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Sizzling Summer Series —A Good Team Is Like A Portobello Patty Melt

Recently, a conversation came up with a Dallas nonprofit leader about building effective teams. Dulari Mehta said she looks at building effective teams the same way she builds a good portobello patty melt. I hadn’t heard that one before and I love a good patty melt! (It is a great summertime crowd pleaser.) Diving into the topic, Dulari reflected on when she was asked what made her team so effective given how small it was compared to other larger teams that weren’t getting nearly as much work done. “I realized it was about making parts into a whole, bringing different things together for one shared experience, like all the ingredients in a portobello patty melt brought together to make a tasty experience. While I was trying to decide if I liked the portobello or the cheese or the bread best, it resonated with me. I loved the whole sandwich, because of what each ingredient did for the whole. If I did not use all those ingredients it wouldn’t be the sandwich it was, producing the delicious experience it did. So, wasn’t the same true for my team?”

Dulari made a good point, she further explained, “From the tangy Dijon, to the seasoned roasted portobellos, the crisp fresh bread and rich fontina, to the complimentary glass of Pinot Noir and crinkle cut air fried fries, each part was doing its job for a memorable whole. If we apply this to building an effective team, it means each person plays a part in making the whole work, but that person must be truly clear on their job and then execute it every single time. As the leader, had to make sure all people were being used to the best of their ability.”

I agreed with her analogy and I was ready for that sandwich experience myself, especially as the summer heat has started in Texas. As our conversation continued I asked how do you bring people together to be an effective whole? Dulari shared what worked for her, “Our team worked because each of us knew exactly what our daily priorities were and how it affected the entire team’s workflow. As a team, we created a chart with each team member’s 3 critical daily priorities, all our daily expectations, and all current projects. I coupled the chart with quick daily checklists and concise weekly reports. We put it into action and modified until it worked smoothly. I imagine the same process goes into finalizing a great recipe.”

As leaders this can be hard to do when we are caught up in many Zoom meetings, conference calls and the day to day tasks. However, as Dulari learned, it is critical to make time to assess all our people and their talents and strategically find a way to bring them together to getting real work done, every day. Each team and tasks are different but the ‘part to whole’ concept Dulari shares is universal to building effective teams. Whatever method you choose to use, the concept is still the same, “Efficient, effective teams ensure each member understands their role and executes it correctly to create results: every single time.”

Here at The Henry Group, we specialize in offering small businesses and nonprofits expert services designed to improve their organizations. Maybe if you are reading this and find your team or board of directors could utilize training or coaching. If so, then consider reaching out to us for consultation. Simply visit to contact us about leveraging your next project.

Follow our Blog for the next few weeks in the Sizzling Summer Series. Cheers to the Summer with my favorite recipe for Portobello Patty Melts!

Aliah M. Henry

CEO, The Henry Group

Follow Me! Facebook, IG and Twitter @aliahhenry @consultantsTHG

Portobello Patty Melts

Real Simple, April 2020

Recipe by Liz Mervosh


½ tsp. smoked paprika

¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup olive oil, divided

½ tsp kosher salt

8 portobello mushroom caps

1 yellow onion, thinly sliced

4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened

¼ cup Dijon mustard, divided

8 sourdough bread slices

8 oz. fontina cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)

2 cups packed baby arugula

Cornichons, for serving

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Stir paprika, pepper, 3 tablespoons oil, and salt in a small bowl. Rub mushrooms with mixture and arrange gill sides down, on a baking sheet. Bake until tender and lightly browned, about 320 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until softened and slightly browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer onion to a bowl, reserving skillet.

Spread ½ tablespoon butter on 1 side of each bread slice. Divide 1 tablespoon mustard among unbuttered sides of 4 bead slices. Top each with half the cheese. Layer with arugula, onion, mushrooms, and remaining cheese. Top with remaining 4 bread slices buttered sides up.

Cook 2 sandwiches in reserved skillet over medium, flipping once, until cheese is melted, and bread is golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Repeat with remaining sandwiches. Serve with cornichons and remaining 3 tablespoons mustard.


775 Calories, 47g Fat (21g saturated), 97mg Cholesterol, 6g Fiber, 20g Protein, 62g Carbs, 1,497mg Sodium, 14g Sugar

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