OUR

ENGAGEMENT

Play Video
 

The Organizational Leadership Journey

signature-private

Is your Organization Healthy and Change-Ready?

When organizations are healthy, they are aligned and integrated in their approaches and actions which allows them to work productively at the SPEED of business. Unfortunately, most organizations exhibit independent silos, challenging relationships between executive leaders, and a prevalence of “me-ology” versus a generous display of “we-ology” in their cultures which slows everything down.

Change and growth happen in SYSTEMS. As an organizational leader, you must be able to orchestrate the transformation of your organization as a human system into a collaborative COMMUNITY of Change-Ready leaders. These leaders are capable of facilitating progress and aligned action across your enterprise. Most importantly, they can competently and confidently work in an external VUCA world which is volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous!

We Design Experiences + Co-Create Collaborative Communities with you that will Change the Lives of your Colleagues!

We specialize in designing customized leadership learning journeys for private companies and family businesses. 

During our first conversation we will gain an understanding of your organizational context, which includes your culture, talent dynamics, strategic opportunities, your operational challenges as well as your life cycle stage. Then we will co-create with you an approach to unlock your company potential and assist you in realizing higher levels of performance and productivity.  

Our journeys are unique to each client. We provide you with an “experience” that will not only transform your organization, you will also be changing the lives of your colleagues and their families because leadership skills are life skills!

In short, we help you create collaborative communities that learn to trust each other, work at the speed of business, and embrace being change-ready while also learning to be consciously competent at understanding what, how, and why they do what they do. Naturally, communication skills improve dramatically and relationships strengthen across your enterprise.

We also coach and facilitate with you the challenging conversations that resolve conflicts, align expectations, provide necessary CAREFRONTATIONAL feedback, and hold accountability for performance (which in today’s world of leadership includes both results and behaviors).

Your organizational journey will enable you to CASCADE your learning throughout your enterprise. The IMPACT will be everyone speaking the same language as well as productively benefiting from the use of your new tools and techniques. 

The outcome of your journey experience will be that you accelerate collectively creating your culture as a competitive advantage for attracting as well as retaining talent!

A Seat at Your Table - A Magical Partnership Begins

Being invited to your table to share our insights and learning from our trusted advisor experiences in the private sector, along with our own proprietary leadership models and coaching practices can create an opportunity for MAGIC to happen. If you are ready to learn about new possibilities, build trust with us and be vulnerable—we can help you make visible the root causes of your challenges and transform them into the growth potential you are looking for across your organization! 

If you are currently leading a company through a dynamic growth phase, a generational transition, or a cultural transformation to ensure your future, we can facilitate the process in partnership with you. Choosing where and when to methodically structure or boldly leapfrog your organization ahead into the next phase of its lifecycle dynamics and potentially ahead of the competition requires both business and leadership skills. We can partner with you to navigate this journey.

Conference table

We are passionate about Agility and Innovation in Leadership!

Our approach has been designed, developed, and rigorously tested in partnership with our clients for over 15 years. We know why it works and how to replicate the framework of success with each unique client while staying true to our boutique and customization roots. 

Agility In Leadership means:

  • We demonstrate agility by quickly synthesizing and immediately integrating our experiences with you and your organization into the context of your leadership learning journey.
  • Our techniques are agile leadership practices (street smart and people smart approaches) that when applied at the speed of learning create leverage in your performance and productivity.
  • Your agility in learning both how to acquire as well as apply these tools in your leadership practice on the ground and in real time will bring it all together for your organization!

Innovation in Leadership means:

  • We demonstrate innovation in leadership with our unique lifecycle process lenses that challenge you to look at your company and its leaders in ways you might not typically think! And the revelations just might surprise you!
  • Our proprietary leadership models and techniques offer innovative ways to talk about and integrate your new behaviors into your culture in a seamless way.
  • Your new ways of being with each other creates new entry points for collaboration that generates business innovation in ways you never thought possible!

With agility and innovation GUIDING our partnership, we can help you find the appropriate BALANCE of entrepreneurial as well as enterprise practices you need at this time in your lifecycle dynamics of culture, talent, strategy and performance.

Private Company: Coaching + Facilitation Services include:

  • Structured Leadership Learning Journeys 
  • CEO and Executive Team Coaching
  • Cultural Footprint Design Initiatives (Values; Purpose; WHY)
  • Talent Development Initiatives (including Succession Planning) 
  • Strategic Planning Conversations    
  • Operational Excellence–Performance and Productivity leverage
  • Our Assessment Suite (360 feedback; Cultural Engagement etc)

Learn more about our approach by checking out our DNA! 

signature-family

Our Partnership at an Increased Level of Intimacy

We have worked extensively with family businesses. In fact, much of our Leadership Rigor work comes out these personal collaborations where we have been trusted advisors to both family members and business leaders.

While most of our work starts with an intimate coaching relationship with the CEO or Business Owners, the MAGIC of our work together magnifies and multiplies as we engage with your Executive Leadership Team.  It is here that we have the entry point to dive deep into your CULTURE and TALENT, which are the critical first two places where meaningful change starts to happen.

Top of the House and Tip of the Iceberg

What makes our work so rewarding here is that we often find passionate, street smart, hardworking leaders who have not YET been given the coaching or exposure to the tools and techniques that can take them and their talent bench to a level of BREAKTHROUGH performance that is both scalable as well as sustainable.  They might be successful with the current business and its current generation of leaders—yet find themselves stuck, struggling or hungry for the required readiness to secure the future of BOTH the BUSINESS and the BENCH.  Our work together is an entry point for these targeted breakthroughs to begin.

We will work with you to design a customized leadership learning journey that accelerates growth and development of the NEXT GENERATION OF FAMILY AND BUSINESS LEADERS.  Our process is anchored in both your family and company context to ensure we acknowledge the various and often complicated dynamics at play. During our workshop sessions we actively engage the current generation to productively share their learning and experiences.  At the same time, we coach and develop the next generation to OWN the knowledge transfer process while developing their own VOICES.  This approach accelerates your family readiness in both generations to skillfully lead the business toward the future while structurally and emotionally evolving from one generation of leaders to the next.

trusted-advisor

Our Organizational Excellence® Model is the Roadmap

After facilitating CEO peer advisory groups for over 7 years, mainly in the private and family sectors, it was clear that most of the work of executive teams fell into 6 primary areas.  The Organizational Excellence™ Model was developed as a leadership roadmap that executive leaders can use to form their ACTION AGENDAs for progressing their growth and change initiatives.

This signature model is a cornerstone in our approach and results in developing a comprehensive book of work for each of the critical areas. The result is the evolution from a successful family business to a successful professionally run private company with family ownership (and potential leadership) that is grounded in contemporary leadership and business practices.

organizational excellence model

Your Next Generation Leadership Work needs to be a Priority!

The biggest mistake family-run businesses make is waiting too long to formally structure the learning and transition plan between generations.  While baby boomers often enjoyed an informal transition process, today’s generations are leading in increasingly complex environments that require more significant skill-based readiness in both the hard technical areas as well as the soft behavioral ones.  The investment of time here is not insignificant. In our extensive experience, we have also learned that there is a structured sequence that can accelerate or delay outcomes.

And here’s a WATCH-OUT: do not underestimate the likelihood of being surprised both to the downside and upside. In some cases, those who you might “assume or prefer” to take on leadership roles for the future will demonstrate a lack of capability, confidence, or desire.  Others who may not have been on your radar screen or who were not thought to be viable candidates will step up and pleasantly surprise you.

Part of our work together is in creating the forums as well as the discussions where you will look for and see your opportunities and challenges regarding your talent bench and your generational leadership transition process.
You cannot change what you do not see clearly. Our Leadership Journey partnership will provide you and team with the lenses of clarity so that your future vision can be realized.

Healthy Family Relationships with a High Bar of Performance

While 1st and 2nd generation family businesses have significant challenges to navigate to ensure long term viability, the 3rd and 4th generations are increasingly complex due to increased number of branches on the tree (cousin expansion) of potential involvement as well as the business environment. 

The overarching goal is healthy family relationships WHILE ALSO securing the future of the business.  These goals need to be transparent and respected though that does not mean that they will not have tensions and challenges.

The business of the FAMILY and the family BUSINESS are separate workstreams though they are interconnected.

Our focus is on the Family Business, and we leave the Business of the Family as it relates to wealth management and asset ownership to legal and financial advisors.

The reality is that it can require a significant amount of dedicated time and effort to get family members who are sincerely interested in being a part of running the business to the required level of competency and confidence. Surrounded by higher expectations from those colleagues around them to higher expectations for how they view their own future roles, family members have significant pressures and challenges to navigate.

Often, Family Members may not receive the direct feedback they need to understand where they are on their development path, perhaps because their supervisors are hesitant to talk candidly about their abilities or because previous generations are overly optimistic that the next generation will naturally just have the required skills, experience, and readiness to take on increasingly responsible roles when the time arrives.

The risks and consequences of ignoring or passively engaging in generational transition planning cannot be underestimated. Time is a precious resource that, if managed inappropriately, can threaten the long-term sustainability of the business. Establishing the roles, structures, and processes that will enable the success of the next generation of family and the long-term commitment of professional talent is something many family businesses delay too long.

We can help you design and develop a Leadership Learning Journey that will be open, engaging, inclusive and productive for your entire organization.

For family businesses, we facilitate:

  • Cultural change and transformation leadership learning journeys;
  • Family and organizational succession planning;
  • Leadership coaching for family members;
  • Designing and facilitating leadership coaching circles;
  • Designing and facilitating mentoring programs;
  • Creating multi-generational Family leadership learning journeys;
  • Sibling partnership conflict resolution;
  • Transferring Leadership to non-family members; and
  • Evolving from family run + owned to family owned + professionally run.

Coaching and Mentoring Conversation Circles 

Appropriate for both private and family businesses that want to accelerate peer-to-peer relationship building and establish greater collaboration across their organizations, we create intimate circles of 6–10 participants to engage in discussing and exploring relevant topics that enhance understanding, perspective as well as insights.

Professionally facilitated with a leadership performance coach, these coaching and mentoring conversation circles offer an opportunity to infuse skill development into relevant real-time challenges at play in your organization so your talent can design potential solutions for moving forward together. 

In addition to improving communication cross-functionally, relationship building is naturally enhanced so collaboration increases as well!

signature-board

Private Equity Backed---Executive Team Building 

Perhaps the product or service is a breakthrough, and the investment money is there. Let’s get a CEO on board, build a Leadership Team and then its full speed ahead right? Not exactly!

The REAL challenge is whether the CEO along with their leadership team can pull themselves together in time to strategically capitalize on the marketplace opportunity and build a culture that can scale/sustain growth—- all while satisfying a board that wants to be hands-on and assist in running the company to ensure financial returns.

Private equity firms might think they are investing in companies or ideas. What they are really investing in is LEADERS and LEADERSHIP TEAMS.

The rate determining step for a successful launch, turnaround or transformation in a BUSINESS is the SKILL SET of the LEADERS:

  • Are they excellent communicators?
  • Can they build trusting and transparent relationships?
  • Do they have the veritas and gravitas to Lead Leaders?
  • Can they collaborate and build teams as well as communities?
  • Can they be bold and courageous in making the tough decisions?

This list can go on and on! And notice these are EQ soft behavioral skills which are AGNOSTIC to the business sector or challenge at hand.

In the development stages of a business idea or platform, the need for technical expertise is higher than in the commercialization stages.  So, Boards and Private Equity groups need to be clear on what they really NEED vs. what they think they want in their Organizational Leaders. Sadly, this is debated often yet actions are wrongly repeated without adjustments. 

We have an approach that you might want to REJECT initially—though we believe that would be a longer-term MISTAKE.  The trap you will fall into is a FALSE sense of TIME.

TIME is our most precious resource.  Not enough time to do it right, always enough time to do it over is often the trap many leaders get caught in.  That “Leadership stuff” is not worth investing time in now, we need to grow the business.  Maybe once we get to this or that place, we can potentially think about it. Unfortunately, SEQUENCING matters and most people get it WRONG! 

Realizing the opportunities and navigating the challenges presented by private equity deals often require what we call “transformational change” skills. This means that the leadership team and talent bench must have the competency and confidence to navigate and deliver in one of the most challenging stages of the company’s life cycle with limited time and a lot of helpers in the kitchen.

Here is where a leadership learning journey can assist and provide guidance on realizing the end-game goals for all involved

We are transformational change specialists who integrate business and leadership practices into our learning journeys.  The result is faster team alignment and cultural development that will give you the traction and momentum you are looking for! 

The CEO and leadership team need to trust one another, be willing to engage in productive conflict, and have the skills as well as the ability to align, commit, and deliver quickly while also developing the bench strength around them and satisfying the board questions coming at them. A big ask! (That’s why you pay them the big bucks though right?)  

These skill sets and capabilities do not develop passively or by accident. They require an investment of time and energy with a structured focus on skill building. And under the pressure of performance your leaders need structured support in the SOFT SKILL AREAS as much as they do in the hardcore technical areas of the business.

Our potential partnership in these situations can be initiated by the board or the CEO/leadership team. We then design and create a transparent process that includes all parties in appropriate roles so that learning is experienced by all and the applications for current and future business ventures are leveraged so that your investment is amortized. Again, we believe you are in the Leader/Leadership Team development business—and we can help you in leveraging your learning here across your portfolio of companies.

Whether with a “jumpstart” journey or a mid-to-longer term commitment as you grow through your challenges/opportunities, our leadership learning approach can be a game-changer inside to help you realize your game-changer opportunities on the outside.

Board Level Journeys for Private and Family Businesses

Most Private Company or Family Boards, like any other team of leaders, can struggle to find their way to high levels of performance and productivity. 

What can make a GAME-CHANGING shift is engaging in a professionally facilitated learning workshop or mini-learning journey to accelerate their development as an ENTITY.

Just like unproductive day-to-day business meetings, unproductive Board of Directors (BOD) meetings can waste valuable resources. Optimizing the time, insights, and expertise from your board requires strong leadership skills. Done well, it can propel you forward. Done poorly, and it’s just a matter of time before board members move on to new challenges or, worse, stay while providing little or no value. And here’s a fact you may or may not want to acknowledge—your most valuable Board members will try to point out subtly and directly that they are feeling frustrated and are considering leaving.  This is the entry point for a Board Leadership Learning Experience.  Even if a member still chooses to leave, the learning experience to propel the Board onward and forward will be invaluable.

Building and maintaining trust with fellow directors as well as the management team while striking the right balance between engaging on topics at the right altitude with the right questions, providing appropriate guidance with a light touch and acting on fiduciary responsibilities ALL REQUIRES conscious leadership development.

Depending on the dynamics at play, private company or family boards can find it especially challenging to:

  • Evolve from a family and friends board to a professional board;
  • Undergo a generational leadership transition;
  • Evolve into more contemporary business models and practices;
  • Undertake cultural transformation, including leadership and talent development practices;
  • Invest in growth strategies outside of current core capabilities; and
  • Consider mergers or acquisitions that require integration skills.

Extracting value from and creating value with trusted advisors and board members does not happen passively. You must learn how to frame powerful questions, listen intensely, be transparent, and be willing to be vulnerable. If applied, these can be game changers for your executive management team and your organization. 

HERE ARE examples of areas where we can partner with you to design customized learning journeys based on the current context of your Board of Directors:

  • Building TRUST so that you have foundational relationships in place. Whether your board is newly formed or has been working together for years, we can help you understand the importance of vulnerability as well as eliminate the “old story” baggage that may exist with certain relationships and start “new stories” together. Without HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS in the board room, you are not going to realize the potential you can provide to the organization you are serving. Trust is a requirement for being able to engage in the real discussions and decision-making conversations that matter. And knowing each other or even liking each other is different than trusting each other!
  • Establishing RULES OF ENGAGEMENT (ROE) for your board meetings, including the expectations for processing business issues as well as behaviors you would like to see demonstrated by each member.
  • Giving you access to learning tools and techniques that facilitate INCLUSIVE DECISION MAKING and help you get the right insights and choices on the table given the diversity of the players and personalities in the room.
  • Understanding how to have PRODUCTIVE CONFLICT without fearing you’ll offend people. This is a game-changing leadership skill you must have at your board table if you want to encourage diverse thinking and idea socialization as opposed to falling victim to group-think mentality or second guessing what you think others want to hear.
  • Discussing what ALIGNMENT AND ACCOUNTABILITY are and how to achieve and hold them. Without this understanding and practice, years can pass by quickly and unproductively. Understanding and practicing these skills helps your performance, progress, and productivity exponentially increase!
  • Structuring STRATEGIC themes and CONVERSATION THREADS that form the basis for your board agenda. The quality of your conversations at the board level will determine your performance and productivity.  This includes setting a compelling agenda with provocative questions as well as facilitating the engagement at the table in a dynamic way.
  • Using our proprietary Organizational Excellence™ model to help create your customized company or Board of Director ACTION AGENDA in a comprehensive way so you can navigate your change and growth dynamics over time.
  • Facilitating an informal or formal FEEDBACK exchange between your board members and the management team to ensure that you are openly expressing opportunities for continued growth and improvement.

The bottom line is, we meet you where you are and partner with you on the journey forward with a co-creative approach. After all, we are board members too, so we fully understand the challenges and opportunities.

“Ultimately a genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.” 
– Martin Luther King Jr.