Office Schmucks: An Interview with Dr. Foster

Office Schmucks: An Interview with Dr. Foster

What do you get when you mix a clinical psychiatrist with a Wharton MBA student? Someone who understood difficult people at work, and saw a serious need. Dr. Jody Foster found a niche for providing psychiatry to non-psychiatrists in the business world - especially when it came to helping the venture capital world evaluate management teams. After a decade of consulting with disruptive interactions in business settings,

Relationships are Critical to Team Success

Relationships are Critical to Team Success

As a father of a youth baseball player, summer can be a time of fun and drudgery. Yes, it is always fun to see your children compete and learn life lessons about hard work, practice and repetition but it also means hot sweaty days at the ballpark and what is often not very entertaining sport.The 2016 baseball season didn't go well for my son, Peter. He was mired in the outfield (the last place you want to be in youth baseball), didn't hit the ball well and wasn't having fun.

Treat People Like Money

Treat your people like you treat your money. I’d apologize, but treating people like money as opposed to employees is a good thing. Eric Garton, a partner at Bain, breaks it down like this in his recent Harvard Business Review article:

“Financial capital is abundant but carefully managed; human capital is scarce but not carefully managed. Why? In part, it’s because we value and reward good management of financial capital. And we measure it. Great CEOs are held in high regard for their clever management and allocation of financial capital. But today’s great CEOs need to be equally great at managing human capital.”

How do we turn this around? Start thinking of managing human capital just as you would money. Here are some to start with:

Measure. Garton states, “You can’t measure what you can’t measure”. The more you measure of employee’s performance, time, projects and other aspects, the more you know how to better utilize your human capital. We guarantee you measure money in more ways than one, do the same with your employees.

Invest.  Think of all the time, planning, reasoning and preparation that goes into investing money. Most likely there is not even a mere resemblance of comparison for investing in human capital. You have to be willing to take a risk, but also plan employees’ projects in terms of the time and money you are allocating through them.

Monitor. Just like monitoring where your money is going and what difference it’s making, you want to monitor what kind of impact your employees are having. The employees who make the biggest impact should be on “mission critical” projects. For less than stellar results; projects, teams and processes can be improved.

Recognize and reward. In the article Garton mentions that when it comes to difference-making talent, companies should, “work hard every day to re-recruit them by creating a working environment that is inspiring and results oriented”. Garton also thinks that employees should not only be rewarded for their personal successes, but for the talent that employees recruit, train and maintain.

Now what would it look like if we started taking a few specific practices out of the way organizations use money, and put them towards human capital?

Budgeting process. Yes, organizations do annual reviews but in many organizations this has become a total check-the-box exercise. Rather than agonizing over each budget line item or undergoing multiple iterations like they would for a budget, managers rush through the review process. This is often done just prior to year-end reports and offers an empty assessment of all the year’s accomplishments.

Forecasting. How much better would human capital be utilized if we had monthly meetings where we agonized over the hiring process? An all-hands management meeting to discuss which candidates will get hired and which areas these people will be deployed is an amazing thought.

Capital Allocation. Can you imagine a thoughtful process where leaders would look at talent across the enterprise and plan out where people would be re-deployed in the coming quarter for maximum growth?

Audit Committee. How much more emphasis would be place on talent if a sub-committee of the Board of Directors had a read out and dedicated time to talk about talent cultivation and engagement?

It looks like the biggest difference in how organizations manage financial capital and human capital is the amount of time and effort put into the process. Another difference that may affect this outcome? Think of all the tools that managing money comes with. I bet you wouldn’t find too many managers doing a sort of “guess and check” process when it comes to how they get a grasp on their money. So what about their people? Without a tool that allows for measuring, monitoring and planning, managers are left to their own devices.

A tool like Cloverleaf allows for managers to measure, invest and monitor their people in real ways. Give it a go with your team at

People Over Process

Thank goodness your team has Slack to communicate when you aren’t meeting over Google Hangout to finish brainstorming on Evernote before making that perfect Asana timeline. Discussing your list of tasks you keep in Google Sheets, so that you can all be on the same page with your categories in Trello is helpful, too.

More and more now, teams have a host of tools for project management right at their fingertips. With the click of a button you can now delegate tasks, create timelines, share ideas and keep information organized. It’s almost as if with these tools you don’t have to worry about who is on your team!

But what about all those over-budget, behind-schedule, and less than satisfying deliverables that seem to be more common than not? A study by PwC found that out of 10,640 projects from 200 companies in 30 countries only 2.5% of the companies completed the projects they were planning on completing. The IT sector alone has an estimated 5% to 15% of project failures leading to $50 billion to $150 billion of loss in the US alone. Harvard Business Review found that of the almost 1,500 IT projects they studied, 27% were behind schedule and one in six were 200% over budget.

According to Gallup’s research, it’s not the explosion of digital project management tools that are at fault, it’s the lack of a people-managed approach.

After all, tools are helpful for sorting out those gritty details and tasks. But unfortunately, as Gallup found out, companies are putting their “practices before their people”, and it’s showing. Companies put so much emphasis on their processes and procedures that they overlook how important it is for employees to feel engaged with the project and company. As Gallup states, “... forcing team members to adapt to project management processes and procedures makes it more likely that the project will fail.” With bad project management, comes a significant waste of time, money and project potential.

Right now, tools are focused on laying out the specifics of the tasks at hand with detailed process and procedure oriented details. These are what Gallup calls the rational components of the project. The emotional components are not present. With every step of the project being laid out, the idea is to complete the steps. Complying with the plan becomes more important than results. In fact, the more employees are forced into new procedures, the even less emotionally engaged in the project they become. With this in mind, Gallup behavioral economics research suggests a different approach; behavior-based project management

Behavior-based project management? It’s a more PC way of saying “know and care about your people”. Gallup’s second research series on project management dives into what companies and project managers should be spending time on: emotional needs. Research has shown that without people’s emotional needs being met, there will be subpar performance and a much higher turnover. The most neglected questions seem obvious at first, but when you think about it, when was the last time these types of questions were addressed in your workplace?

  • Do team members feel like their opinions are heard and that they can safely express them?
  • Is there someone who recognizes team members and their good work?
  • Do project team members know exactly what is expected of them?
  • Do they care about each other, about quality, and about meeting the project's objectives?

These are just a sample of the types of things project managers need to understand when managing a team. The thing about these questions, is that while not rocket science, most project managers are not trained as people managers. They are trained as project managers. Even as project managers, they have tools to help them with the process and procedures of the tasks. So why aren’t there tools to bridge the gap to manage people? We saw that gap and felt passionately enough about the missing piece to successful project management that we created our own tool. Cloverleaf is another tool, but not for processes or procedures. It’s a people tool. It helps manage the unique personal and emotional capital that your team holds. By utilizing a tool to manage your people, and not just your process, you can improve your results, save and make money, all while your team works more productively. Check out your missing piece to the project management puzzle at

Not the Time for "Guess-and-Check"

In the seemingly never-ending, downward-spiral of a startup tale that Fast Company mapped out this week in their article titled, “The Demise of Tilt”, readers are guided through Tilt’s unfortunate saga. The article gears up by stating, “In 2015, social payments company Tilt was worth $375 million. Less than two years later, it had lost over 95% of its value and was sold for a pittance. What happened?”

Investments and seed rounds and capital cycles; the story was told through the perspective of money. However, if you read between the dollar signs and get to Tilt founder, James Beshara’s thoughts, most of his reflection is based on his employees and the culture he developed. Based on the article, it sounds like there was a potential disconnect between the founders and the employees. Beshara mentioned that he had too much focus on culture, and not enough focus on goals and standards, leading to an overall lack of accountability from the employees.

As a growing team, the hiring decisions that you make today are what will continue to impact you through the good, the bad, and the growing pains of your company. Scary? No, just the reality of the matter.

Hiring can often feel like an overwhelming process, but breaking down the the process beginning with your end goals in mind, can get rid of that “shot in the dark” feeling.  InDinero’s blog post titled, “Smart Startup Hiring” offers some great food for thought when it comes to hiring with end goals in mind.

She offers four points that include working backwards, quantifying, customizing the strategy and defining the search. These are all great strategies, but the problem with these and other strategies for most organizations is that they lack the quantifiable data to implement them. Most organizations, particularly startups, lack the tools to clearly define a way to quantify core values and more importantly quantify the fit of the applicant’s core values to the organizational culture they will be working within.

We know we’re preaching to the choir on this one, but we wholeheartedly agree with taking a calculated approach to hiring. That’s why when we saw a need for there being actionable data for all aspects of employee and candidate factors such as cultural preferences, personality, strengths and skills, we couldn’t help but fill the gap.

Companies have endless data when it comes to operational metrics, but what about the people themselves? Cloverleaf gives real data on the personality, culture and preferences of your current team and potential employees you’d like to add. Unlike the usual guessing that goes into making sure someone is “the right fit”, you can base your decisions off of real data. We invite you use Cloverleaf for your team free of charge and let us know what you think!

It's Not Just Where You Sit

Back in Middle School, when assigned seating became a thing, eye rolls were the overwhelming response. In the workplace? It depends on who you ask. While the Internet had some serious eye rolls at Square when they posted a job for a “capacity coordinator” (a full-time seating coordinator with “equal parts project manager, data analyst, and relationship builder”), popular tech voices, The Hustle and Quartz were quick to point out that they may have something there. Arranging where employees sit has traditionally not been a priority. When it comes to worker performance, though? Now we’re listening.

Harvard Business Review pointed out, “To increase worker performance, employers often invest in a number of things, from rewards and incentives to education and training. These traditional approaches develop employees’ skills and enrich their work experience. But we discovered a surprisingly simple way to increase productivity, one that was low-cost and had immediate impact: better office seating arrangements.”

Cornerstone OnDemand took two years of extensive data from 2,000 employees at a tech company. With several office locations in the U.S. and Europe, they wanted to see if who an employee sits next to affects performance.

Spoiler alert: It does. The study found, “approximately 10% of a worker’s performance spills over to her neighbors. When productive workers were seated next to quality workers we found a 13% gain in productivity (speed of work) and a 17% gain in effectiveness (fewer unresolved tasks) in that group.”

In simplified terms, placing workers with complementary skill sets together increases both workers’ performances. On the other hand, if toxic employees (employees who ended up being terminated for reasons of their own doing) sat next to each other, it increased the probability that one of them would be terminated by 27%. The crazy thing? These effects took place almost immediately.

Sold on the magic of the seating chart?  We are, too, if the employees cultural preferences indicate it won’t be a demotivator. Afterall, how do you know if workers have a complementary skillset? It starts with knowledge. And not just the knowledge of individual skills, strengths and cultural preferences, but more importantly identifying the complimentary skillsets, personalities and behaviors that you want to reinforce.

That is where Cloverleaf comes in. We provide an all in one tool to give you the insights you need in an easy to use visual format for putting the right workers together for improved performance and job satisfaction. Sign up for free and take a look around at

Managing Top Talent with Individuality

Think top talent is highly motivated by compensation? Think again. "In my 36-year career, I haven’t met a single person truly at the top end of the talent distribution who is highly motivated by compensation. Not one,” says Roger L. Martin, former Dean of Rotman School of Management in his latest Harvard Business Review article.

While, yes, there are those employees that thrive on the idea of growing a company’s “perceived value” for quick and dirty monetary reasons, Martin argues that those employees are not the top talent that truly make an organization great for an extended period of time. We agree.

According to Martin, managing top talent requires 3 things:

1.Treat Your Talent as Individuals

Employees want to feel that they are being treated as individuals, and not part of a “class”. They want to be seen for the unique talents they possess and the unique life that they live. Managers who treat their employees well, but don’t acknowledge each individual as an individual may not be getting the responses they were hoping for..

2.Provide Opportunity Continuously

Top talent want to rise to the top, and without the opportunity to take on more responsibility, they will simply go where there is more opportunity. Knowing how much extra responsibility and when, is another scenario that is based on the individual.

3.Give Praise

Top talent likely seem to be okay without praise. After all, they’re hard works and already intrinsically motivated enough to get them to the point that they are. However, with the often tough work that they’re doing, the top talent can easily get resentful of the organization without praise. They’re offering their time and talent, and need to know that it’s valued. Once again, you need to know and understand the individual behind the talent to give praise in a way that matters.

These rules of thumb, simple as they may sound, require that you truly know your team. Not only the top talent, but all talent. With Cloverleaf you can take the guesswork of out of understanding your team members and truly tap into their individuality. We do this by reinforcing aspects of their personality, strengths and cultural preferences in the flow of a manager's day to day activities. Whether it is positioning someone into a stretch assignment or having a tough coaching conversation, Cloverleaf puts key characteristics of your people front and center. To get started, create a free account for your team at


How to Manage People Through Reorganizations

Reorganizations come in many forms, but the common element is the toll it takes on people. Whether it is flattening the organization for faster decision making, or a merger and acquisition that necessitates the integration of a common management structure, the impact is real and can distract your people from daily operations. People are creatures of habit and disrupting the comfortable nature of their reporting and peer relationships can create anxiety and frustration for your teams. It is natural for employees to be concerned about the impact these changes may have on career opportunities, ability to contribute in a meaningful way, and job satisfaction.

And while these changes are always made with a lot of careful consideration, they tend to go wrong more often than not. According to McKinsey research, only 16% of merger reorgs fully deliver their objectives in the planned time, 41% take longer than expected, and in 10% of cases, the reorg actually harms the newly-formed organization. Common pitfalls include a lack of cultural understanding between the integrating parties, poor integration leadership, and a focus on the wrong activity set or the wrong targets.

One study conducted by Bain & Company not only found that less than a third of reorg's resulted in significant performance increases, but that some actually did just the opposite -- they destroyed value.

Some of the more common reasons cited for these failures include:

  1. Failure to think through what the critical decisions are for the business, who should be responsible for them, and how the new structure will help people make and execute them better.
  2. Misunderstanding the true strengths and weaknesses of the organization.
  3. Missing key details of how the new organization will actually function.
  4. Sticking to a flawed solution for too long.

While all of these and many more are key problems, I think  there is another key aspect that impacts all of the above: the lack of tools available to really understand the impacts on people. As mentioned earlier, there is no lack of planning regarding these larger reorganizations. However, there is often little data available to help forecast the impact on people, and there are very few tools that help with creating multiple scenarios for managers to choose from.

According to the authors of this recent Harvard Business Review article on merger reorganizations, "In developing organizational solutions, explicitly choosing from a number of options is the best approach. No solution will perfectly fit all future possibilities and every solution will have its downsides: only by weighing alternatives will you see what you might gain and what you might lose."Team scenario planning tools

But how do you choose from a host of alternatives if it is difficult or impossible to truly identify the potential options? This is where Cloverleaf comes in. Not only are you able to visualize the strengths and cultural dimensions of each organization but you can actually scenario plan the impact of combining, consolidating or re-shuffling the people inside organizations and teams.

Now - at least for culture, strengths and personality - you can know that you will go into the changes with eyes wide open. We may not be able to solve the detailed integration questions, but with Cloverleaf, you now have a powerful people planning tool. Contact us to find out more about our enterprise solutions or create a free account for up to 1 team.

Understanding Commonalities within a Team

David DeSteno, a professor of psychology at Northeastern University and the author of The Truth About Trust: How It Determines Success in Life, Love, Learning, and More wrote a recent story for the HBR about how identifying commonalities on a team can lead to effectiveness. This is a concept that Cloverleaf was founded on. The belief that the first step towards building anything great is truly understanding the labor force that is working to accomplish the task. According to DeSteno,

"For people to work together, they need to know that both labor and credit will be shared. In short, they need teammates who understand their feelings (i.e. empathy) and care about their wellbeing (i.e. compassion)."

At Cloverleaf we have built a platform that helps managers discover not only the commonalities but also how the differences that each team member brings to the table contributes to the whole. Cloverleaf also provides a common cultural language that helps team members from different backgrounds celebrate the parts of their collective selves that value the same things and understand the unique markers of their team.

Coming back to Desteno, he says, "when it comes to empathy and compassion, the most powerful tool is a sense of similarity – a belief that people’s interests are joined and, thus, that they’re all on the same team and will benefit from supporting each other."

He encourages those teams interested in becoming more effective to "take time to learn about team members, find commonalities or shared interests and begin to highlight them in discussion. Develop a team identity and encourage people to categorize themselves as part of it."

This is easily accomplished with Cloverleaf's team tools. Take a look at the Cloverleaf TeamCulturefounder team as an example. The image to the left represents our team's culture along six dimensions. Notice the highlighted dimensions of Control and Management Philosophy. Those dimensions with a tight range indicate the dimensions with the most commonality or agreement. This forms unique insight into a team identity. Of course Cloverleaf doesn't stop there but provides insights into personality, team dynamics and strengths.

Kevin Delaney, the co-founder of Quartz an online news site recently wrote about how something weird happened with their startup when they crossed the 150 employee mark in their growth. He mentions that this was an experience that many startups encounter. He writes that once the staff exceeds 150 people, employees are no longer the single, cohesive, culture-reinforcing unit they were during the company’s earliest days.

According to Delaney, one of the more prominent examples of an organization that worked hard to prevent this erosion in commonality and group identity is W.L. Gore & Associates, the maker of Gore-Tex fabric.

"[Gore] has an unconventional approach to managing the changing dynamics that come with growth. The privately held manufacturer, which has more than 10,000 employees, generally doesn’t allow the staff at any of its factories to exceed 150 people before building another, self-contained factory next to it. That’s because founder Bill Gore felt that when a unit of workers got big enough, “we decided” became “they decided,” as management writer Gary Hamel, who has studied the company, explains it. Gore understood that workers in a 150-person unit could all know one another, and share a commitment to group goals and values—and that any growth beyond that would change those dynamics."

At Cloverleaf we are building solutions to help you manage teams of 5, 150 or 1,000. We understand that teams are constantly evolving as is the culture and the ability to execute on a plan. That is why an organizational design tool like Cloverleaf's is critical to getting the most out of your talent investment.

To learn more about your team get started with your own Cloverleaf account here or to learn more about our enterprise solutions go here.

How Managers Spend Their Time, Now and in the Future

The Harvard Business Review recently published a video summarizing a recent study on the potential role that Artificial Intelligence could have on management. While the prospect of artificial intelligence impacting managers may seem a far-off fairy tale and is interesting given the buzz around AI, we found it interesting for the interesting stats about managers.ManagersTime For example, take a look at this graph indicating that more than half of a manager's time is spent on administrative tasks and only a mere 7% of their time, or said another way 2.8 hrs / week, is spent on developing people and engaging with stakeholders. Which means the amount of time spent developing people is probably closer to 1 hour / week when you exclude engaging stakeholders.ManagersSkills

Or what about this statistic indicating managers which skills managers rated in their top three. Of the skills listed, most people skills fell squarely at or near the bottom of the list. This included 'people development and coaching, and 'performance management'.

The thrust of this article implied that this was due to the overwhelming tide of administrative tasks that could be easily automated with AI. But what if the real reason is the level of discomfort, training and lack of tools available to help the managers be successful with leading their teams and coaching their people?

Cloverleaf is built to do just that. We help managers understand team members' strengths and personality so you are promoting capable leaders that want to focus more time on leadership, training and coaching. Cloverleaf also gives managers insights into how to motivate and put people in the right tasks and positions to be successful. To learn more or to get started today visit


People and Culture

Peter Aceto, the CEO of Tangerine (formerly ING Direct) recently sat down with Simon Sinek, author and thought leader on culture and workforce relationships. In their conversation they covered a lot of ground regarding the role of people in creating culture. You can see the full video clip below. This is a concept that we are passionate about at Cloverleaf. The premise of Cloverleaf is that you can discover culture and impact culture by understanding the people inside that culture. Whether your group is a small work team or a Fortune 500 company it still comes down to the shared values, attitudes and beliefs of the people inside those 'teams'.

Simon agrees. The highlights from this clip include:

  1. Culture is what brings people together. While the textbook definition may be common values and beliefs, a strong culture is one that has a group of people that care about each other. Oftentimes cultures collapse during hard times, but strong and enduring cultures persist through difficult periods.
  2. CEO's that put culture first are the leaders that achieve great things
  3. Out biology is social and as social beings we are at our best when we work together. With that in mind, are we working towards our own natural best in the context of the teams we work within?
  4. Simon believes that it is impossible to adjust culture by creating arbitrary (often quantifiable) business goals.

These are all themes that are covered by Cloverleaf. We believe that visualizing the team gives great insights into organizational culture. Furthermore, this can only happen if the development of the individual is the basis for this Screen Shot 2016-11-16 at 12.56.48 PManalysis and planning.

This was reinforced recently in a blog post on the Talent Management & HR blog entitled "8 Culture Change Secrets Most Leaders Don’t Understand". In this post, the eighth point was that culture transformation starts with personal transformation.

I love this point from Larry Senn. You can effectively cover the first seven “secrets” but your change efforts will bog down as individual behavior and mindset issues continue to persist, especially with top leaders. Top leaders must gain an understanding of how their behavior is impacting the behavior of others. Is that impact constructive, passive, or aggressive? How are they reinforcing the current culture? What individual and team development efforts need to be managed in parallel with the overall organization transformation?

That is why at Cloverleaf we not only provide team scenario tools but we also provide personal insights that are tailored to your strengths, personality and cultural preferences. To get your free personal cultural profile and insights and connect with your teammates go to Cloverleaf today.

Hear What the Founder of Strengths Finder Says About Teams

The Cloverleaf team listened to a podcast recently that featured the founder of Strengths Finder, Marcus Buckingham. If you, like the Cloverleaf team, are a fan of StrengthsFinder then this is a must listen to. Marcus Buckingham, founder of StrengthsFinder

In this 60 minute clip Marcus covers some interesting ground.

1. Strengths as a responsibility to society. Marcus believes firmly that once you understand your strengths the next step is understanding that they are not for us, but for others. What good can we do with them?

2. Marcus makes a clear distinction between being good at something, which is performance and not necessarily a strength. Performance and strengths can be connected along with passion, but in itself they are not the same things.

3. At the 34:00 mark in the podcast he mentions that anything of value accomplished has been done in concert with other people. He (and we) call this teams at work. Talents grow in response to other people. 

4 Then our personal favorite at the 45:00 mark he validates the Cloverleaf business model. He says there is nothing like us on the market - well there is and you can try it for free by registering your account today.

Team Building Lessons from a College Classroom


This past week Cloverleaf co-founder and SaaS Salesperson extraordinaire, Ford Knowlton, taught a class at our hometown university - The University of Cincinnati. The class called Professionalism and Purpose is in the college of business and is an elective for varsity athletes. Many sports were represented by athletes in the class - from track & field to football and everything in between.

During the class Ford talked to the athletes about team chemistry, a subject that we know quite a bit about at Cloverleaf given our focus on helping people build teams and find the right mix of people to produce exceptional results.


One of the key discussion points of the class conversation was the role that different personality types, dispositions and strengths influence how team members learn and how they need to be coached. This is a concept that applies regardless of whether you are accomplishing things on the football field or the conference room.

Members of the UC linebacking core are acutely aware of this at a practical level as it is exposed during a missed assignment or highlighted with the roar of approval of 40,000 fans when they are in the right place at the right time.

While they may know it at a very implicit level they had never seen this visualized, until now. The image on the left is two parts of their Cloverleaf profile. Their personality is very clearly that of a "Performer" and being a key leader of the defense they need to be able to influence their teammates and execute on defensive assignments.

Just like the University of Cincinnati football team, you too can visualize your team for greater understanding and performance. Get started today by registering and invite your team.

Is Culture Created Top Down or Bottom Up?

I was recently listening to season three of the Startup podcast which featured its founding company's CEO Alex Blumberg working with an executive coach. The entire episode focused on Alex's role in creating culture at Gimlet Media, the company responsible for the Startup podcast. This reminded me of a big question among those that study corporate culture. Does the CEO set the culture or is it created by the collection of individuals that belong to the organization?

There are obvious great examples of CEO's that have left an indelible mark on their company's culture. Typically these have been founder CEOs or successful bosses that have had extremely long tenures at their respective businesses. People like Jeff Bezos or Steve Jobs come immediately to mind.

But ultimately who has the greater impact and if you want to truly impact culture do you start at the top or the bottom? According to Harvard Business Review article entitled "You Can't Dictate Culture - But You Can Influence It", it is a little of both but ultimately it is the people that create culture.

Even after thousands of years of civilization, leaders still have trouble getting everyone to follow any basic precepts of behavior (think the Ten Commandments). In other words, culture is not a “goal” to be mandated, but the outcome of a collective set of behaviors.

This shouldn't ignore the role of culture influencers but each individual that comes into an organization has an opportunity to shift and shape the organizational culture - for better or worse.

Screen Shot 2016-10-23 at 11.42.23 AM
Screen Shot 2016-10-23 at 11.42.23 AM

At Cloverleaf our hypothesis is that culture isn't created at the top - rather can be dictated by the aggregation of individual cultural preferences of the people that work everyday in your culture.

So what if you could measure the influence of each individual in your organization, define your cultural objectives and put people together in teams that create the clear culture you hope to reinforce?

Now you can. It actually costs you nothing to get started - just invite your team to create a Cloverleaf account and provide a few pieces of data. We aggregate their data on proficiency, personality and preferences and give you a clear view of your existing culture and with our visualizations the way forward is clear.

Don't 'Wing It' with Team Building

Teams are becoming a more critical force in business. While there are few good studies on the increasing role of teams in the workplace some estimates have more than half of all productive work in businesses being derived by teams. This could be permanent teams or project teams that are only formed for a short period of time. It can also include client service teams - an even faster growing segment of team usage in business.

The increasing role of teams in US business can be seen by the drive in our education system which now prioritizes team building at the youngest levels of elementary education and increases through high school to the point that more of your grade is now built around your teams' successes than on your own individual success.

So if teams are so important - why is there so little thought or tools being applied to how we form these teams and what makes a team successful? Sure this is great research occurring around organizational design and some of that includes teams. But we rarely get that research down to a practical level that provides managers with the tools and resources to make better decisions about who we put together to achieve the best outcomes.

Example of a dysfunctional team
Example of a dysfunctional team

In my experience the only time management has stepped back to look at teams were usually as lessons learned from a failed project or only when something is going wrong. This is typically well after considerable time and resources have been spent with less than desired results.

This is why Cloverleaf was created. We believe that a flexible tool that allows you to visualize people scenarios will help you build the best, most productive teams possible. Using proficiencies, personality and preferences we give you tools to mix and match people in your organization and see in real time the impact this could have on performance. Setting team goals, scenario planning and adapting in real time give you the best picture of potential future success.

Build your team today.

Carabello Coffee Case Study

Meet Justin & Emily Carabello, they run a successful coffee shop and roastery in the greater Cincinnati area. Carabello Coffee is consistently rated among the best coffee and coffee house experiences in the city based on Yelp and other location-based rating sites. They recently purchased and rehabbed a corner building adjacent to their existing store for an expansion of the coffee house and roasting operation. It’s a big operation, and it’s growing, which means expanded personnel challenges.

They used Cloverleaf to get a better understanding of their existing workforce and to better position their personnel as they head into an expanded operating footprint.

Screen Shot 2016-08-28 at 3.22.52 PM
Screen Shot 2016-08-28 at 3.22.52 PM

Some of the things they learned by using Cloverleaf to assess their team was that the baristas all had the same personality type and it highlighted that a J (judging) is critical for that important customer service role. Cloverleaf also highlighted that potential baristas that have strengths focused in executing and relationship building bring a combination of skills that are critical to being successful in the role.

Shortly after they built a team in Cloverleaf, Emily hired a new employee. But this person wouldn't have been on their radar had it not been for what they discovered through the Cloverleaf data visualizations.

This new employee previously wouldn’t have been the kind of person they would typically consider. But because of what they learned about their team through Cloverleaf, they recognized that this new person actually had the same personality facets as the rest of their team, making them a surprising ideal fit.

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With these new insights, Carabello Coffee began using the Cloverleaf Applicant Tracking System to screen all potential new employees. Gathering information on personality and strengths at the same time they are gathering resumes allows Carabello to superimpose the applicants on their existing team to see which future potential employees have the right combination of personality, strengths or skills and cultural fit to be the next great barista, cafe manager or coffee roaster.

Cloverleaf has already changed the Carabello’s hiring process, ensuring delicious coffee for generations to come. To start your team on the road to discovering its fit and next great hire visit today.

Forget the Employer Brand and Try Transparency


"Employee brand" and "recruitment brand" are major buzzwords these past few years. Which means a lot of new technologies have popped up to create beautiful websites selling your internal brand to potential employees. 

And that's the problem. These websites exist to SELL workplace brands -- touting all of the best things and none of the  real day-to-day things. Workers today, especially millennials and Gen Xers, crave authenticity. We can smell a sales pitch a mile away. 

We were trained this way. Our schools now spend weeks teaching students how to see through marketing and sales pitches in order to pursue the truth. So of course workers are skeptical when presented with marketing or sales pitches -- they want to know what the workplace is REALLY like.

Is the manager a jerk? How flexible will my hours really be? Will I be guilted into working over the weekend if I ever have a prayer of advancing in this organization? These are the questions we want answers to and no amount of happy videos and beautiful pictures of break rooms and ping pong tables are ever going to give us those answers.

In fact, these are factors that aren't easily quantified. The schedule flexibility that you crave may not be the environment that I want. The culture in IT is different than the culture in the call center - which makes a one size fits all approach challenging. So what is an employer to do?

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Why not start with measuring your culture? Sure, this is no new suggestion. Internal culture surveys have been used widely -- but after the results are generated, are they actually useful long term? We hear they often collect dust on the shelf.

This is why we built Cloverleaf -- to help you measure your culture in an actionable way. As in, you can use the results to communicate your day-to-day culture in your employee brand, and visualize how new hires will fit in the team. 

We believe culture is created by the collection of individuals that make up a teamAnd a company is then a collection of these different teams. So it might help tostart small - perhaps with that difficult department that has high turnover or is constantly looking for that difficult technical skill set that is impossible to recruit for.

Then you canaggregate to entire divisions or Fortune 100 companies. Along the way you have the power to create teams and gain a better understanding of the unique culturesrepresented by these teams. And the best part as a talent acquisition specialist is that you can use that team to build the basis for your recruiting efforts. Attach the job listingto the team dashboardand see how the applicants fit in.

The Quality of the People You Work With

Google (or Alphabet depending on your viewpoint) is known for being an innovative company. Search, Office Productivity & Driverless Cars are among the many technologies that they have helped pioneer. But perhaps one of their biggest innovations is in the area of people. After all, the company has grown its workforce from 3,000 employees to over 61,000 in ten years and you don't grow to be one of the biggest jobs and profit generators in the world without doing people well.

As a result, Google's HR leaders have become in demand as thought leaders in regards to managing teams. One example of this is Laszlo Bock, the SVP of Google's People Operations and author of the book Work Rules!

A key takeaway from the book is that, "people don't stay for the money," according to Bock. But instead, the number one reason people stay is the quality of the people they work with.

This interaction between the people on work teams and the quality, commitment and attitudes of the people on those teams are a huge factor not just in employee engagement but also in the productivity and success of those teams.

That is why we created Cloverleaf - to help people understand their teams better and more importantly to choose the people on the team that they can work best with. Factors such as personality and strengths and not just technical competency are considered when finding the right combination of people to work with.

Register today to find your group of quality people to work with.

The 401K for Your Development Plan

The 401K was an innovation in retirement savings and employee benefits. Sure, they may not beat the "good ol' days" of defined benefit pension plans - but that wasn't a sustainable model. There is no doubt that its tax advantaged status has been a boon for Americans' financial savings. And the fact that you can take the money with you and move the funds easily from manager to manager or into and out of various funds makes it an amazingly flexible tool. What if there was a way to take that same innovative approach to your career development plan?

I have worked for 3 large, national or international employers in my 16 year career and each of them put us through multiple development plans that ranged from one day, team-based training to multi-week development plans that included off-sites and executive coaches.

Regardless of the length or intensity in these training classes they all had a few things in common:

  1. They were built for your current employer

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  2. They used a model that was best for the organization you were in at the time
  3. They ended up in a drawer or on a shelf and were rarely referred to again

But Cloverleaf is changing all of that. Now you can log the results of those assessments as you take them or find new assessments to learn more about yourself.

But beyond the results of the assessments you can now put that information to good use in a way that evolves with the teams you work with. Teams are constantly changing; new roles, new team members, departing team members all impact how the team performs and the cultural dynamics that can impact performance.

Is Job Hopping Still Stigmatized?

I recently read an article from Fast Company that not only claims that job hopping isn't stigmatized but has actually become necessary for a strong career. This led to a good discussion within the Cloverleaf team.

It would be easy for me to come to the defense of job hoppers since I have done a fair amount in my career. Even though I spent ten years at the same company I still moved about every three years into a new role with greater responsibility. But even I can't get past the idea that 'job hoppers' are never satisfied.

But the article makes some great points about the adaptability of those that change jobs regularly. Not to mention recent studies that indicate those moving positions tend to make larger salaries over time.

However, what really caught our attention at Cloverleaf was the following quote:

"If we changed our perspective and said, ‘Everyone here wants to come in, do a great job, and contribute,’ then they either fit or they don’t." After all, this is the typical approach for most organizations bringing new people into their organization. A little hope, a little prayer, maybe even a little luck.

What if we told you that luck has nothing to do with it? What if we said that you could actually find employees that were adaptable, skilled in the role you need them to be skilled in and most importantly are a good fit culturally? That is exactly what we are saying you can do with Cloverleaf.

Cloverleaf is the identity discovery & development tool for individuals & teams. It is the only tool on the market for team building and recruiting that incorporates skills, personality and culture to not only get the most out of your team but also help you find and select the right members to add.