1 Simple Trick for Hiring and Onboarding Great New Team Members

A very wise college basketball coach once said, “If I recruit a great kid, and he goes to play for another team, he might beat us once or twice a year.  But if I recruit a bad kid, he might beat us every day!” As someone who leads a team of employees, the decisions you make in terms of hiring new staff can have an incredible impact on your team culture. Bad hires can be painful… and hiring mistakes can be costly… But bad hires (or bad onboarding experiences) only occur because you rush to accept someone who seems okay instead of ensuring that he or she is a great FIT for your team. It is better to slow down the process and make the right decision than to rush the process and make a wrong decision that becomes destructive to your team’s performance or profits.   So how do you get to know someone and ENSURE that they fit your culture and share the values that you want your organization to be known for? Here’s ONE simple trick to hiring (and successfully onboarding) someone with a positive attitude and an awareness of how to work effectively with others…   Use a book as part of your hiring process!   Find a book that represents one or more of the core values that you want your people to live by as part of your workplace culture. Yes, it should be relatively short and easy to read so it doesn’t take too long and isn’t too difficult to comprehend (Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment would not be a good choice) But there...

How Many Mission Statements Does Your Team Have?

The importance of mission statements struck me when I was still a coach and teacher, because I worked at five different high schools in my career.  That wasn’t because I couldn’t keep a teaching job… The moves happened because of coaching positions that came open.  Often it was just a better situation, and once it was just closer to home… honest ; ) But one of the curious things I noticed after working at that many different schools is that they were all very unique…   The principals had different personalities.  The students came from different backgrounds.  The architectural layouts were diverse… But there was ONE thing that was oddly similar at every school – and I’m guessing that it is the same wherever you currently work. Every school I worked at had a mission statement posted in the main office and also around the building on hallway walls. You know what I’m talking about… “We will inspire life-long learners who are responsible citizens in the global community.” or “Through combined effort of staff, parents, students, and community, we will provide students with a foundation in basic skills, to provide an introduction to the arts, to foster a positive work ethic, to create an environment that harbors tolerance and respect” Having a mission statement on the walls is OK   The problem was that those mission statements stayed on the walls – and never made it into the hearts and minds of teachers or students or curriculum… The problem was that – even though every school I worked at (and likely every company you have worked at) spent time and resources...

“The Way” to Build Team Trust

(Thanks to Dave Blum for sharing this guest article)   A few days back I watched a fascinating movie, called The Way.  Have you seen it?   One of my go-to online resources, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb.com), describes the film’s plot as follows:  “A father heads overseas to recover the body of his estranged son who died while traveling the “El Camino de Santiago,” and decides to take the pilgrimage himself.” Although the description makes the story sound dry and depressing, the movie is anything but.  Taken as a travel log alone, The Way is a wonderfully entertaining story.  While walking the 400-mile path to Spain’s famous pilgrimage center, Santiago de Compostela, the grieving father, Tom (Martin Sheen) encounters all manner of lovely scenery and awe-inspiring, historical, Iberian locales.  What interested me most about the movie, however, is not the just the father’s physical odyssey but his emotional journey as well.   At the beginning of his trek, Tom is self-contained in his bereavement, determined to scatter his son’s ashes along the trail while shunning as much contact with his fellow pilgrims as possible.  Nevertheless, as all travelers know, it’s mightily difficult to avoid all human contact when on the road.    By hook or by crook, Tom picks up a coterie of colorful companions along the way, including: Yoost:  A Dutchman with hopes of losing weight  Jack:  An Irish journalist endeavoring to overcome writer’s block Sarah:  A Canadian woman trying to quit smoking Like Tom, each traveler possesses a “professed” goal and a deeper, inner hurt motivating his/her actions.  Yoost, for example, binges on food and drugs as a way...

A Team Performance Chart to Improve Your Organization

If you are looking for a team performance chart to identify where your people are in terms of productivity or cohesiveness, the one below could truly help improve your organization. Team productivity is a measure of how successful your people are in terms of project completion or work efficiency.  Team cohesiveness is a measure of how well your people interact with each other and collaborate to accomplish team goals.  But not every team that displays productivity enjoys cohesiveness, just as not every team that enjoys cohesiveness displays productivity.   This team performance chart shows the four types of teams: The first and perhaps most disappointing team type you may have seen or been a part of is the team who displays poor productivity and lacks cohesiveness. These teams are identified as “Dysfunctional,” and they are often toxic mix of poor results and negative attitudes.   The second type of team we’ll discuss is one that may meet expectations or successfully complete a project, but has done so without much group interaction. These “High Stress” groups are not really teams at all, as they do not usually take advantage of other’s skills or insights, and are driven by pride or ego to do it their way.  This requires much more time and energy, though, and often becomes an environment of petty turf wars and personal conflicts.   The third type of team on the team performance chart can be frustrating to managers because they get along well and seem to be collaborating and sharing, but those collegial interactions simply fail to produce acceptable results. This group has built strong relationships, but...

Does Your Conference Need a Networking Facilitator?

So, now you are asking yourself… what the heck is a networking facilitator? I would have asked the same question 10 years ago. But modern conference goals and a good bit of research suggest that one of the most impactful parts of your conference may be the choice to add a networking facilitator to your schedule.   Quality speakers and relevant breakout sessions are important – they provide the valuable information and inspiration you want attendees to take away from the event… But, increasingly, conference attendees are showing up more for the hallways connections and conversations than the opening or closing keynote!   As a meeting planner, are you intentionally building things into your schedule that help your attendees to build and develop the relationships that will become a foundation for profitable collaboration after they leave the conference? As a meeting organizer, there are many ways you can help to encourage useful connections. – One idea is to pair up first-time attendees with more experienced community members, and to create a mentor / mentee relationship that offers an immediate relationship.  – Another possibility is to ask a few questions as part of the registration process, and then print a couple of interesting personal facts on the nametags that are provided.  Nametags should emphasize first names, hometowns, and business affiliation… but can also include information about the attendees’ favorite candy, or movie, or television show.  These are natural conversation starters, and offer a simple and fun opportunity for connection during your event. – The people at Velvet Chainsaw Consulting have suggested that another way to encourage networking is by posting a...

The 12 Best Books for Coaches and Great Teammates

Coaches and great teammates both read books, because they know that readers are leaders. When I was a coach, I was a voracious reader. I was constantly seeking new titles that would help me to grow – whether it was from a leader in a different sport or even from a leader in a different industry. And when I found a good one, I liked to share it with coaches and athletes that I knew were working hard to be great teammates.  That is what led me to creating this list for you… Great Teammates and Coaches are Readers    But what does reading have to do with teambuilding? In locker rooms, in board rooms, and in classrooms, great teammates and leaders know that to grow and develop others you must first focus on growing and developing yourself! Over the years, when I would share books and give away copies of the best books that I had read to coaches and great teammates, it seemed that there were a few that I always kept returning to as the most impactful and instructive. So, for all of the great teammates and coaches who are seeking a list of the best books to add to their reading list or to share with others and study over the course of your next season, I have put together my list. The list is not exhaustive, but the titles below are the ones I have recommended and given as gifts over the years more often than others.   The 12 Best Books for Coaches and Great Teammates   Toughness: Developing True Strength On and Off...