recently recognized on Inc. Magazine’s list of fastest-growing companies. Ritchie is the company’s co-founder and serves as its creative director.

Prior to Column Five, Ritchie tried his hand at other business ventures. Reflecting on his past entrepreneurial endeavors, he says: “Figuring out how to plan, and how to make money and manage money is a really tough thing for a lot of founders….when you’re trying to do the work as well.”

Ritchie and his co-founders today share a unified approach to the business. As competitive individuals, they “thrive on a common enemy,” asserts Ritchie, which is their competition at large. In the early days, that meant selling as much as they could and figuring out how to deliver later. “We were going to win…and we were going to sacrifice whatever we had to.” Today, that growth is much more strategic and sustainable.

Talent Traits

Ritchie sees four common talent traits among the most successful Column Five employees:

  • Offering and giving constructive feedback
  • Having an earnest desire to help clients succeed
  • Experimenting often
  • Being humble. “What that really means to Column Five is that we can always improve…no one is perfect, including the founders,” adds Ritchie.

Column Five’s approach to new hires and their personal talent development is to give people plenty of opportunities to prove themselves, often delegating important projects to them on day one. “A lot of times, we’re really pleasantly surprised.” Ritchie asserts it’s equally critical to give people the chance to be fulfilled in the work that they are doing. This is a key element to the Column Five culture, a culture which they put forth vividly in recruiting efforts as a great differentiator. Pointing to research which shows money alone is not a driving motivator for millennials, Ritchie asserts, “It’s great when culture can get people excited about what you’re building.”  The talent development that comes along with that excitement is also inspiring for all involved.

Just Connecting Things

Ritchie often cites Steve Jobs’ quote on creativity: “Creativity is just connecting things.” In contrast, sometimes in brainstorming we expect “a Eureka moment of coming up with something totally unique.” Practically speaking, Ritchie shares the following best practices:

  • Have brainstorm facilitator,
  • Block out distractions,
  • Allow attendees time to prepare in advance, and
  • Pick the right time of the day to brainstorm.

Overall, Ritchie emphasizes it’s critical to have a clear directive from the beginning and to let the team know what the task is.

What are You Reading?

“I’m constantly looking at ways to improve processes at work or improve the way that we communicate or give feedback,” says Ritchie. To that end, he is currently reading: Referral of a Lifetime,” Creative Confidence and Predictable Success”.

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

DEVIN HORNICK Talent Development

Kore One Technologies is a specialized IT professional services search firm that is launching a non-technical division supporting professional services beyond IT. A USC graduate, Hornick fell into the HR industry and has remained in it for more than a dozen years. “Coming to Kore One was a real opportunity for me to step up in a leadership role,” he recalls. “What differentiates Kore One, however cliché, is being fundamentally values-driven, having integrity, honesty, and authenticity. Those are things that have clients and candidates come back,” says Hornick.

He believes his success stems from being collaborative and optimistic, and not losing focus. He also has a strong passion for HR and its evolving role. But how does he define success? “Having integrity and following through.”

Culture is a Reflection of You

“Culture is created in the likeness of who we are as individuals,” asserts Hornick. It can either tear a company down or build it up, and it usually transforms over time. He describes Kore One’s culture as one “of optimism, of go-getters…We’re a diverse set of personalities and our culture is reflective of that…As an organization, we give first.”  The talent development that results from this philosophy helps the company continue to move forward and find success.

Personally and professionally, Hornick’s wife is his biggest inspiration, as someone who supports, trust and pushes him. “She above anyone else has been incredibly influential in my life,” says Hornick.

What are You Reading?

Hornick is reading West of Jesusabout surfing, science and spirituality.

How Can I Connect with You? Via www.kore1.com or on LinkedIn.

Tune into the show next week, and remember, do what you love….and show the world how talented you can be, today.

Air Date: March 25, 2014