What Harry Potter Can Teach Us About Us

J.K. Rowling Photo by Daniel Ogren Sometimes our search for who we are is just plain entertaining. Because of my vintage, I’m sure it won’t surprise you that until recently I knew nothing about Harry Potter. I knew the author J.K. Rowling was a billionaire and that her Harry Potter franchise was huge. But that was it. Then I listened to a Hidden Brain podcast with Shankar Vedantam about sorting hats and personality tests, and I got sucked into the Harry Potter vacuum. A few days after I heard this podcast I actually watched Harry Potter and the [...]

By |2020-05-14T15:38:51-04:00May 14th, 2020|Hiring & Team Composition, Learning Styles & Skills|

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 |2017-05-19T19:54:46-04:00April 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 |2017-05-19T19:54:46-04:00March 23rd, 2017|Hiring & Team Composition, Teams & Culture|

Here, Lead this Established Team

The Red Sox are again wearing me down. I was at the game on Monday when they got the bases loaded in the ninth inning at home in a tie game with no outs. They did not score and they lost the game. They then lost the next two games in painful ways. I am beginning to wonder if they need to replace the manager, John Farrell. Torey Lovullo, the bench coach, is the logical choice. He filled-in for Farrell last year when Farrell had to step away for medical treatment. So I wondered if I was Lovullo, what would [...]

By |2017-05-19T19:54:49-04:00June 23rd, 2016|Hiring & Team Composition|

Leading Five Generations in the Workplace

Forty years ago this week was my first day at my first professional job out of college and it was at a bank. Yes, that’s how old I am. My mentor and primary trainer was a gentleman about my Dad’s age. His boss, the man who interviewed and hired me, was closer to my grandfather’s age. His first advice to me was to either grow a mustache or wear a conservative top hat so I could look older and look more creditable. I laughed and grew a mustache. It was fun then to be part of the younger generation in [...]

By |2018-08-03T12:26:01-04:00June 8th, 2015|Hiring & Team Composition, Teams & Culture|

Five Attitudes of a “Yes we Can” Culture

On Sunday when I was at Hannaford’s grocery store a wonderful thing happened. As I walked out of the store, a very happy little girl was dancing out the door with her dad. It had just started to rain hard and her dad said, “Oh no, it’s raining.” And the little girl looked up at him and said, “What’s wrong, Daddy, isn’t rain good?” Her father and I smiled at each other and he said, “You know, you are right, rain is good.” Positivity is infectious. A “Yes We Can” Culture. One of the most important threads in the fabric [...]

By |2017-05-19T19:54:53-04:00April 23rd, 2015|Hiring & Team Composition, Teams & Culture|

A One Question Job Interview

  Two things happened last week within a few hours of each other that connected with me. First, I overheard a woman trying to explain the game of doubles tennis to another woman, who I could tell knew only what a tennis racket was. I was amused at how poorly the "explainer" was doing. Then a few hours later, I read about someone who uses one interview question when hiring. And “click” the interview concept made sense to me. In my opinion, the woman in the first example would not be able to give a successful interview with this method. [...]

By |2017-05-19T19:55:39-04:00January 28th, 2013|Hiring & Team Composition, Teams & Culture|

4 Things You Need to Know Before You Hire

Recently, at our organization, we have been talking a great deal about interviewing. Since we are in the employment services industry, this is a very important topic. In a moment I will write about the four things you need to know before you hire a leader, or anyone for that matter. But first, let me share a story. My First Real Leadership Interview. When I was a 20 year old junior at the University of Maine I was asked by the University President, Howard Neville, to be the student representative on the search committee for a new Dean of Arts [...]

By |2017-05-19T19:55:39-04:00November 20th, 2012|Hiring & Team Composition, Teams & Culture|