By Julie Barker
David Marberger, CFO of Godiva Chocolatier, believes strongly in the benefits of playing a team sport. He played baseball through high school and even today with his travel schedule, continues to coach 14- and 15-year-olds every weekend. All three of his children (boys 17 and 15, and a girl, 12) have played competitive sports.
“Lessons learned on the playing field translate to the world of business,” he says. Players learn to blend their individual skills with those of other people for the betterment of the team. “I’ve coached teams going into the season thinking we were going to win because we had so much talent, and we didn’t win because they weren’t a team,” he says.
“I spend a lot of time thinking about the Godiva [business] team and how it is changing with technology and big data and a lot of things that are going on in finance and IT — how are all of those things changing my team? What are the new skills I need? What are the skills our people must acquire? Every manager, every leader needs to think about these things and take action.”
Team motivation is also very much on Marberger’s mind. Having a premium product to sell might seem motivating in itself, but he says, “If you’re not the gold standard in the way you operate and the way you treat people, over time people aren’t going to care” about doing a good job or staying. Regardless of your function, an important part of leading is maintaining and inspiring people.”
A company like Godiva and its products need — and are held to — a higher standard.