NorthBridge Blog
Well, it appears the Chicago Hawks won’t be left behind. If things continue as they are today, like the Cubbies, the Hawks will be extending their icy-hot brand of winning, and bringing more hardware back to Chicago’s municipal trophy case.
Today, they hold the number one position within the Central Western conference. Num-Ber-One, a place they haven’t held since the 2012-2013 season.
We can’t help but appreciate the interplay and growth that can happen between exceptional players and terrific leadership when we think about Joel Quenneville; the second most winning-est coach in history.  What’s the secret sauce behind those that track record? Cultivation and tenure? Fire  and philosophy? Lady luck?
Sports leaders and their teams show us variables that sometimes don’t allow us to be certain of whether it’s team cultivation or an elusive chemistry that brings it all together. But it seems that managers and coaches who succeed have a lot of the same characteristics.
One thing they seem to share is an awareness of what’s going on outside the clubhouse. While some companies we watch on a daily basis show us lengthy tenures by colorful CEOs – Reed Hastings Netflix 19 years, Jeff Bezos, Amazon,  21 years, Dan Amos, AFLAC, 27 years, Rupert Murdoch, News Corp., 38 years, Roger Penske, Penske Corp., 48 years – according to a recent Temple University study on CEO tenures, the optimal length of stay for a CEO is just 4.8 years. The reason being that, “…after about five years, chief executives will rely more on their internal network rather than information that comes from outside markets. This tendency to focus inward causes them to become less attuned to market conditions and customers, which ultimately hurts the company.”
Of course they’re different scenarios: corporate America versus professional sports.  Differences in commercial season lengths/sports seasons lengths, extremely different compensation granted for a wing or goalie versus a marketing manager. And, of course, very different market  and category factors.
Interestingly, in Q3 2016, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the average wage/salaried employee lasts just 4.7 years, The median number of years that wage and salary workers had been with their current employer was 4.2 years in January 2016, down from 4.6 years in January 2014. Some might argue that approximately 4.7 years of collaborative business leadership and management efforts aren’t nearly enough to shift the needle, elevate a brand or expand without hiccups.
Mindsets that include solid standards and clearly-defined expectations seem to trump all, though. Of the aforementioned CEOs with decades of vested time, all demand consistent performances from their teams. Their personal expectations run wildly high. and have a contagious effect on their company cultures that stands the test of time. It‘s all about consistency.
We find those characteristics in the Hawks’ Coach Q and the Cubs’ Joe Maddon. In the case of Maddon, a lifetime’s worth of gumption and managerial agility found its perfect application.
Quenneville, recognized as a player’s coach, is noted for his strong compassion for his players. In nine years, his tactics reveal a slow burn approach to managing people, with a deep hunger for the game. When interviewed, he cites a favorite part of coaching as being cultivating players. Compare that with Joe Maddon, who’s also expert at handling young players and veterans alike.
One similarity between the two? They each brought home the ultimate prize at the end of their second season at the helm of their respective teams.
There aren’t many finite assumptions about generating greatness, but we can touch on winning factors found on the field or office. Here are a few that a Joel Quenneville and the Blackhawks organization exemplify, and they’re factors that any company should emulate in creating equal ideal alignment between job candidate and organization:
1) Understand the nuances of leadership, and bring the right candidates to complimentary leaders so there’s a good stylistic fit.
2) Encourage candidates —whether managers, subordinates or administrative workers – to develop a sensitivity for peers and the greater goals of an organization.
3) Coaching people – whether hockey players or our own candidates at North Bridge – to expect to deliver success wherever they go. When we do that, we’ve found that that success always followsWell, it appears the Chicago Hawks won’t be left behind. If things continue as they are today, like the Cubbies, the Hawks will be extending their icy-hot brand of winning, and bringing more hardware back to Chicago’s municipal trophy case.

Pat DuganWell, it looks like our Chicago Blackhawks won’t be left behind. If things continue as they are today, like the Cubbies, the Hawks will be extending their icy-hot brand of winning, and bringing more hardware back to Chicago’s municipal trophy case.

Today, as the Cup playoffs loom, they hold the number one slot in the Central Western conference. Num-Ber-One, a spot they haven’t held since the 2012-2013 season.

We can’t help but appreciate the interplay and growth that can happen between exceptional players and terrific leadership when we think about Joel Quenneville; the second most winning-est coach in history.  What’s the secret sauce behind those that track record? Cultivation and tenure? Fire  and philosophy? Lady luck?

Joel QuennevilleSports leaders and their teams show us variables that sometimes don’t allow us to be certain of whether it’s team cultivation or an elusive chemistry that brings it all together. But it seems that managers and coaches who succeed have a lot of the same characteristics.


Lasting leaders always have a broader vision

One thing they seem to share is an awareness of what’s going on outside the clubhouse. While some companies we watch on a daily basis show us lengthy tenures by colorful CEOs – Reed Hastings Netflix 19 years, Jeff Bezos, Amazon,  21 years, Dan Amos, AFLAC, 27 years, Rupert Murdoch, News Corp., 38 years, Roger Penske, Penske Corp., 48 years – according to a recent Temple University study on CEO tenures, the usual length of stay for a CEO is just 4.8 years.

The reason being that, “…after about five years, chief executives will rely more on their internal network rather than information that comes from outside markets. This tendency to focus inward causes them to become less attuned to market conditions and customers, which ultimately hurts the company.”

Of course they’re different scenarios: corporate America versus professional sports.  Differences in commercial season lengths/sports seasons lengths, extremely different compensation granted for a wing or goalie versus a marketing manager. And, of course, very different market  and category factors.

Interestingly, in Q3 2016, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the average wage/salaried employee lasts just 4.7 years, The median number of years that wage and salary workers had been with their current employer was 4.2 years in January 2016, down from 4.6 years in January 2014.

Some might argue that approximately 4.7 years of collaborative business leadership and management efforts aren’t nearly enough to shift the needle, elevate a brand or expand without hiccups.

Mindsets that include solid standards and clearly-defined expectations seem to trump all, though. Of the aforementioned CEOs with decades of vested time, all demand consistent performances from their teams. Their personal expectations run wildly high. and have a contagious effect on their company cultures that stands the test of time. It‘s all about consistency.


What can Coach Q can teach any recruiter or employer?

We find those same characteristics in the Hawks’ Coach Q and the Cubs’ Joe Maddon. In the case of Maddon, a lifetime’s worth of gumption and managerial agility found its perfect application.

Young Joel Quenneville

Young Joel Quenneville

Quenneville, recognized as a player’s coach, is noted for his strong compassion for his players. In nine years, he’s shown a slow burn approach to managing people, a focus on making them better over the long term, combined with a deep hunger for the game. Maybe that’s a lesson he learning himself as a young player…when the famous moustache was still in full force.

When interviewed, he cites a favorite part of coaching as being cultivating players. Compare that with Joe Maddon, who’s also expert at handling young players and veterans alike.

One other similarity between the two? They each brought home the ultimate prize at the end of their second season at the helm of their respective teams.

There aren’t many finite assumptions about generating greatness, but we can touch on winning factors found on the field or in the office. Here are a few that a Joel Quenneville and the Blackhawks organization exemplify, and they’re factors that any company should emulate in creating equal ideal alignment between job candidate and organization:

  1. Value your human assets, and take the time to nurture them in the right roles: it probably took some patience (and tough love!) to get Patrick Kane to mature into a team leader, you think?
  2. Understand the nuances of leadership, and bring the right candidates to complimentary leaders so there’s a good stylistic fit.
  3. Encourage candidates to develop a sensitivity for peers, whether managers, subordinates or administrative workers – and for the greater goals of an organization.
  4. Trust your team; as Kelly Chase, who played for Quenneville in St. Louis, once put it, “For me, the greatest trait about him was I knew what my role was, and he never questioned my role. He trusted my judgment was good enough to handle the situation. That was how he was with all his players.”
  5. Coach people to expect to deliver success wherever they go, whether hockey players or our own candidates at North Bridge. When we do that, we’ve found that that success always follows!

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