DiscoverThe Executive Connect PodcastFrom Chaos to Cohesion: The Art of Team Building
From Chaos to Cohesion: The Art of Team Building

From Chaos to Cohesion: The Art of Team Building

Update: 2024-04-27


In this episode of the Executive Connect Podcast, Melissa Aarskaug and guest Nina Johnson

discussed the importance of building diverse teams and shared strategies for managing and leading effective teams. They emphasized the value of bringing in individuals with different backgrounds, experiences, and skill sets to enhance team performance and decision-making. They also shared insights on addressing toxic employees, managing remote teams, rebuilding trust, and effective leadership strategies. 


Key Insights:


00:00 - Intro

01:09 - The Party Analogy

Building the perfect team is like hosting the perfect party. Discussion about the importance of diversity in experiences and thought leadership within teams to stimulate innovation and growth.


04:16 - Evolving Perspectives on Team Building

Early career in their careers, many team builders hire people just like them. Nina spoke about her shift in approach to hiring, moving away from replicating her own skill set towards seeking diverse perspectives and experiences.


06:23 - Interviewing for Diversity: 

When starting on an interview process for a team, understand the importance of assessing candidates for their unique perspectives and problem-solving abilities rather than solely focusing on technical skills.


11:54 - Addressing Team Dysfunction

How to handle situations where trust is broken or a team member proves to be toxic. Learn about proactive intervention and, when necessary, restructuring or exiting individuals to maintain team morale and productivity.


15:08 - Filling Team Vacancies

A discussion on strategies for filling team vacancies, prioritizing internal growth opportunities and seeking candidates who complement existing team dynamics and skill sets.


16:47 -Nurturing Remote Team Culture

When it comes to remote work, look for consistency in communication, fostering regular team interactions, and creating opportunities for virtual and in-person connections.


21:43 - Building Trust and Empathy 

How important is empathy in leadership? Nina and Melissa gave some examples of accommodating employees' personal commitments to foster trust and loyalty and spoke about the importance of addressing trust issues directly and facilitating open dialogue to rebuild team cohesion.


23:06 - Key Leadership Principles 

A conversation about top leadership principles, including customizing leadership approaches, recognizing the time investment required for effective team building, and trusting oneself to grow and adapt as a leader over time.



Guest Bio:

Nina Johnson is a +20 year veteran in the consumer-packaged goods industry with specialized functional experience, including revenue growth management, go-to-market strategy, business planning, and category & consumer insights.


The majority of her career has been working to grow one of the most iconic, recognizable brands in the world, Coca-Cola. She is known to have a strategic mindset with a holistic enterprise approach when solving problems. She can see both the big and the little picture at the same time. Her most recent role was the Vice President of Commercial Channel Strategy and Planning for one of the largest U.S. Coca-Cola bottlers, where she was responsible for developing the go-to-market strategy across the entire Coca-Cola portfolio, and across all channels of trade for the Midwest and West region. She has worked on innovative strategies that span new package pilots, flavor segmentation, and retail strategy.


Nina holds an MBA from Kennesaw State University and a dual bachelors degree, one in Business Administration and one in Finance, from DePaul University.


About Melissa Aarskaug:

I’m an energetic executive with 15+ years of experience steering companies to new heights of growth and scale. An engineer at heart (I started my career as an engineering manager on one of the world’s largest concrete bridges), I’ve become a trusted leader and business builder in the technology and cybersecurity space. 

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From Chaos to Cohesion: The Art of Team Building

From Chaos to Cohesion: The Art of Team Building

Melissa Aarskaug