Number of Direct Reports: 14

Joe Schreck is a partner at Piedmont Group, an Atlanta-based group of Mass Mutual financial advisors. Joe first started using WideAngle in May 2016. Almost exactly a year later, Joe was on stage at Mass Mutual HQ due to his team members exceptional scores in Mass Mutual’s proprietary Leadership Index. Also notable about Joe is his high retention rate in a business where most new hires don’t last a calendar year.
We sat down with Joe at a hot lunch spot near his office in the Perimeter area of Atlanta to talk about his management style and what enables him to succeed in both hitting the number and keeping his people.

Favorite Team: Green Bay Packers Logo The Green Bay Packers

Life kind of stops when the Packers play. My family has had tickets to the Packers game since they were playing at County Stadium in Milwaukee.

Most Vulnerable Question You’ve Asked in WideAngle Brief:

  • What do I do that pisses you off?

WideAngle’s Value:

To be honest, two out of four WideAngle briefs a month will not provide significant value. However when you ask the question: ‘what will it take for you to leave the firm?’ and their response is the exact answer you want to build a culture around. That answer alone is invaluable to the retention and motivation for my whole team — so the ROI is realized very quickly.

If no one else wrote anything for the rest of the year, the money I’ve spent is worth it just from uncovering the answer to one question. Most managers aren’t asking the tough questions that get to the heart and soul of their team. I would have never asked these questions face to face nor would I have gotten a real answer off the cuff. That level of transparency is crucial.

Do You Bring A Lot of Business Into Your 1 on 1’s?

Not really. It’s about what your direct reports want out of the meeting. If they want to discuss it, then we do. I have other ways to communicate around performance.

What Is the Motivation for a Good Manager?

When I see a new team member join our team and over time, I get to be part of their success. I get to see their success. During company functions, experiencing what their work has provided for their family. That is what it’s all about.

Management sucks if you’re in it for yourself. If you are a selfish person, management is the worst place you could want to be.

What do you want for your direct reports?

I want my team to look back on our time together and say: ‘I learned a ton. I learned a lot about myself. I acquired the skills necessary to be successful.’