5 Things You Need to Know to Successfully Manage a Team

by Catherine Mattiske · 8 min read
Write your awesome label here.
Empty space, drag to resize
Everyone on the team should be able to explain the specific problem we solve for customers in a single sentence. If a team doesn’t share that consistent, uniform “why,” they’re bound to waste effort or wind up working at cross-purposes.
As a part of our series about the five things you need to successfully manage a large team, I had the pleasure of interviewing Catherine Mattiske.
 Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?

My backstory begins with an obsession with improving human learning and communication. Every business, family, community group, etc., is a collection of people who share a goal to reach the best results with the resources available to them. Since 1994 I have helped businesses reach those goals. I developed the ID9 Intelligent Design process for learning and development professionals globally to grow. To date, over 5 million people have attended training based on the principles of ID9, and I continue to focus on helping clients improve their learning and development processes through my company, The Performance Company. I truly believe that when a person understands the way they learn, they can develop the skill of refining the way they communicate and improve the way they contribute in business, personally, and to the broader community.

 Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
The most interesting part of my career has been the huge number and diversity of people that I’ve met. I’ve met the most amazing people over my 30-years in business growing the business to have a global footprint. There’s one common denominator: Everyone has an interesting story! Sometimes, I need to scratch the surface, but it’s there. Many times, for me, it’s been easy to overlook the quietest person in the room and be influenced by the most charismatic people with the loudest voices, the most senior titles, the most famous, the richest, or the most dominating. However, often I learn more from asking questions from the quiet people, the deep thinkers, and those who are not as confident. Taking the time to ask, and listen, means that I’ve gotten to hear a countless number of interesting life stories!
 Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I started my business in 1994, as a contract trainer in the computer industry. However, I didn’t own a computer. And I couldn’t afford one. So, I hired the computers at the State Library, in Sydney Australia, on an hourly basis at a cost of $1 per hour — and you had to supply your own paper for the printer. The librarians were militant in running the bookings system. Every weekend, I would go to the State Library, to do all my admin — invoicing, proposals, creating and printing training materials — the lot! One day, I hired a computer for two hours and paid the $2 but ran out of paper. The nearest store was too far away, and my time was up. My first negotiation for my business took place at that moment, when I negotiated first with the librarian for extra time, and then with another computer user for the paper on the promise that I would replenish their supply within the following hour. It was a lesson in creative thinking, negotiation, resource management, and persuasion. I got the paper, the other computer user got resupplied after a mad dash to the store, and my clients were none the wiser that my operation was being run out of a library for $1 per hour!
 Ok, let’s jump to the core of our interview. Most times when people quit their jobs they actually “quit their managers”. What are your thoughts on the best way to retain great talent today?
One hallmark of the truly talented is that they value their time in a way that average people don’t. Because of this, they hate to waste that time in any way — which means to recruit and retain great talent, it’s important to make it clear that they will be working on a problem that matters for a person who values their abilities. A truly talented person often won’t settle for work that anyone else could do, which means that their managers must clearly communicate that the talent’s expertise, time, and opinion are genuinely valued. That doesn’t mean the manager must always defer, though — truly great thinkers are open to changing their minds because of new information, and may even value pushback as a sign of intellectual respect, i.e. “I see this differently than you do, and I trust that you know your stuff well enough to talk me around to your position.” In other words, if you function as a rubber-stamp for whatever idea they throw at you, they may assume you don’t actually value their opinion enough to think about it critically.
 How do you synchronize large teams to effectively work together?
Whenever there is more than one person involved, the key to effective work will always be communication. That’s why I developed GQ and the Inner Genius framework — because when a team truly understands how each member best sends and receives information effectively, the friction that often complicates communication goes away and the work becomes much more seamless. Seamless work is how a group enters a state of flow, where things move quickly and efficiently. It’s the moment when an office performs like a championship-caliber athletic team — which is a lot of fun!
 Here is the main question of our discussion. Based on your personal experience, what are the “5 Things You Need to Know to Successfully Manage a Team”. (Please share a story or example for each, ideally an example from your experience)

 What advice would you give to other CEOs or founders to help their employees to thrive?
Good employees are naturally driven to grow, which means they are most inspired and most effective when they see that trait modeled in their leaders. Ambitious, evolving employees are extremely frustrated when they see stagnation at the top — so if you want your employees to grow, you have to be very visibly pursuing growth and modeling that.
 You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
It would be the “There’s no such thing as difficult people” movement. They are just different from me! I’ve spent my life focused on the intersection of learning and communication, so it’s simple: I would love to spark a global awareness of the reality that every person communicates differently, and they are not necessarily being difficult; people are simply different. It seems obvious from even a cursory glance at the news that the many facets of the political and cultural spectrum spend far more time talking past one another than truly engaging for progress and change. Because of that, I truly believe that the Inner Genius model of communication could diminish frustration and increase efficiency worldwide by helping people — even people who disagree greatly — understand how to communicate effectively with one another in a way that works.
 Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
I remind myself all the time that “Success means different things to different people.” The realization that my definition of success is not the same as the definition my clients, colleagues, or employees would offer is part of what led me to think deeply about individual human differences and the way we think and talk about them — or don’t! That’s part of what led me to the development of the Inner Genius framework.
 Thank you for these great insights!

original article published on authority magazine

07 JUNE 2022
About Catherine

About Catherine mattiske

Catherine Mattiske, best known for creating ID9 Intelligent Design and the Genius Quotient (GQ), is a leading light in the corporate learning and team-building industries. She regularly works with large and small organizations to help team members better understand one another while effectively collaborating and boosting individual and team morale and productivity in the workplace.

want some more? check other inspiring articles

Sign up for our weekly newsletter. Get member discounts. Be inspired. Live in your genius zone.