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Taflat Blog

What Is, And Why Do, Leadership Training?

02/26/2019 1 Comment

What Is, And Why Do, Leadership Training?

A Quick Read Into Leadership Training

Recently, our Managing Partners held a meeting to discuss a similar conversation we’ve had with our clients. Our clients sometimes ask, “What is leadership training? What do you do? Will it improve my business?”

We want to keep the answer simple, since everyone’s time is short. Our response is…

Leadership training provides managers of people with simple tools and techniques to approach their teams. For example, executives don’t want their leaders to be “micro-managers,” but they also don’t want them to be “too hands-off.” One component of our work is to train leaders to coach their direct reports with the right amount of involvement, depending on the task the leader and direct report are discussing.

For example, if a direct report is assigned a new task that they’ve never tackled, the leader should be attentive and involved, providing detailed instructions or SOPs. On the other hand, for tasks that have been done for years, the leader still should acknowledge their results. For such tasks, the leader may offer to “help problem solve new ways to look at that task.”

When we explain this, our clients tell us, “That’s so simple!” We agree. But then, that’s our hope. Our training and frameworks SHOULD be simple, easy to remember…and powerful in terms of results!

For a discussion with us on how we can work with your teams, please feel free to contact us! Our Head of Sales is Paul Powell, and Paul can be reached at paul@taflat.com .

The One Key Question For All Development Programs

01/11/2019 0 Comment

The One Key Question For All Development Programs

Our first question with new training or coaching projects is always the same:

“What are the business drivers for you to spend the time and money developing these leadership skills?”

Put another way… “Is there a great reason to make this investment?”

Our clients usually pause, and often say, “Yes, well we’ve grown a lot over the past x-number of years, in both revenue and headcount. And, to be honest, we’ve done very little to train our employees to handle this increase in scope… both the increase in complexity of their work and how to lead a larger number of employees.”

In one instance, a client responded to our question, stating, “We just finalized an acquisition of another company, and we’d really like their leaders to know how we operate, and to get to know our leaders.”

Whatever is the answer, it’s fantastic to learn about these business drivers, which become fuel for your leadership development efforts by:

1) Guiding discussions on the training content and design

2) Helping motivate other leaders to participate in, or sponsor, the development

3) Creating lasting motivation that sustains the skills learned in the training – taking it back to the job

What are the reasons behind initiating the development (coaching or training) of your staff? We’d love to hear from you!

If you’d like to have a conversation with us, please feel free to contact our Director of Business Development, Paul Powell, at paul@taflat.com. We look forward to speaking with you!

Executive Coaching for Entrepreneur CEOs

12/28/2018 1 Comment

Executive Coaching for Entrepreneur CEOs

Executive Coaching for Entrepreneur CEOs

Recently, I’ve taken on several Executive Coaching clients who are entrepreneurs, having started their businesses from scratch. I’ve noticed that these clients seem to struggle with a unique challenge – their task load has them buried in details numerous levels below their job title.

For most of my career, I’ve coached CEOs and other senior executives for Fortune 1000 companies. I’ve spent hours working with them on SWOT analyses, talking through presentations for their Board of Directors, practicing techniques to strengthen their senior leaders’ sense of accountability, or adjusting how they deliver their messages to their staffs, among other topics. These topics are probably the same list that any MBA student would make, when asked to describe Executive Coaching.

However, recently, I’ve been working with entrepreneurial CEOs, who run companies worth $10-80m. And I’ve noticed one key similarity in what they want from their Coaching project – to help them begin to work on more strategic tasks. These CEOs often find themselves tackling such tasks as: billing issues when they have a billing department, handling customer complaints when they have a Director of Customer Relations, or doing their own recruiting when they have an HR person…and sometimes when they have an in-house recruiter!

The trend with these CEOs has been striking. And I boiled down the root cause of this behavior into three areas:

  • The “Servant-Leader” theory – We all have read the leadership articles describing the importance of being a servant-leader. Many successful CEOs have said that they subscribe to this philosophy. But, perhaps the problem lies in semantics. Being a “servant-leader” does mean working to get results by supporting your staff, but it does NOT mean ACTING like a “servant.” Some CEOs may feel that by making their own Xerox copies, they are showing their employees that “no task is beneath me.”
  • They can do it better and quicker. Entrepreneurial CEOs started their business from the ground up. So, not only have they had to do every task in the Company, they know how to do it well, and quickly. They have mopped up floors, written marketing proposals, and even landed the huge clients that propelled their business into the multi-million dollar range. In many cases, CEOs/Owners are the most talented people in the company, and they are the most talented at whatever they do. And so, in their mind, if that detailed billing report needs to be created, they know they can get it done well, and quickly, which serves both accuracy and speed.
  • They like being busy. Yes, believe it or not, many of the CEOs I work with, enjoy that rush that comes from “getting sh@t done”. They like the feeling of knocking off tasks. For example, a Marketing Strategy that they should be working on may take them three months to complete. However, fixing that prickly customer’s service issue may take them one-two hours, and that makes them FEEL great!

In our Coaching sessions, one of the techniques we use is we ask the CEO to maintain a list of their daily tasks, tracking these tasks over a few weeks. At that time, we help them to segment these tasks in a simple 2x2 grid, included below. We work on helping the CEO realize the critical importance of the CEO role. If a ship's Captain is down below working with the crew, who is reading the navigational charts? Who is checking for life-threatening obstacles? Just making the CEO aware of their role, as critical as any role in their Company, sometimes is the greatest result for that Coaching engagement.

Executive Coaching for Entrepreneur CEOs

If you’d like to talk with us about Executive Coaching, for all business sizes, please feel free to contact me. I would be happy to talk with you about your specific areas to target.

NOVEMBER TOPIC: COMMUNICATION STYLES

11/15/2018 1 Comment

So, as an expert in Communication Styles, you'd think those of us at The Academy for Leadership and Training would be fantastic communicators, right? Well, I'm here to tell you, we need training just like everyone else!

Recently, we delivered an interactive workshop, based on Merrill's Communication Styles (Analytical, Driver, Expressive, Amiable), and we were reminded of how critical it is to continually refresh our knowledge of the Styles, for our own operations. Here's how that played out...

One of our key clients is highly "Analytical" - (if you're fluent in DISC, he's a "turbo C"). Every time we would present a proposal to him, he wouldn't act on it. Of course, that made us feel insecure because we thought we had missed the mark. Our insecurity would lead to an unnecessary follow-up phone call or an email. All our client wanted was time. Time to process and time to consider the options and path forward. Fortunately, this client hired us and agreed to our proposal, but we paused to reflect on how we could improve.

​Here's a handy list to help you communicate better with your clients (assuming you can assess their Communication Style):

  • Analyticals:
    Give them enough information to make a decision, tell them you're open to giving more information, and be patient!
  • Drivers:
    Write your proposals in simple checklists & bullet points, put details in an appendix, be ready for questions!
  • Expressives:
    Be prepared to give details, but plan meetings to "brainstorm together" and "develop the big picture"
  • Amiables:
    Start every communication with some greeting, take notes on details about them and their team.
NOVEMBER TOPIC: COMMUNICATION STYLES

The Four Quadrants of Communication Styles

Keep in mind, these tips are just that - tips. People adjust, and their styles adjust too. We all know there is no magic bullet when it comes to communication - the best is to lead with what you think is the style they need. Our rule: "The Golden Rule is to treat others as you would like to be treated; the Platinum Rule, though, is to try to treat others as THEY would like to be treated!" ​

- Jim

Executive Coaching: CEO, Marketing, and the Board of Directors

07/02/2018 1 Comment

Executive Coaching: CEO, Marketing, and the Board of Directors

In our series of blogs, we have been highlighting real scenarios where the use of an Executive Coach led to tangible business value.

Brad is the CEO of a major agricultural company, specializing in fruit farming, packaging, and distribution. Originally, Brad engaged our company for leadership training that he wanted to provide to his senior staff. As an add-on to the contract, Brad asked if one of our coaches could meet with him the next morning for a 1:1. I agreed to be Brad's coach --- and our planned 2-hour meeting lasted upwards of 4 hours.

To kick-off the meeting, Brad explained that his fruit business had been growing steadily for the past 15 years, however, in the last few years, he noticed a troubling flattening of demand...and surging costs. There were many factors to this issue, but after some conversation, we pinpointed the root cause at the Board of Directors-level, and their refusal to fund any Marketing efforts.

As we talked, it became evident that the Board of Directors held mixed views on Marketing. We talked about each Board member’s personality, and predicted their motivations for their opinions. Fortunately, the Board had a meeting within a week, and we used the whiteboard to create our action plan for Brad to “pre-sell” his Marketing ideas. Brad let me know that two of the Board members were highly influential at the meetings, and if he got them on board in advance of the meeting, he had a good shot at securing Marketing funds for the company.

Brad effectively used his coach to clarify his strategies - taking latent thoughts and developing tactical action plans. It's worth noting that Brad was able to influence the Board to take significant actions, including removing one resistant leader and launching a multi-million dollar Marketing campaign.

It is a fair to ask, “Well...would the CEO have come to those actions on his own anyway, without the coaching meeting?" We don’t know. We can say that we've seen numerous great ideas, laying dormant for years, springing to life after a few coaching sessions. If you'd like to speak with some of our clients, we'd be happy to furnish references.

For more on Executive Coaching, please email our Head of Sales at paul@taflat.com .

Executive Coaching, Listening, and Whiteboards

04/29/2018 1 Comment

Executive Coaching, Listening, and Whiteboards

Above is a true, first sketch at organizing a client's whiteboard... the brainstorming process.

For many leaders, “Executive Coaching” seems like some vaguely helpful practice. And, the fact that so many people refer to themselves as Coaches, I can understand why leaders are unclear of the purpose of a great Coach. Each client I engage does require something different, and so the art of Coaching is having enough tools in your tool belt to provide what they need. Having these years of varied experiences allows a Coach to avoid the trap of becoming “a hammer in search of a nail.”

In light of that general confusion around Coaching, I thought I might provide one example of Executive Coaching that has been popular with my clients… “Listening and White-Boarding.”

I’ve found many of my clients have so many strategies and goals in their head, and what they need is a way to advance these strategies in a clear, practical manner. In those cases, I start simply…and I listen…and I listen more…

Once the leader has talked through, in a brainstorm fashion, so many of their ideas, the two of us literally stand in front of a whiteboard and we begin to organize and structure their thoughts.

It doesn’t much matter how we structure the whiteboard ideas. Often, it’s simple sections such as: Marketing/Sales Projects, Operations Projects, Long-Term Business Goals, Immediate Tasks, etc… What does matter is that we’re structuring the numerous great ideas residing in that leader’s head. Once we’ve completed our first whiteboard, most of my clients wind up stating something like, “Just having those ideas sketched out allows me to move forward on them!”

With a segmented whiteboard, our follow-up Coaching meetings often start with a review of the status of current whiteboard items, and then we move to creating new project ideas, or to breaking projects down into smaller, accomplishable steps. It's really much like a personal trainer at a gym.

Executive Coaching, Listening, and Whiteboards

I know…it’s simple.

But then, simplicity is a fantastic way to generate and maintain business momentum! ​

Author
Jim Glantz, Phd, is the Managing Partner of The Academy For Leadership And Training.

Author

Jim Glantz is the Managing Partner of The Academy For Leadership And Training (TAFLAT). A 20+ year Executive of Organizational Development & Training, Jim holds a doctoral degree in Organizational Development and a Masters in Education from UCLA. Jim is an Associate Professor & the author of numerous articles.

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