Based in Raleigh, North Carolina, Blaine Watts is a driven business professional with over 20 years of experience as a sales leader. Currently, he is an Executive Sales Leader at Cisco Systems, Inc.
Since 2000, Blaine has been a vital part of the team at Cisco. The company recruited him because of his experience with running businesses and their operations. Both areas help Blaine better understand his clients and their goals. Over the past 20 years, he has held multiple positions at the organization, including:
- Global Services Account Manager
- Area Services Sales Manager
- Regional Sales Manager
- Director of Sales
- Vertical Sales Leader
- Executive Sales Leader
He has a proven track record of growing revenue. As Regional Sales Manager of the Carolinas and DC metro, Blaine Watts grew revenue from $70 million to $265 million, all while in six years decreasing the expense to bookings ratio from 4.6 to 3.2. He continued to work hard, and in his next role at Cisco, Blaine grew revenue by 122%, while reducing sales costs by 10%. As Vertical Sales Leader Blaine created and implemented a vertical strategy for transformational accounts while leading an experienced team of professionals. Together with Blaine and his team, focus on customer success. In his current position, Blaine is responsible for leading a cross-functional team that delivers business value to some of Cisco’s largest clients. They offer delivery and support for essential technology solutions. The goal of these technology solutions is to improve customer experience and drive growth.
Blane Watts looks to blend his analytical approach with other aspects of his job, including cultivating good relationships with his team members and clients. He takes the time to get to know his team; that way, he can understand their strengths and what motivates them. Team diversity and inclusion are essential to Blaine. He knows that in the business world, those with exceptional ideas and backgrounds provide the best results.
When Blaine isn’t working, you can find him spending time with his family. Blaine and his wife enjoy attending both of their son’s sporting events. Whether it’s track, cross country, wrestling, or football games, you’ll find Blaine cheering his family on! Giving back to the community is also important to Blaine. He regularly volunteers at the North Carolina Food Banks and Habitat for Humanity.
4 Tips for cultivating a Diverse Workforce
The secret is out – diversity in the workplace is a good thing. It results in expanded creativity and innovation, sharper problem-solving, and decision-making. All of this improves your bottom line making you and your shareholders happy. But how do you cultivate a diverse team?
Employ Different Hiring Tactics
To avoid the common biases inherent to standard hiring practices, you should give resumes and references a lower value on the hiring scale. That’s not to say you should abandon the practice of looking at your applicant’s resumes. Look over the applicant’s resumes, but hire them based on how well they do in cognitive tests, which give you a more accurate and real-time assessment of the individual’s abilities. Take the time to get to know the applicants through multiple rounds of interviews – if necessary. Interviews allow you to find a candidate that will ultimately be the best fit. How individuals act in person is a lot different than how they look on paper.
Scratch the “Years of Experience” Criteria
Again, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use years of experience as a metric to judge your applicants’ qualifications. However, limiting your job posting to candidates with minimum X years of experience can severely restrict your candidate pool. If you want to find and cultivate a well-rounded team, place a lower emphasis and value on this traditional hiring metric.
Emphasize the Importance of Diversity in Your Job Posting
How you describe the position and company culture in your job posting can make or break it for some applicants. Look at your job posting with fresh eyes and change it to accommodate a more diverse set of applicants. For instance, rather than list out your expectations regarding job experience and educational background, focus on what outcomes you want to achieve for the open role.
Be Where They Are
Looking for well-rounded candidates means you have to have to actively seek them out. Hobbyist meetups are an excellent place to find diverse candidates who stand out in their respective trade or craft. Job fairs can also yield results, but it’s often a hit or miss. Lastly, social networking platforms, such as LinkedIn, are low-cost, high-yield places to find diverse candidates.
Cultivating a diverse workforce is all about rethinking how you pick and screen candidates. If you want to build a diverse team, you’ll have to adopt new hiring practices that allow you to filter candidates and ultimately choose the best candidate.