Talent Managers: Brian Arandez, CEO of Thingify, Inc. and Jeanne Schad, the SVP of Talent Development at Lee Hecht Harrison

Hosted by Chris Dyer, the CEO of PeopleG2 – TalentTalk Radio features engaging conversation with CEOs, thought leaders and HR executives.  TalentTalk connects professionals who are talent managers themselves, and who care about relevant talent-related issues. 

Today’s guests are Brian Arandez, CEO of Thingify, Inc.; and Jeanne Schad, SVP of Talent Development at Lee Hecht Harrison.  To hear the entire show, click here.

As a consultant, Jeanne Schad understands the “make or break” impact one manager can have on an organization. Perhaps no one lives this belief better than an entrepreneur such as Brian Arandez. In addition to focusing on delivering a great customer experience, as a talent manager he is committed to modeling the kind of ownership and creativity he wants to see in his team.

BRIAN ARANDEZ talent managers

Brian Arandez is the CEO of Thingify, Inc.  As an undergraduate student in the Philippines, Arandez studied computer science.  He later moved to Japan where he worked as an IT Engineer before moving to the U.S. and starting his 3D modeling and printing firm, Thingify, located in Irvine, CA.

His desire to start his own company arose after working with a great leader who told him, “If you ever leave this company, I want you to be able to start something great.” He later found himself working with a very talented team, and during their lively conversations they created what he describes as a prototype company.

As a child, Arandez loved reading instructional manuals. After reading How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, he knew what he wanted to do: engineer his own social structure — a place where he and his people could be creative and have fun, and where he could continue to develop himself as talent manager and a person.

When first starting out, mistakes were made, and as Arandez says, “I was too nice and too trusting. There were times I tried to implement someone’s ideas without consulting my team…The biggest mistake was to not involve my team in every aspect of the business.”

Arandez believes you should test ideas without fear of error. In fact,  Thingify has implemented the “Goofy List,” where the goofiest person (the one who makes the most mistakes) actually wins a gift card at the end of the month. “It’s an incentive to share your mistakes and share your learning so the rest of the team does not have to make the same mistakes,” advises Arandez. 

As the company grows, he wants it to continue to allow everyone to have a creative streak, but he fears that may be too much to manage.  “Because people are creative and they’re questioning everything they can become a rowdy bunch,” explains Arandez.  And this may be too much of a distraction for customers.

Crazy Creative

According to Arandez, hiring different types of people, people unlike yourself, is key if you want to have the kinds of varied ideas and conversations that lead to growth. 

As Thingify grows, they are seeking great people with a creative streak.  “You can’t teach a person to be a good person and you can’t teach a person to be creative or to be comfortable with their creativity.  So long as they have a creative streak, we can teach them everything else,” says Arandez.

When it comes to the creative process, he feels it’s important for everyone to have a voice and to speak up. Their meetings tend to be loud, and can get a little out of hand; but that’s on purpose. Arandez says it’s the people who make the culture and the culture builds the company.  True talent managers understand this.  Culture starts when “a group of people build the company through relationships within and with their customers,” says Arandez.

Arandez feels the best culture is from the bottom up, with the entire team in on making the decisions. He works to lead by example and  encourages his people to use Thingify to launch their own businesses.  He says, “If any of our members wants to do something new, they can use Thingify as a resource for their merchandising, product development and for their creative needs…It keeps feeding Thingify because their business uses our business exclusively,” Arandez says.

What are you Reading?

Arandez is reading Good to Greatby Jim Collins, as well as Seth Godin’s blog.

How Can People Connect with You? At info@thingify.net or via LinkedIn. 

JEANNE SCHAD talent managers

Jeanne Schad is Senior Vice President of Talent Development at Lee Hecht Harrison (LHH), a consulting talent mobility company.  LHH puts people to work and helps them to move around within their companies.

Schad became interested in the corporate side of business after she was let go from a company. Schad says, “Managers can drive culture down to a microscopic, one-on-one level and that can really lead to the success or failure (of subordinates).”  Schad continues, “I have the best job in the world where I get to help people be happy in their jobs.” 

Leadership Blind Spots

According to Schad there are always challenges.  The companies she consults with do work that must be done by people, and people have emotions as well as specific knowledge. The biggest stumbling blocks, she finds, are often individual contributors who are not used to managing people and thinking like talent managers.

In working with leaders, Schad says there is always a chance to improve by improving behavior. “No matter how powerful you are, no matter how many people report to you, all human beings are made of the same soft, squishy stuff inside. I’m constantly surprised at the number of really powerful leaders who have a blind spot to an area of their leadership,” Schad says.

Culture of Communication

It’s important to create a culture that is harmonious, which is tied to acknowledging what makes people happy. Schad says, “It has to do with paying attention to what makes people tick, and what makes people come to work everyday.” She asserts that there has to be clear communication using meetings, surveys and social media to have a pulse on your own workforce.  Here, Schad advises regularly checking LinkedIn but also monitoring other media such as Glassdoor.com to see how employees are evaluating the company.

Avoid Paralysis Through Analysis

Schad believes organizations looking to develop their talent need simply to get started, but they need to be strong talent managers. There should be a focus on a tangible result within the business and a plan that strives for that result. “There comes a point where HR people have great aspirations, but it’s best to just start with one business unit,” Schad offers as an example. While companies may need to make big changes, she believes they should try to start on a small scale.

What are You Reading?

Schad is reading “The Four Disciplines of Executionby Sean Covey.

How Can People Connect with You? Via www.lhh.com.

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

Date: November 4, 2014