LEADERSHIP RESOURCES BLOG

Guidance on leadership development & strategic planning.

Organizational Health Assessment: Improve Your Organization’s Vision, Culture, and Resilience

By Leadership Resources 09/26/2022
Stethoscope on top of keyboard

How healthy is your company? Have you conducted an organizational health assessment lately? Has your organization ever had a health checkup?

What is Organizational Health?

Organizational health is a company’s ability to work productively and positively toward a shared purpose. A healthy organization is capable of consistently setting goals and achieving them through highly engaged employee collaboration.

Related to organizational health is organizational development, which is a process of making improvements to set the stage for continued well-being and success. This also involves organizational change and evolution, which comes naturally to any healthy company.

An organization’s strong or weak health impacts almost every aspect of its vision, mission, culture, and ability to find continued success. It also impacts its employees on multiple levels: professionally, psychologically, and even physically. 

Research from the CDC shows healthier companies tend to have:

  • Elevated employee productivity
  • Reduced absenteeism
  • Improved morale
  • Increased employee retention

An investment in organizational health almost always pays off. A McKinsey study found that when companies take concrete steps to improve organizational health, they see an average of 80% improvement in company performance. 

That’s an enormous difference! Having good health can make or break your company.

How Do We Conduct an Organizational Health Assessment?

Many companies aren’t even aware of the need to assess organizational health. Although U.S. employers have created a surge in employee health and wellness programs in the past decade, organizational health is often overlooked.

Keep in mind that assessing organizational health isn’t the same as adding employee wellness programs, which usually involves things like offering blood pressure screenings, starting smoking cessation campaigns, and encouraging employees to get their annual physicals. Instead, we’re talking about the health of the organization itself.

An organizational health assessment takes the pulse of your organization and provides a picture of its overall health. It also highlights specific areas for improvement where the organization might show symptoms of poor existing health or an impending downward trend.

Unfortunately, organizations don’t always like to have health checkups. In many companies, there always seems to be an excuse to avoid assessing the organization’s true health. Fear, uncertainty, cost, time, and other pressures put organizational health on the back burner.

For example, in a decades-old company, top executives might assume that the company must be healthy enough to continue chugging along as-is. The thought is, “We’re already profitable. Why rock the boat?”

On the flip side, a new and fast-growing company might not make conducting an organizational health assessment the top priority with so much else going on. The company is probably focusing on gaining new clients rapidly, which could come at the expense of employees’ morale. That’s just not healthy.

An experienced strategic planning consultant can help illuminate the need for additional organizational development at key moments in the company’s lifecycle. A business consultant can also advise about the best way to foster positive organizational change so everyone gets the most out of the process.

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How to Measure Organizational Health

While financial metrics have been a standard way to assess the health of a company, measuring organizational health is growing in importance. Organizational health is affected by many factors, including leadership, culture, engagement, and structure. In many ways, this type of measure is similar to an annual physical exam. It helps identify and prioritize areas for improvement. A review of an organization’s overall well-being is often called its organizational health index.

To boost your organizational health index requires consistent care. Healthy organizations build a culture and system that fosters progress and growth. Leadership must be part of this process and must model desired behaviors. During periods of change, companies often face challenges and run the risk of reduced organizational health. To make sure a company stays in business for a long time, leaders should implement organizational health initiatives that promote internal alignment.

A comprehensive evaluation of an organization’s health index should also include the health literacy of its staff. The employees of a health literate organization will be able to explain its policies and procedures and answer questions clearly.

Hallmarks of Healthy Organizations

Just like every person, every organization is unique. Good health takes many forms, so assessing organizational health isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. 

Still, certain factors and qualities tend to show whether an organization is functioning optimally. Below is a summary of common hallmarks of organizational health.

Healthy companies show:

  • Resilience in the face of challenges
  • An aptitude for proactive conflict resolution
  • Good collaboration and communication skills 
  • Effective leadership styles that support manageable growth 
  • Clarity and cohesion in the mission, vision, and purpose of the organization
  • Flexibility to spark organizational change when needed
  • A clear desire to regularly perform organizational health assessments

When you look at these hallmarks of healthy companies, what do you see? How does your organization measure up?

It’s common for organizations to need help making transitions to healthier habits. If your company needs a fresh and healthy perspective, please reach out to Leadership Resources using the information below.

The Next Step: Organizational Development

Leadership Resources provides organizational health assessments for companies that want to grow and thrive. For the healthiest results, experts recommend engaging with our type of full-service leadership development programs instead of just sending employees to training.

We’re here to help companies achieve lifelong health. To learn more, click the link below to read our whitepaper about building healthy, emotionally intelligent leadership.

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What Training in Emotional Intelligence Looks Like in the Workplace

By Leadership Resources 09/19/2022
Employees in circle smiling and bumping fists

Training in emotional intelligence has become more important than ever. Changes in traditional work environments, market unpredictability, social and political unrest, and other factors increase tension in a workplace. Having employees with strong emotional intelligence, however, can help teams navigate these times of difficulty. These leaders offer inspiration and encourage others to strive for bigger and better things.

We’ll let you in on a little secret about this type of leader; those skills are often not inborn. In fact, that leader likely spent years honing their leadership styles and building their emotional intelligence. That’s right! It’s a skill that almost anyone can learn with the right training in emotional intelligence.

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence, often abbreviated as EQ, is about having savvy interpersonal skills and always remaining open to learning new things and sharing new information. It involves flexibility, adaptability, and a habit of listening closely to what people say so you can react appropriately.

In business settings, high-EQ leaders tend to display actions like:

  • Acknowledging others’ feelings and concerns
  • Actively bringing people together to build camaraderie
  • Reassuring people during stressful times
  • Communicating and providing feedback
  • Being consistent about following through on promises
  • Staying transparent about thoughts and plans
  • Remaining flexible in fast-changing circumstances

By contrast, people with low emotional intelligence often struggle to bond with other people and have a hard time building productive teams at work. When a situation is challenging or stressful, they might react impulsively or close themselves off from interpersonal interactions.

Proper training in emotional intelligence in the workplace is so important that a lack of it can severely interfere with company-wide productivity, efficiency, retention, morale, and profitability. Hardworking people need emotionally intelligent leadership. When you feel that your leaders don’t care about your feelings or feedback, it erodes your motivation to work.

Consider the following statistics about the connections between EQ and employee performance.

  • 90% of top performers have high emotional intelligence, which contributes to an average $1,300 extra in annual salary.
  • Emotional intelligence accounts for up to 60% of job performance at the top supervisory and CEO levels.
  • 84% of U.S. workers blame bad managers for making them hate their jobs.
  • At least 41% of U.S. employees are actively considering changing jobs, and 36% are willing to quit before having another job lined up due to bad management.

Can You Build Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace?

Here’s some good news about boosting emotional intelligence in the workplace. Contrary to popular belief, it’s a skill you can build, rather than an inborn trait. The idea of a “natural born leader” is a myth. To put it another way, leadership is a learned behavior.

Unlock The Leadership Potential Within Your Organization. Download this whitepaper.

Some people naturally have certain leadership skills, but most have to learn how to develop emotionally intelligent leadership qualities. It doesn’t always come naturally to do things like actively listening to others and asking the right questions. These skills take significant education and practice. That’s where training in emotional intelligence comes in.

For example, leadership coaching often teaches emerging leaders about the importance of check-in questions. These gentle questions establish trust and encourage people to let their guards down. A supervisor can periodically ask check-in questions by finding quiet moments to simply inquire how the employee is feeling or handling a certain situation.

  • How are you feeling about [situation or challenge]?
  • Is there anything I can do to make it easier?
  • What are you looking forward to about it?

After asking check-in questions, remember to thank the employee for sharing their feelings and encourage them to always talk to you when there’s a concern. This trust-building process is an integral part of building an emotionally intelligent supervisor-employee relationship.

7 Steps to Improving Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace

Companies that want to build high-EQ leaders should set learning objectives for emotional intelligence training, then follow certain steps to teaching emotional intelligence. Below is a summary of the 7 most important steps.

  1. Engage with a reputable leadership development program that supports EQ
  2. Use plans and encouragement to create a systematic approach
  3. Maintain empathy as people adjust to the process
  4. Acknowledge feelings and opinions without harsh judgment
  5. Build accountability and create action plans
  6. Welcome feedback in a continuous two-way conversational loop
  7. Celebrate success and adjust as new challenges arise

When it comes to building EQ, Leadership Resources provides the best emotional intelligence training for companies that want to grow and succeed. For superior results, experts recommend engaging with our type of full-service leadership development programs instead of just dabbling with basic training in emotional intelligence.

Leadership Resources is here to help your leaders expand their EQ and reach new levels of success for your company. To learn more, click the link below to read our whitepaper about building emotionally intelligent leadership.

Emotionally Intelligent Leaders White paper - Download Read More

Your Next CEO: Diving Into a Complex Leadership Transition

By Leadership Resources 09/12/2022
Businesswoman looking off into the distance

Successful leadership transitions happen every day, but they’re notoriously challenging to accomplish. Everyone feels on edge as a new CEO comes on board and joins the company culture.

This is just as true when the CEO is hired from within and is someone your whole company knows. The transition to executive leadership can be rocky as your staff makes the mental adjustment to having a former colleague as their CEO.

Having the right CEO in place comes with numerous benefits for your company. According to Forbes research, there are nine potential benefits when companies transition to new CEOs.

  1. Providing a psychological safety net for employees
  2. Setting a new tone and standards
  3. Having an embodiment of values
  4. Polishing up the company’s reputation
  5. Calming the emotional climate
  6. Improving company diversity
  7. Becoming more mission-driven and purpose-driven

A new CEO could be just the boost your company needs to succeed. But what ensures a smooth transition to new leadership? The answer lies in having a transitional leadership strategy in place to ease the stress and complexity of such a significant change.

What is Transitional Leadership?

Transitional leadership is an approach to business continuity that focuses on maintaining resilience and making smooth transitions in leadership while optimizing productivity and minimizing negative outcomes. More simply, transitional leadership gets you off to a good start when someone new is in charge.

Success is found in choosing the right transition strategy for your business. Although there are best practices to follow, transitional leadership isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. Each business must create a unique leadership transition strategy that suits its culture, size, industry, stage, and so forth.

One of the must-haves in any transitional leadership plan is a succession planning strategy. Below is a more detailed look at what succession plans are and why they’re vital to making successful leadership transitions.

How Should We Start a Succession Planning Strategy?

A succession planning strategy starts with identifying key roles that present a substantial threat to the organization when they’re vacant or when they’re filled suboptimally. Note that at first, the priority should be identifying roles, not people. Pay close attention to all leadership roles that are most essential to overall organizational stability. 

The most common examples of key C-suite roles include:

  • Chief executive officer (CEO)
  • Chief financial officer (CFO)
  • Chief operating officer (COO)
  • Chief information officer (CIO)
  • Chief marketing officer (CMO)

Some companies also have other C-level roles that hold significant power and authority, like:

  • Chief compliance officer
  • Chief medical officer
  • Chief diversity officer or diversity director
  • Chief risk management officer or risk management director
  • Sales and/or advertising director
  • Director of IT
  • Building security/safety director

The actual human beings who occupy these roles will inevitably change over time, so the succession plan should stay evergreen. Develop a succession plan by roles first, then move to the next stage of finding the right leaders to fill them.

When it comes to spotting future leaders who are excellent candidates for key roles like the CEO and C-suite executives, look both inside and outside the company. Most organizations have numerous hidden gems of people who could be excellent leaders with some leadership support and skill-building.

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Whether you hire from inside or outside the company, attracting and retaining the right leaders involves the dual activities of talent development and succession planning. Talent development, also known as talent management, is different from succession planning and includes tasks like recruiting, offering benefits and incentives, and onboarding new employees.

Together, these concepts form a cohesive set of action steps under the general umbrella of strategic planning at your company. If the organization is struggling to articulate its overall strategic mission, vision, or succession planning objectives, seek help from business planning experts as soon as possible. It’s also a red flag if there’s a strongly negative company culture. Left unchecked, these issues tend to grow exponentially over time.

Need to hire a new CEO now? Work with a skilled succession planning consultant to give your company the best chances of success with leadership transitions. 

An experienced consultant knows the pitfalls of losing a C-level leader and hiring from outside. They also know the challenges of hiring an existing employee and making the transition to executive leadership. Your consultant can help your company take every possible step to transition the right leaders at the right times and secure the organization’s future for decades to come.

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Planning a CEO Transition

Complex CEO transitions take thoughtful transition strategies. For the best results, experts recommend engaging with full-service strategic planning and succession planning programs as opposed to following simple training programs

Leadership Resources provides robust leadership and CEO transition management services with proven results for thousands of successful companies. To learn more, please click below to read our whitepaper about improving your organization’s succession planning.

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What is Strategic Planning, and How Will It Grow Your business?

By Leadership Resources 09/05/2022
A group of people in office gathered around papers on table

What Is Strategic Planning?

Strategic planning is a systematic approach to goal-setting and defining the direction of an organization. It includes tasks like selecting a methodology, meeting with a coach, creating a written strategic plan, and/or engaging with strategic planning services to support the process.

A typical strategic plan contains a core set of principles that set the stage for success. The key principles vary somewhat among businesses, but strategic planning usually involves business development methods, planning techniques, and interpersonal collaborations among team members.

A solid strategic plan is the “secret sauce” that enhances a business and encourages it to grow. However, not all strategic plans succeed. Roughly half of all businesses engage in some type of strategic planning, but 67% of strategic plans fail.

Even more shocking, the Harvard Business Review found that 95% of employees don’t understand their companies’ strategic plans. This shows the importance of approaching strategic planning with an open mind and working to welcome all employees into the process.

Below are some of the most common questions about strategic planning. The answers come from the strategic planning experts at Leadership Resources.

What are the Benefits of Strategic Planning?

Strategic plans lend structure and direction to companies that are eager to grow. As the company expands, everyone can always turn to the strategic plan for continued inspiration.

Some of the top growth benefits of strategic plans include:

  • Relying on a single, unified vision that carries the company forward
  • Eliminating biases, false assumptions, and bad habits
  • Establishing metrics and tracking progress
  • Maintaining personal and interpersonal accountability
  • Minimizing the negative effects of fear
  • Nourishing a healthy company culture
  • Handling growth skillfully

What’s the Difference Between Goals and Objectives in Strategic Planning?

Goal-setting is a fundamental aspect of strategic planning that impacts the daily jobs of nearly all employees. Without a clear grasp of potential outcomes, it’s challenging for people to accomplish the right things and move forward with purpose. 

Strategic planning builds a picture of a bright and successful future, then arranges the specific goals and objectives it takes to get there. When discussing goals and objectives, it’s easy to get the two confused, so below are two definitions that show the difference.

Goals

A goal is a single long-term outcome that can be reached through strategic planning. Goals are broad, overarching achievements that are worthy of celebration after you reach them.

Objectives

Objectives are short-term, measurable activities that make progress toward goals. To achieve its goals, a company needs to create numerous strategically designed objectives.

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Does it Help to Have Strategic Planning Services?

There’s no need to tackle strategic planning alone. There are many types of supportive resources and experts available to make the process easier and more effective.

Custom strategic planning services are tailored to the company’s unique needs, challenges, and goals. These services allow a business to take a proactive approach and directly address roadblocks that are standing in the way of strategic planning.

For example, imagine that a company has an entrenched negative culture that’s limiting the potential positive effects of its strategic plan. A strategic planning coach works with the company’s staff to get to the root of the problem and overcome obstacles to success.

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How Does Virtual Strategic Planning Work?

In today’s rapidly-changing work environment, virtual meetings are becoming the norm. Up to 45% of all Americans now work remotely some or all of the time.

This makes it more important than ever to incorporate virtual strategic planning sessions. With the right technology and processes in place, strategic planning can take place at a distance just as smoothly as in person.

For the best results, follow virtual leadership training best practices like:

  • Working with a business leadership coach who has experience with virtual strategic planning sessions.
  • Providing employees with the technology they need for smooth remote communication.
  • Making it a priority to build buy-in at every level.
  • Maintaining a human touch by providing plenty of time for strategic planning, breaks as needed, offline support, and opportunities for feedback.

How Should We Get Started With Strategic Planning?

Ultimately, the world’s best strategic plans result from asking the right questions. What is strategic planning at your organization currently? Could it be improved for much greater success and profitability? What kinds of roadblocks are standing in the way? 

Growth doesn’t happen by accident and it takes significant strategic planning, plus the boldness to push forward through difficult challenges. For the best results, experts recommend engaging with full-service strategic planning and leadership development programs as opposed to following simple training programs

Leadership Resources provides leadership development and strategic planning services that set the stage for manageable growth. To learn more, please contact us about how to grow your business with strategic planning.

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Choosing a Leadership Development Program

By Leadership Resources 08/22/2022
Compass pointing north that says leadership development on top

When a company invests in developing its emerging leaders through the right leadership development program, this investment leads to decades of success. Your company’s diamond-in-the-rough leaders learn how to shine.

What is a Leadership Development Program?

A leadership development program is an important tool for developing future leaders. Changing times are constant, and organizations are no exception. Market conditions, employee turnover, and company growth all contribute to continuous change. As such, future leaders must be prepared to lead through these changes and to guide the organization’s employees as they adapt to new challenges. The most effective leadership development programs include training in change management, which equips future leaders with tools to harness the power of vision, provide strong leadership, and improve performance.

Effective leadership development programs should focus on developing leaders who master strategic execution. By learning how to manage a project’s complexity, leaders develop bright, talented workers who can influence others across non-direct reporting lines. These leaders also learn how to break down goals into actionable tasks, mobilize workers across teams, and build broad, organizational connections. These skills will be crucial for future leaders, whether they are in the C-suite or the field.

Companies that invest in leadership development programs often benefit from the long-term results of their efforts. Research shows that 85% of US employees are dissatisfied with their jobs. And 60% of all employees in the United States are not engaged. Developing leaders will improve employee engagement, promote personal growth, and ensure that the company’s values are maintained. It will also attract and retain top talent. In addition to developing future leaders, this program will prepare people for the challenges of the modern workplace.

A well-designed leadership development program is an investment in the future of your business. It improves organizational culture by investing in people. A more responsive and agile organization will result from such an investment. HR departments can’t change company culture overnight, but managers who are equipped to manage their teams positively will see improved motivation and better business results. The more you invest in leadership development, the more likely your business will achieve its goals.

Choosing the right program matters. Certain factors determine whether a particular leadership program is the right fit. Here are three important things to consider.

Does it Foster Flexible Problem-Solving?

Leadership development isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. The program must be individualized and tailored to each company, culture, and team of emerging leaders. 

Your business includes people with a wide variety of leadership styles, some more productive than others. A high-quality leadership development program helps identify preferable leadership styles and encourages your staff to follow best practices in effective leadership.

When choosing a leadership development program, consider the quality of leadership coaches available to your company. How well trained are they? What types of leadership development principles do they follow? Do they display flexible thinking and the adaptability it takes to address evolving issues at your company?

Effective leadership development improves a company’s capacity for productive problem-solving in a wide array of daily circumstances. Whenever a challenge arises, company leaders can plan strategically and implement action plans with adaptability and resilience.

Does it Build Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence is an often-overlooked aspect of organizational growth, but it’s an essential component to address. When developing leaders display high emotional intelligence, they’re more capable of working together, achieving goals, and surviving tough times.

In addition to boosting personal income, emotional intelligence is proven to impact the bottom line in business. High-EQ leaders have the interpersonal skills to succeed and inspire others to succeed, too.

On the flip side, low EQ limits personal and professional success. When organizational leadership includes too many low-EQ leaders, there tends to be more interpersonal conflict, hesitation to innovate, and resistance to making changes that move the company forward.

Emotionally Intelligent Leaders White paper - Download

Does it Support Lasting Engagement and Satisfaction?

The ideal leadership development program won’t use a set-it-and-forget-it attitude, abandoning your company after a short period. The most productive leadership development programs take a long-term approach that lasts at least 1 to 3 years into the future.

This is a thoughtful, transformative approach to accomplishing your company’s biggest goals. It requires a shift in mindset that impacts how an employee sees themselves within an organization.

Do your employees feel fully engaged and satisfied with their work? This is an important point to consider when choosing a leadership development program. Entrenched negative attitudes and strong resistance to change make it all the more difficult to accomplish big things.

Ask a potential leadership coach about big-picture matters like cultural change, strategic planning, and succession planning. Your business strategy consultant must be skilled enough to support your company through a period of massive growth and change.

How to Choose the Best Leadership Development Program

The right leadership development program brings the top benefits of developing leaders and helps your staff feel supported. It empowers them to be their best and, in turn, to bring the best to your company.

It’s essential to recognize that leadership isn’t an inborn trait. It’s something people can learn and hone over time as they expand their leadership knowledge and practice their new skills. To do this most successfully, experts recommend engaging with robust leadership development programs, as opposed to following traditional training programs

Leadership Resources provides a comprehensive leadership development approach that checks all the boxes of a high-quality program. To make strides forward in personal and professional leadership development, enroll in the Accelerate Leadership Program.

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Avoiding the Top Rapid Business Growth Strategy Pitfalls

By Leadership Resources 08/08/2022
Woman at computer appearing stressed

Fast growth sounds ideal until you’re in the thick of it. The pressure is on, and everyone at the company is trying to keep up with the rapid pace of change.

Suddenly, there’s intense pressure to stay ahead of the curve and stretch your company’s resources to the max. Employees feel stressed out and overworked. Do they have the skills it takes to cope with such rapid expansion? Do your leaders have the right leadership styles to maintain the company’s business growth strategies?

How to Manage Rapid Business Growth

As your business grows, you’ll find yourself pulled in many different directions. And, there will likely be big challenges along the way. From cash flow crunches to operational inefficiencies, there are numerous potential issues that could arise from rapid business growth. Managing this rapid growth gets easier once you set timelines, streamline communications, and find the right tools. You need to stay focused on the end product, but you’ll be surprised at how easily it is to lose track of your goals and the big picture. This article will focus on rapid business growth strategies and help you learn how to manage what’s important.

Employee Burnout

Business growth puts intense pressure on your people. Employee burnout can happen faster than the company can hire new employees; plus, this creates a “brain drain” effect where your best and most loyal workers abandon the company in search of something less exhausting.

A recent study found that 79% of all U.S. workers have experienced work-related stress in the previous month. While some level of stress is to be expected, more than one-third of workers report burnout symptoms like work-related physical fatigue (38%), cognitive weariness (36%), and emotional exhaustion (32%).

Companies can minimize the growing pains by engaging with a business growth consultant who has experience with business growth strategy. Work proactively to prevent burnout before it settles in and erodes morale among your employees.

No Reality Checks

Fast growth makes it difficult to slow down and think things through. Employees are moving at such a rapid clip that there’s no time to ask sensible questions like, “Is this what we should really be doing?” or “Is this what’s best for the customer?”

This is another realm where a consultant can help a company develop business growth strategies that make sense in the real world. An experienced consultant reminds everyone of the organic growth business realities that shouldn’t be ignored, even during periods of wild success.

Lost Long-Term Focus

Short-term success sometimes clouds the long-range forecast. Everyone is so focused on the action that’s happening now that there’s no time to think about what’s coming a month or a year from now.
Is your company still doing strategic planning, or was it lost in the shuffle? Can you still attract, engage, and retain top talent? What about your succession plan? Your mission and vision statements? Carve out time away from the company’s day-to-day work to think strategically and maintain a clear long-term focus.

Interpersonal Tensions

If tensions are rising amid the stress, put the focus on stress management techniques that help people stay calm, focused, and productive. Interpersonal tension often arises when one or more employees in the environment struggles with emotional intelligence

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Emotional intelligence is a skill that can be learned and practiced. The company can support this kind of emotional education by initiating two-way conversations that allow people to express their concerns and discuss workable solutions.

Poor Leadership Styles

Rapid growth calls for managers and executives with strong leadership styles that focus on communication rather than control. Encourage leaders to share feedback tactfully, resolve conflicts thoughtfully, and focus on working together as a cohesive unit.

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Like emotional intelligence, leadership is something people can learn and hone over time. To do this most successfully, experts recommend engaging with leadership development programs, as opposed to traditional training programs.

How to Avoid Common Business Growth Strategy Pitfalls: Leadership Resources

Growth presents challenges and opportunities, so don’t miss out on your company’s chance to seize the reins and ride toward success. Handle this period of rapid change correctly, and it could lead to supercharged company growth that’s both manageable and profitable.

Leadership Resources provides business growth consultants and a comprehensive leadership development approach that embraces fast growth. To learn more, take a look at our latest whitepaper about increasing accountability and productivity.

11 Ways To Create Accountability And Increase Productivity At Your Organization. Download this whitepaper. Read More

Meeting Design for Team Cohesion and Performance

By Leadership Resources 08/01/2022
Hybrid meeting with attendees in person and on screen

Does your company have productive and engaging meetings? Meeting design is an aspect of business that’s often overlooked, but it’s the secret to maintaining successful teams.

Superior meeting facilitation incorporates innovative communication and collaboration principles that encourage people to work together productively. Here’s an overview of the best practices in modern meeting design.

Meeting Facilitation: How Do You Design a Meeting?

Let’s start with some basic meeting design tactics. A well-run, successful meeting requires planning and thoughtful strategy. You must consider the processes that your team members will use during the meeting. They may be defining a problem or wondering why the topic is on the agenda. The team will also evaluate solutions to the problem. Hence, the agenda must be clearly defined, and it is a good idea to plan the agenda in advance.

Embrace a Fully Hybrid Meeting Design Model

New statistics show 60% of employers plan to offer their employees the opportunity to do at least some work from home. At many companies, it’s now common to have meetings where half the people are present in person and the rest are working from remote locations.

However, these meetings don’t always go smoothly. There are often technical issues that deliver a choppy, disjointed experience for meeting attendees. This inhibits collaboration, and it shows the importance of implementing meeting processes and platforms that support strong communication.

Respect Attendees’ Preferences

During the meeting design process, it is important to consider your attendees’ overall meeting preferences. A meeting’s attendees are most likely to feel engaged when they also feel welcomed and respected. Unfortunately, meeting locations and times are often dictated by company managers without input beforehand.

Instead, reach out to all potential attendees in advance and ask when and how they’d prefer to meet. Each person, team, and company has unique needs. A Monday 9 a.m. meeting might be poor timing for a large team of late-night shift workers, but it could be a great choice for a group of salespeople who enjoy having early morning coffee and getting pumped up for the week.

The key here is: Ask! Incorporate employees’ feedback into upcoming meeting schedules, and show them that the company cares about respecting their time.

Be As Specific As Possible

Researchers at the Wharton School of Business found that the most productive meetings are focused intensely on just 1 or 2 main topics. This allows participants to stay fully engaged as they work together to form actionable plans to get things accomplished. A successful meeting starts with proper meeting facilitation and intentions. 

The Wharton researchers call this concept “less fluff, more stuff.” It means leaders are responsible for paring down the agendas of their meetings to be shorter and more carefully targeted to focus on a certain set of key company goals. In your meeting design planning process, be sure to be concise and purposeful. First, consider who you need in the meeting. If you’re planning for a project team, consider the perspectives and roles of all the individuals involved. For example, some meetings need decision makers, while others need people with varied experiences and roles. Some meetings assume that everyone has the same context, and therefore skip introductions altogether. If you can’t make a decision about who needs to be present at each meeting, prepare homework ahead of time so you don’t waste everyone else’s time and energy.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that your company’s meetings have to be cold, ruthless sessions that are totally devoid of human interaction. It’s still important to engage in small talk at the start of meetings, as long as it’s limited to a few minutes of introductory time.

Practice Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace

Most of the country’s top leaders spend as much as 25 hours a week in meetings. This is up from just 10 to 15 weekly hours a few decades ago. It’s no wonder so many leaders feel overwhelmed by meetings!

Some meetings are more productive than others. What sets good meetings apart from bad meetings? Psychologists say it’s emotionally intelligent leadership

High-EQ leaders practice emotionally intelligent meeting techniques like:

  • Choosing diverse locations and topics for meetings
  • Starting each meeting on a note of positivity
  • Sharing individual wins and accomplishments
  • Building rapport and trust
  • Clarifying emotions and concerns
  • Stimulating creative thinking

Leaders with high EQ have good communication skills and are skilled at fostering conversations that lead to accountability, productivity, and profitability. Contrary to popular belief, emotional intelligence is a learned skill and not an inborn trait. In other words, it’s something your leaders can practice. To learn more about developing leaders, please take a look at our whitepaper, The Importance of Emotionally Intelligent Leaders.

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How Employers Can Succeed at Attracting Top Talent in the Ongoing Talent Shortage

By Leadership Resources 07/25/2022
Graphic of magnet attracting good employee

Is the ongoing talent shortage shaking up your business? More than 10 million jobs are open in the U.S., which is almost triple the amount from a decade ago. Due to these challenges, knowing how to attract top talent to your company is more important than ever 

For employers, this is creating a chaotic environment for retention and recruitment. Today’s workforce includes 41% of employees who are considering changing jobs and 36% who are willing to quit before having another job lined up. 

With these statistics in mind, it’s time to reevaluate what you’re doing to attract, engage, and retain top talent. Continue attracting top talent during the talent shortage with these employee engagement strategies.

Promote Emotionally Intelligent Leaders with Employee Engagement Strategies

The old saying that “people leave bad bosses, not bad jobs” still holds true. A study by the Society for Human Resource Management found that 84% of U.S. workers blame bad managers for making them hate their jobs, not the actual companies they work for.

What exactly is a bad manager? Often it’s someone with low emotional intelligence. They don’t understand how to interact with people skillfully and motivate them to succeed. Bad managers tend to micromanage, fail to prepare for projects, exhibit poor communication, pass the blame, and burn their employees out. 

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Good managers show their employees they value them. They provide the resources and information they need to succeed. Contrary to popular belief, their emotional intelligence isn’t inborn, and most good managers aren’t necessarily “natural leaders.” Leadership is a learned behavior that can be practiced and honed for more effective leadership within companies.

It’s essential to identify, educate, and promote the people within your organization who are willing to expand their emotional intelligence and leadership skills. Doing so creates a new generation of leaders who will help retain a strong, enthusiastic workforce over the long term.

Reevaluate Pay, Benefits, and Perks

Ensure your total compensation package, including pay and benefits, still stacks up to the competition. Don’t just consider your direct competitors within your specific industry. Your potential pool of applicants is probably evaluating a much wider scope of employers.

Perks like bonuses, PTO, and health insurance are no longer enough to attract top talent. New research shows top performers are tired of hearing about the same old benefits from potential employers. Attracting top talent often involves offering 125% to 170% more incentives than you would typically offer.

With such a competitive hiring field, superstar performers are looking for schedule flexibility, 100% working from home, and financial help paying off their student loans. A government program like the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act might help your company pay for some types of employee aid, tax-free. 

Manage Growth Thoughtfully to Promote Employee Engagement

Paradoxically, even during these tough economic times, many businesses are still experiencing moderate to rapid growth. Periods of growth put pressure on your resources, especially your human resources. Your people may have trouble coping and finally give up, looking for work elsewhere.

Growth further intensifies the need to hire and retain your best talent. If you lose your top performers, how will you fulfill customer orders? Who will represent your company in the marketplace? How will you maintain customer satisfaction?

Take a thoughtful approach to attracting top talent during times of rapid growth and take steps to keep your current employees fully engaged. Invest in talent development and succession planning that ensures your top performers can see a clear vision of their future with the company no matter how fast you grow. Don’t become a victim of your own success and lose your best people!

Address Cultural Concerns ASAP

Today’s best employers have cultures that embrace a feeling of belonging, flexibility, and growth. There’s a sense of diversity and inclusivity that makes it a positive place to work. If this doesn’t sound like your company culture, it’s time to take action.

Investigate the sources of negativity and frustration within your staff. Determine whether your company’s leadership styles are contributing to the problem. What are you hearing from your exit interviews? What kind of feedback are you seeing on sites like Glassdoor and Indeed?

Cultural problems are common whether companies have low or high turnover. In companies with low turnover, cultural challenges arise from entrenched loyalties and old-fashioned thinking. In companies with high turnover, there can be misunderstandings due to the rapid pace of hiring and other business challenges.

Changing your culture isn’t easy, but it’s one of the best ways to survive a talent shortage. A business coach can help your company get to the root of its cultural issues and resolve them.

Offer Leadership Development, Not Just Training

Retaining your top employees and recruiting top talent takes careful strategic planning. Experts say for meaningful and lasting change, companies should provide leadership development programs as opposed to simple training programs.

Leadership Resources provides the kind of leadership development programs it takes to attract and retain excellent employees. To learn more, please take a look at our ebook about hiring top talent and finding valuable leaders within the ranks of your organization.

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Why a Growing Business Needs Strategic Planning Services

By Leadership Resources 07/18/2022
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Growth is the goal of almost every business. A growing business brings in more clients, more deals, more revenue, and more opportunities for future success. When you’re looking to add strategic planning services to your business, you’ll likely be looking for someone to help manage the complexities of business growth.

Rapid growth also brings more risk. Now your employees are at risk of becoming overwhelmed and bogged down by their heavy workloads. Your company might struggle to have the resources in place to continue serving your clients and maintaining profitability.

At this stage in the company’s lifecycle, it’s essential to have a strong strategic plan. 

What Is Strategic Planning?

Strategic planning is a process that defines a company’s direction and allows its employees to make thoughtful decisions about allocating resources to accomplish strategic goals. The best strategic plans also include clear processes for implementation and maintenance.

Many companies work with strategic planning consultants to develop their strategic plans. This type of business consultant guides the strategic planning process and uses their wisdom to ensure it heads in the right direction. They also support the company as it pursues its strategic plan using a step-by-step approach.

Strategic planning isn’t a one-size-fits-all process because it must be customized to each company’s needs, goals, resources, and culture. When properly tailored to the company, a strategic plan should lead to measurable success in key areas like lead generation, revenue growth, employee productivity, and company profitability.

For a growing company, strategic planning ensures growth leads to growth. Otherwise, growth can lead to a period of struggle and conflict that hampers your company’s ability to succeed.

Difference Between Goals and Objectives in Strategic Planning

The process of strategic planning comes with many terms and definitions that could be slightly confusing to your employees. While we all know the everyday definitions of words like “goals” and “objectives,” strategic planning service providers have specific meanings when it comes to strategic planning in business.

Your company’s goals are its intended outcomes from the strategic planning process. Think of the goals as the goalposts on a football field, where the ball is headed. It takes time, practice, and planning to reach those goalposts.

Along the way, the objectives are the specific steps it takes to reach the goalposts. They’re the team’s plays that help them make it down the football field toward the end zone.

Another common term is the strategic goal. This is the overall goal of your entire strategic plan. Companies should have a wide variety of shorter goals, like yearly goals and 5-year goals, but the strategic goal is the overarching goal that broadly encompasses all of what your strategic plan is striving to achieve.

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What About Remote Strategic Planning?

In today’s business world, where the COVID-19 pandemic has had a lasting impact, remote work is the new normal. This has increased the demand for remote strategic planning services that bring people together in the spirit of managing growth effectively.

There’s no need to worry that working remotely will hinder developing or following your strategic plan. Using the right tools and strategic planning consultants, any company can implement a strategic plan while working from anywhere in the world.

Virtual strategic planning sessions are now bringing people together just as effectively as in-person sessions.

Getting Buy-in for Strategic Planning Services From Key Stakeholders

Getting buy-in from key stakeholders is vital to the success of any strategic planning project. This buy-in process starts with effective communication. Project executives should clearly explain the project goals, mission, and plan for each stakeholder. They should also make clear the benefits and impact of the project. Understanding the stakeholder motivations and values is critical to building buy-in. 

Getting buy-in for strategic planning services from key stakeholders also requires defining the needs of each stakeholder. Not all stakeholders are there for approvals; some are simply to gain awareness and provide input. Prioritize the project and set deadlines for key stakeholders to provide feedback. Make sure to create an implementation plan for the feedback and comments of key stakeholders. Then, work with your project team to define a strategy for bringing in strategic planning services.

Strategic Planning Services From the Pros

Leadership Resources provides business coaching and strategic planning services to help companies supercharge growth and manage it wisely. We offer a wide range of services including developing strategic plans, business coaching, helping emerging leaders hone interpersonal skills, and much more. 

Support your growing business by making effective strategic plans that support a long and successful future. Connect with Leadership Resources today to discuss setting up in-person and/or virtual strategic planning sessions.

To learn more about smart strategic planning, please download our whitepaper about building the best operating system for a growing company.

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How to Develop a Succession Planning Process for Your Business

By Leadership Resources 07/11/2022
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Succession plans are proven to support business growth and success. Research shows that an effective succession planning process can raise a company’s valuation and investor returns by as much as 20% to 25% annually. Whether you are looking to develop basic transition plans for managers or implementing a complete CEO succession planning process, a well thought out succession plan for a business can make the difference between an assured future and uncertainty.

Having a succession plan in place also encourages your employees to stick around and feel happy with their jobs. The succession plan provides a clear roadmap to the future that allows them to picture their place in the company’s winning journey.

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) particularly recommends additional succession planning efforts during uncertain times, like a major company transition or national economic crisis. At challenging turning points like these, your people need extra support and reassurance about what’s coming down the road.

What Is a Succession Plan?

A succession plan is a document that arises from thinking strategically about a company’s business activities and identifying key personnel. While a strategic planning model doesn’t always name people specifically, it outlines who’s in charge of certain roles and goals in the organization as it moves forward.

The succession planning process depends on a company’s desired outcomes. If there’s already a succession plan in place, but it’s inadequate, the focus will be on expanding and refining the plan. Often, succession planning involves building a new plan from the ground up.

Common succession planning activities include:

  • Developing a clear vision and structure for a succession plan
  • Incorporating the company’s mission statement into the plan
  • Identifying future leaders and involving key stakeholders
  • Creating a calendar of succession planning milestones
  • Planning for unexpected events
  • Deciding how conflicts and challenges should be handled
  • Undergoing business coaching and strategic planning related to the succession plan

What Are the Succession Planning Best Practices?

Succession planning is a complex, ongoing, and individualized process. How your company handles its succession plan will naturally be different from any other company in the world.

Certain succession planning best practices are most likely to support success. Here’s an overview:

Think Strategically and Long-Term

A common saying in succession planning is “start with the end in mind.” Decide what your company’s desired outcomes are, and build backward from there. Who should hold key positions as the organization pursues its accomplishments?

Use Succession Planning Tools

Using the right succession planning tools is an essential part of the process. A company rarely develops an effective succession plan without using a structured and systematic framework. 

Consider Talent Development

Don’t underestimate the impact of your company’s hiring and retention policies on the success of your succession plan. Incorporate talent development and clarify how your company will invest in recruitment and talent development resources.

Allow for Variations in Leadership Styles

A succession planning model usually identifies people by roles, but it’s vital to keep in mind that companies employ actual human beings, not just roles. Your team is full of variation and diversity to embrace as a natural part of the succession planning process. The succession plan must adapt to various leadership styles.

Work With a Business Coach

Ensure your company is getting the most out of its succession planning process by working with an experienced and reputable business coach. Their expertise will guide your process toward the best possible outcomes for your succession plan.

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Launching Your Succession Planning Process

Leadership Resources teaches techniques that supercharge a company’s growth while leveraging its strengths. We offer a wide range of leadership development services including building succession plans, developing strategic thinking, forging new bonds with business coaches, nourishing interpersonal skills, fostering emotional intelligence, and much more. 

Now’s the time to strengthen your company’s plan for a successful future. Enhance your knowledge of effective succession planning by downloading our free guide.

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