When Bob Eisiminger attended the Birthing of Giants Fellowship in April of this year, his company Knight Point Systems (a government contractor of IT services) was preparing for some major changes. But Bob felt confident that the week away from his partners was exactly what he needed to help the business grow.
“I’ve always been one to think that you have to sharpen the saw when you’re chopping down a tree,” says Bob. “The only way you sharpen it is to step away from the tree and go do that.”
This isn’t the first time Bob has taken a step back from his business to evaluate ways he can improve. It’s a lesson he learned after working for Fortune 500 companies, where he grew weary with the impersonal culture, which he felt turned people into numbers. Today, he takes any opportunity to “practice” his job – particularly when that practice offers a chance to embrace new perspectives.
“If you want to perform, you have to step away and practice that job,” Bob told me when we caught up three months after the Birthing of Giants program. “You have to practice it and you have to listen to other people, different thoughts. Diversity is so important. People tend to hire like minded people in many instances. In order to get diversity of thought people have to explore other avenues of learning and development—specifically, those outside your organization.”
Create a Rich Company Culture with Diversity
This mindset is one that Bob encourages his employees to embrace, too. Coming from a military background, Bob makes continuous training and development a priority, helping his staff become more confident and feel more connected to the company. He explained that investing in his staff’s future is more important to him than the price tag. “Someone once said to me, ‘you guys spend a lot of money on training. If you didn’t, that’d be more money in your pocket […] and some of those folks are gonna leave anyway.’” But Bob felt that training was important for all employees, including the ones who move on to new things. “If they stay, they’re a better trained employee. And if they leave, they’re a better representation of the company they came from. It’s the right thing to do for people.” Bob founded his company in 2005. He had just five employees. Twelve years on, Knight Point Systems has nearly 500 staffers and subcontractors, and continues to grow. Scaling was on Bob’s mind during his time at Birthing of Giants, as he knew his company needed more talented bodies on the ground. The program inspired him to try streamlining some of the company’s recruitment processes, spending more resources now to save money in the long term. “I started to look at areas of inefficiency. If we spend some resources there […] what a difference it could make,” he says. “The market for good, talented IT professionals keeps getting tighter and tighter. If we can solve this dilemma and build efficiency and get people involved in the process early, if we can knock one day off some of the back and forth between our folks and the people we’re trying to hire, […] we can push the whole process and shorten days.”
Out with Old, Outdated Processes, In with the New
A week after returning from Birthing of Giants, Bob decided to rip up his existing recruiting process and re-organize his HR team. He says the company is already seeing a difference, with staff realizing that hiring is a priority, improving front-end processes, and taking ownership.
“One of the most important things I pulled out of the week of fellowship at Birthing of Giants is ‘kill the legacy,’” Bob reflects. “Sometime in the past five years, you probably hired people smarter than you in different areas, and you hired them for a reason. Bring them together and say, ‘hey, what should we kill, what should we do different?’ I found that to be kind of eye-opening.”
Bob notes that unless you’re doing something “the absolute best way,” you shouldn’t keep doing it just because it’s familiar.
“When you start doing things that a CEO should do in terms of killing, watching, and building instead of just the day to day tasks, […] this is the way you bring value to your organization and make it better.”
Six months after his fellowship at Birthing of Giants, Bob continues to apply the lessons he learned to make his company better and achieve his business goals.
The Birthing of Giants Fellowship program transplants the wisdom of 1,100 successful entrepreneurs into your business. This innovative program brings together entrepreneurs and small business owners from around the nation to discuss their goals, troubleshoot problems, and help you reach your business goals faster. For more details and to apply, click here.
Originally posted on blog.birthingofgiants.com
Lewis Schiff is the author of Business Brilliant: Surprising Lessons From the Greatest Self-Made Business Icons, the executive director of the Business Owners Council and the co-founder (with Norm Brodsky) of BEN Global Mentorship that helps business owners transform their companies into scalable enterprises and, eventually, enduring institutions with help from rockstar entrepreneurs from around the world.