Ken Rona on What Marriage Teaches About Teamwork

In Chapter 2 of 15 in his 2012 Capture Your Flag interview, digital media executive Ken Rona answers "What Has Marriage Taught You About Teamwork?"  In his marriage, Rona learns that conflict builds up more often than not when communication gaps exist, so he and his wife prioritize more consistent communication.  Rona also learns the importance of positive reinforcement and flattery.

Ken Rona is a Vice President at Turner Broadcasting, where he leads teams across advertising sales, big data software development and business strategy.  Rona earned a BA and MA in Political Science from Stony Brook University and a PhD in Behavioral Economics from Duke University. 


Erik Michielsen: What has marriage taught you about teamwork?

Ken Rona: I was never a sports kid. I wore glasses. I’m—you know, I’m not—I have slow muscles. I have slow twitch. You know, no endurance. And, you know, it’s how I was made. So a lot of those experiences I think that people have growing up in terms of being parts of teams, nobody ever wanted me on a team, and for good reason, I mean it totally makes sense. The—you know, I’d say that my lessons—My lessons around teamwork with my wife I wouldn’t say are—I wouldn’t say they’re life changing, right? I think that we’re just—we try really hard to communicate, so there’s a lot of—in fact, we—when we have conflict, it is typically because I have been away for 2 weeks, right? Or she’s been—I was away for a week and she was away—we haven’t had a chance to really talk. And things are building up. So I’d say that without the steady stream of communication then things fall apart.

I’d also say that I’ve learned a lot—the benefit of positive reinforcement and flattery—and my team I think will tell you this too that I will both come in and say, hey, you didn’t such a great job here, but then I will come in and say, ah I caught you being good. So I think that’s something that I learned from my wife that she’s somebody who needs—when she’s done something well she needs you to notice it, right?

So I think that’s one of these things where—just, you know, just lubricates the—it lubricates the team. If one isn’t just like, you, you know—Like I’m not a yeller coach, right? You know, like, I’m not one of those coach—like Bobby Knight. I don’t think that’s—That’s not a model that—it certainly wouldn’t work in my marriage. But that’s a—Yeah, so I think it’s—I’d say the communication is the—is probably the single biggest thing.