The Advantage at Kinney Group

As part of our onboarding process at Kinney Group, we provide each colleague with a copy of The Advantage, by Pat Lencioni. You can read an Executive Summary of the best-selling book online. The book helps us to provide a shared language, establishes a starting point to discuss expectations, and defines the role each new team member plays in team and overall organizational health.

I have worked in two organizations who use this model as the basis for team health and Kinney Group has surpassed my expectations in getting colleagues and leaders to focus on organizational health as a key objective of the business. From annual defining objectives to stand-up meetings around the office, colleagues understand from Day 1 that we are committed to the model and believe in the outcomes. The hallmark of a successful implementation of this, or any organizational model, is a cohesive Leadership Team who will support the approach and help drive teammates and colleagues to adoption and integration.

Of course, there are objections and we fall back on the Lencioni team model to address them. The pyramid below is a model which builds from the bottom-up for any team. Teams must trust one another to engage in healthy conflict. As teams get comfortable debating issues and decisions, ultimately, they need to commit to decisions and there are many options laid out in the book to create shared language around those commitments. As teams master the bottom of the pyramid, they move into the hardest section (in our experience): accountability. Accountability cannot be a leader-only activity. Healthy teams will hold one another accountable, often in public settings, to address teammates who have failed to hold commitments, do not engage in conflict, or have begun to erode trust within the team. When a team is firing on all cylinders and consistently applying this model, results are inevitable.

Pyramid

Rather than our People Operations team ‘selling’ the model, we rely on teammates to engage and hold one another accountable to the results-driven model. A recent new hire on Day 3 at stand-up said, “There are just so many meetings. I’ve got to get out of some of these so I can get stuff done.” I personally witnessed three different people pull the new colleague aside and talk through what could be gained by improving the effectiveness of the meetings and ensuring teams held to the appropriate topics and timeframes associated with each meeting type: daily stand-ups, tactical, strategic, ad hoc, and quarterly meetings.

If you are not familiar with Lencioni’s meeting model, you likely just read the paragraph above and thought, “I’m with the new guy, that’s a lot of meetings!”. In reality, if the model is applied appropriately within teams, issues will be resolved more quickly and teams can move toward tangible results within days, not weeks or months. An investment of 10% of a colleague’s time per team (most colleagues are on one team and most managers sit on 2 teams), is well worth the commitment to create clarity on expectations and drive toward goal achievement seamlessly. This meeting commitment is best described in Lencioni’s follow-up best-seller, Death by Meeting.

There are many aspects of The Advantage which help drive organizational health for Kinney Group. This review only scratches the surface of two key components: effective meetings and the team health pyramid. In future blogs, I’ll share additional examples of our focus and rewards from engaging with this model.

If you are looking to get started with the model, I recommend working with a certified consulting firm who can provide an outsider’s view and coaching expertise to kick off in the right direction and create a culture of vulnerability-based trust within your Leadership team.

 
Want to work at Kinney Group? Check out our careers page to see job postings.

Colleague Spotlight: Steve Bowser, Splunk Engineer and Machine Data Expert

As soon as Steve Bowser could throw his leg over a motorcycle, he was gone. The feeling of freedom was what gravitated him towards riding. This has been a major theme in Steve’s life, personally and professionally. Steve joined Kinney Group’s growing Splunk Program in November of 2015. He has since experienced a different type of freedom – the freedom to create. Each new customer is an opportunity to develop a creative solution for complex business problems in the data center.

Knowing how much Steve loves his Indian Roadmaster (which is incalculable) helps uncover what motivates him. The other major factor is how his love for technology flourished. Eyes glued to the television, Steve fell into the final frontier aboard the starship Enterprise. The possibility of technology was endless and fascinating to four-year-old Steve and the time he spent watching Star Trek compounded his interest in computers. It was not until about ten years later, on a field trip to see the World’s Fair Exhibit at the Toronto Science Center, when he had his first encounter with a computer.

It is incredibly impactful to have someone in a role that directly aligns with their passions. They motivate the team, unlock crazy potential, and drive engagement within the company. Steve has found his home at Kinney Group as a Splunk Development Engineer. It combines the freedom, innovative nature, and problem-solving skills that inspire Steve to reach his full potential.

Angela FruitsSteve Bowser, Splunk Development Engineer and Machine Data Expert. [/perfectpullquote]

THE INSPIRATION: FROM STAR TREK TO BEING A COMPUTER OPERATOR

Following Captain Kirk for several years, Steve worked tirelessly to land a job in the Information Technology field. He started with obtaining his Associates in Specialized Business from the ICM School of Business in Pittsburgh. Following his time at ICM, he attended Point Park University and earned a second degree in Business with a focus in IT. His journey had officially begun.

Steve’s first job out of college was as a Computer Operator at a financial institute. He was putting in long days and working his way up. His grit and perseverance landed him at Cellular One (soon to be AT&T). On his first day, he was given a book of graphing paper and a one-million-dollar budget followed by instructions to blueprint a computer room. No pressure, right? This substantial initiative confirmed he was on the right career path. Steve completed this monumental task under budget and the infrastructure that he designed was in place for 12 years before the company’s expansion required an update.

His early experience in an industry that he had been working towards since he was young was undoubtedly immersive. Steve was accustomed to 12 hour days and working on technologies that were completely new to him. He had the opportunity to work his way up to a Systems Administrator, ensuring reliable operation of Cellular One’s computer systems. He was also assigned to tackling database administration tasks which chartered him with the creation, maintenance, querying, backups, and user rights assignments. Steve chopped his way through the long hours, difficult assignments, mastered new technologies and now looks back on his early roles in IT as key contributors to his future engineering successes.

THE JOURNEY: HOW STEVE’S PATH LEAD TO KINNEY GROUP

Steve has tallied up many other wins prior to joining Kinney Group and continues to be called out for his customer centric approach to engagements and his innovative attitude towards identifying creative and efficient solutions. After gaining invaluable experience at Cellular One he moved on to a company in Pittsburgh within cable television. Steve spent his time implementing program libraries that include the History channel, Black Entertainment, and A&E. This was about the time our motorcyclist took a career detour into project management.

Managing projects and programs continued to give Steve the ability to be inventive and gave him a diverse set of skills that not all engineers possess. This unique perspective as a technical resource allows him to additionally focus on timely execution and instinctively map his solutions back to solving the customer’s business problem, not just the technical matter. Steve continued on a project management path and spent some time working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. At the FBI, Steve worked on a biometrics program and other classified initiatives…that’s about all we say about that! Eventually, he started getting the IT itch again. Cue Kinney Group.

Steve’s background, aptitude, attitude, and unrelenting work ethic made the decision to bring him on board too easy. He was ready to get back into the weeds and move away from project management and we had a unique opportunity for him to do so. Steve took a risk changing roles and learning an entirely new technology with the intention of becoming a platform expert in a short amount of time. Today, he is a mentor and leader within the Kinney Group Splunk program. He reflects back to his first solo engagement and can easily recall the nerves that clouded his mind the week prior. One of our tenured Splunk Ninjas, Laura Vetter, reached out before his engagement reminding him that it is okay to fail and the team was behind him for support. After that call, he knew he had found the right fit.

STEVE ENVISIONS NOTHING BUT GROWTH

Looking ahead, Steve sees the growth of Kinney Group’s ITOA practice continuing to flourish. Naturally, there will be growing pains and changes as we achieve our aggressive program and company goals. Steve believes our laser focus on maintaining our values, company culture, and the growth of the tremendous team we have today will make us unstoppable, so we will make it so.

KINNEY GROUP QUICK-FIRE INTERVIEW QUESTIONS:

    • Where is your favorite place to visit in Indianapolis? Buca De Beppos.
    • What is your spirit animal and why? A red tail hawk, it soars and it is free.
    • Describe Kinney Group’s culture in three words. Fast-paced, intense, driven.

Want to work at Kinney Group? Check out our careers page to see job postings.

Kinney Group Culture Showcased on INside Indiana Business


INDIANAPOLIS
– A Hoosier cloud technology company is emphasizing its unique culture to help attract and retain talent. Ben Fuelberth, an advisor with FirstPerson in Indianapolis, says Kinney Group Inc. has stayed true to its roots “even as they’ve continued to grow.” Our Culture Matters segment this month features the company, which recently secured a $6 million round of funding.

Inside INdiana Business

Kinney Group is excited to showcase our culture on Inside Indiana Business’ Culture Matters segment. Our team was thrilled to be approached with the opportunity to give an inside look at how Kinney Group attracts and engages top talent in the Indianapolis area. Currently, we are operating in a candidate-driven market. To remain competitive, companies must accurately define their culture and strive to hire talent that uniquely match their environment and core values. From the beginning, Kinney Group’s leaders have been culture ambassadors, ensuring our progressive work culture continues to be a top priority for the company.

The company plans to add close to 90 jobs by 2019. Fuelberth says Kinney Group focuses on a team atmosphere, referring to its employees as colleagues and taking on initiatives to support fun activities for those located at the Indianapolis headquarters or remotely. As Kinney Group continues to bring on new employees, Fuelberth says integrating them with the existing work force is increasingly a focus. “Every new hire gets what they call a ‘Kinney Comrade,'” Fuelberth adds, “and it’s just a member of their team, another colleague, that’s assigned to them — normally not from their department — who helps them get acclimated, sends them a book and a note, nice personal hand-written message prior to them starting with Kinney Group. Makes them feel part of the team right away.”

The other features of Kinney Group culture include an “Earth Team” that tends a nearby garden and works with local high school in the community. Employees are given 16 hours of volunteer time per year. Fuelberth says the company also embraced the “work hard, play hard” mantra, with committees and events designed for employees to “do things that are important to them.”

Want to work at Kinney Group? Check out our careers page to see job postings.

About Kinney Group

Kinney Group is a cloud solutions integrator harnessing the power of IT in the cloud to improve lives. Automation is in Kinney Group’s DNA, enabling the company to integrate the most advanced security, analytics, and infrastructure technologies as an optimized solution powering IT-driven business processes in the cloud for federal agencies and Fortune 1000 companies.

3 Steps to Amplify Your LinkedIn Profile

Regardless of whether you are in Sales, Project Management, Finance, or early in your college career, LinkedIn can help all professionals achieve their business objectives. While most people outside of Sales and Recruiting are using it to find a job… there is more. Users can keep up on industry news, follow their favorite company, and easily keep up with their network. Strengthening your profile will help you get the most out of LinkedIn (AND help you find a job if you want, sheesh!)

1. Ditch that awkwardly cropped picture from your brother’s wedding that you went to five summers ago and replace it with a professional headshot.

Trust me, I know how challenging it is first-hand to resist the temptation of selecting your favorite shot from the photo-shoot you had with your dog last month, but trust me on this. LinkedIn is a social platform for professional networking so have a profile picture that is consistent with the site’s purpose and your goals. Having a picture humanizes you and increases the number of profile views (14 times to be exact!) and interactions with your profile.

2. Follow Influencers and companies to easily keep up with recent events and what is trending in your industry.

A whopping 62% of adults received their news from Social Media in 2016 and that number is only increasing – curse you millennials! LinkedIn is an invaluable resource for helping you consolidate information from business journals and M&A activity in your industry to keeping up with Elon Musk or Oprah. The best part is you can avoid endless scrolling to avoid all of the cat memes and self-recorded videos of people trying out the new dance craze. On an unrelated note, is whip/nae nae still cool? I’m asking for a friend.

Also, other LinkedIn users can view who and what companies you follow. This provides your connections insight into your professional interests and could help continue to cultivate your network. If you are feeling froggy, try joining a LinkedIn group as well!

3. Start interacting more on the site by commenting on articles or make a post of your own on a topic you are knowledgeable in.

Oh, I went there! Everyone has something to contribute and creating your own content online will help solidify your own personal brand. If you are uncomfortable or uninterested in publishing your own blogs, start sharing pieces that you enjoyed reading. Help promote the networking event you are attending this month or a recent press release about your company. These actions could spark up engaging conversations within your network. It is encouraged that you initiate those conversations as well. If you read an article that you really enjoyed, make a brief comment highlighting your favorite part. I have had a ton of insightful interactions that all started in the comments section of a thought provoking blog.

Social media now and forever will have high impact on your career and professional life, so take advantage of it and start engaging today. Your network will grow, along with new opportunities.