Leadership/Management

5 Ways StretchLab President Verdine Baker Learns What Motivates His Team

When early dreams of playing professional soccer were derailed by injuries, Verdine Baker channeled his competitive urge into finding a new game to conquer. And by all measures, he found his new sport: business leadership. 

When Baker joined StretchLab as the national sales director, there were three franchise locations. Today, there are more than 400 studios across North America and 900 licensed locations globally, making them the global leader in assisted stretching. Baker has risen to the position of president of StretchLab, a brand among Xponential Fitness’s impressive portfolio, which includes Pure Barre and CycleBar.

As an athlete and a leader, Baker believes the secret to leading others is knowing what pushes and motivates them, and he shares his five, sure-fire means of getting to know them deeper than just the “surface level things” on a consistent basis in this episode.

“Our weekly meetings are not just feel-good meetings,” he points out. “You are actually gaining a competitive advantage because when the chips are down, you actually know what pushes and motivates them.”

In the podcast, Baker says he fully appreciates the challenges of getting to know your team on a deeper level, but that creating connections with the team that also serves your business is mostly a matter of building trust— and understanding “what team members want out of the arrangement as well.” How do you build a safe, trustworthy “second home” at work? Baker offers numerous tips including:

• Use the first minute of every meeting to “humanize” the context and put everyone in a more open and collaborative mindset.

• Create daily, weekly and monthly meeting rhythms that provide timely and relevant contexts for decision-making.

• Take your organization’s vision, purpose and values down off the wall and put it into your personal and team day-to-day conversations.

“We have to get to know each other and understand our purpose,” notes Baker. “I know why each one of my team members are here, but I have to constantly remind them, and myself, why they’re here. The stuff we’re going to talk about in business is going to be the work, but the “why” will also bring in their family, their health and their lives. That’s what I mean by humanizing things.”


Don Yaeger

Over the last 30 years, longtime Associate Editor for Sports Illustrated and 11-time New York Times Best-Selling Author Don Yaeger has been blessed to interview the greatest winners of our generation. He has made a second career as a keynote speaker and executive coach, discerning habits of high performance to teach teams how to reach their full potential.

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Don Yaeger

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