Teams & Culture

/Teams & Culture

Is Work-Life Balance Baloney?

I wonder if this young woman we saw working at a museum has a work-life balance – she doesn’t look very happy. More about her in a moment. Let me say this right up front - I have never really understood the work-life balance mantra that we employers are supposed to embrace as we try to recruit Millennials. To me it is like achieving Nirvana, that Buddhist transcendent state of mind when an individual has no suffering, no desires, no sense of self, and you are released from the “effects of karma and the cycle of death and rebirth.” I [...]

By |2019-09-27T08:36:04-05:00September 26th, 2019|Team Leadership / Teamwork, Teams & Culture, Uncategorized|

Can Improv Help You Coach Your Team?

Until a few weeks ago I never thought of connecting improv theater techniques, like what you might see on the show Whose Line is It Anyway? to coaching a team member.  That changed when I listened to Alan Alda read his book If I Understood You, Would I Have this Look on My Face? . In this book Alda describes how he uses improv basics to teach scientists, professors, and doctors to relate and communicate better with their audiences, investors, students, and patients. Before I share how you might progress through a coaching session, let’s look at a few improv [...]

By |2018-09-21T09:18:22-05:00September 18th, 2018|Team Leadership / Teamwork, Teams & Culture|

No More Negative Waves, Coach

I lunched this week with a senior banker friend, who I used to work with many years ago. During lunch he shared a coaching challenge he is having that is the same challenge managers from several industries have shared with me – he has a younger commercial loan officer who is “okay,” but is not “stepping-up” – not trying to find larger loan customers and not taking responsibility for some things he should. Sound familiar to you? I suspected after talking with him that my friend was not a Connector Manager-Coach, but likely one of the other types of coaches [...]

By |2018-09-21T09:20:16-05:00August 30th, 2018|Team Leadership / Teamwork, Teams & Culture|

Hey Coach, What’s in This for Me?

If you played sports, I want you to think back to the best coach or coaches you ever had. If you didn’t play sports, think about the best manager you have had or have now. I’ll wait a minute – do it, I’m serious. Now, what was “it” they did that made you remember them? My “Mad Dog’ Coach I Remember. The one coach that stands-out for me was my high school football coach in Middletown, RI, the late Joseph “Joe” Magliocco, who we players referred to affectionately as “Mad Dog.” I was a military kid and my sister and [...]

Why Sellers Might Flip-out and Overvalue Things

Human behavior can make us flip sometimes. A few weeks ago when I was visiting our Rhode Island market I had interesting conversations with two of our team members. In the first one I learned that Dave, one of our Providence team members, was a part-time realtor. That by itself was not really notable, but what I learned next was. Dave told me that he specializes in being a “buyer’s broker”. When I asked him why, he said, “Because buyers are almost always happy after the closing and often invite me to their first house party. Sellers,  though, are almost [...]

By |2017-11-30T10:48:31-05:00November 30th, 2017|Team Leadership / Teamwork|

I Am Grateful for Thanksgiving Laughter

Photo by Toa Heftiba Yesterday in Church our Pastor gave a children’s message focused on gratitude. After asking the children what they were grateful for, she passed around a clipboard asking each of us to share something we were grateful for. I wrote down “meaningful work”, which I am grateful for every day. Since yesterday as I thought about all the stress in the world these days, I have reminded myself how really grateful I am for good laughs – something we have always had around our family’s Thanksgiving table over the decades. So this week I thought [...]

By |2017-11-20T15:03:05-05:00November 20th, 2017|Credibility & Inspiration, Team Leadership / Teamwork|

The 8-Cs of Our Company Culture

This week our Company had our annual “remote” celebration and it was no small feat. With about 35 teams of people located from Auburn, Maine to Palm Beach, Florida it was an amazing technological achievement for an organization like ours with limited financial resources, but plenty of heart. As I watched the live event this year with our Concord, NH team I was inspired by the wonderful culture our team members have created. As I thought about Paul Spiegelman’s 8 Cs of company culture, I think our team is right in line with him. Eight Cs of Company Culture. A [...]

By |2017-07-20T09:06:27-05:00July 20th, 2017|Organizational Culture, Teams & Culture|

Eight Character Questions from Theo Epstein

In our organization right now our focus is on building a culture that attracts and retains team members. We are especially focused on selecting the right people – unselfish people who want to be part of a team, who put the needs of others before themselves, and who, quite frankly, we want to be around every day. Pretty simple, right? No. In one of our divisions we have found we only hire three (3) out of 100 people we start with. It is really hard to find people who match-up with the criteria we are looking for. Even more, we [...]

By |2017-05-19T19:54:46-05:00April 13th, 2017|Hiring & Team Composition|

Is Your Team a Mixed-Doubles Team?

We have been talking a great deal lately about teams, especially about constructing effective teams. Our recent focus has been centered on how to choose individuals who have the right attitude and will help create positivity. Sometimes we quote Herb Kelleher of Southwest Airlines and say, “Hire for attitude, train for skill.” When you construct a team I think it is also useful to think about the type of team you have and remember this – not all teams are alike. A few years ago I wrote an article about how the late Peter Drucker described the three types of [...]

By |2017-05-19T19:54:46-05:00March 23rd, 2017|Hiring & Team Composition, Teams & Culture|

Loyalty Tips This Holiday Season from a Dog Named Molly

This holiday season I have been thinking about loyalty - loyalty to family; loyalty to friends; loyalty to co-workers and teammates, and loyalty to pets. I know what you are thinking, “Steve usually writes about human and leadership behavior, so why pets this time?” About two weeks ago Gordon, a brilliant and close friend of mine and many others in Portsmouth, passed away at the wise old age of 87. He lived alone out in the country and walked every day through his woods with his loyal black lab, Molly. That last day Gordon died of a massive heart-attack while [...]

By |2018-01-02T20:17:20-05:00December 20th, 2016|Team Leadership / Teamwork|