Monthly Archives: February 2019

Effective Talent Planning to Build a Great Team

In the February Round Table meetings, we discussed the topic of “Effective Talent Planning to Build a Great Team.”

As a reminder, our next event will be the annual Leadership Summit at the University Club of Grand Rapids on March 22, 2019 featuring Dave Kahle, President of Kahle Way Sales Systems. Dave will be speaking on the topic of “Overcoming the Overwhelm: The System is the Solution.” There will also be four additional speakers giving focused module presentations. Click here to learn more and to save your seat!

If you are unable to attend, subscribe to our YouTube channel where you can review all past event presentations. Be sure to turn on your notifications so that you are the first to know when the Summit presentations are available.

Below are the notes from the February Round Table meetings.

Plymouth Round Table

Q1: What basic characteristics are required for a great team?

It is essential to populate your team with the trustworthy members that are also team players.  Truthfulness, ethical/moral consistency, open-mindedness/acceptance, impartiality, engagement/support, reliability, and loyalty are all important base personality characteristics to help build a great team.

Q2: Getting the right mix of talented individuals on a team is crucial to success.  How do you find, develop, and keep them in such an interconnected/distracting world?

Finding the right team members from a large selection of candidates is difficult.  It is therefore crucial to have a robust/thorough/efficient interviewing process.  Known candidates minimize the risk of hiring regrets and can speed the team development.

Engaged/dedicated/talented employees like challenge and growth.  Challenging talented employees and giving them the freedom/support to excel is critical to their happiness.  Collaboratively developing a strategic growth plan, and regularly reviewing the employee’s progress with them, demonstrates your commitment to them and cements their dedication to the company.         

Q3: How do you deal with individuals or groups that are not team players?

If an employee, or group of employees, exhibit behavior not conducive to the team’s success, it must be addressed quickly.  This doesn’t necessarily mean termination or other severe punishment, as there may be be unknown reasons for the problem.  It is important that leadership try to understand the root cause of the issue and work collaboratively to solve it.

In some instances though, the offending individual/group may not be motivated or able to solve the issue.  When this happens, if you’ve tried in good conscience to solve the issue but just aren’t getting the respect/cooperation of the individual or group, the problem needs to be swiftly eliminated.  The longer a negative situation is allowed to exist, the more toxic it becomes to the team and organization.

Q4: Given the choice between sound character (integrity) and raw talent, which is most important for a great team?

Everyone agrees that sound character (integrity) must be chosen over raw talent, if a situation comes to that decision point.  Gifted (talented) individuals are sometimes not team players and don’t play well with others, creating a toxic situation within the team.  You stand a better chance of training a solid team player and growing their talent level, than trying to change the toxic behavior of a gifted loner.

Several examples were discussed by the group pertaining to this subject:

  1. A gifted employee was not a good team player and was a long-term difficult employee in general to deal with. A new V.P. was brought into the department and immediately recognized the problem, which was exacerbated because previous V.P.’s refused to address the issue through normal communication or performance reviews.  The new V.P. tried to work with the individual to correct the situation, but the individual was unwilling to change.  The company was a large, international organization so the V.P. had options other than termination at his disposal.  Much to the relief of the V.P. and his team, the individual was transferred, with a demotion, to a new department within the company, with the hope that the individual would have an awakening and prosper in their new position.  The moral and performance of the team immediately improved.
  2. The Owner of a manufacturing company allowed a toxic situation to develop within his company because he put his trust in a long-term employee who was his Operations Manager. This individual had moved-up through the ranks and was a gifted tool and die maker who demonstrated basic shop leadership ability. After advancing to a management role, he refused to embrace new company agendas or to fairly enforce company employee manual policies.  Many poor decisions were made by the Operations Manager by not enforcing the employee manual policies on “gifted” employees, allowing them to blatantly violate rules of conduct and performance.  The Operations Manager himself did not follow the company policies, setting a bad example for all.  Unfortunately, this situation was allowed to fester for several years, creating a toxic environment throughout the company, affecting company morale, performance, and profitability.  Eventually the company Owner recognized the gravity of the situation and brought in a General Manager, who recognized the toxic culture within the company and addressed the situation.  Unfortunately, several key “gifted” employees, including the Operations Manager, refused to correct their behavior and had to be terminated.
  3. The V.P. of a division had an employee that that was well respected and a strong team player, but was underperforming in some areas when he took over the division. When the V.P. performed an honest employee review with this employee, they became very emotional.  The V.P. discovered that no previous supervisor to this employee had never honestly discussed these shortcomings with the employee and the employee was not even aware of them.  The employee felt that they were doing a good job all along.  The V.P. developed an improvement plan with this employee, thereby saving a good team member and demonstrating to the team that the company supports their work force.

Comments were made by the group regarding the following characterizations of how Jesus handled situations:

  1. Jesus was kind, but not always nice in how he handled situations.
  2. Jesus wasn’t fair in how he handled situations, but he was always just.

Bible Guidance Regarding Using Our Talent:

  • “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” 1 Peter 4:10 ESV
  • “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16 ESV

Birmingham Round Table

Q1: What are the characteristics of desirable Talent?

  • Concern today that employees have sense of entitlement and arrogance beyond their ability.  Character is more important than skills.

Q2: Where can desirable Talent be found?

  • Find and select those that share the values of the company

Q3: What steps need to be taken? How?

  • Consider restoring the band with employees.
  • Cement a long term relationship with investment in their education and growth.

Q4: What can be done when talent doesn’t work out?

  • Ease them out as soon as possible.

Kalamazoo Round Table (Thursday)

Q1: What is an existing challenge in your organization?

  • Transition of leadership style from micromanagement to empowerment.
  • Management of volunteers.
  • Planning is Training.

Q2: What is the role of the customer/client in your talent planning?

  • Their needs and feedback help to define your business model.
  • This can include the danger of losing focus/growing too quickly.
  • Need to focus on your skills/expertise. When a customer’s needs are out of your skillset, bring in a partner/contractor to fulfill that need.
  • Talent planning includes your vendors/contractors.

Q3: How do you as a leader bring the staff, consultants, and vendors together into one plan? 

  • Understand what tools are at your disposal and how to best use them.
  • Be precise on what type of person you want in your company.
  • Emphasize character. Skills can be taught, character cannot. Your employees are the face of your company and how they present themselves can make or break your reputation.
  • Don’t stick to traditional interview questions. Ask strategic questions to understand their habits and character:
    • What does your typical work week look like?
    • What is a successful work week?
    • Do you use your phone as an alarm (this helps you to know how accessible they will be. Using a phone as an alarm means their phone is always on).
  • Other ways to assess character:
    • Don’t focus only on accomplishments/grades etc.
    • Review their social media pages.
    • Ask for positive and negative reference. No one is perfect. Even Jesus commissioned Peter who denied him three times.
  • Remember to hire the person, not the position.
  • Define your “attraction statement” or employer brand. This shows applicants who you are and what values you are looking for.
  • Leadership defines culture. They are constantly watched by those that they lead.
  • “Culture is what the leadership allows it to be.”
  • Communication is key.
  • Remember that everyone is working with themselves in mind. Lead people from within themselves. You can’t make them go where they don’t want to.
  • Book: Ideal Team Player

Join us for our March Round Tables as we discuss “Overcoming the Overwhelm in Business & in Life.” RSVP to

Lessons Learned When Trust is Broken & What it Takes to Rebuild It

In the January Round Table meetings, we discussed the topic of “Lessons Learned When Trust is Broken & What it Takes to Rebuild It.”

As a reminder, our next event will be the annual Leadership Summit at the University Club of Grand Rapids on March 22, 2019 featuring Dave Kahle, President of Kahle Way Sales Systems. Dave will be speaking on the topic of “Overcoming the Overwhelm: The System is the Solution.” There will also four additional speakers giving focused module presentations. Click here to learn more and to save your seat!

If you are unable to attend, subscribe to our YouTube channel where you can review all past event presentations. Be sure to turn on your notifications so that you are the first to know when the Summit presentations are available.

Below are the notes from the January Round Table meetings.

Plymouth Round Table

Q1: What drives people or groups to betray a trust?  Is it always intentional?

Drivers for betrayal: Greed, Jealousy, Laziness, Fear, Lust, Ego, Hate, Ignorance, Hidden Agendas, Not understanding what drives other involved parties.

Breaking of trust is often intentional, but not always. Unintentional breaches of trust can be caused by miscommunication, misunderstanding, fear of confrontation, and lack of leadership qualities.

Examples Discussed:

  1. How the news media is inconsistent with it’s message and reports skewed opinions instead of facts to promote their hidden agendas.  Nobody trusts the news media, they lack integrity.
  2. The cover up and lack of action regarding the sexual abuse by priests in the Catholic Church was a breach of trust with their members and the public in general.
  3. The general situation with regards to Washington DC politics. The rampant partisanship and blatantly disingenuous behavior by many politicians has created a situation of genuine mistrust of the government by the citizens that they are supposed to serve.

Q2: In what ways can trust be broken?

The breakage of trust results when an expected action or output does not occur, often repeatedly.

Typical ways that trust is broken: Lying, Disingenuousness, Cheating, Lack of Support, Apathy towards a wrong situation, Cowardess, Acceptance of wrong-doing.

Examples Discussed:

  1. Gillette’s “Toxic Masculinity” commercial attacks many traditional male values, basically stating that all all males with traditional values are guilty of discrimination or abuse of some type. This has left many traditional males feeling attacked for something that is blatantly false, on a very large/public stage, with no ability to defend themselves.  This unprovoked/unwarranted attack has broken any trust that many had with Gillette and the marketing media.
  2. Recently, the Boys Scouts of America have been under attack on many levels by the news media, again for instances of sexual abuse and for promoting traditional male values. This is just another example of a hidden agenda being promoted in a very public/disingenuous way by the news media, further eroding all trust in their values and what they report.

Q3: For trust breakages that you either caused or endured, that were able to be repaired, how were they repaired and how long did it take?

Often a genuine apology regarding your actions, with an explanation of why you took these actions, will repair a broken relationship.  The nature of the incident, the scope of the damage, and the commitment to forgive the slight all contribute to how long it will take to rebuild the trust.  There is no guarantee that the trust can be repaired.

Q4: For the trust breakages that you’ve endured or caused, that have not yet been repaired, is there a still a chance that they can be repaired?  Why or why not?

There is an old saying that “time heals all wounds”.  There is some truth to this in that, over time, the offending party has the ability to further demonstrate a change, support a position, or consistently take a course to rebuild the trust.  While we may not always be able to repair a broken trust, we often learn more about ourselves and others involved, further honing our beliefs/values.

Q5: We live in a world where trust at all levels is eroding or has disappeared altogether.  How do we prevent further degradation? How do we rebuild this within our families, communities, nation, & world?

If we all followed the directions/examples of God and Jesus, the world would not have trust/integrity issues.  Unfortunately, we do not.  To improve the world, we must be leaders.  We must understand and be true to our core Christian values and expect the same of others.  We must practice fairness, compassion, honesty, kindness, & forgiveness.  We must have the courage to support what is right and to fight what is wrong.  We must hold ourselves and others accountable to these high standards.

Examples Discussed:

  1. The fall of G.E. under the leadership of Jeff Immelt and the apparent apathy of the G.E. Board (and it’s lack of accountability for this).
  2. The falls of Sears and K Marts as retail giants.

Bible Guidance Regarding Building/Maintaining Trust:

Be Humble:

Be always humble, gentle, and patient. Show your love by being tolerant with one another. – Ephesians 4:2 (GNTD)

Offer Forgiveness:

Instead, be kind and tender-hearted to one another, and forgive one another, as God has forgiven you through Christ. – Ephesians 4:32 (GNTD)

Communicate Well:

Remember this, my dear friends! Everyone must be quick to listen, but slow to speak and slow to become angry. – James 1:19 (GNTD)

Have Patience:

Let your hope keep you joyful, be patient in your troubles, and pray at all times. – Romans 12:12 (GNTD)

Birmingham Round Table

Q1: What are some business examples that have elements of trust?

  • Customer
  • Supplier
  • Employees
  • Referrals

Q2: Is trust to be expected, given freely, earned, and recieved?

  • You must attempt trust, guarded as it may be.
  • Without showing trust, you will not receive it in return.
  • Reagan – Trust, but verify.

Q3: When trust is broken, can it every be restored? How?

  • Remain patient and open to repair.
  • Don’t be disrespectful, but be cautious.

Q4: Is there a trust relationship that you must work on? What process can be followed?

  • Trust is a process – Follow yours.
  • Create a formal process upfront to get a agreement of trust.


  • Discipline yourself
  • Eliminate the negatives
  • Avoid those with early signs of issues/ problems
  • Trust people

Kalamazoo Round Table (Tuesday)


  • When trust is broken, it tends to punish others. If you lose trust in one employee, it may damage your trust in others.
  • It brings out insecurity in the work environment – from boss to employee and vice versa.
  • It is challenging to rebuild.
  • We often do not talk about trust until it has been broken.
  • Often trust has not been broken, but it was never established in the first place.
  • What constitutes broken trust?


  • Book: The Speed of Trust
    • Trust is the accelerator. It streamlines operations
  • Trust is necessary to any relationship.
  • Lack of trust may really be a lack of confidence in someone’s ability.
  • Give trust – Even though it is a risk and takes courage.
  • Know your employees. Understand what you can expect from people.
  • Example: Kalamazoo Air Zoo.
    • New CEO set the tone for people to fail. He wants them to be innovative and try new things. Failure is necessary to our improvement.
    • Since he took over, they have had massive growth each year.
  • We must be authentic. Masks can cause distrust.
  • Stages of team formation:
    • Forming (Coming together)
    • Storming (Learning. Who you are, your style, role etc).
      • Most people fall off in this phase.
    • Norming (Finding your normal)
    • Performing
  • Build trust right away.
  • Use the DISC personality tests to understand your team members and how they prefer to be communicated with.
  • Jack Welsh: “Before we’re a leader, it’s all about growing ourselves. After we’re a leaders, it’s all about growing others.”
  • How do we teach our managers to lead?
  • Must have crucial conversations to avoid unnecessary misunderstandings.
    • Acknowledge their strengths before exposing their weakness.
    • Separate the task/failure from them as a person.
  • Communicate boundaries clearly for your employees.

Kalamazoo Round Table (Thursday)


  • Trust must be established at the first encounter.
  • Trust requires adequate communication.
  • Vulnerability – It is impossible to trust someone without knowing truly knowing them. Respect does not equal trust.
  • Trust piggy bank – you must deposit into the trust bank before you can take out.
  • In our society, we are used to trust being broken. This pattern is established by teachers, coaches, parents.


  • Establish your values and communicate them.
  • CEO of Airzoo:
    • Looks for an element of failure when hiring new employees.
    • Wants to see that people are taking risks and failing.
    • Instills the idea in his employees that failure is okay. We must fail in order to discover.
  • Give yourself and your employees permission to fail. It will protect against stress-induced mistakes.
  • Babe Ruth struck out more than he hit homeruns, but he is only remembered for his homeruns.
  • Encourage honesty / sharing bad news.
  • Trust is earned vs. Trust is given.
    • Slow vs. fast.
    • Trust is a fast currency.
  • We can only control our environment.
  • How do you recognize your employees?
    • Companies often wait to recognize their employees at the 5-10 year mark; however, an emphasis should be placed on the first year to encourage them to stay.
    • Ways to recognize: Additional PTO, gift card, salary raise, social media recognition, personalized gifts etc.
  • It starts with us first. We need to deal with our own issues, baggage, brokenness before we can trust others and expect them to trust us.
  • A leader is the thermostat and thermometer of their workplace culture. We set the tone.
  • How do you teach that to next gen of leaders?


  • Importance of Recognition.
  • You can extend trust, but cannot assume everyone has good discernment.
  • Share your war stories.

Grand Rapids Round Table (Tuesday)

Key Takeaways:

  • Radical candor
  • Bold vulnerability
  • Address issues promptly
  • Listen to your advisors.

Grand Rapids Round Table (Thursday)


  • Proceed carefully when assigning trust in the beginning because eventually you may find that you may have misjudged the offender from the start. Assuming that their character was good when indeed it was not.
  • Once trust has been broken, in order to go forward, transparency is a key element and a non-negotiable requirement for both parties.


Join us for our February Round Tables as we discuss “Effective Talent Planning to Build a Great Team” RSVP to