Steven Talbot is a Co-Founder and CEO of GQR. He is a thought leader, influencer, risk taker and provides the vision and energy that has inspired the creation and evolution of GQR. Steven joins other leading CEOs and Founders taking part in our Leader Roundtable Interview Series. The DotCom Magazine editorial team has awarded GQR as an Impact Company of 2019, and we are delighted to have Steven join us for our Leader Round Table Interview. The GQR story is very interesting, and we are very excited to not only interview Steven about his very successful business and entrepreneurial spirit, but also put Steven through our popular speed round as well.
Steven, thank so much for taking the time out of your busy day for this interview, and answering some questions about leadership, your vision, and your passion.
1. Can you describe what the “elevator pitch” for GQR is?
GQR, is an award-winning global talent acquisition and advisory firm specializing in matching uniquely talented STEM professionals with the world’s most innovative organizations.
2. Many of our readers are just starting to build a company. What advice can you give CEO’s just starting out regarding keeping a company moving forward, and please tell us the key to your company’s success?
Don’t get into the trap of feeling like you should know everything or pretending that you do. If you take that route, you’ll stop thinking, learning and asking questions. Furthermore, it will affect your credibility and you’ll start pretending you know things that you don’t.
Figure out what your genuine values are and what your culture code is and develop a strategy to get that message out.
3. For other entrepreneurs seeking to build a business as successful as GQR, what advice can you give them when times get a little challenging?
It depends on the type of challenge, but I think the reason why success can feel very challenging for many entrepreneurs – or why it has for me – is because you have a longer-term vision and you’re constantly living in the future. If you continuously compare where you are now against this long-term goal, you’re not going to value all of the incremental changes and improvements that have happened already. So, perspective is the most important thing when times are challenging. Gain the ability to look backwards as well as forward and appreciate all the iterations in-between.
4. How important is the commitment to client satisfaction at GQR, and how do you make sure your customers will become raving fans of your company?
It’s very important to us, particularly because we’re so specialized. Which means, our potential client universe is more constrained and really interconnected.
In the earlier phases of GQR, we were hyper focused on identifying niche talent and skillsets and using that as our point of entry with clients – because we had what they needed. As we have evolved and established stronger partnerships, we understand that we are really good in both delivering rare talent and contributing to an organization’s overall vision to create more of an impact with our clients.
So, one vital thing we’re doing to create raving fans of GQR is making sure we’re spending more time interfacing with our clients to learn more and focus on what is going to drive their success. We’re doing this by creating more space for our teams to focus on the human aspect of what they do and alleviating some of their administrative tasks. We’re also giving other avenues for clients to provide information and feedback through our client services model.
5. What is the one overriding belief that GQR has about what it is doing?
The overriding belief here is that the true differentiator between organizations comes does to its people – it’s the human element. If you take highly capable people, and even more importantly, put them in organizations where they’re highly motivated, that is the core difference for most organizations. For many other resources, you can get equal or buy access to. Talent is rare and unique, and that is the fundamental difference between success and failure. The most valuable thing I can do, as a company, is to focus on and invest in finding the best people and fully understanding their aspirations and motivations.
6. What is your “Why”? Why do you get up in the morning, and how do you keep yourself at peak performance to lead GQR?
My two fundamental motivators are innovation and making an impact. I enjoy having a positive impact on people and their lives – and that’s the same for GQR internally. We have the opportunity to change the course and trajectory of where people might otherwise have been headed – what they’d be doing, where, in different countries, at totally different levels, etc. The innovation element is about creating completely different platforms and strategies than our competitors and seeing how they impact our people, clients, candidates and partners for the good.
7. Can you recommend a book that has had an influence on your career? How did it influence you?
There’s a book called Small Giants by Bo Burlingham. What I like about it, and what it has taught me is that much can be accomplished with smaller groups of people. There’s a lot of hype and focus on growth and scale, and it seems the strategy for many business leaders is to impact these strategies with a lot of different players. However, this book has helped me see that you can really amplify on those ideals with smaller groups of high-impact, excellent people – and they’ll certainly teach you a lot along the way.
8. In one sentence, can you tell us what the most important thing about being a leader is?
I would say the most important thing about being a leader is candor. To not only be sincere to your organization but to yourself too. Furthermore, having high Emotional Intelligence is vital to be able to understand and direct through different people within the organization. Then, the way to use that most effectively, is to be open, transparent and give honest, constructive feedback. Sometimes, the input is going to be painful, but the outcome is priceless.
9. In one sentence, can you give some advice to fellow entrepreneurs wishing to build a company as exciting as GQR?
Hire the best people possible and seek to understand what intrinsically motivates them!
Steven, we would like to have some fun and do our famous “First Reaction” round with you! We will ask you ten more questions that we want you to answer in just one to three words only.
Here you go!
1. In 2 words or less, what makes a successful CEO?
Curiosity & Emotional Intelligence
2. Describe GQR in one word?
3. Describe GQR customers in one word?
4. What one attribute do you look for when hiring an employee for GQR?
5. What is the one word you want your customers to say about GQR?
6. In three words or less, describe what it takes to be successful?
Adventure, Ambition, Accountability
7. In three words or less, describe your first year in business at GQR?
Exciting, painful, unsustainable
8. In three words or less, describe how running a successful company has changed you?
More sympathetic, worldly and multi-dimensional
9. What is the one word that you believe has the most power in the English Language?
Steven Talbot, thank you so much for sitting down with us at our DotCom Magazine Impact Player Round Table. We very much appreciate the time you spent helping others to learn more about your company, and what it takes to be a leader. We wish you, your family, and of course GQR, nothing but the best.
The Steven Talbot Roundtable Interview brought to you by DotCom Magazine.