End of Quarter Lessons: Building a Great Team

At Blue Summit Supplies, our goal is always to add value to our sphere of influence. We do this daily by providing low-cost, high-quality office supply options, but we want our radical positivity to go further than just what we sell. This is why we’ve decided to pull back the curtain, so to speak, and provide some insight into what we do that works – and what we’ve done that doesn’t.

During our first end-of-quarter check-in for 2019, we sat down with Owen Franklin, Blue Summit Supplies founder and CEO, and talked about what he’s learned so far this year; specifically, what he’s learned about building a team.


What is one valuable tip you learned from being on this end of the hiring process?

“It’s best when you’re going through the hiring process to listen to your gut but not rely on it. I’ve learned to pull in managers from other departments to do culture checks on prospective hires, since their thoughts might be different to mine, and their perspective helps me make a more informed decision. I’m a black or white person and I tend to jump to straight into decisions based on ‘gut feeling’, which doesn’t always work out.

I’ve also learned to always verify references. This gives me a more holistic view of a candidate and is invaluable information. I’ve been burned in the past when I brought someone on board based on ‘gut feeling’ without checking references. Now, I call every reference, every time.”


Building a Great Team - Hiring Process


What is something you’ve learned about managing an expanding team?

“I’ve learned a few things about that this quarter. A big one is the importance of finding a common ground, setting a common goal – you can’t work together unless you have something to work towards, so finding and committing to that goal is key.

And I’ve found truth in the saying, ‘expect a little, get a little; expect a lot, get a lot.’ I expect a lot from my team, and they respond by always rising to challenges.


What’s your favorite related quote you heard or read in Q1?

“If you're not failing, you're not pushing your limits, and if you're not pushing your limits, you're not maximizing your potential." - Ray Dalio

Ray Dalio is a genius when it comes to building a business – to building office culture, and inspiring people. I love this quote and the truth in it; that failure means progress when it’s done right and pushing yourself is a key to success. I try to instill this attitude in my team whenever possible.


Building a Great Team: Office Culture


Let’s talk more about office culture. You’ve been working hard this quarter to nail down a cohesive office culture – why is this so important?

“You know, as adults, we spend so much of our time at work, and there’s this idea that work is a necessary evil standing in the way of what you really want to do. And I don’t agree – I don’t think work has to be miserable. It should be something to look forward to, in an atmosphere you enjoy. So, there’s no room for negative and toxic behavior in an office – it’s got to be a positive place, with a sense of community and shared purpose. That’s what I’m trying to build.”


For more on office culture, stay tuned for our follow-up piece about Owen’s business-building books to read. And with further office-related questions, send us an email at larry@bluesummitsupplies.com. We would love to hear from you!


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Grace Treutel is Blue Summit Supplies' Director of Culture. Currently she’s in training to become a Marriage & Family Therapist though her greatest love will always be the written word. Her three novel manuscripts have not yet been published - but just you wait. She lives in Huntsville with her  cute kids and cute pets.

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