"Great talent, to me, is made up of people who are curious, driven, smart, collaborative, act with intent, and who are appropriately sassy."

I believe talent is everything. If you choose to lead a services-based business, those 3 words sum up the difference between good and great. Great service businesses cannot exist without great talent. They simply cannot. And as a CEO and business leader, I am nothing without great talent.

When I started Bold Orange in 2017, I wanted to build a business that delivered both business and societal progress. A business that inspired people, developed people, and empowered people. I thought if I could foster an environment that enabled talent to do great work for both brands and communities, we would engage them at a deeper level, both purposefully and professionally.

2.5 years later, Bold Orange has been named by Inc. Magazine as a 2020 Best Place To Work. I have never cared about any award or accolade in my career other than two. The first, having the place I work be a Best Place To Work as voted by the employees. And second, having a client choose us repeatedly for work and refer us to others due to their level of satisfaction in our ability to positively impact their business. That’s it. Two. Employee sentiment and client sentiment.

Great talent, to me, is made up of people who are curious, driven, smart, collaborative, act with intent, and who are appropriately sassy. People who wake up every morning and choose to make an impact on their family, their clients, and their community. I’ve been blessed to work with some amazing talent throughout my career. People at all levels who have pushed me, challenged me, empowered me, taught me, and inspired me.

We’ve all heard and seen stats as it relates to why an engaged workforce makes you a stronger, better company. Yet surveys often show how companies are lagging in those key areas of engagement.

As I read our results from Inc. Magazine, a few stats stood out to me:

  • Inspiring was the most mentioned word when describing our culture.
  • Our employee net promoter score was 100%.
  • “I trust our senior leaders” was scored at 100% by every employee.
    • In comparison, a recent Trust Barometer Study done by Edelman noted 1 in 3 employees don’t trust their employers.
  • “My opinion matters, I understand and believe in the vision, and the culture supports my well-being,” were scored as the highest cultural attributes.
    • Forbes recently did a study and found employees who feel their voice is heard are 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to perform their best work.

Often times businesses think HR is in charge of employee engagement. HR is a partner to the Senior Leadership team to ensure they have the training and tools to create an inspired culture. It’s the managers who have to choose to be leaders and then have to show up every day and do the work. And it’s hard work. Creating a culture of accountability, that embraces the constant changes in the marketplace, and never settles for good is good enough, is hard work. It’s the difference between good and great businesses and it’s not for everyone. There are days I’m good at leading and there are days I am bad at leading, but there isn’t a day I don’t wake up and try to lead.

I know my priorities and my priorities are the people. Inspire them. Develop them. Empower them.

Talent is everything.

~ Margaret Murphy
Founder and CEO, Bold Orange