Author Archives: CBRT| The Business Round Table

Employee Engagement: A Key to Employee Retention

In the May Round Table meetings, we discussed the topic of “Employee Engagement: A Key to Employee Retention.” For your convenience, notes from each chapter meeting have been recorded for you to review.

As a quick reminder, our next Leadership Event will feature David Beatty, Vice President of Finance & Administration at Weldaloy, on June 21st at the Birmingham Country Club. David will be speaking on the topic of “Confronting & Overcoming Fear.”  Click here to register 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 David’s presentation is available.

Below are the notes from the May Round Table meetings.

Plymouth Round Table

Q1: What are some ways to get employee engagement?

  • Does not boil down to money
  • Purpose & volunteerism engages
  • Facing the problem now of even finding any candidates

Q2: Does employee engagement influence retention? How?

  • Yes, but most people really need more training, not necessarily gimmicks.

Q3: What steps can employers take to cause employees to be fully engaged?

  • Better training
  • Environment / Workspace
  • Communication

Birmingham Round Table

Q1: What are some ways to get employee engagement?

  • Engagement – is different for each grade level (i.e. Millennials differ from older employees who look to employer for entire benefit needs).
  • Complete ownership of their job.

Q2: Does employee engagement influence retention? How?

  • Job satisfaction – freedom, challenge
  • Job significance – leadership training, culture, certification, guild model
  • Job security – wages, benefits
  • Engaged employees also attract customers.
  • Help employees find their way.

Q3: What steps can employers take to cause employees to be fully engaged?

  • Breakdown in agreed-upon leadership causes people to leave.
  • Need careful and complete rollout in explanation of benefits program.
  • People leave their leader not their job.
  • Establish clear mission & give people purpose.

Kalamazoo Round Table (Tuesday)

What is Engagement?

  • Trust
  • Commitment
  • Finding programs that interest your employees
  • Having people who are not asleep at the wheel
  • Open and quality communication
  • We must listen to our employees and their ideas
  • People want to feel part of the team/ that they belong
  • Align your mission with their goals.

Examples/Ways to Improve Engagement:

  • Know their name
  • Ask questions
  • Book: Dream Manager
  • Engagement doesn’t have to come through some big initiative
  • Management is caring for people
  • “Adapt, migrate, or die”
  • Good leadership has a trickle-down effect
  • On boarding: engage in the operation in spite of management.
  • Engagement comes through the investment of:
    • Time
    • Teaching
    • Management
  • Calculate time lost
    • Disengaged employees
    • Conflict
  • Food/Potlucks
  • CRC – Connect, Recommend, Commend


  • Trust
  • Investment of time
  • Everyone must share the ownership
  • Our words & deeds must match
  • Our employees must feel that they belong
  • Balance
  • Make your people smoke-jumpers
  • Equip others to lead/engage

Kalamazoo Round Table (Thursday)

How Do We Define Employee Engagement?

  • The level of an employee’s emotional engagement toward their job.
    • Do they have a best work friend?
  • Trust given and received.
  • Tough for employers to engage emotion.
    • Some employees don’t pursue career advancement because they love their team, coworker, etc. and don’t want to leave their area.
  • Importance of conflict resolution.
  • Employer-Employee relationship has changed from giving orders to a coaching leadership style.
  • Deep root of industrial revolution mentality: “You’re here to have a job and that should be sufficient.”
  • No education on how to pursue & communication your passion or purpose.
  • HR is stuck in admin/clerical work.
  • Executives must have development as well, not only mid level managers.
  • Assumption that high level leaders got where they are because they must know best – but that is not always the case.
  • An employees good work may lead to a promotion, but are they a good leader?
  • Must be able to distinguish talent & skillset.
  • Strengths finder & explorer.

What Role Does Vision & Mission Play?

  • Articulate a simple and clear mission. This will:
    • Connect the employee to their job
    • Serve as a constant reminder of why they are there and why their job matters.
  • Be sure that you communicate stories of people fulfilling the mission.
  • Be sure that your benefits match your stated values. Do not say that you value family while you offer terrible family benefits.
  • Use your Core Values as a filter for business decisions.
  • Employees expect your investment.
  • Express love in your actions.

Kalamazoo Round Table (Friday)

What is Engagement?

  • Participation.
  • Related to Education / Skill.
  • Compare engagement to commitment/pledge.
  • Want people to see their value.
  • A highly engagement employee melds with the company – you no longer see the individual but the whole.

How Do We Implement This:

  • Make sure that your employees know how to do their job.
  • Pledge to make sure they are successful.
  • Utilize transparency / honesty.
  • Remember to fill in the blanks/ gaps in knowledge before they do.
  • Express the value of every member in your company.
  • Allow innovation.
  • Give constructive feedback on ideas.
  • Demonstrate respect.
  • Be available.
  • Thank them for being leaders and show them how they are leading.
  • Provide resources.
  • Humility goes a long way. Admit when you don’t know something.

Current Challenges:

  • Lack of spiritual influence on the younger generation which leads to employees having no bedrock values – constantly shifting their morals.
  • Bridging the generational gaps.


  • Start where people currently are.
  • Do not assume that employees know what to do and how to do it, or that they understand your direction, vision, mission, etc.
  • Be very clear with your expectations for them.
  • Approach each employee as an individual rather than a generational label.

Join us at an upcoming Round Table meeting. RSVP to

How to Be an Effective Leader in Business

In the April Round Table meetings, we discussed the topic of “How to Be an Effective Leader in Business.”

To continue this discussion, join us at our upcoming Leadership Event featuring Dave Turner, President of Vos Glass, on May 17th at the University Club of Grand Rapids. Dave will be speaking on the topic of “The Positive Influence of a Leader.”  Click here to register 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 Dave’s presentation is available.

Below are the notes from the April Round Table meetings.

Birmingham Round Table

Q1: What are some characteristics of an effective leader?

  • Courage
  • Confidence
  • Self-reflective
  • Humility
  • Patient
  • Consistency
  • Energy
  • Ability to communicate/ engage/ coach
  • Establish performance expectations
  • Integrity, truthful, trustworthy
  • Flexible
  • Acceptable
  • High standards – Quality

Q2: Who influenced you in leadership and what did they teach you?

  • Captain of team
  • Organization as a producer of leaders
  • cannot sustain company w/o new leaders

Q3: Do you have an example of how you demonstrate effective leadership?

  • Transparency


  • Pray
  • Study Word
  • Disengage
  • List Personal Goals
  • QSP

Lansing Round Table


  • Dwelling on the negative or problem
  • Reacting emotionally to an issue
  • Disrespecting their need to “process the process” – not just the decision, outcome or recommendation – AKA not being patient
  • Not realizing that the way you act and deal with uncertainty is exactly how your team will act
  • Losing trust due to lack of past honesty or consistency
  • Not maintaining values and calm in all situations
  • Pinning blame – not taking responsibility
  • Not being supportive of the team and the fact that they were trying their best
  • Tend to take things personally
  • Keep secrets or don’t tell the whole story


  • Remember Who is on the Throne and that it will all be FINE
  • Take responsibility and own you and your teams outcomes
  • Be honest and open
  • Don’t hide your faith and beliefs
  • Be consistent and be yourself
  • Don’t compromise your values
  • Catch yourself being emotionally reactive
  • Find others to encourage you (like CBRT!)
  • Have confidence and trust in your Christian leadership
  • Be patient in providing responses – even if the answer seems clear
  • Be outwardly grateful and show your gratitude both by letting your team know you are thankful for them but also being careful to craft your words and actions around being positive first
  • Live a godly life
  • Be open, truthful and honest
  • Take action – doing nothing is a decision
  • Show love
  • Don’t be afraid of personal relationships


  • Creating a journal of gratitude
    • Works with kids, couples or businesses
  • Challenge yourself in a year – write down 1,000 different things you are grateful for
  • Be consistent and be yourself
  • Surround yourself with encouraging believers
  • Be patient in providing responses – even if the answer seems clear

Kalamazoo Round Table (Tuesday)

What are the characteristics of a good leader?

  • Consistency of Character
    • Closely tied to trust and integrity
  • Vision
    • Being able to see where the company should and can go
    • Having the vision to know the company, what it can produce, where it can help in society, what will be the most effective etc.
  • Wisdom & Discernment
    • Knowing when to deliver bad news
    • Balances transparency with peace
  • Transparency & Vulnerability
    • Admitting faults or not having the answers
  • Influence
    • Having the ability to gather followers
    • Ties in all the other points of good leadership
    • Brings in an emphasis of actions over words.
  • “Leadership is not for sissies”
  • Directing People to Productivity
    • Helping others to reach their full ability
  • Awareness
    • Is anyone following? If not, why not?
    • Must be able to self-evaluate and adapt
  • Engagement / Active Listening
  • Self-Awareness
    • A strong leader must have a strong sense of self. Who am I? What are my goals, values, strengths, weaknesses, etc?
    • What behavior do you want to model?
  • Humility & Servant Leadership
  • Courage
    • It takes courage to hear criticism, to stand alone, and pursue purpose with passion.
  • A Leader Must Stay in a Constant State of Learning

How do we walk this out when we are overwhelmed?

  • Character must have the above qualities as a foundation.
  • Take the time for daily renewal of the mind in Christ.
  • Mentor, train, build up other leaders who can help bear your load.
  • Pause and pray.
  • Be careful of your words as a leader.
  • Practice humility before the Lord. Ask for strength and help when needed.

Kalamazoo Round Table (Thursday)

What is effective leadership?

  • Communication
  • Showing compassion for employees
  • Integrity: meeting your commitments
  • self-evaluation: be aware of your blind spots
  • Vision & Culture: Giving everyone a goal to work toward.
  • Authentic

What challenges prevent us from implementing?

  • The Overwhelm can cause even a good communicator to misstep.
  • Capacity.
  • Can we do everything? No. We need to delegate.
  • Exercising compassion and grace for each other.


  • Learn to read your people well
  • Full Focus Planner by Michael Hyatt
  • Replace your to-do list with calendar reminders to increase your accountability
  • Make time to think & reflect
  • The courage to say no is just as important as the confidence to say yes
  • Make sure you eat, drink, sleep, and rest to eliminate simple agitators
  • Delegation
    • We must balance when and where to get involved
    • Need to demonstrate trust but ensure that they have the tools to succeed
    • Allow them to pursue their role
    • The struggle is letting go of control. Think long term on the growth of the employee and the benefits of delegation, rather than on the immediate task.


  • What is the responsibility of the organization to help all leaders to become more effective?
  • Leaders, to be effective, must understand the view of their employees.

Grand Rapids Round Table (Tuesday)

A couple of interesting questions that stimulated the group were:

  • How are you demonstrating effective leadership in your position?  This made it personal.
  • How is effective leadership measured?  What is the result?
    • This one was compelling.  I concluded that effective leadership is the achievement of the vision and the legacy.  Consider Jesus and his legacy, the most effective leader of all time.


Join us for our May Round Tables as we discuss “Employee Engagement: A Key to Talent Retention.” RSVP to

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

The Strategic Importance of Trust & How to Build It

In the December Round Table meetings, we discussed the topic of “The Strategic Importance of Trust & How to Build It.”

As a reminder, our next Leadership Breakfast will be at the Kalamazoo Country Club on January 18, 2019 featuring Michelle Mei, Chief Talent Officer at Momentum Development Group. Michelle will be speaking on the topic of “Effective Talent Planning is a Necessity in Building a Great Team.” Click here to save your seat!

If you are unable to attend, subscribe to our YouTube channel where you can review all past Leadership Event presentations. Be sure to turn on your notifications so that you are the first to know when Michelle’s presentation is available.

Below are the notes from the December Round Table meetings.

Plymouth Round Table

Q1: What are the characteristics that you value in a trusting relationship?

Truthfulness, Ethical/Moral Consistency, Open-Mindedness/Acceptance, Impartiality, Engagement/Support, Reliability/Loyalty.

Steadfast commitment by all parties to each other, regardless of the situation.

Commitment to amicable follow-thru/closure of relationship issues (lack of closure = anxiety in the relationship).

Q2: Does everyone view/define trust the same way?  Can it vary depending on the circumstance?

Trust is defined by the complex set of expectations that we have for a person or parties and can be very fluid.  We may trust someone in some ways, but not others, depending on how their capabilities and values meet your expectations.

Q3: How are trust and integrity synonymous?  What methods do you use to build trust in your relationships?

Trust and integrity are similar, but are not the same.  Integrity is defined as one’s reliable adherence to their ethical/moral principles.  Said another way, integrity is the knowledge that one will always do the right thing when no one is watching.  Trust, on the other hand, is sometimes a blind or forced condition based on circumstance.  We are often forced to trust someone or something because we do not have a choice.

Integrity builds/strengthens trust.  If we’re dealing with a person of integrity, we’re much more comfortable trusting them and this trust becomes stronger over time.

Various methods of building trust:

  • Taking a team approach to solving issues, vs. a dictatorial approach, fosters greater trust.
  • Being a consistent leader of integrity builds trust.
  • Ignoring politics in the pursuit of truth builds trust.
  • Demonstrate grace and forgiveness to our fellow man, as God does to us.

Q4: How long does it take to build a trusting relationship?  How long to destroy it?

As stated above, trust is sometimes forced by circumstance, which is a weak trust.  A strong trust can only be built over time.  Conversely, a trusting relationship can be destroyed almost instantly in the right circumstance.  However, if we are committed to maintaining a relationship and are willing to exhibit grace to others, a relationship can usually be saved and the trust rebuilt over time.

The following example was shared by one of the attendees:

The previous owners of a recently sold company had been using the same accounting firm for many years, with no apparent problems.  The new owner of this company was having trouble getting timely responses out of this firm, but wanted to continue using this firm for various reasons, if this issue could be corrected.  The new owner decided to give the accounting firm a second chance and met with the owner of the firm.  He was assured that this issue would be resolved by the firm owner, who wanted to be copied on all correspondence.  The relationship endured, but the same issues continued or got worse.  There was no explanation for the lack of improvement from the accounting firm owner, despite his being directly involved.  After the broken promises and apparent lack of concern by the accounting firm (and its owner), the good-faith trust displayed by the customer was destroyed and will result in the loss of future business to the accounting firm.

Q5: How does a lack of trust affect our personal and professional success?  The success of our church and country?

Without trust, progress/success is impeded because we feel that must protect ourselves.  Whether it is in our personal, church, or professional lives we simply cannot be as successful because of this distraction.

The current political climate within our great nation is a perfect example of how the lack of trust can stifle progress.  Our two major political parties seem willing to do anything to hinder or disgrace each other, at the expense of doing what is often obviously best for the country.  They do not trust each other and seem to often not trust even people within their own party.  Most people do not trust the news media to even fairly communicate the truth.  This total lack of trust breeds gridlock and eventually apathy, which severely limits our progress as a nation.

Q6: If a trusting relationship gets damaged, how do you repair it?  Is the repair process only one-sided?

Open/honest communication is crucial to creating, maintaining, and repairing a trusting relationship.  Depending on the circumstances, both sides may need to work to repair a damaged trust.  God wants us to forgive our fellow man through grace, as he forgives us for our sins.

Q7: What relationships need rebuilding or improving in our lives?

One attendee discussed their new neighbors, who seemingly want to avoid neighborly contact, to the extent that they don’t know their names and have never spoken to them (after several months).  They have repeatedly avoided friendly efforts to meet/speak, such as an invitation to the annual neighbor Christmas party and chance outdoor encounters.  Perhaps they are just extremely shy, or some other embarrassing circumstances are driving their actions.  Whatever the reason/s for their avoidance, they need to be given the benefit of the doubt until God places another opportunity to communicate and develop a trusting relationship.

Bible Verses Regarding Trust:

But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.  Proverbs 3:5-6

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”  Psalm 91:1-2

But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.  James 1:6 

Additional Takeaways for today:

Most humans are suspicious by nature, but want to trust each other.  The times that trusts are broken only promote this suspicion, supporting the policy of President Ronald Reagan: “Trust, but verify”.  The only person in history worthy of complete trust was Jesus Christ.

Because a strong trust can only be built over time (but quickly destroyed), the integrity of an individual, team, or nation are crucial to establishing and maintaining a strong trust.

The toxic atmosphere of distrust currently existing in our nation is a serious danger to us all.  The blatant lack of ethical behavior by many in government (and most of the news media) has destroyed most of the trust that may have existed toward them.  It is important that we fight this trend or we will suffer negative long-term consequences at the hands of our foes.  In the words of Founding Father John Dickinson, “United We Stand Divided We Fall.”

Birmingham Round Table

Q1: Why is trust needed?

  • Create confidence, courage, competency, delegation
  • Trust yourself, trust others – you can give freely and not hold back
  • Speed, accelerate

Q2: How do you create trust?

  • Extend it first, measure, affirm it, do your own.
  • Rotary
    • Honest
    • Fair
    • Loyal
    • Giving
    • Goodwill
    • Benefit to all

Q3: What happens with high trust relationships?

  • Sped, accuracy, confidence, innovation
  • Understand Frame of Reference
  • Personally responsible

Q4: What examples do you recall from low trust relationships?

  • GM, Lopez, Supply chain, Government

Takeaways for today:

  • Frame of reference
  • Extend trust first
  • Foundation

Kalamazoo Round Table (Tuesday)


  • The heart of business is people.
  • Trust is foundational to our success regardless of our department/industry.
  • We need trust to work well together and compete in our industry.
  • It is tough balancing our focus between customers and staff.
  • There’s risk involved in trusting people.
  • Trust can be broken in two different ways when we or our team members are not honest:
    • Integrity: Failure to follow through.
    • Competency: The inability to follow through.
  • It takes courage to admit our shortcomings and build trust.
  • Sometimes there will be failure. Building that trust between us and our employees will encourage them to be honest when they have made a mistake.


  • Everyone wants to trust and be trusted.
  • How do we become trustworthy? Through honesty and consistent follow through.
  • There are two types of trust:
    • Common trust
    • Vulnerability trust – Asking for help, accountability without fear.
  • Book: “5 Disfunctions of a Team.”
  • Book: “The Speed of Trust.”
  • Trust gives you the ability to do things quickly. It eliminates time spent in supervising and streamlines the operation.
  • We used to think the customer was most important, but our staff are actually the most important because they will be the ones taking care of our customers.
  • Remember that people are always watching. We must set the standard by “going first.”
  • It all starts with God – He always follows through.

Kalamazoo Round Table (Thursday)


  • What is the standard for a trusting relationship?
  • Does “Strategic” mean disingenuous?
  • Lack of self-awareness – What if a leader thinks he’s great at building trust, but is not?
  • Two types of trust: Character vs. Competency.
    • Character: Will you follow through?
    • Competency: Are you able to follow through?


  • 2 Priorities to build trust:
    • Be honest
    • Be vulnerable
  • Strategic trust should be innate/genuine.
  • Always be honest in order to build trust through consistency.
  • Practice Empathetic Listening:
    • Empty yourself when listening to someone. Be present and stay away from your work.
  •  Staffing HR:
    • Need Internal and External assistance.
    • Utilize HR while also considering outside consultants for fresh eyes.
    • Send your HR team to conferences/workshops outside of the company
  •  Generational divides:
    • Remember that all people are the same at their core, but their behavior manifests differently.
    • Figure out your employees preferred communication method.
  • Use employee engagement surveys.
    • Be sure to address any negative feedback. Do not simply explain it away.

Kalamazoo Round Table (Friday)


  • What is trust?
    • A shared understanding on something / a scenario
    • Showing genuine care
    • Sharing interests
    • Supportive
    • Mutual respect for each other
    • Trust doesn’t grow overnight
    • It takes patience and grit
    • It’s the foundation for everything
    • It takes a lot of time
    • It’s not given, it’s earned by consistently doing what you say you’re going to do
    • Having confidence in someone
    • Putting time and effort into it – it takes discipline
    • Our ethics fade when we’re under stress/pressure
  • We live in a disposable world where we’ll throw people out if they break trust


  • We need to become intentional about building trust and to make a concerted effort to keep it top of mind
  • Value others above yourself
  • Dial in on each individual – care about them more than yourself
  • We need to be more vulnerable
  • Cast a vision demonstrating trust – consistently doing what we say we’re going to do – continually do and show
  • Notice your people and explain that you trust them
    • Tool to give feedback:
      • When something is off, remind them that you trust them and that lately your behaviors/actions have not aligned with that trust then ask what’s going on and if they are OK.
      • Show you care in grace and truth.
      • Is there anything you can do to help?


  • We have to put in the effort first and to “extend the olive branch”
  • We want to get to the next level of trust: trustworthiness (most genuine)
  • It starts with doing the right thing and then showing why we’re doing it
  • We have to allow failure and follow through with consequences
  • Trust is built in training, not while you’re “in the fox hole” / “under fire”
  • Trust means having a shared understanding of a component or scenario and that we support one another and choose to move forward together
  • It’s all about building trust
  • More power = more responsibility
  • It’s a faith journey – need to trust in God no matter how hard it gets and show trustworthiness and that it’s for the right reasons
  • Celebrate trustworthiness with others and show your appreciation towards it – think about somebody you trust and thank them/acknowledge them

Join us for our January Round Tables as we discuss “Lessons Learned When Trust Is Broken & What It Takes To Rebuild.” RSVP to

Building Strong Relationships to Achieve Results

In the November Round Table meetings, we discussed the topic of “Building Strong Relationships to Achieve Results.”

As a reminder, our next Leadership Breakfast will be at the Kalamazoo Country Club on January 18, 2019 featuring Michelle Mei, Chief Talent Officer at Momentum Development Group. Michelle will be speaking on the topic of “Effective Talent Planning is a Necessity in Building a Great Team.” Click here to save your seat!

If you are unable to attend, subscribe to our YouTube channel where you can review all past Leadership Event presentations. Be sure to turn on your notifications so that you are the first to know when Phil’s presentation is available.

Below are the notes from the November Round Table meetings.

Plymouth Round Table

Q1: Why do we need strong relationships?

  • We need strong relationships to establish a trusted team environment.  A team that has strong/trusted relationships has emotionally engaged team members that focus on the team goals, not on their own personal objectives.  This bolsters the human spirit, improving creativity and effectiveness.  TEAM = Together Everyone Achieves More.

Q2: What defines a strong relationship?

  • Characteristics of a strong relationship:  open communication, mutual trust, shared risk, empathy toward each other, mutual respect, unwavering mutual support, consistency in all relationship drivers, honesty, love.

Q3: What methods do you use to create strong relationships?

  • Engage the other party in a positive, non-threatening manner.  Make the first step toward building the relationship.
  • Empathize with the other party – understand what their goals and challenges are.  Be a good listener.
  • Engage in events, meetings, personal/professional development to develop relationships.
  • Honestly practice self-awareness.  Be aware of your strengths/weaknesses and modify your behavior to have a more positive effect on the relationship.  Exhibit honesty and humility.

Q4: How do you maintain a strong relationship?

  • Strong relationships can be hard to maintain.  It is important to make an effort to stay in touch, even when it is difficult to do so.  Unexpectedly offer help/support to others, while being gracious enough to accept the support offered to you. Two good sayings to remember are: “It takes a friend to be a friend” and “What would Jesus do?”

Q5: If a relationship gets damaged, how do you repair it?

  • Honesty is key to repairing a damaged relationship.  Try to understand the other party’s position before confronting them.  Discuss the situation quickly so that it doesn’t degrade further.  If you are at fault, admit it and apologize, make amends if possible.  If another party is at fault, openly discuss your views and be forgiving.  Keep an open mind, you might be partially to blame and don’t realize it.  In some rare instances, you may need to retreat and see if time will improve the situation.  Prayer is very helpful. Allow some time to pass before misunderstandings are frequent and need to be identified.

Takeaways for today:

  • Relationships can be very difficult in today’s “Me” vs. “We” society. We are constantly bombarded by this message in all areas of society and must fight this.
  • The growth of electronic communication methods has taken a toll on personal relationships. Electronics often cannot convey the true meaning of a message and it is very easy for a misunderstanding to occur.  A bad situation can often be diffused by just making a phone call or personal visit.
  • Personal responsibility is a concept that seems to be increasingly diminishing in society, making it difficult to maintain relationships. Society has developed a victim’s mentality where it is always someone else’s fault when a problem occurs.  As leaders, we to fight this by setting a good example and accepting responsibility for our actions.
  • Trust in God: We need to pray for God’s support/guidance in difficult situations and recognize that God is constantly putting good people and opportunities in our lives.
  • It often helps to practice a 24-hour life cycle, focus on today, forget about the difficulties of the past. Treat every day as game day.  Remember that God will get us through any challenge if we trust in Him.

Kalamazoo Round Table (Tuesday)


  • Building the right team.
  • Knowing the parameters and purpose of each relationship.
    • Some relationships can be counter productive.
    • Strong relationships are not always good from a leadership perspective.
  • It takes time to build trust.


  • Take 100% responsibility for all of your relationships. It is up to us to make the relationship what we want/need it to be.
  • How does the relationship help to achieve results?
    • We can’t do everything on our own.
    • Need team to have complimentary relationships. Each person’s strengths and weaknesses balance our own and those of others’.
    • A team of people that are too similar can cause issues and gaps in results.
  • Identify how to build relationships. Do not focus only on the results.
    • It is not necessarily a negative to focus on the results of a relationship. All relationships have a purpose and produce some sort of result whether personal or professional. .
  • Building relationships requires listening.
    • Ask lots of questions.
    • You can’t learn while you’re talking.
  • Use profile assessments during the interview/hiring process.
  • Extend trust to your employees.
    • In abilities: sometimes your employees will surprise you in how they step up in a time of need. Allow them to take on more responsibility.
    • In discernment: If they do not trust someone, find out why. Do not simply dismiss their concerns.
  • Low talent stars are critical. They are foundational to the team.
  • Think like a sports coach.
    • No one expects a coach to build a team simply through stats. He is strategic in his recruiting and building of the team.
    • A coach also reassesses each year. He expects that his players will change and rotate each season depending on the needs of the entire team/”to achieve results.”
  • Experiment. Do not be afraid to fail.

Kalamazoo Round Table (Friday)


  • Relationships – Work is work – not for friendship.
    • You have to be friendly, but not “buds.”
  • Why do people stay?
  • Best friends at work?
  • Finding commonalities – “About Me” form.


  • Difference approach to different people.
  • Make sure they have the tools to do the job well and have the balance. Build this into your culture.
  • Implement a buddy system/mentor from day one. Same age/same gender.
  • Use a tool to help remember.
  • Share behavioral/strengths assessment results.
  • If you’re happy with your personal life/ goals you’ll be happy at work.
  • Guide to
  • Out of all the characters you know, who do you most identify with?
  • R + D – Redo and Do
  • EOS – Accountability support.
  • Communicating regularly their responsibility to the goals and coach them through it.
  • “Corporate Nonsense” – Help to not overcomplicate the goals.
    • Relationships –
  • Book: “Green Manager”
  • 4 X 40 – Review every forty days.
  • Track your reviews.


  • About them – be the guide/yoda.
  • Make sure you are a filled donut/without a void.
  • Tools – EOS
  • All or nothing.
  • Hero vs. Guide – Be the guide.
  • Book: “Story Brand”

Join us for our December Round Tables as we discuss “The Strategic Importance of Trust & How to Build It.” RSVP to

Implementing & Maintaining A Healthy Work Environment

In the October Round Table meetings, we discussed the topic of “Implementing & Maintaining A Healthy Work Environment.”

An essential element of maintaining a healthy work environment is trust. Phil Catlett, President of the Better Business Bureau of Grand Rapids, will speak on The Strategic Importance of Trust” at our upcoming Leadership Breakfast on November 16th. Click here to save your seat!

If you are unable to attend, subscribe to our YouTube channel here where you can review all past Leadership Event presentations. Be sure to turn on your notifications so that you are the first to know when Phil’s presentation is available.

Below are the notes from the October Round Table meetings.

Plymouth Round Table:

Q1: What is a healthy work environment?

In general, a healthy work environment has a culture based on the basic Christian principle of love for your fellow man. If we lead our businesses by example, based on this principle, most employees will recognize the ethical practices of the upper management and follow suit. This allows the following environmental (cultural) qualities will exist and grow:

  • Increased trust of both management and fellow employees.
  • Increased respect for company leadership.
  • A stronger team environment.
  • Less fear of making a mistake that would result in punishment, which promotes increased ownership of tasks/issues.
  • Less fear of ridicule when offering a creative problem solution or improvement suggestion.
  • A healthy work environment supports the basic human needs of:
    • Feeling significant – we have a meaningful purpose in the organization,
    • Achieving personal satisfaction – we can make a difference and have.
    • Feeling secure in our work situation – we’re not constantly looking over our shoulder for the next threat.

Q2: Do you know of any “model” companies?

The discussion group consisted of leaders from various sized companies, from very small 2-person operations to very large (G.E. and Comerica) corporations. Basic operating concepts were discussed and examples given  of how various situations were handled over the years by our team, leading me to the basic conclusion that there is no specific definition of a model/perfect company.  Each company/industry is unique, and the “model” company definition will vary accordingly, as will the leadership practices needed to set the company working environment. Everyone agreed that following Christian principals, as outlined in Q1 on this report (What is a healthy work environment?), are a necessary foundation for achieving a “model” company.

Q3: Are there any issues to avoid? Why?

Issues to avoid:

  • Jumping to conclusions – we must make sure that we have a full understanding of the situation. We must view the situation from all perspectives before issuing a judgement.
  • Being ambiguous – we must clearly and consistently communicate our with the direction.
  • Being overly tolerant of policy violations – while we strive to understand and amicably correct improper behavior/performance, we must decide when the situation is beyond repair and take corrective actions. If we’ve done everything reasonably possible to correct a bad situation that isn’t improving, we must not wait too long to take correct the situation.

Q4: What changes can you make in your company?

No specific company changes or pending issues were brought forth during the meeting, although there was a lively discussion of the topics in Q1 (What is a healthy work environment?), regarding how best to achieve a healthy working environment. Everyone supports conducting business both internally and externally with sound Christian principles.

Following the meeting, one attendee confidentially described to me a situation within their company where an employee violated several company policies, costing the company over $100,000.  The company’s upper management was debating whether or not to fire this individual and decided to take a more measured (read Christian) approach to discipline.  As it turned out, the individual lost some pay and privileges, but not their job.  Ironically, the individual understood that they had violated company policy, but could not understand why they were penalized.

Q5: What Strategies will you use to drive Change?

The discussion group recognized the importance that a healthy work environment plays towards achieving a successful company. By following Jesus’ direction, the work environment should be productive and positive, a place that most employees enjoy.  Some practices that were discussed to affect positive change within an organization are:

  • We must lead by example, following the same rules/practices that are expected from our employees.
  • We must be consistent with our decisions and direction within our organization otherwise confusion will exist leading eventually to apathy.
  • We should recognize/reward the achievements of our team. This helps people feel that they have a meaningful purpose within the organization and are secure with their position.
    • Public recognition within the company and/or industry.
    • Special incentives (Additional vacation time, special bonuses, etc.).
    • We must promote positive reinforcement throughout the organization.
  • We should make sure that we understand a situation completely, from all sides, before rendering judgement.
  • We should be tolerant of mistakes and understand the root causes of them, providing the support that is necessary to affect a lasting/permanent corrective action. If we have dedicated employees who are making mistakes, the likely cause is a systemic problem that must be fixed. Dedicated employees do not want to make mistakes.
  • We must recognize if a team member is simply not fit for a position and help them find a position that is more suited to them. If we allow someone to continue in a position that is not a fit for them, it affects the morale and effectiveness of the entire team.  This doesn’t necessarily mean an employment termination, it could mean a position change within the company or helping to find them a new position outside of the company.

Additional Takeaways:

  • Investigate the Disney corporate culture and structure, it is a good example of ethical business practices.
  • Investigate Wayne Huizenga and his organization, it is a good example of ethical business practices.


Kalamazoo Round Table (Tuesday)


  • Healthy physically & mentally
  • Unhealthy = harassment/bullying
  • Environment = Culture = values, attitudes & beliefs that permeate within a company
  • How do we want to behave?
  • What are our values?
  • What are we modeling?
  • What’s our “just cause?”
  • Timing is everything – how do we be more proactive/
  • Awareness training
  • Getting everyone in sync / aligned with your culture
  • Lack of peripheral vision


  • Training on identifying behaviors / personal awareness
  • It’s about the team / employees, not us
  • Keep it simple: training on the business, personal awareness & technical/job training
  • Effective communication
  • Need multiple channels/opportunities for people to express themselves (ie. RUOK program)


  • Be intentional
  • Be proactive with communication to catch yourself before you hit your challenge/obstacle
  • Need to be honest with yourself & your limits
  • We must discipline/mentor/coach
  • Balance – pay attention to best performers
  • Communicate/reinforce good behaviors & lessons learned (through storytelling)
  • Value = listening to employees
  • Tell stories to promote learning
  • “Health is about creating capability” – Bill Beck


Kalamazoo Round Table (Tuesday)


  • Business problems are simple, but people are complicated.
  • Good times can hide bad processes.
  • The effect of leadership not following their word.
  • Some leaders would rather be tough than smart.
  • Health includes physical and mental health.
  • Healthy doesn’t mean the same thing in all situations.
  • Hard to separate work culture from cultural issues at large.
  • Tough to maintain culture when national organization loses its personal touch.
  • Challenge of maintaining the small family culture in the midst of growth.


  • Employee wellness example: Caterpillar “R U OK” program.
  • Business/Corporate Jenga – Don’t just start making moves. Be strategic.
  • Leadership needs clear core values and instruction on how to incorporate them.
  • Set principles and values to establish boundaries.
  • Reach out between meetings.
  • Engagement – make your team feel part of something.
  • Create a common enemy (challenge, competitors, etc.) to unite your team.
  • Mission/Vision vs. A Just Cause
  • A well run business reduces workplace stress.
  • Be preemptive with wellness exams.
  • Teach your team through stories. Include stories of past mistakes from others or yourself.
  • Feedback loop – keep your team informed. Real-time communication about the company or goal helps eliminate issues or misunderstanding.
  • Consider using outside resources/consultants to help address issues that bosses feel unable to.


Grand Rapids Round Table (Thursday)


  • Leader needs to be trusted and lead.
  • Leaders should actively manage negativity.
  • Hold all employees accountable.


Kalamazoo Round Table (Thursday)


  • 5 elements of wellbeing: Physical, social, financial, community, and career.
    • Can add spiritual.
  • People are complicated. Top leadership must be on board with ensuring employee wellness.
  • If owner and C-level leaders are not on board, they will implement policies that undermine management efforts.
  • People are not systems.
  • Sometimes too many systems/rules can gum up the process.


  • Owners and CEO’s must be present during conversations/events.
  • “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
  • Consider corporate chaplains.
  • Be very strategic and intentional about creating your company culture.
  • Create a sense of ownership among employees which will foster responsibility.
  • Create an element of flexibility with schedules.  Allow your team to feel that you trust them to get the work done.
    • Netflix offers unlimited PTO.
  • An engaged employee contributes to overall health and productivity.
  • Encourage your employees to review the benefits that you offer.


Kalamazoo Round Table (Friday)


  • What does an unhealthy environment look like?
    • Work only (no fun/personal balance)
    • Insecure/threatening
    • Political – it’s about who you know / good ol’ boys club / drama
    • Belittling/demeaning leaders
    • Autocratic leaders
    • Reward for bad decisions
    • Micromanaged
    • Fear of failure
    • “lost” leaders
  • What does a healthy environment look like?
    • Share common values & beliefs genuinely
    • Good relationships
    • Trust – good communication
    • Caring
    • Stable
    • Has courage to speak up when something is out of joint
    • Doing the right thing no matter what
    • Celebrates failure / what we learned
    • Environment of grace & truth
    • Approachability
    • Respecting all who make decisions
    • Empowered leaders
    • Keeping the good in the forefront
    • Encouraging


  • How do we implement a healthy environment?
    1. Define the core values, mission & vision
    2. Meet with all employees together & then have 1×1 meetings with every leader & staff member to enforce/reinforce
    3. Leader must lead by example
    4. Base all business / personal decisions on these core values / mission/vision
    5. Tell stories from the organizations history
    6. Personally model a healthy lifestyle authentically
      1. Be present to show you care & intentionally create relationships
    7. Maintain a rhythm of communication via meetings/other interaction for consistency
    8. Implement constructive accountability
  • How do we maintain a healthy environment?
    • Repeating things we’re doing that are healthy & always pushing forward
    • Replicate yourself
    • Keep taking risks
    • Encouraging/not getting stagnant
    • Need to maintain health
    • Has a spirit of a pioneer, not a settler
    • Take time to celebrate (even small wins)
    • Quarterly/planned reviews / weekly check-ins / ppl metrics
    • Survey the group


  • Keep it simple – follow the steps to implement & maintain
  • Assign high value to everyone
  • Intentionally create relationships as a leader / give opportunities to ask questions
  • We value what we focus on
  • Be very clear as to what you value
  • Examples: Phillips 66 – safety topics & talks / Joe Tye – Values Coach that talks about “the Pickle Pledge”

Join us next month as we discuss “Building Strong Relationships to Achieve Results.” RSVP to