Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast

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A Word From Doug
2017 is a big birthday for Portland Internetworks! As I reflect on 20 years of achievements, challenges, milestones, and uncertainties, this quote attributed to the late management guru, Peter Drucker, is stuck in my mind.
We set out in 1997 as a group of friends, colleagues and clients that favored camaraderie and compatibility over profits. The overriding idea was that all of our customers should be people we could "have a beer with" and our team would be people we'd enjoy spending time with outside of the office.
Fast forward to the present and this philosophy is still core to our mission and our values. We are regularly complimented on the quality of our employees, our deep relationships with our clients, and the transparency we share with everyone connected to us. 
A few of the ways we got here:
  • Our company values specifically require that we choose job candidates with the highest potential for success and retain only those employees who are exceptional in moving us toward our vision. This means there are no "filler" hires and that potential for success is a much higher determinant for hiring than pay or experience.
  • We have a consistent, methodical process for onboarding new team members that emphasizes technical training with cultural "indoctrination" in equal parts. New employees all know our company background, inside jokes, historical success and failures and house ping pong rules in their first weeks. To build camaraderie, they also embark on field trips and scavenger hunts reminiscent of fraternity/sorority pledge programs (minus the togas and beer bongs).
  • The Leadership team is completely transparent with regard to goals, initiatives, financial results, and struggles. We believe that we cannot lead without being vulnerable. We also encourage team skepticism and aren't afraid to answer the hard questions.
  • We organize a LOT of team activities in and out of the office. Skeeball tournaments, bowling, chili cook-offs, pool nights, camping trips, ping pong matches, role-playing games, movie trivia nights, golf outings, and volunteer work all help to build closer bonds and stronger empathy between our people.
  • We actively solicit anonymous employee feedback and suggestions by pulsing questions to our team every single week. We also have provided a platform for employees to praise each other, be recognized by their peers for great work, and be recognized publicly. Our technical team reviews progress toward their individual goals and career objectives biweekly instead of the traditional annual review. And, the positive customer feedback that we receive daily is shared on a TV monitor for everyone to see.
  • We celebrate and give gifts when our employees find other opportunities rather than view it as disloyalty or abandonment. It's natural that as people and companies change, that there may be time to move on and evolve.
The results? Happiness levels above industry norms, a shockingly high level of engagement and commitment, positive customer feedback and client retention, and a great environment in which to work.
This is a topic I could talk for hours about and I'd love to share some of the details as to how we've implemented all these steps. If you're interested, let's talk. I also hope you'll come to our 20 Year Celebration on July 20 to mingle with our team, customers, vendors, family, friends and prospects and help us mark this huge milestone in our success! 
Hang Out With Us Offline 
We're Turning 20...
And we want to celebrate with you!
We can't think of a better way to do that than to toast some fine microbrews, chow down on delicious BBQ, and listen to the soulful sounds of The Pete Krebs Trio. We'll be giving away lots of fun prizes too.
Join us on July 20th, at 5:00 p.m. (before all that's left are vegan hot-dogs) and let's toast to 20 more. RSVP today!
July Events
July 5th - Happy Birthday,  Thomas!
July 5th - Happy Birthday,  Jason Moos!
20 Year Anniversary Open House
July 25th - Happy Birthday,  Trevor!
Meet Andy Zirkle
Availability Alerts in ShoreTel Communicator 14.2 
New Clients 
Please join us in welcoming two new companies to the Portland Internetworks family this month. We're fired up learn more about them and solve their most pressing IT problems. 
Links Worth Sharing 
Why Read Peter Drucker? - Harvard Business Review  

Making Culture a Tangible Metric - Y Combinator
Microsoft Releases its Secret Weapon in the Cloud Wars - Business Insider

Find Out How To Get faster Service From Portland Internetworks HERE.  

Moving on Up!

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Moving on Up!
Last weekend, I had the good fortune to be invited to join my "home town orchestra", the Santa Cruz Symphony to accompany Portland celebrity Storm Large and her band in a performance in the local Civic Auditorium. The entire event was a one-day affair--early morning flight to SFO, a Silvercar drive down the coast, a single rehearsal, and an amazing and moving performance that evening. Not only is Storm an incredible musician, but a vivacious (and colorful) personality. If you have the opportunity to see her perform with Pink Martini or with her own band (and you don't mind a bit of colorful language and bawdy humor), I wholly recommend getting to a show! If you need corroboration, look to the Oregon Music Hall of Fame who voted her Artist of the Year in 2015.
Speaking of local entertainment icons, we've booked 2016 Oregon Music Hall of Fame inductee, Pete Krebs to provide musical entertainment for our July 20th Twenty-Year Birthday Party and Open House. If you haven't already marked the date in your calendar, do it now! I'll wait...
In other news, Portland is enjoying tremendous business growth and a huge increase in commercial real estate values. This combination is resulting in a large number of office expansions and relocations. It's a good time to be a real estate developer, architect, contractor, or lender. But, the prospect of moving a business headquarters or one of its branch offices can be daunting and stressful.
Fortunately, we have a track record for success in office moves whether managing telecom installations, server room build-outs, infrastructure cabling, or day-of-show help-desk support to work out the kinks for your relocated staff. These days, we are managing several office moves simultaneously and can transfer a large part of the stress for your administrative and tech leaders from their backs onto ours. One recent move-project customer complimented our project team thusly: 
Your team did great! All the guys (and April!) were a joy to work with: diligent, easygoing, clear communicators. I really appreciate that you guys were able to help us out on such a short turnaround.
If you have an office move on the horizon, get in touch and let's talk about how to reduce some of the stress for you and your crew!
Hang Out With Us Offline
June 15th - Happy Birthday, Andy Key
June 16th - Happy Birthday, Cheryl Gaze
Wednesday, June 28th
Wednesday, July 12th
Thursday, July 20th (RSVP Today!)
Ever since a violinist friend told me one day, "Doug, you're a Connector", I've had Malcolm Gladwell's  The Tipping Point on my book list. Frequently quoted by other business books, I finally used a business trip to Grand Rapids, MI to knock it out...
The role of technology in my life has changed dramatically over the years, from using the internet as a simple search engine, exchanging mail, interacting and corresponding with people all over the world, to now powering gadgets and tools, such as my home speaker system... 

"It has been really satisfying to get calls from people and help solve their problems. It's great hearing someone that has called in frustrated end the call happy."
You can access your Call Handling Modes from your phone by pressing the Mode soft key on the phones display. Use the navigator buttons to scroll through the 6 default options...
New Clients
Links Worth Sharing

The Future Looks Bright!

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The Future Looks Bright!
I recently shared some tips with customers and friends on how to stay productive and sane while traveling for business. We had a great time and covered a lot of ground with a lot of questions about staying online and making calls inexpensively while traveling internationally. Email me if you were interested but couldn't make the lunch & learn, and I'll send you my slide deck!
We were thrilled to engage with Airbnb last month in support of their office move in Portland's Old Town. Our team was agog with all the great features and amenities this truly progressive employer rolled out for its growing staff. That our other customer, Bora Architects, was responsible for the design, made the project even more satisfying!
Our leadership team spent the weekend in Pacific City Oregon for our semi-annual strategy retreat recently. We spend nearly three days together twice annually to tackle the big issues that require time and clarity away from the day-to-day operations. While we had set into motion our big three-year overall growth strategy at our previous retreat, this meeting centered on refining the plan and refining our budget process. We came back to Portland with a clearer picture of what Portland Internetworks will look like in 2019 and the future looks bright!
The Leadership Book Club choice for May was The Go-Giver: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea by Bob Burg and John David Mann. Unanimously, our team found the book moving, and inspiring not just for business, but for life. When I read the book last year, I was inspired enough to send copies to ten IT-industry CEO friends. And, at our retreat, Tim told me that he'd bought copies as gifts for several friends as well. If you'd like to check it out, get in touch and I'll send you the book, too!
I was in Savannah GA last week for an industry event sponsored by one of our distributor partners. Plenty of business was done and education was gained, but I was inspired by the $10,000 donated by the IT solution provider attendees, vendors, and organizers to the Willett Children's Hospital of Savannah. Not bad for a few people reaching deep for a few days.
I'm off to Boulder CO this week to perform with the Colorado Mahlerfest and then on to Pinehurst NC for Cisco's SMB Advisory Council. But, I expect to be 100% productive using Cisco WebEx, ShoreTel Mobility, Microsoft Office 365, Slack, and my  Jabra Speak 510!
Come Hang Out With Us Offline
Wednesday, June 14th
June 15th - Happy Birthday, Andy Key!
June 16th - Happy Birthday, Cheryl Gaze!
Wednesday, June 28th
Lunch & Learn: ShoreTel Demo Day
We're Celebrating 20 Years in Business
There will be live music, local BBQ, and wistful affection for '90s hip-hop and 256K modems. We'll also have some fantastic treats and prizes to to giveaway too, so RSVP today!
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New Clients

Links Worth Sharing
Portland Internetworks is looking for a Sales Support and Procurement Specialist!
The best VPNs 2017 - IT World

Did you know that Portland Internetworks has a resource page for all your billing and support needs? Get faster service here.  

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