We had the wonderful opportunity to interview Joe Schreck, Partner at The Piedmont Group of MassMutual on managing millennials and his leadership style. In an industry where many don’t make it past the first year, Joe’s team has consistently out performed and achieved greater success. This is proven by having the most direct reports score high on MassMutual’s proprietary Leadership Index. He was recently asked to speak at MassMutual’s HQ to his counterparts all over the country and share keys to his success. We interviewed Joe to learn his secrets.

1. You seem like a very thoughtful leader and one who cherishes relationships. What instances growing up lead you to put team first and focus on relationships?

I have had pretty great role-models. My Mom and Dad worked hard for our family, so we had the opportunity to spend more time with our grandparents than most kids. My Grandma was nurturing and my Grandpa was a blue collar, hard-worker. He won a lot of close friendships because of his work ethic, and I strive to carry that same torch. My family’s influence made me focus on relationships, more and more. I grew up playing sports and was fortunate enough to be the Captain for more than one of the teams I played on. I knew I had to be a solid role model and leader for the other guys on the team. I learned exactly how important it is to make decisions for the greater good of the group rather than focusing on individual accomplishment. As I continue to mature, I realize most people have a difficult time putting their own interests behind the interests of others. I believe good leaders have the ability to look beyond themselves at the big picture.

2. You were just recently asked to speak in front of over 200 managers at MassMutual’s HQ, what lead to this invitation?

Like most sales-based businesses, our business is built one relationship at time, so it can be tough to build a book of clients. The energy you bring to the first few months and years of your business are important to the success of your long-term career. Most people that start in our business fail within the first year, but our team has proven we can accomplish the opposite. We have the highest percentage of new advisors achieve success in their first 4 years in the business. I have been asked to share some of the ideas that have made us successful.

3. What is the secret to retention? Any other themes you’ll be discussing with all the managers? 

Retention is tough without purpose. We try and recruit like-minded people, people that have an abundance mentality, people unafraid to work toward achieving their goals. We can celebrate a team member’s success but are competitive enough to want to beat them the next month. We work hard to understand why a team member makes the decisions they make. We work hard to understand what is important to them and work hard to make what’s important to them also important to us. With my presentation I hope to help each manager understand how to find every advisor’s individual “why” and discover their “purpose.”

4. What would be the most important piece of advices you’d tell a first time manager starting out today?

Figure out the why and listen! Learn about who you’re working with. What makes them tick? What motivates them? What are they trying to accomplish in life (its ever changing)? I like to tell my team I work for them. If they are achieving their goals, my goals are fulfilled.

5. How do you retain millenials and keep them engaged?

I am considered a millennial, so I try and do things I would want done for me. I believe it has to be about them. Most of the people on my team are travelers, so we try and tie our goals around trips or experiences. Prospecting and activity are the most important fundamentals of our business, so we try and incorporate some fun in that. Currently we have a bingo board of activity goals. Once you complete a goal you cross it off the board. The person with the most activities crossed wins a prize. The prize will be specific to the individual that wins. Activities like these help build community among our team members, which is important. I believe people want to belong to something bigger than themselves.

6. Walk us through your 1:1 schedule. Any secrets to holding effective 1:1 meetings?

I hold most of my 1:1 meetings on Monday. Most people tell me I am wrong by doing that, but I enjoy it. It’s a day I look forward too, and I think my team looks forward to them too. WideAngle is obviously the template for our 1:1. I send it out on Thursday night typically review them Sunday as I start to plan for the week. It gives me the tone of how the 1:1 is going to go; strategic, motivating, kick in the butt, nurturing. I have an idea of where they are in relation to their year goal (we measure a year by 12 weeks), then we reverse engineer their goal to the remainder of the week with people they are meeting with or people they plan to reach out too. Hopefully they do most of the talking.

7. As a leader of a team, how personal vs. professional do you get when managing them? What topics are off limits which ones are prioritized?

When I first started in management, my manager told me, “when you recruit them, you recruit all of them.” What he meant was you have to deal with the personal side and the professional side. I feel like I have had conversations with most of my team that they may not have had with anyone else, which builds trust, loyalty and camaraderie. I feel like we are making a difference in each other’s lives. The situation is the boss. I try and prioritize business, but they usually drive.

8. If a manager wants to be a better manager starting today, what is your first suggestion.

Discover their why and understand their purpose. 1:1 gives you the opportunity to discuss that on a regular consistent basis.

9. How can people connect with you online?

Email – jschreck@financialguide.com
The Piedmont Groups


About WideAngle: WideAngle powers your 1:1 meetings and performance reviews through software.