F ollowing its theme of “Connect, Learn, Succeed,” the 2015 Beeline Conference is in full swing this week at the beautiful Omni Amelia Island Plantation resort. Customers ended Day One undoubtedly feeling a sense of inspiration after listening to motivational keynote speakers and participating in collaborative breakout sessions. Out-of-town attendees may have witnessed an early afternoon thunderstorm, but everyone seems to agree on one thing: that despite some dark rain clouds in Florida, the future of Beeline is certainly looking bright.
Taking a Power Stance
The day started with a presentation from keynote speaker Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist and professor known for her research on body language and nonverbal behavior. She spoke about how our posture and body language ultimately affects how we handle high-stakes situations, and gave some sound advice about how simple “power poses” can not only create a stronger presence among others, but also give us a sense of confidence. Urging all of us in the room to observe our own posture, Cuddy explained, “What we do with our body shapes how we feel,” and “your body language does not just speak to other people, it also speaks to you.” She illustrated how open stances equal more power, explaining, “The link in our brain between power and expansive postures is primitive.” Visually stimulating, Cuddy’s presentation included several images and videos to illustrate her main points, showing that her research touches on something inherent among all species. Whether it is Wonder Woman with her fists on her hips, an ape pounding on his chest, or a peacock displaying all of his feathers, nearly every species demonstrates power postures in some way. Likewise, “As we start to feel powerless, we start to bring ourselves in,” Cuddy explained, displaying an image of a dog with his tail between his legs.
Her advice was this: use power poses to improve performance, reduce stress in high-stakes situations, and feel more ‘present.’ Whether it is standing in front of a mirror with outstretched arms or sprawling out on the bed for a few minutes after waking up in the morning, she urged everyone to practice these power poses. “When we have power,” she said, “spontaneously, our body wants to show that it has power,” and the crowd had a good chuckle when she displayed pictures of several U.S. presidents with their feet up on the desk in the Oval Office. If not already in a position of power, Cuddy explained, “You can power pose yourself into making yourself powerful.” Preparatory power poses, she believes, can help people think critically, increase their risk tolerance, and help people get jobs. It can even help people facing social ostracism and those suffering from physical pain. People who display power poses have more presence, she argues, and “When we feel presence, we feel confidence without arrogance.” In Cuddy’s opinion, you cannot fake confidence. Because the body is so closely linked to how we feel, she explained, you can actually trick yourself into feeling powerful. “Don’t fake it until you make it,” said Cuddy, “Fake it until you become it.” Her speech about ‘opening up’ was the perfect way to open the conference, motivating all of us to put our best selves forward.
Changing the Face of Sourcing
Beeline President Doug Leeby presented attendees with a recap of what Beeline has accomplished in the past year, but more importantly, spoke about the future of sourcing talent. Leeby reiterated Beeline’s global presence, highlighted product achievements, and spoke about the company’s most recent data security enhancements. He mentioned Beeline’s recent accolades, including those from the SIIA CODiE Awards and Stevie® Awards. What Leeby considers a “win,” however, has more to do with recognition from industry analysts and peers, showing Beeline’s high marks on the Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA) 2015 Innovation Report.
The bulk of Leeby’s presentation focused on Beeline’s recent announcement of the first and only self-sourcing solution. “We owe it to you to bring alternatives to sourcing,” Leeby said. “The industry has a need that desperately needs to be met, and we’re going to meet it,” he said. Attendees viewed an introductory video about the OnForce Sourcing plugin and had an opportunity to see a short demo, as well. Leeby said, “It’s a new age and a new world and we ought to find a way for everyone to win, so long as it adds value.” Leeby then invited the rest of his executive team on stage for a question and answer session with the audience.
Exploring the Technology Expo
Perhaps the most hands-on experience at the conference, the Technology Expo allows clients to connect with Beeline product managers and developers and learn more about the technology and its capabilities. This year’s Tech Expo focused on highlighting many of Beeline’s unique features and urged clients to learn more about how these features can help increase program efficiency. The Tech Expo also allowed attendees to learn about OnForce Sourcing in more detail. Customers who arrived on June 9 also had an opportunity to submit an idea for the 2015 Hack-a-Thon, which is an event that allows attendees to submit a concept/idea and our software engineers code through the night to bring some of those ideas to life. Our ‘hackers’ will reveal the winning idea at the end of Day Two, bringing this year’s Tech Expo theme of “Technology in Action” full circle.
Lessons Learned from Beeline Clients
Day One continued with two breakout sessions consisting of lessons learned from current Beeline customers. Each session had a set of co-presenters – representing the client and Beeline – who each gave a unique perspective on both the customer’s program status.
One breakout session, “With So Much at Stake, You Need a Serious Partner – One You Can Laugh With” told the client success story of one of the world’s largest and most admired IT providers, whose complex implementation resulted in some valuable lessons. Our client had some recommendations based on her experience, saying, “You have to trust the person you are working with on the Beeline side; having that candid, frank discussion really helps to move the needle forward.” She also spoke about a willingness to share responsibility and talked about how important it is to find out who the subject matter experts are at Beeline, and to engage them early. “Leverage all the resources available to you,” she said. Her Account Relationship Manager echoed similar advice, saying, “Leverage whoever your Relationship Manager is, whoever your Account Management person is, and make sure you’re engaging your technical resources as well. Make sure those two teams are working together.” When challenged by her internal stakeholders who struggled with change management, she told her colleagues, “Look what we can do if we let Beeline do what it’s supposed to do.” She was happy to report that despite a long and complex implementation process, her company will go live with Beeline’s Contingent Staffing solution in August.
The other breakout session, “Total Talent: A Client’s Journey to Success” discussed the success story of one major U.S. airline, who created their own internal contingent staffing program before adopting Beeline as their system of record. When defining ‘total talent,’ our client said, “It is our approach to staffing and how to get work done; it’s all about getting the work done.” He spoke about the importance of the airline’s company culture and explained how well it meshes with Beeline’s culture. When it comes to running his department and the thing he cares about the most, he asks his team, “How many relationships have you built this week?” A company that started out by implementing Beeline’s Contingent Staffing solution, this client spoke about how the company now uses the Resource Tracking solution to track worker badge access. When talking about the future state of ‘total talent,’ this client explained that his company is already an early adopter of OnForce Sourcing, saying, “It’s a system that fits and extends well into [our] culture.”
Your Road to the C-Suite – “Don’t Act Big.”
Day One ended with a panel discussion consisting of four C-Suite executives, who spoke about their personal and company values, stories of personal success, overcoming challenges, and bestowed some sound advice based on their experiences. Beeline Human Resources Manager Elijah Bradshaw played the role of moderator. When Bradshaw asked each executive about some of the values they have adopted personally, Dawn Tiura, President and CEO, Sourcing Interests Group said, “Honesty. In business, you’ve got to be honest. People have a ‘band of fairness,’ and I try to broaden my band of what’s acceptable.” Julie Weber, Vice President, People, Southwest Airlines, said, “Nice girls really can finish first; do the right thing and live by the Golden Rule.” George Scanlon, Former CEO, Fidelity National Financial said, “Open communication. I think organizations need freedom of exchange of ideas. I always try to promote open communication and accessibility.”
When asked about the challenges that the executives faced at the beginning of their careers and how they overcame them, Jean Smarto, Managing Director and Senior Sourcing Director Global Procurement Contingent Labor, BNY Mellon, had a compelling story. She talked about working for a company in which she was told that they were going to eliminate her position. Instead of feeling defeated, Smarto volunteered for a different position at the company, performed the role for six months, and after that time, they offered her a permanent position in the role. “Bad things happen to us all, but you can control how you react. Always be positive, always be creative.” Tiura told another inspirational story about how she lost her house to a mudslide in California in the 1990s. “I was newly married, two young children, facing bankruptcy. I had no choice,” she said, when explaining that the pivotal moment in her life forced her to put all of her energy and passion into making her already-successful business a $30 million company.
One audience member asked the executives to share their thoughts on the one behavior that people should stop doing if they want to make it to the C-Suite. Eliminating negativity seemed to be the consensus. Weber explained, “Don’t be negative. To be a senior leader, there are some things you need to leave at the door. You need to model the right behavior.” Tiura added, “Every new idea needs to be ‘yes, and,’ not ‘yes, but…’ because negativity permeates. Identify fixes versus issues.” When Bradshaw asked the executives about the best advice they ever received, Smarto said, “When I was told that I should stop trying to improve my weaknesses, and instead build my strengths.” Weber’s best advice came from a classmate in kindergarten who disapproved of her behavior and said, “Don’t act big.” She explained, “You are not better than anybody else. The way you build relationships is by being a genuine, nice, kind human being.”
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