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Summit Covers Strategies Businesses Need to Succeed

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“People decisions are the most important decisions you will make,” author and business expert Dee Ann Turner told attendees of the Greater Vidalia Chamber’s Business Solutions Summit last week. The summit, held on September 23 in downtown Vidalia, covered cutting edge strategies business owners need to succeed – from how to attract customers and find talented employees, to how to dodge cyber attacks and make the most of social media.

Turner, author of Bet on Talent, shared strategies on how to create a successful business culture, including learning how to recognize the differences between just hiring people and selecting real talent.

Turner is a 33-year veteran of the Chick-fil-A Inc. and former Vice President, Human Resources, where she led Talent Management and Staff Learning and Development. She explained that the key to the best customer experiences is both remarkable culture and extraordinary talent. According to Turner, talent should be judged on three spectrums: character, competency, and chemistry.

Through her experience working closely with Chick-fil-A Founder Truett Cathy, Turner learned that a culture may change competency within talent, but character seems unaffected regardless of the environment. She stressed the importance of evaluating the character of talent when recruiting. Turner argued that remarkable culture derives from the atmosphere of the company. “Millennials and Gen Z entering the workforce truly want a remarkable culture in their employer,” she explained. “They do not just want to hear about how a workplace is a ‘family’ and that not be true. They truly want to be in an atmosphere where coworkers and employers are caring and encouraging.” She concluded her lecture with stories from her time at Chick-fil-A, where she watched the development of the quality of service for which the franchise is known. “Truett addressed all owners of franchises and told them he wanted the employees of each store to give the customers ‘second mile service,’ “ she said. Turner added, “He did not make rules for how to do this: he just told everyone to look for ways to go above and beyond the norm. Since then, there have been tons of stories about employees changing tires, driving several miles to give customers forgotten items, and even rescuing customers from flooded houses after a hurricane. With the right talent and environment, excellence is easily achieved.”

The summit also featured other speakers: Greater Vidalia Chamber Chair Steven McComas, Chick-fil-A CEO and Chairman Dan Cathy, Memorial Health Meadows Hospital Director of Community Wellness Susan McLendon, University of Georgia Small Business Development Center Consultant Nadia Osmon, Taylor Insurance Services CEO Trey Taylor, and representatives from Responsive Technology Partners.

Sponsors for the summit included: DBM Roofing; DOT Foods; Taylor Insurance Services,; Tar Land and Timber; Terry’s Flooring and Blinds; Vyve Broadband; Million Pines Community Bank; ATC; Brown Realty Company; BTI Services; and Ingley, Roper, Moore & Co., Inc. Memorial Health Meadows Hospital served as the 280 Society Sponsor.

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