The Outside Insights Community

Every journey starts somewhere – why not right now?

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Hey there, I’m Chris.

 

Servant leader, coach, entrepreneur, mountain man, and owner of Placers, one of Delaware’s 50 fastest growing businesses with a mission of igniting the spark between businesses and next-level talent.

 

I’m a firm believer that everyone we come into contact with has lessons to share – from strategies for successful entrepreneurship, to how to live a balanced life – mind, body, and soul.

 

Outside Insights is a platform for sharing those lessons and ideas so that we may all close our personal gap. At its core, it’s a community of individuals who know that there is always progress to be made – big or small.

 

As a business owner, I encourage my team to operate under one simple yet extremely powerful idea: that the best results come when you push the limits. Last year, I trekked up the glacial landscape of Mt. Rainier – a bucket-list climb. It wasn’t easy. When a blizzard hit at 11,500 feet, we spent a tough night in frigid temperatures with tents blowing and a mix of freezing rain and snow billowing into my tent. While nature ultimately decided it was time for us to descend, we were left with a life-changing experience reserved only for those who dare to step outside of their comfort zones.

 

Epic journeys wait on the other side of comfort zones. Outside Insights will give you the inspiration, tools, and aha moments you need to get there.

Stories, thoughts, and lessons for closing your gaps.

Check out the Outside Insights library

Workforce and Workplace Realities Revisited – Outside Insights Podcast Episode #28

There is a balance shift between employers who are used to being in control of the workplace dynamic and employees who gained control of it during the pandemic. It’s headlining news and it’s the through-line of this week’s episode of Outside Insights between Placers’ President Chris Burkhard and Placers’ Founder and serial entrepreneur Alan Burkhard. […]

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Workation in Wydaho

Recently, I read one of my Outside Insights articles from two years ago where I wrote about the importance of appreciating the small stuff around you. Reflexively I thought, who was that guy? And how did he get to a place where he had time to actually appreciate the small things in life? Two years […]

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Why We Should be Change Makers

  Over the last 50 years, Placers and the Burkhards have coached, interviewed, and listened to thousands of job seekers who want to make a change. They want to follow a new career path or just want something to change in their day to day. Yet, when it comes time to say yes to a […]

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Why Opposite the Crowd?

  For the past few years, a significant focus of mine has been working with my dad to write and publish our first book. In the process, we started a podcast that would turn into our cumulative life lessons, finally recorded.   As we started to record, we began to think through what we would […]

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When I Discovered Self-Care & Never Looked Back

“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life. Awakening from the stupefying effects of the vice of […]

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What We Actually Need from Our Leaders

The election feels like the exclamation point on the end of a long run-on sentence (otherwise known as the year 2020). We have been through a range of emotions and sticky situations this year. Many of us have gone from fear to frustration, to now what feels like a general sense of anxiety. With so much […]

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What Ted Lasso Taught Me About Life

I am not sure how you’re choosing to distract yourself these days – lately the world seems to be oh so serious all of the time. If you listen to or read Outside Insights content, you’re familiar with my journey and my recipe for living your best life. I read, meditate, do yoga, work out […]

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What is Your Legacy?

How you conduct yourself along your life journey, determines how your story will unfold. This is a basic law of the universe—we get what we give and, ultimately, we are what we believe. It’s a self fulfilling prophecy. If we think negatively, we open ourselves up to negative experiences. If we lead from a place […]

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What Got Me Here Won’t Get Me There

This visualization represents my work/life story over the past 30 years. I imagine many of you can relate. To me work equaled independence. I started work early. From the age of nine, I had a paper route which I had until I was sixteen. It was hard work; I got up before school to deliver […]

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What Are Your 3 Critical Life Lessons?

I am frequently asked about what gives me sustainable motivation and energy. How do I continuously keep my long-term goals top of mind and how do I recover from life’s setbacks and get back on track? When it comes to reaching our goals, all of us have setbacks – we get sick, we lose steam, […]

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What 2009 Taught Me

In 2009, many businesses ground to a halt – almost a complete stop. Corporate customers stopped buying. Consumer sentiment was down, and people stopped spending. In the U.S., this was our entire economy. Most leaders found themselves navigating uncharted business waters, and leadership became narrowly focused on one thing: survival.   I am proud to […]

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Unlock Your Potential: Live with Intention

Are you where you want to be in your life? Did you cross all the items off your bucket list? Have all of your dreams been chased? If the answer is yes, yes and yes – congratulations! You can proceed with the rest of your day. But, if you’re like me, you probably answered no […]

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To Move Forward, You Must be Still

If you’ve been part of the Outside Insights community for a while, you know how important I view goal setting and developing actionable steps to make them a reality. We set our sights on outcomes that we want to reach and then act with intention, every day, to achieve them – knocking tasks out one […]

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Tired of the Pandemic? Sleep on it.

I’d like to start this week’s email out with a question for you. If someone offered you a pill that could decrease your chances of cancer and heart disease by more than half, increase your memory and intelligence, decrease anxiety and stress and make you happier with no negative side effects – would you take […]

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The Story of the Bucket

  The world of business is fast-changing. Fickle, almost. Climates evolve rapidly, markets come and go, consumer demand is continually in flux. Any company that navigates these inherent trials and tribulations with grace isn’t doing so because of sheer dumb luck. They have a secret sauce: Their employees.   The lifeblood of any company is […]

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The Power of Right Thinking

In this insightful chapter of Opposite the Crowd, I had the pleasure of engaging in a rewarding conversation with my dad, Alan Burkhard, on the concept of “right-thinking” and its impact on personal and professional development. Our discussion revolved around the power of aligning one’s thoughts and actions with a clear purpose and set of […]

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The Power of Nth Degree Thinking

  Imagine you could simply “keep score” of every relationship in life and business. And, for example, if after every interaction your “score” would change depending on how much value you brought to the person you were speaking with..   While for some this idea may be anxiety inducing, it doesn’t have to be! I […]

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The New Rules of Work

In business, there are assets, things that add or increase in value, and there are liabilities, things that must be paid for or are a cost to the business. All employees have the opportunity to be real assets – but not all employees are working to their full potential. Be an asset. Grow yourself, be […]

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The Never-Ending Pandemic

Yesterday I read a meme that referenced the never-ending pandemic. “The new normal” had gone on so long that I had time to get in shape once…and then get out of shape again. I know this is how many of us feel right now. It’s like the pandemic 15 (which is a real thing), not […]

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The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year (For Me)

The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year (For Me) My all-time favorite holiday is New Year’s Day – it offers the opportunity to reset. I set a new tone in the new year by journaling. It clarifies what I’ve done, what I didn’t do, what I want, and how to get there. I highly recommend […]

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The Master Puppeteer

“Recently, I was meeting with our recruitment consultant, Freddy, over lunch and I shared this story. Back in the early days of Placers 1.0 and the CBI Group, we set out to propel one of the key tenants of our culture: employee empowerment. We asked ourselves how self-directed our teams could really be. Would they […]

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The Importance of Knowing Yourself

Where does our confidence come from? How do I “fake it till I make it”? How do I know I am doing the right things with my life? I spend a lot of time with good people, customers, employees, friends, family and outside-inners that find value in our words and podcasts. The questions above are […]

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The Evolution of Sales – Less Push and More Consultative

  All businesses share a fundamental goal: finding buyers for their products and services. In today’s dynamic marketplace, where competition is fierce and noise is abundant, it’s crucial to differentiate yourself and connect with prospects on a deeper level. This is where consultative selling comes into play—a powerful approach that goes beyond traditional sales techniques. […]

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The Art of Quitting: Hang In or Hang It Up?

  Here’s the thing – quitting shouldn’t be a bad word. But why does it often feel like it is?   At Placers, we champion values like results-driven performance and relentless hustle, epitomized by Winston Churchill’s wartime call to “never, ever, ever give up.” This motto resonated so deeply with me that it found its […]

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Thank you to the year 2020

Only in 2020 would we run out of Christmas trees! Yes, 12 foot pines are going for more than a grand if you can find one. We are all so desperate for some normalcy many started bringing in the holiday cheer a little early this year. We are all looking to lift our spirits, have […]

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Ten Ways To Empower People

Ten Ways To Empower People In chapter four of the book my father and I co-authored, “Opposite the Crowd,” my dad, Alan, chronicles his early years — from his first memory to his first “grown-up job.”   Alan was only 15 when he lost his dad, Carol, to cancer. The family-owned business, Burkhard Hardware, burned […]

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Taking Control of Your Career in 2024: A New Beginning

As we step into 2024, it’s a time for reflection and planning as we work to consider the endless possibilities of the new year. Many New Year’s Resolutions involve honing our skills, new and old, advancing our careers, and nurturing our dreams. Self-improvement is crucial for getting to know ourselves. Understanding our desires and aligning […]

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Self-Acceptance Everyday and the Holidays

  I don’t know about you, but I spend a lot of time thinking about how I can live my best life: Do I have good habits? In what areas can I improve?  Is my morning routine optimized? Did I meditate three times this week? Did I go through my ten-point morning checklist? Is it […]

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Questions that will help you be a better teammate

At many points in our lifetime, we’re put into positions where others depend on us to be a good teammate. You’re a teammate to your colleague at the office, your partner on a college partner, your roommate, and your significant other. These people depend on you. How do you know that you’re upholding your end […]

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Pursuing Adventure, Entrepreneurship, and Financial Freedom with Steven Pivnik- Outside Insights Podcast Episode #33

Join host Chris Burkhard in an exciting conversation with Steven Pivnik, who is both a successful entrepreneur and an athlete. They will take you on a fascinating journey that combines adventure, business, and financial freedom. Get ready to be inspired as Steven shares his amazing stories of challenging races, business achievements, and valuable life lessons. […]

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Prioritize Your Passions: Tech Leader to Creative Visionary. A Sit Down With Nick Wilkinson – Outside Insights Podcast Episode #37

In this episode Outside Insights, I sat down with Nick Wilkinson, Founder and CEO of Wilkinson Advisory services. Prior to launching his own consulting firm, Wilkinson built a successful career spanning various industries and has collected multiple hats over the years, including CEO, entrepreneur, author, and filmmaker – more on that later.   Nick and […]

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Outside Insights: The Lake of Life

As a member of the Scaling Up community, a strategic coach, and a business owner of a growth-oriented mid-market company, I have had the pleasure of learning life lessons from some of the best leaders and entrepreneurs on the planet. I discuss one of my favorites below – and how I’ve used it to better my life […]

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Outside Insights- Why Do I Hike Big Mountains?

Steve Jobs once said, “If you really look closely, most overnight successes took a long time.” Man, am I familiar with this phrase.   Many years ago, I decided to become an entrepreneur – my first company, the CBI Group, was born. At that time, I believed that every hour I worked would equate to future value. […]

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Our Theme Is To Be

Every year at Placers we pick a theme that’s more than just a word – it’s our rally cry and our shared vision. Choosing our theme is a team sport that we all participate in by throwing different ideas into the mix. To help us brainstorm we consider key questions like: What do we need […]

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My View from the Road

For the last few weeks, I have been in Wyoming on my sabbatical (all Placers team members take one every 10 years). I’m accompanied by my wife, Kim, and two Aussie Shepherds, Ziggy and Gracie, in a small cabin-style rental.   Nature has welcomed us into its embrace as short-term guests in a place where […]

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My Life Would Be Incomplete Without…

Our Outside Insights community often discusses the importance of taking the time to reflect on where you’re at in life, the work that it took to get there, and how you feel about the journey. The next time you’re taking the time to reflect or journal, consider starting out with this prompt: “My life would […]

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My Holiday Lifesaver (Soon to be Yours)

  I have been open about my health journey and have discussed candidly in my self care blog. This year I have been, not so simply, learning to breathe. I found that I was kind of stuck in that fight or flight mode, where your nervous system is stuck in a constant state of stress. […]

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Life, 20 Years Ago

I was 32 and had just left my big corporate job to start my first business, the CBI Group. My kids were 3 and 5 years old and with a growing family, there were many more conventional options than risking it all on a dream. But Kim, my wife, knew I would never really be […]

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Leveraging Tech for Social Good – A Sit Down With Pat Callihan – Outside Insights Podcast Episode #41

In this episode of Outside Insights, I chat with Pat Callihan, CEO of the national nonprofit Tech Impact. During our discussion, Pat shares how his organization is creating meaningful change through technology and workforce development programs.   I’m inspired by Pat’s commitment to leveraging technology for greater social impact through workforce development and nonprofit empowerment. Many of you know about […]

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Let’s Grow Again in 2021

We’re eight days into January and it seems like all I read about is habit building, resolution setting, and how wellness is the key to my happiness. Now don’t get me wrong, I rock a daily plan, have a gratitude journal, I even review every week religiously for my wins and areas of improvement. And […]

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Leadership by Temper Tantrum

As a history buff, I recently read a short story about the fall of Napoleon. Yes, the Emperor of France who conquered most of Europe in the 1800s. In a famous event, Napoleon raced back to Paris from the battlefields after receiving intelligence that his two top government officials were apparently conspiring against him.   […]

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Knowledge is Our Equalizer

While 2020 is a year we might hope to forget – we will always remember the realities faced and the lessons learned. Why does it seem like the issues, challenges, and obstacles keep coming relentlessly? That behind every crisis is another one waiting to greet us.First, a virus turned global pandemic, then the economic fallout […]

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