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Who is Responsible for Lagging Performance?

05/26/2022 0 Comment

Who is Responsible for Lagging Performance?

"The supervisor is disruptive and causes conflict on our team. But, he does know the work, and gets things done in an important area of our Company."

As a coach, I can't tell you how many times I've heard that comment. We might spend several full coaching meetings talking about this individual, and getting to the root cause of what is going on. It's a challenge in that the person is a solid/OK performer of the work, but is causing stress within the team. And I can empathize. In some ways, it's important to remember that this individual, too, is a person. They may even feel they are "trying hard, and delivering on the Company's goals."

If you've done your investigation and the problem does, indeed, lie with them, what can be done?

You are left with four options:

  1. This person can make their own personal changes.
  2. You, as the leader, can make organizational changes, or even move them to another group. When that happens, you will hope that these organizational changes make a difference in behavior.
  3. You can fire the individual.
  4. You can do nothing.

As a coach, I like to start by asking about Option #4 ("do nothing"). If you do nothing, what results can you expect? Almost always, the leader replies, "If we do nothing, it will damage the culture of the division, people will quit, and I'll have more work to do as we back-fill those roles. We can't leave it as is."

OK, that's great. Now, at least we know that "doing nothing" is not an option. Now, there are 3 options, so let's play them out:

  1. Make personal changes: For this option to work, the individual will have to have a level of self-awareness, and openness to feedback. Most likely, a leadership course won't create the long-lasting, tough changes to behavior. 1:1 coaching may be a great opportunity for their growth.
  2. Make organizational changes: I have seen this option work. The X-factor is going to be, how engrained is the disruptive behavior? How long has it been going on, and do they have a foundation of positivity to fall back on? If the disruptive behavior is a recent phenomenon, sometimes a transfer to a new manager will be just what is needed for them to succeed.
  3. Fire them: As with option #2, we'd want to look at how engrained the behavior is. If it is a lasting-pattern, exiting the person from the Company may be the best thing for you, their team, and for them. The reality is that most people care about their work, and are good-hearted people. With some reflection, some time off from the Company, and a new environment in which to excel, the individual may succeed in their next role. I have seen "disruptive people" become superstars in their new companies.

Back to the point of the title of this article, "Who is responsible for lagging performance?" That one is easy, if you're the leader, it's YOU. It's your job to get involved, to define a plan, and to make that plan work. I advise all business leaders to have a coach, to talk through these tough situations, or even get ahead of them. A coach can help you to go from brainstorming, to crystallizing a plan, to helping to keep you on track during implementation. And, perhaps most importantly, work with your coach on: "How are you feeling as you're going through this? Are you doing OK, and how can you talk through everything so that you are clearing your emotions?"

Please let me know what you think of this article, as it hopefully helps leaders empathize with each other as they experience these situations

Why do workers quit jobs?

05/06/2022 0 Comment

Why do workers quit jobs?

68% of workers who recently quit their jobs did so without another one lined up! Why? 
The #1 reason cited…a “toxic company culture.”

As leaders of a company, you're probably wondering, "How can I be sure to retain my employees, and is there a way to create an amazing culture that keeps them engaged?"

Of course, one option is to give more money. However, what we've found is money only keeps people for so long. Ultimately, we’ve found that people want to feel they are being developed, to be a part of a productive team, and they want to connect with the company products/services in a meaningful way. In our 20 years as an Organizational Development consulting business, we have found that the greatest way to generate that kind of enthusiasm is to develop and deliver multi-day leadership workshops. These workshops should be somewhat small, and led by facilitators who can make the content relevant and relatable.

Leadership workshops should involve multiple prep meetings to customize the curriculum with examples, scenarios, and relevant discussion topics. The facilitator should be knowledgeable about that specific company, and the needs of those employees. Within the company, executive leaders should attend, or be a part of, the training, in order to show their support and break cultural barriers as they surface.

In terms of facilitators, the selection criteria for the right facilitator to deliver leadership workshops includes both experience/knowledgeable, and the ability to create some fun! Similar to conducting a symphony, great facilitators guide discussions, keeping the discussion on point while allowing the participants to take the conversation where it needs to go. With humility, a great facilitator understands that participants learn as much, or more, from each other as from that instructor. The key is to generate a genuine and powerful conversation, and then provide leaders with the chance to think about and discuss the topics with each other.

In addition, the curriculum should be designed to include multiple learning modes: small group discussions, scenarios and simulations, skills practice time, feedback, and we even send leaders on partner walks. On Zoom, that curriculum design is even more critical, and should engage and encourage interaction…and some fun.

Feel free to contact me directly for a discussion on a leadership programs, or any topics around developing your leaders.

The answer to remote work…develop your employees!

04/15/2022 0 Comment

The answer to remote work…develop your employees!

Increasingly, we are hearing from our clients that they are having a tough time finding the right applicants to replace positions that have recently opened up. When we delve into why several employees have left their company, they explain that many of them received offers of higher-paying, and/or more flexible-remote positions. To compound the problem of retaining talent, our friends in recruiting add that they notice that people are answering their phones when these recruiters call! This combo is a tough sign for employers! 

As a business leader, of course you’re wondering how you can keep your star employees. You want to create a business environment that engages them, and keeps them dedicated to their roles. 

Our answer…develop your leaders so they know how to develop their staffs! 

Did you know that 85% of leaders-of-others state they have not received any training or coaching on how to be effective leaders? Now, to be clear, that doesn’t mean these leaders are mean, impolite, or moody. What it does mean is these leaders have not been trained in the tools at their disposal, such as how to coach effectively, how to understand/manage change, how to set clear expectations and provide accurate feedback, or techniques to help them “show up” in a calmer, more effective manner.  

We all have heard that people don’t quit jobs, they quit managers. That’s only partially true. We see that people stay with companies for two reasons:

  • They love their supervisor – a plug for leadership training and leadership coaching

  • They see their skills developing, and their careers looks bright – a plug for skill-development at all levels of the Company 

In our leadership workshops and our leadership coaching, for all levels, we provide the space for leaders to consider their staffs’ strengths, to provide a clear path forward, and to lead them successfully to solve business challenges. 

Our two leadership public workshops deliver world-class content with dynamic, interactive instruction. The curricula include: 

  • Emerging Leaders Workshop (May 2-3rd): This workshop covers “Showing up as a Leader,” Managing Change, Delegating and Coaching, Root Cause Analysis, and Effective Feedback.

  • Emotional Intelligence (May 30-June 1st): This workshop covers Neuroplasticity/Flexible Thinking, Self-Awareness, and Techniques to Adjust One’s Style.

We’d love to help your leaders grow! Please contact us anytime, for workshops or leadership coaching! Feel free to message me directly, or contact our Head of Business Development, Paul Powell, at admin@taflat.com  We would love to hear from you!

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 at admin@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 us at admin@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.


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.

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 contact us at admin@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! ​

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


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.