Sunday, December 28, 2008

Where is your Focus? People or Process

In a recent article in the December 22nd issue of Investor’s Business Daily, Kevin Harlin points out that Employment consulting firms say it is vital to track and nurture promising leadership candidates even though the economy is sluggish. Steve Krupp, partner and leader of the executive talent management practice at Delta Organization & Leadership, asserts that if a company fails to engage and communicate its top performers, they might be inclined to depart.

Rather than focusing on your processes, focus on your people. They are your biggest asset. Remember that turnover can cost you double of just one employee’s salary. A survey from Delta found that most U.S. companies fail to monitor their best performers, even fewer communicate with these employees, and few top executives support such initiatives.

PPG Industries, a global glass, paint, and chemical firm, has been tracking its best employees for about a decade. Roughly 30 percent of workers are regarded as top talent, and just 1 percent is deemed suitable for the CEO position. Identified employees get first priority for training, special projects, and responsibilities. Executives also meet with these employees from time to time at informal settings like breakfast or lunch. Global business software firm SAP provides potential leaders with six-month fellowships in another division, typically in a different location, to ensure that these employees have adequate insight into the company.
The above synopsis of the article that appeared in Investor’s Business Daily demonstrates the need to evaluate talent from the first day of hire in terms of recognizing potential and people development as the priority for any organization. I really question whether companies today are focused on their future leadership and understand the need to develop people’s potential.

Innovative Leadership offers an Assessment Process called the Achiever Series that can not only assist not only with people development but also compliment certain aspects of succession planning, downsizing or transformation.

We are a company that is focused on helping companies develop their potential of their people that will result in organizational effectiveness. Please call us at your convenience to discuss our Assessment Processes that can make the difference in the future of your company at 609.390.2830.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Ludgate Speaks on Roles and Responsibilities for EEO

Somers Point, NJ - January, 1 2009 - Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Compliance is a very important responsibility many companies do not take seriously enough. On January 21st, Rose Ludgate from Innovative Leadership will be speaking on the roles and responsibilities of management with EEO. The meeting will be held at Greate Bay Country Club beginning at 5:30pm hosted by SSHRMANJ. You can register at, prices vary for members and non-members.

You will learn the roles and responsibilities of managers with EEO Compliance. All managers must be familiar with the general requirements of Employment Laws in order to meet legal requirements and failure to do so can result in individual and company liability. Rose Ludgate is Innovative Leadership's Senior HR Consultant. She has 25 years of work experience in Human Resources including: Strategic Planning and Development, Employee Relations, Recruitment, Benefits, Administration and Training and Coaching. Rose holds Training Certifications and specializes in Affirmative Action, Equal Employment Opportunity, Diversity and Leadership Training. A graduate of Penn State University, she is a member of American Society of Training and Development and Society of Human Resources Management and The American Cancer Association.

Innovative Leadership is a performance improvement company that provides solutions for today's business challenges. They offer unique programs, products and processes that can be customized to fit the specific needs of your company. For more information, or if you would like Rose to speak at your next company engagement please call 609-309-2830 or visit

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Why. . .Why. . .Why? The Need to Understand.

By Richard Hohmann

At the most basic level of alignment, companies must make sure that employees understand how the company makes money. Employees need to understand the basic financial facts about not only how the company makes money but how revenue drives profitability, and how cash flow can inhibit growth or how cost reduction can impact success.

Since mid-level managers are the ones left holding the bag in terms of communicating with the workforce and we better make sure that our managers have a high level of business acumen so that the employees can have confidence that the decision making process is based on something more than a gut feeling. Understanding the financial thread that ties everything together in the company better not only be understood but communicated to the employee. The engaged employee wants to know why. Why did we decide to do that, why did we layoff people in our most productive department, why aren’t we advertising in the Wall Street Journal? People want to understand and the best way to get them to understand is to talk the talk – business acumen.

Workers just might start to understand how difficult it is to be successful in reducing costs when healthcare costs have risen in double digits for the past five years, fuel costs have doubled, and fortunately have come back down to a reasonable rate. People need to understand that their performance in their role directly affects the success of the company.

Let’s start talking to and training our Middle Management and employees about Business Acumen, Decision Making, Problem Solving, and basic finances. Provide a real foundation for not only communication, but for action plans and for people development that leads to organizational effectiveness.

It is really getting rough out there and you need to keep your key employees informed. Your employees count on leadership to be the visionary and they want to know what you see as well as what they are reading in the newspaper or hearing on the TV. Now is the time to communicate that the strengths of your people make the difference in organizational effectiveness. We all need to improve our skill-sets and competencies when times get rough but we must understand why we need to do that.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Where have All the Leaders Gone?

One financial advisor stated that we are in the middle of a very dark tunnel. If that be the case, I guess I can say that I don’t see light in either direction. The economy has offered some hiccups but no demonstrable change and it does not appear to look like there will be any major change in the very near future. We are in a bail-out mind-set and it is kind of frustrating when most small or even mid-size companies have no real safety net to protect them from making bad decisions. The job market is much worse today than it was even two months ago. So where is the light going to come from?

Possibly the most frustrating thing for leaders and managers is that they have to personally manage the employees so that they stay engaged in their jobs and don’t get distracted by the lack of sunlight. I would go even further to state that much of the leadership prefers to stay in the dark and not come out into the light, if there is any, and address the issues straight forward with their employees.

A recent survey from the public relations firm of Webber Shandwick noted that 71% of workers felt leadership should be communicating more about the current economic conditions and 54% of the workers have not heard anything from their leadership on how these conditions might affect their company and positions. On top of that, it was interesting that almost 75% of the workers said they had heard their colleagues and co-workers talking about the subject, but not the leadership of the company.

Where have all the leaders gone? Maybe they don’t realize that it is a tunnel and mistook the current environment for a cave. I really believe that leadership today is scarce and middle management is being forced again demonstrate that they are the glue holding the worker to the strategy of the company. Engagement is more than having fun in your job. It is an understanding that your contribution is significant in regard to the overall effectiveness of the organization. This engagement process must incorporate the alignment of individual goals with those of the company, demonstrate why performance management can make a difference, and the really great companies focus on their strengths to get them through the rough times and they do this by planning.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action

Do you know what EEO and AA laws really are and how much they can both affect your company? Equal Employment discrimination charges and alleged wrong doing is a reality. Our workshop, on November 13th will teach you have to run a compliant EEO and AA company. Hiring, Promoting, and even project delegation can be a potential litigation. Attend this workshop and stop guessing if you're compliant with these laws, know it.

As mentioned in prior posts, we have a new Senior HR Consultant,
Rose Ludgate. In this 1/2 day workshop she will be teaching you how to attract, develop, and retain people with a mix of talents, experiences, and perspectives.

11/13/08 8:30am-12pm
Location: Marmora, NJ
Registration Fee: $79, includes EEO and AA samples to take to your company.
This 1/2 day workshop is for the business owner, manager, or anyone in a leadership position. Attract, Develop, and Retain people with a mix of talents, experiences, and perspectives.

You will also learn and understand the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. More Info

Register Now

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Public ESM Graduates

Making of an Effective Manager Graduates! Congrats!!In Alphbetic Order: Jerry Barberio, Sakeenah Davis, Nancy Haig, Audrey McCant, Deborah Parker, and Donna Woodlin

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Take Hold of Initiative

  • Take your focus off your fears. Fix your eyes on your goal and its benefits instead. Stop letting fear of failure and embarrassment hold you back. Instead of worrying about all the things that could go wrong, try anyway.

  • Anticipate Success. When you expect failure, you invite it. Cultivate a positive attitude that looks forward to success. Avoid seeing setbacks as the end. Consider them as a game lost, but not the entire championship.

  • Allow Yourself to Feel Uncomfortable. It usually feels safer to keep a low profile and not stand out. Change by nature is uncomfortable, but it produces greater results than temporary security does.

  • Volunteer for Responsibility. Instead of waiting until someone asks or forces you to take the lead, be willing to step forward. People don't like indecision and want someone to lead.

  • Say "No" When Necessary. Don't be afraid to offend people by saying "No." Standing up and saying "No" demonstrates strength and will merit the respect of others.

  • Remain Calm During Disagreements. Try not to get emotionally entangled in proving your point or winning an argument. Seek common ground and a compromise that makes concession for at least part of what you want.

  • Follow Through. When delegating tasks to others, follow up on their progress. People tend to be more conscientious when they know their work is important enough to be monitored.

  • Be an Overcomer. When faced with a problem, direct your energy toward solving it. Make a list of every solution you can think of - including the unrealistic ones - and then implement an action plan

Excerpts from "My Tyme", May 2008

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Leadership and Stuffed Shrimp

I just finished reading an article by the Wharton Business School at the University of Pennsylvania in which they come to the conclusion that the shocking succession of corporate meltdowns signals a massive leadership failure across the financial services landscape. The article (Leadership Fails Wall Street by The Wharton School, 2008) continues to point out that it is their belief that executives at these troubled firms may have ignored or failed to see the level of risk their companies were taking in a crusade to enhance results and their own compensation. Risk taking, considered in many cases to be a strength of senior executives and hopefully is, becomes affected by their problem-solving and decision making skills. Some organizations have even created Decision Support Teams or Departments to provide research and resources prior to making a specific recommendation. The fact of the matter is that the executives got greedy and didn’t assess the situation as thoroughly as they should have. Why did some companies avoid entering or participating in the questionable practices that have caused the great “bailout”? It could just be that they did entertain a decision making process and were more thorough with their “what if” scenarios. It all boils down to greed and inappropriate business ethics. The personal compensation packages being offered by companies today may have played a role in the decision making process but it isn’t the single cause for this situation.

The next article that came across my computer was an article titled, Generational Interaction = Jumbo Shrimp by, 2008. I don’t necessarily agree with the rationale contained in this article but I do agree that the generations in the workplace today are not sharing their knowledge or expertise with anyone, let alone any one specific generation. We have a stalemate between the generations in terms of the workplace expectations of and for each. The baby boomer generation appears to be in the “no-decision” mode while the other generations are in a “let me make the decision mode” and nothing is getting done. Succession planning is at a standstill because to plan for such means that the “boomers” will have to eventually give up their turf and head out to pasture. They appear to not be willing to share the knowledge and expertise to make good decision makers out of the younger generation. The “no one taught us” or “we had to roll up our sleeves and get down and dirty to learn our trade” is the mantra of the “boomers”. We refuse to move the generations forward without making them “sweat and toil” like we did. The fact of the matter is that we have had some more ups and downs then they have had, but in reality, we have had it pretty easy and the “boomers” are sitting there pretty “fat and happy” for the most part. Now the financial downturn has caused the “boomers” to have second thoughts about retiring and hoping that the market corrects itself with the next few years.

I think we have a “stuffed shrimp” scenario. We are not willing to develop and mold our future leaders. Everyone is satisfied with status quo and no one wants to hand the torch off to their successor. Family businesses now have three generations in the fold with no sight of the elder generation leaving and turnover at the Executive Level appears to be slowing down. Unemployment is starting to rise again and hiring is on hold. This economic downturn is certainly contributing to the lack of movement in the business community. Business leaders must ask themselves the century old question; do the benefits outweigh the risks? If they do, try to take one step forward and show some initiative to change or we may never get out of this predicament.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Fatal Errors in Business

I was leafing through the business books at my local Borders and came across a title that caught my eye, The 51 Fatal Business Errors and How to Avoid Them by Jim Muehlhausen, CPA, JD.(Maxim Communications, 2008).

The first Fatal Error noted was, “Hiring Your Competitor’s Rejects”. The statement reflects the fact that when you hire experienced people, you are really hiring your competitor’s rejects. The author goes on to say that most employees are better at interviewing than they are performing the task. It is important that interviewing be a process not just an instinct or “gut feeling” The candidates ability to fluff up the resume or speak well during an interview should only make the interviewer play up to the competition.

The interview is a process and it consists of several face-to-face sessions, testing, background check, and whatever other features you add to your process. In our management development course, we ask the participants if they would prefer to higher the experienced employee with a defined behavioral style and good technical skills or an inexperienced employee with an attitude that reflects a willingness to achieve and collaborate with the ability to learn at a rapid pace. The response is most often mixed.

Most firms feel that there is a need for improved interviewing skills, a testing methodology for hiring and selection that results in a more effective hiring and selection process. If they feel that way, then why isn’t this going to be in place tomorrow? Because the hiring and selection process is not reflected on the bottom line, whether it is on the Profit and Loss Statement or the Balance Sheet. Most companies feel that their “gut feeling” about employees is so good, why spend the time, energy, and money on developing something we are all so good at. Companies do not realize that it is more important today to hire a person that will compliment the culture of the organization, perform at a high level, align themselves with the strategic goals of the organization, and prioritize their task list. I would like to see all the managers that can provide the “gut feeling” to hire those candidates only.

Less than sixty five percent of our intentions are followed through in terms of implementation. Doesn’t that tell you something about our hiring practices? Isn’t it time you use all the tools at your disposal to create a formal Hiring and Selection Process and leave the “gut feeling” to your competitors.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Manager vs. Man-Eater

I am starting to read articles in which many people have expressed an opinion that due to the tougher economic times, many managers and employees are starting to compete against each other in the work environment in unhealthy ways.

“Survival of the Fittest” has always been nature’s way of adjusting to the changes in the environment. Competition can be healthy or it can be destructive and it is important that the owner or senior management team, including the HR professional, focuses on the depth in which the competition presents itself. From past experience, we know that becoming “leaner and meaner” does mean that advancement opportunities are reduced and the workload per employee usually increases causing more stress in the work environment. Do we need to add a more competitive spirit to the equation or not?

Competition is one method many managers believe that can help individuals achieve their “real” or “true” potential. I am all for helping people reach their potential since most people believe that our capacity today is less than 10%, but competition is good as long as we can see the reason for our effort. Winning a race is a goal…..improving performance should be a goal. Competition may get us to the finish line in much less time than we ever imagined. This is good because we are getting closer to our potential.

What I see in many companies is this atmosphere of “competition” with no real goal defined. This lack of vision or visualization of the determined outcome must be classified as a communication disconnect. What happens too many times is that inappropriate behavior in the workplace becomes more evident as the competitive level rises. This “survival of the fittest” mentality takes hold and all the appropriate behaviors go out the window, like feedback in a timely fashion, recognition for something well done, and other basic collaboration practices.

When will we realize that when workers feel threatened, they usually don’t improve their performance but become disgruntled and belligerent? The worker becomes disengaged, discontented, and leaves the company.

Isn’t it time to focus on how we can better understand the employee by focusing on their behavioral style and communicate the organization’s objectives to them in a manner that is consistent and realistic? People need to hear the truth, understand the strategy of the leaders, and assume responsibility for their actions relative to the plan. They then need to set goals and set out to achieve them while monitoring their progress along the way.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Leadership Doesn't Just Happen: Lead by Intention

When people compliment your success, do you talk about luck rather than purpose? Maybe you should remember chemist Louis Pastuer's assertion that "chance favors the prepared mind." People don't rise to the top by accident. It takes intention to become a great leader. Here are some secrets that can help you out in front:

  • Broaden Your Mind. Management consultant Peter Drucker studies a new subject each summer randing from science in Acient Chine to Russian literature. Inspire out-of-the-box thinking and recapture the joy of learning by takinga class in an off-the-wall subject.

  • Toot Your Horn. You don't need to become a braggart but you do need to be able to describe your strengths to others who might help further your career. Review your training and experience and pick out the traits you feel are most valuable. You'll find it easier to get the hang of touting your attributes without embarrassment if you practice describing them as if you were talking about a third person.

  • Make a Stretch. Rather than waiting for opportunity to knock, ask your supervisor what you should do to prepare for a job two grades above your current position. Be honest in explaining that you're ambitious and want to build skills for a long-range future.

  • Face the Music. You'll never be a strong leader until you conquer the fear of giving presentations. Take a public speaking course or join a local Toastmasters chapter. Once you get into the habit of speaking in a non-threatening environment, it will be easier to take the stage when it really counts.

  • Find an Example. Look for leadership models in your company, your industry, in public life - or even in works of fiction. Learn all you can about these individuals and emulate their styles or incorporate some of their strong traits into your own style. After all, it's easier to lead if others think you fit the part.

  • Take a Chance. Find projects that will take you out of your comfort zone. As First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt once said, "You must do the things you think you can not do."

- Adapted from "7 Ways to Lead," by Harriet Rubin

Monday, September 8, 2008

Manager vs. Man-eater

I am starting to read articles in which many people have expressed an opinion that due to the tougher economic times, many managers and employees are starting to compete against each other in the work environment in unhealthy ways.

“Survival of the Fittest” has always been nature’s way of adjusting to the changes in the environment. Competition can be healthy or it can be destructive and it is important that the owner or senior management team, including the HR professional, focus on the depth in which the competition presents itself. From past experience, we know that becoming “leaner and meaner” does mean that advancement opportunities are reduced and the workload per employee usually increases causing more stress in the work environment. Do we need to add a more competitive spirit to the equation or not?

Competition is one method many managers believe that can help individuals achieve their “real” or “true” potential. I am all for helping people reach their potential since most people believe that our capacity today is less than 10%, but competition is good as long as we can see the reason for our effort. Winning a race is a goal…..improving performance should be a goal. Competition may get us to the finish line in much less time than we ever imagined. This is good because we are getting closer to our potential.

What I see in many companies is this atmosphere of “competition” with no real goal defined. This lack of vision or visualization of the determined outcome must be classified as a communication disconnect. What happens too many times is that inappropriate behavior in the workplace becomes more evident as the competitive level rises. This “survival of the fittest” mentality takes hold and all the appropriate behaviors go out the window, like feedback in a timely fashion, recognition for something well done, and other basic collaboration practices.

When will we realize that when workers feel threatened, they usually don’t improve their performance but become disgruntled and belligerent? The worker becomes disengaged, discontented, and leaves the company.

Isn’t it time to focus on how we can better understand the employee by focusing on their behavioral style and communicate the organization’s objectives to them in a manner that is consistent and realistic. People need to hear the truth, understand the strategy of the leaders, and assume responsibility for their actions relative to the plan. They then need to set goals and set out to achieve them while monitoring their progress along the way.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Middle Managers are the Implementers

Today, I sat in a management meeting observing the dynamics of the meeting and watching the body language of the participants for an hour and a half. It is important when I am coaching executives that I observe the environments that can make a difference. It became evident that most of the managers in that meeting have not been told how their performance brings value to the organization and as a result they rarely pass on the value message to their employees. Employee appreciation is not new but understanding the value to the organization may be new to some. Concerns about communication, accountability, responsibility, and collaboration were expressed in one form of another by almost everyone around the table. The facilitator was particularly good today with his fairness and recognition of the other manager’s contributions to the overall success of the organization but I left with the feeling that his hands were tied in terms of getting the desired results.

It was important for all of them to realize that communication is a key element in getting people to understand what they can do to contribute to the success of the organization. At this meeting, there could have been more concrete objectives, more story-telling, more real-life examples, etc. but the defined need was to take responsibility for taking action. A commitment to take an action that may change this environment to a more positive experience.

I now know why there is no question why we call them middle managers. Middle management needs to listen to the senior or executive leadership team and while being responsive to the rest of the employees. As we know this listening and implementing position, AKA middle management, has always been the buffer between the top and the bottom. This is why middle management is often called the “glue” that binds the top to the bottom, much like an Oreo cookie.

It is my opinion that middle management is the one component that cannot be overlooked. Unfortunately, companies continue to put these positions in jeopardy when the economic climate turns cold. Middle managers continue to be the implementers of the strategy and policy. Middle managers are the change initiators. If change is not managed well, it has been shown that employee engagement never happens and low morale starts rearing its ugly head. It is my opinion that when external factors become evident and competition gets more aggressive, it is time to focus on the middle management and make sure that we are meeting their needs. Remember, middle management is the layer that attracts, retains, and develops top performers. Let’s not let the normal knee-jerk reaction occur when times get tough. Let’s focus on what we can do to develop our middle management team and allow them to implement the changes needed to satisfy the strategic direction of the company. Let’s give them the tools to do the job right and those tools involve training, career opportunities, feedback and recognition.

Don’t just eliminate the tools that help develop people, like training, education, and incentives.
When looking for training for your middle managers keep these points in mind:
Focus on programs and processes that guarantee results.
Use programs and processes that are time-tested, research-based, and results-oriented.
Use programs that that focus on the adult worker and are designed to change behavior, not just focus on behavior.
Make sure that measuring results is part of the plan.

It is estimated that 20% of all new hires will either rise to the top or fall to the bottom and remaining 60% will be productive and be engaged but only if your middle management team is committed to their success. Their achievement can make the difference with both performance and productivity and it must be acknowledged and recognized by their manager. Providing the tools and career path for people to achieve is what makes the difference between a good employee staying or walking out the door.

Innovative Leadership has a public course, open for enrollment, starting September 17, 2008 from 3-5pm. Click Here for more information

Monday, August 11, 2008

Congrats, MORE GRADS!

Congratulations to the newest "Making of an Effective Manager" graduates. Each grad earned 6.6 continuing educational credits.
Also, available
as New Jersey State Nurses Association: 67.1 contact hours,and State of New Jersey Board of Accountancy: 28 CPE. Read more about this course here

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Shore Memorial Graduates

Congratulations to the Shore Memorial Graduates of our Making of an Effective Manager Course. In alphabetical order: Laurie Bartine, Jody Brady, Jon Cuviello, Sharon Dougherty, Michael Fox, Cheryl Franks, John Gosner, Anna Marie Guerrieri, Susan Krantz, Ken Michelette, Diane Miller, Denise Minus, Pam Mood, Sean Mulligan, and Karen Renzulli

The next Public Making of an Effective Manager Course starts September 17th at our Marmora Training Room. Managers will gain confidence to make the right decisions and will know how to motivate and retain employees. Don't forget this counts as continuing education credits!
More Information

We hope to see you and your managers there!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Adults Learn Differently

I have been training managers for over thirty years and I still find that most organizations have not realized that adults learn differently than children and for training programs to be successful, we must understand the methods needed to help managers realize their potential growth.

As Lisa Haneberg notes in her new book, “Developing Great Managers”, ASTD-2008, people who facilitate management and development programs must be well versed in management training theory (MTT): She lists the main tenants of MTT as follows:
· Managers are too busy therefore the training must improve their abilities to succeed or it won’t be worth the diversion. In addition, shorter training sessions are easier to fit into a manager’s busy day.
· Managers often suffer from fuzzy priorities, competing priorities, scope creep, and meeting overload. Management training should acknowledge and assist with these challenges
· Many managers feel overwhelmed and stressed. The best management training programs will reduce feelings of stress and being overwhelmed.
· Many managers work well below their capabilities. For managers to try new approaches, they need more training about how to conduct their days and why the techniques are recommended.

Most training programs do not address the basics of adult learning:
· Adult learners cannot be forced to learn
· Adult learners resist forced attendance at training sessions
· Adult learners are invested in their careers and achievements
· Adult learners take responsibility for their progress and appreciate clear, concise feedback on their development
· Adult learners responds well to real-world examples and applications
· Adult learners come to training with a years of developed behaviors, experiences, and knowledge
· Adult learners may be on the defensive when their supervisor recommends training
· Adult learners need to feel that the new information and skills directly relate to their job role and help them achieve their goals

In 1999, Innovative Leadership made a conscientious decision to make sure that all our programs and courses satisfy the basics of adult learning and MTT. We focus on an “application and action” methodology for learning. All of our training has a basic foundation that is research-based or validated by demonstrated results. We find that challenging the status quo is fun, but introducing something for fun is a waste of time and resources. We use a proven process for adult learning and facilitation.

We incorporate video and audio to reinforce the issues or key points of discussion. We find that people learn and retain more if they can “see it”, “feel it”, “taste it, and “smell it”. Many of our videos and audio are usually entertaining in nature but reinforce the research or content needed to be learned.

We also find that the facilitators of any adult training program must make the connection between the new material being introduced and the application of the learned material into the workplace. We tend to differ from the academic community in this regard since we use facilitators that have previous management experience so that this connection can be related to a real workplace environment and not a text book hypothetical.

Our public workshops bring management personnel together from all types of industries and we have found in our post – course evaluations that this small inter-disciplinary group found the open discussion on how the learned material was applied in their workplace environment was just as important as the learned material itself. Sharing the knowledge of how to apply the learned skill and seeing things from a different perspective are certainly two of the most beneficial components of our unique adult learning process.

We realized long ago that people development requires a learning environment where conversation is the key ingredient to adult learning. We focus on creating conversations whereby managers learn about techniques and then tell others how they have applied their learned materials in their work environment. We provide several tools that may help the mangers implement their newly learned information in the workplace and we evaluate and allow them to re-design the tools for a more effective outcome.

Speaking of outcomes; isn’t that what learning is all about? All of our programs are goal-oriented and give the participant the opportunity to set goals that will provide success for them as managers with a system to measure the results. Most workplace environments today are results-oriented so we need to focus our managers on improving their skills to produce a desired outcome, using the tools to implement the application for the learned materials, measuring the results in terms of performance and productivity and measuring the results for sustained growth.

You can choose any training company, program, or material. When you choose a vendor or program, please ask yourself the following questions prior to the selection:

  • How does the management training program meet the standards established by MMT and satisfy the basics of Adult Learning?
  • Is your management development program goal-oriented?
  • What tools does your management training program provide to measure personal growth and development?
  • Does your management training program provide a process for implementation or application?
  • Is the ROI for your management training program available upfront and how is the success of your management training program measured?

    Make sure your management training programs meet those requirements. If they do, you will see enhanced performance and improved productivity from your management team. It is the measured results that make the difference in achievement.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Experienced Facilitation – the Success Factor in Training

I really believe that facilitation skills are as important as the content or curriculum of any course, workshop or online activity. The facilitator is the most important component of a successful training program. Lisa Haneberg points out in her new book titled, “Developing Great Managers” (ASTD-2008) that there are four characteristics or skills that make up an effective management trainer:

- Previous success as a manager
- Business acumen
- A passion and talent for being a catalyst, and
- The ability to create and facilitate great dialogue

I think it is important for the facilitator to have those skills but my opinion this has often fallen on deaf ears and I am glad Haneberg has taken such a position. I think that the ultimate training program offers great content, an excellent pre-course work assignment, application and action exercises, practical tools for immediate use in the workplace, case studies, and goal-orientation. That is my prescription for a good training outcome.

Innovative Leadership has been a member of the American Society of Training and Development for almost ten years. We actively participate in their functions and subscribe to the majority of their publications including books, manuals, programs, and other materials.

We consist of a team of professional facilitators (meet us) that have extensive management experience and business acumen. We are committed to providing the vehicles that focus on both people development and organizational effectiveness. We integrate a variety of learning instruments to provide the desired outcome for the training and development engagement with the ROI defined upfront.

Don't forget that our "Making of an Effective Manager" course starts September 17th. Read more about it on our website Click Here

Monday, July 21, 2008

Are we Crazy or is it a Craze?

I have to admit that the terminology being used with the organizational development challenges is starting to get sensational in nature. When I read the highlights of an article that appeared in the 2nd Quarter of 2008 issue of the Organizational Development Journal, the title of article was: “The Human Craze: Human Performance Improvement and Employee Engagement”. “Craze” to me is certainly an unusual word to use in relationship of OD and productivity and/or engagement.

The “craze” refers to the need for Human Resources Professionals and Departments to focus on human productivity improvement and engagement as a way to create a competitive advantage for their companies or organizations. What have the Human Resources professionals or departments been doing before this? If they were interested in performance, productivity or engagement, where have they been hiding?

I do not find that most HR Professionals have been given the opportunity to demonstrate their business acumen to the rest of the executive team in terms of metrically contributing to the success of the organization. I am frustrated with the fact that unless the challenge becomes a problem, there is no focus toward the people. It is focused externally toward the market conditions and internally toward the reduction in operating expenses. This may of course include layoffs to reduce payroll and benefit expenses. Today we find ourselves in a very reactive marketplace and most HR professionals need to step up and be more proactive. They are sitting back awaiting the direction to move forward in a reactive position with things like hiring freezes, elimination of training programs and incentive programs, and eliminating unnecessary benefits or lowering healthcare costs.

I would like to see the title of the article read, “The New Craze: Corporate Leadership Turns to HR” to provide the process for developing the strengths of their people to better react to the current economic climate and market conditions. I really feel that the strengths of the people within an organization can make the difference and to maximize people’s strengths we have to focus on their talent and contribution to the overall success of the organization. Personal productivity and individual performance adds up to corporate success and has done so for centuries. So, why isn’t the HR community focused on human development and performance improvement? Maybe they just don’t know how. If the HR professional doesn’t get more involved, the talented people will find a company that provides the engagement and development and move on.

If you’re in HR and are reading this, tell me how you have been proactive in this reactive business world! I’d like to hear success stories.

Monday, July 14, 2008

A Blueprint for Challenging Times

I find it interesting that many companies react to this turbulent market much like a child reacts to a thunderstorm. The company hides it head under the pillows, waits the storm out hoping that it ends quickly and that there is no real damage. I have spoken to many Human Resource Professionals and asked them if their challenges for 2008-2009 have changed because of the poor economic conditions or other external conditions. The majority feel that their challenges have not changed and there is no need to do anything differently. It sure is dark under that pillow!

In SuccessFactor’s whitepaper titled “Winning Through Talent”, they report that the four strategies that successful companies use when faced with decreasing revenues, shrinking budgets, and disengaged employees amid these uncertain times are:

  1. Rapidly align your workforce with changing economic conditions
  2. Optimize your workforce
  3. Identify and invest in your best employees and
  4. Dramatically improve communication across the company

In my terms, those four recommendations translate to:

  1. Implement a Strategic Development Process in which all employees feel they play a part and understand the direction the company is moving in.
  2. Improve Productivity and Performance Through Training and Development using proven methods with defined outcomes
  3. Identify the Strengths of Your Employees and Maximize Their Development in relation to the direction of the organization and its future needs.
  4. Learn to Understand How We can Communicate Better with our managers, our peers, and our subordinates to gain clarity in direction and desired outcome.

We all agree that we must maximize employee performance and be more productive in this highly competitive global market. We also agree that we must continue to be results-oriented so that we provide our customer with superior services or products. Isn’t it time that our people development professionals step forward and change the environment by being proactive and not just reactive? We need to develop the strengths of all of our people focusing on the most talented and while integrating your people development plan with the strategic planning process of the company. People development plus process-oriented effectiveness equals productivity.

So, isn’t the blueprint for success the synergistic effect produced by focusing on people development and process orientation, and then monitoring how the implementation process affects the result?

Have you started your people development process? If so, any recommendations, and if not, what is holding you back?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

New Training Facility for Innovative Leadership

Innovative Leadership partners up with Cumberland Insurance Group to unveil their newest training facility to accommodate the growing demand for management training, business consulting and coaching in the Cumberland County area. This conference space will enable more clients to take advantage of Innovative Leadership’s unique adult training courses and workshops, as well as their complimentary “Lunch N Learns”. Innovative Leadership is continually looking for ways to improve their services to clients, and this is just one more way they have done so.

Innovative Leadership offers similar programs at their other two conference facilities located in Marmora, and Cherry Hill. This new conference facility is located at The Cumberland Insurance Group complex located at 633 Shiloh Pike, Bridgeton NJ.

Innovative Leadership’s team has over thirty years of experience with Fortune 500 companies, mid-size companies and small businesses. By working with Innovative Leadership, you can increase productivity, enhance employee performance, focus on your strategic initiatives and achieve your desired goals. We have the Tools, You have the People. Visit us on the web for more information
Or call 609-390-2830.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Engagement is not Enough

I have to give credit for the title to a book, Engagement is not Enough, I most recently read by Keith E. Ayres published by Advantage. He writes that the current strategies being used to increase employee engagement are not working. Even with all the effort, a nominal increase in employee engagement has occurred and based on continued research by the Gallup Organization, less than 1/3 of the workforce is engaged.

In this book, Keith attempts to lay our a step by step process for developing the leadership skills needed to turn an average group of employees into that passionate, spirited high performance team. He points out that there are three primary reasons leadership training fails to achieve results: 1) Most leadership training is an event and to become an exceptional leader, you will have to develop the skills with consistent application over a period of time, 2) Most leadership training does not develop emotional intelligence and to become an exceptional leader, you will have to manage your emotions and behave in a way that brings out the best in everyone, and 3) there is no accountability for the training in terms of holding the leader accountable for applying the learned material and demonstrating that they present changed behaviors.

When I read something like the above, I immediately think of the Kirkpatrick Model of Training Evaluation which includes four levels of outcome evaluation; 1) Reaction, 2) Learning, 3) Behavior, and 4) results. How many companies focus on the results of training?

I had the opportunity to meet with an organization that has over 4000 employees and they prefer to do all of their training with internal staff. They have recently undertaken a Leadership Development focus and have scheduled one day per quarter for the Leadership Training. This is another example of a Leadership event that will not provide the desired results.

I just find it hard to believe that the champions of people development, whether it be the Human Resources Department, Organizational Development or Effectiveness Departments, or the Training and Development Departments, do not focus on results.

What do the results of your training look like? Do you realize that training events don’t necessarily provide the desired outcome? Development of a learning process that includes repetition, application exercises, case studies and more can make a major difference in the bottom-line.

Our expectations of training are now tainted because of this lack of development. We now expect to get no results, changing of behavior is impossible, employee engagement cannot be enhanced, productivity is not related to performance, and to create processes isn’t feasible. It’s time to change that outlook on training!

Isn’t it time the champions of learning stand up and state that the reason nothing is changed is that we haven’t done anything differently? We are still training the employee as if they were children and we are still getting the same results.

So are you going to change the development process or are you going to stay the same and receive zero results from the lack of development?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Innovative Joins Forces with Rose Ludgate

Rose Ludgate of Somers Point, NJ joins Innovative Leadership of Delaware Valley as Human Resources/Training Consultant. Rose brings a wealth of Human Resource experience to the company allowing Innovative Leadership to now serve local companies in a broader aspect. Innovative Leadership already has an effective management training course that many have attended, but can now offer classes such as Diversity, EEO, Affirmative Action, Sexual Harassment and other Human Resource topics.

As an Executive Level Human Resource professional, Rose was involved in the openings and conversions of hotels, companies and accounts. Her 25 years of work experience in Human Resources include: Strategic Planning and Development, Employee Relations, Recruitment, Benefits, Administration and Training and Coaching. Rose holds Training Certifications and specializes in Affirmative Action, Equal Employment Opportunity, Diversity and Leadership Training. A graduate of Penn State University, she is a member of American Society of Training and Development and Society of Human Resources Management and American Cancer Association.

Innovative Leadership looks forward to providing solutions for today’s business challenges in the Human Resource area.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Measuring up to the Unknown

During a recession or economic slow down of sorts or when a major technology initiative occurs, the first budget line item to get the cut is Training. What defines the return on investment look like to most companies? It requires some research and analysis to develop a need or context for the training initiative. It requires a financial review of the analysis to make sure that the metrics used to value the training and development is relevant to the overall business plan or strategy of the company. It is important that you determine the desired outcome and define the metrics to be used to determine its success or failure.

Choosing a baseline or starting point is a must and then a measurement system to note the progress must be established. Many times the tracking of data must be continued well past the end of the training and the data must be recorded for future viewing. Progress reports should be noted periodically to see if the outcome changes to any great degree as time passes. Focusing on the financial return on investment (ROI) has always been our priority in delivering the training to companies.

It is a fact that many companies cut out the budget line that can really have a positive impact on their situation. Marketing expenses including sales personnel, Training and Development expenses including T&D personnel, Advertising and Promotional materials, etc. are all “first to be cut” items. Make sure you assess the ROI before your finance department uses the eraser. Make sure you are not cutting off “your nose to spite your face. Training and Development is an integral component of great retention programs. So don’t make a snap decision to eliminate a training program without making sure your projected ROI is well defined.

Innovative Leadership uses a specific format to define the ROI to any company prior to the initiation of training and development in a company. We also provide a post-training instrument to confirm that our financial objectives have been satisfied. We feel every training and development company should provide just that! Performance is defined and determined by metrics. Remember, “if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it” – Peter Drucker.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Chewing Gum and Band-aids

I just received the Chamber of Commerce Southern New Jersey’s Board Council’s on Responsible Government Report – Phase III – Meeting the Challenge: Saving Taxpayer Dollars by Adopting Best Practices”. The publication pointed out the differences between the Private Sector Practices and that of State Government followed by recommendations to the State for improvement by implementing these best practices.

This publication focused on the following: Job Classification Systems, Hiring Practices, Employee Assessment & Pay for Job Performance, Professional Development, Disciplinary policies, Human Resources and Personnel Management.

This is not a political commentary but when hasn’t the private sector had to focus on hiring and selection, retention, performance management and people development. What I questions, is, “How many companies in the Private Sector do anything more than acknowledge the need or focus on the concern?" Most companies today are aware of the employment statistics facing us today and many have moved on to the planning stage and have started to develop Succession Plans, Behavioral Interviewing Scorecard, utilization of an Assessment Process, implementing some type of “three strike rule”, retention of Key Employees or Top Producers, and a Career Management program.

I still would bet that those same companies have not implemented formalized plans or more importantly, designed processes to compliment the needs and focus of the company. Band-aids and chewing gum are being used to cover the gaps created by the “good to great” employees that are bailing something better or we are doing everything in our power to keep the baby boomers from jumping ship. I really feel that this “quick fix” mentality will not hold for long.

We are loosing a talented management pool that we are not training and developing at a speed equal to that of the exodus from the workforce by the baby boomers. We will find ourselves with a inexperienced, non-communicative, non-inspirational management team that can only lead by example because they will not have the skills to move the workforce upward and onward. They will have to be task-masters to gain the knowledge that the exiting management team declined to share.

There is only one Best Practice out there that satisfies the needs of any company in the areas of productivity, performance, and passion. It can eliminate the worry about employee engagement or motivation and it can provide the foundation for performance management. The Best Practice that needs to be embellished by both the private and public sector is to spend the time and money on your middle management. In simplest of terms, train the immediate supervisor because he or she is the one that is going to make the difference in hiring and selection, personnel development, performance management, positive discipline, and more.

The ROI for the training and development of your management team will easily be satisfied when you look at turnover, key employee retention, knowledge sharing, cross training, and behavior in the workplace.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Training is a Waste of Time

This weekend, I opened the latest issues of Training and Development and my eyes were immediately draw to the title “Why most training is Useless”, written by David H. Maister. My initial “gut” reaction was to say, “Oh no, another article that I have to read and prepare a defense for.” As I continued to read, I started to become more in tune with the ideas presented and certainly started leaning toward the author’s point of view.

I have found that most companies expect training to provide a “quick fix” and they utilize the training as an event to “kick-off” a change initiative. This type of thinking will certainly lead to failure if the desired long term effect is a change in behavior or culture. It takes much more than training but when used properly, training can be the most positive factor in the achievement of the initiative.

I have spent the last ten years in the business of training and I find that it is as difficult as ever to get anyone to view training as a process as opposed to an event. The reason we don’t usually see training as part of the process is that we have no strategy or plan to implement the change over time. We expect our trainers to sprinkle “fairy dust” over the participants and almost immediately, their company’s productivity and performance will elevate beyond possibilities.

I have only found a few companies where the leadership had a good understanding and visualization of the outcome resulting from the training. They know “what matters most!” but they aren’t willing to focus on a plan of action and implementation process to achieve the desired outcome. Most companies just ask, “What do you have for team building, conflict resolution, harassment, or what do you have to improve communication? We want to change behaviors and the culture but we don’t know what we want to look like.” We just want to get better and the prescription calls for training.

I find that most training programs do not have any research-driven basis for application and most training does not focus on the application of the knowledge learned versus the amount of information delivered. I can honestly state that most companies that pay good money for training do not see the learned materials being applied in the workplace to help achieve the desired outcome. The key word is application and as the author states, “helping people develop as managers doesn’t mean discussing management or leadership. It means putting people through a set of processes in which they have to experience, try out, and develop their emotional self-control and interactive styles”. I have yet to hear a customer ask me about how programs allow the participant to apply the learned knowledge in the work environment to improve their skills or competencies needed to make them a better manager.

The right approach is to focus on the outcome and then determine the best format to present the knowledge, demonstrate how they can apply the knowledge, and monitor the results whether it is a behavioral or a culture change. Our unique adult learning process is much more effective than event training, yet we have never been asked what format we use to initiate change or focus on desired behaviors. Awareness is an event, planning is an event; implementation requires a process of application and understanding to provide a desired result. The process you choose is the most important ingredient, yet most don’t even care. The learning process you choose can make your training initiative not only immensely powerful, but effective as well. I really find it ironic that most executives are process and results-oriented except when it comes to training. Training is a process that needs to satisfy the needs and desired outcome for any organization or company.

Is your training initiative an event or a process? I bet I know the answer.

Talent Management Means Competent Leadership

Talent Management is an entity that has been slowly evolving within many corporations. Most corporations list the following practices as part of their overall program:

  • High potential employee development
  • Leadership Development
  • Professional Development
  • Succession Planning
  • Career Planning
  • Learning and Training
  • Performance Management
  • Competency Management
  • Retention
  • Employee Engagement

Talent Management should concern itself with competencies. Companies should focus on the competencies that make a difference today and will continue to make a difference tomorrow. It means fitting the “right person” to the “right job” and then measuring their impact on the company’s strategy or goals.

In simplest of terms, Talent Management is people development associated with organizational effectiveness. Most companies do not have a clue about what Talent Management means to them and what competencies will provide sustained growth and success. It is important that they focus on their Strategic Development plan now and don’t wait until it is too late. It will be too late when they do not have the people who are able to learn and perform the roles and responsibilities needed for sustained growth. Do we have the people that can respond to the rapidly changing, highly competitive marketplace?

Most companies have not yet assessed the talent within their organization. How can the learning and training components be applied when you don’t know what is needed to develop the people. People are starting to talk about succession planning only because a lot of key people are leaving the workforce for retirement or alternative careers. I joined a pharmaceutical company in the late sixties and within three weeks, the company has decided that I was a “High Potential”….an HP as we called it back then.

A fast track of combined learning and training programs were laid out before me while at the same time, my performance was monitored as if I was under the microscope. It appears that many companies have strayed away from labeling “high potentials” and providing a program to accelerate their careers within the company. Now, I know some companies have accelerated programs and call these designated potential leaders something, like top producers, achievers, or whatever.

It just seems like the same old story. We have been concerned about this problem for many, many years but we have done nothing to provide a fully integrated set of human resource functions that can be called a people development process. We hesitate to assess anyone or anything because it will cause conflict and we can’t have conflict when we need to retain good talent.

Is Talent Management really meeting the needs of most companies? What are we waiting for? The leadership of our companies must step up and focus on a Strategic Development Plan that includes people, processes, and performance. The integration of those three entities often results in employee engagement, motivation, and success.

Human Resources in many companies is defined as the human capital experts. So, when are these so-called experts going to jump up and down and give their leadership team a real assessment of the culture, the people, and the potential to more forward while sustaining growth and reaching goals? It will probably be when all the Talent has left.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Behavioral Interviewing Workshop

Recently Innovative Leadership conducted a public Behavioral Interviewing Workshop. It is a 3 hour workshop that teaches business owners, managers, and professionals how to excel in an interviewing environment.

It introduced the participants to a questioning approach that will help them determine a candidate's abilities based on past experience, not hearsay. Behavioral based interviewing is touted as providing a more objective set of facts to make employment decision than other interviewing methods.

What our participants said:

"The workshop provided a clarity and simplification of the interview process." Matt Bell - VP of ARI

"The real-life examples and role-playing provided an excellent method for learning the Behavioral Interviewing Process." - Sam Bell - Vp of ARI

"The workshop provided a more defined questioning technique in the Interviewing Process." - Jamie Rubini - HR of The Golden Inn

"The Behavioral Interviewing Workshop created a structure for interviewing that I really need in my position." Joel Inman - General Manager, Greate Bay Country Club

All participants received a complimentary Behavioral Interviewing Action Plan for immediate use with their next interview. If you would like to have this workshop or any other workshop conducted for your employees, call 609.390.2830.

Public Workshops are also available. Send a little as one person or send up to 10!

If you are looking to improve yourself and would like to sign up for a workshop or a course, see what is coming up! Click Here

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Leadership Modeling in the Ethics Dept.

It is important that managers are role models for the employee when it comes to ethics.

Why? It is important because ethics in the workplace can affect an employee’s productivity.

It has now been statistically collaborated that business ethics can improve productivity. In an article published in the July 7th issue of HR Magazine, Volume 52, titled, “Corporate Ethics Affects Employee Productivity, a survey of almost 2000 employees, showed that 73 percent of all employees have witnessed unethical behavior while on the job. It was also reported that thirty six percent of the respondents reported unethical behavior negatively affected their job performance. Forty three percent of those surveyed reported that they would personally get involved with resolving the situation while forty eight percent stated that they would get their management team involved with providing a solution to the problem.

Leadership and Management Development courses that focus on performance enhancement and improved productivity are incorporating business ethics modules or content into their curriculum. The role of a leader has always been centered on integrity, honesty, hard work, and fairness. It is important to the employee that their manager exhibits ethical behaviors in the workplace. So important, in fact, that those employees need ethical leaders to be productive. Leadership means influence and when managers understand that their behavior and the behavior of others can have a major impact on performance, productivity will continue to climb.

Employee involvement, motivation, and their commitment to the mission, vision, and purpose in any company centers is enhanced by their leaders’ ethical behavior.

So now, I'd like you to share: As a leader in your company, what are you doing to be a role model for your workers?

Richard Hohmann
Senior Business Development Strategist
Innovative Leadership

Monday, May 5, 2008

The Battle Cry for Employee Engagement

I had read an article written by Chris and Mel Wildermuth, titled the 10 M’s of Employee Engagement (Training and Development, January 2008). The subtitle noted that Workplace Learning and Performance Professionals need to be engagement champions. The article demonstrated 10 M’s of engagement to help create engagement-friendly organizations. It appears that consultants and the management experts have turned this engagement crisis into a movement and should be uttering a battle cry much like “Remember the Alamo”. It seems we are losing the battle of employee engagement and have the American worker is now totally apathetic in their jobs. Also, it appears that we are fighting for our lives to keep engagement strongly entrenched as a core value of any company or organization. It is now our responsibility to make sure that our employees, leaders, and customers are engaged. But wait, hasn’t that been our responsibility for decades?

Whose responsibility is it to do that? Is it the Human Relations or Resources Manager responsibility? OR is it the CEO and the senior executive team that should do that? Like the article noted in the previous paragraph, it starts with an “M” or “MM”, which of course stands for manager or middle manager. The most critical ingredient for employee engagement is the front-line manager. It has been reported that a 5% increase in employee engagement results in a 2.5% increase in growth. In this era of “do more with less”, the employee who freely gives that extra effort if most valued by their manager.

It’s time for HR Professionals to march directly into the C-Suite and state that they need to train and develop their front-line managers and tell them that these people are the most important component of our plan for sustained growth. We must get our managers to connect the dots between strategy, culture, performance, and motivation. These front-line managers are the future leaders of the company and they will make the difference in the future of the company.

We have to allow our front line managers to:

  • Be responsible for employee development and talent management

  • Be able to challenge the employee’s abilities and teach them the skills to expand their strengths

  • Be able to communicate openly providing clarification for the employee

  • Be goal-oriented and provide focus on their contribution to the overall success of the organization by coupling the outcome to the strategy

The skills and competencies of the front-line manager will provide the sustained growth and innovation need in this highly competitive marketplace. Communication, forward thinking, prioritization, and other skills must be learned and applied in the workplace by managers if we can expect to improve employee engagement. Employees need a manager who is willing to provide an “open” communication platform that includes feedback in a timely fashion, candid discussion on performance and appropriate behavior, a willingness to clarify expectations and use metrics to measure results, and to include the employee in the awareness and planning stages for the company’s vision.

We have to get away from telling the employee what they have to do, but why the company’s success is so dependent on them performing at the highest level of commitment. Train and motivate the manager, and the employee will be part of the team.

Join us May 19 12-1pm for a Lunch N Learn on Employee Motivation. Registration is free and we provide lunch. More Info.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Confusion in the Ranks

I have read article after article regarding the importance of employee retention. I have also read in a recent survey the American Society of Training and Development that the following are ranked according to how the best companies measure performance; 1) Productivity Improvement, 2) Ability to Retain Essential Employees, 3) Quality of Products and Services, 4) Customer Satisfaction, 5) Employee Satisfaction, 6) Sales and Revenues, 7) Overall Profitability, 8) Cycle Time Reduction or Improvement and 9) Other.

In another article, “The Hidden Talent Retention Strategy” by Michael Laft, which appeared in Training and Development (December 2007 Issue) stated that 75% of managers are unaware of a retention strategy in their office. Appearing in the December 2007 issue of Training and Development, it has been shown that even when companies are making an effort to engage workers or make them happy, the managers are not aware of the company’s actions and this is not being communicated to them.

The number one non-financial reason why workers leave their jobs is an opportunity for advancement, followed closely by work-life balance and more interesting work. This was noted in a survey conducted by the International Association of Business Communicators.

Even though most articles written for the HR circles are telling everyone to align your people with your business strategy, they are not telling the management team of the respective company to do the same. Almost every article on employment is demonstrating that there will be an imminent shortage of executives and that most companies expect competition for talent to intensify. Senior executives have frequently acknowledged their failure to pay attention to these issues and now seem to understand that their retention strategies cannot focus solely on the top performers but all employees. We need to engage workers of all ages, nationalities and genders who want to work for your company and remain there for as long as they can.

The problem is that managers treat talent in a most reactive manner. Managers and companies alike must think of the workforce as a collection of segments that actively create or apply knowledge. Companies need to make sure that performance reflects the workplace expectations of both the worker and the company. Companies need to instill a deep commitment to its employees. A commitment must start at the top and should cascade downward through the ranks. Managers must try to integrate a hiring and retention program with their strategic business plan and communicate this integration to all employees on a daily basis. These employee retention strategies must be incorporated into the culture of the company and be expected in terms of core value or competency.

When we find that talent is being nurtured at all levels of the organization or company, we can be reassured that we have been successful in creating a real retention plan that exhibits the real values of company and its commitment to its people and their values.

Contact Innovative Leadership at your convenience for information on our integrated Hiring and Retention Process that can make a difference in motivating, retaining, and even hiring your next top producer or “star” employee. or 609-390-2830.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Business @ the Beach Expo

Wednesday - April 23, 2008

Cape May County's Premier Networking Event

Admission is Free to the Public, Free Parking, Free Food, and a cash bar!

Join Innovative Leadership and many other businesses at the networking event, Business @ the Beach Expo. From the Chamber: Come check out the who's who of the Cape May County business community as over 90 vendors display their latest products and services at the 20th annual Business @ the Beach Expo. Explore the opportunities - discover new ways to grow your own business by networking with the exhibitors.

Last year hundreds attended to seek out the newest trends in business and technology. Get a jump start on yout competition. Each individual who attends the Expo will be entered to win the Grand Prize. . .a 2 hour office party for 20 at the Rio Station Restaurant in Rio Grande!



Cape Bank

J. Byrne Insurance Company

The Press of Atlantic City
Wildwoods Convention Center


Atlantic City Electric Company

The Coast - 98.7FM

Commerce Bank


Rio Station Restuarant


Innovative Leadership

Fitzpatrick, Bongiovanni, & Kelly, PC

Atlantic Cape Community College

AT&T Mobility

Copiers Plus

Crest Savings Bank

Kindle Auto Plaza

NIA Group Associates LLC

Rich Services

South Jersey Energy Solutions

State Farm Insurance - Rob Gleason, Agent

Sun National Bank

Monday, April 14, 2008

Top End Turnover

Corporate Executives are on the move…..out the door. CEO turnover increased by 50% in 2007 compared to the previous year. Nearly a third of the departures were against the CEO’s will. The average tenure of CEO’s is down almost 25%. Tradition reasons accounted for some of the terminations but non-traditional reasons accounted for majority of departures. Turnover was highest in the telecommunications industry and financial services businesses. It should also be noted that this group also includes companies involved in the sub-prime meltdown.

In a separate survey printed in the Philadelphia Bizjournal (October 26-November 1, 2007), the CEO’s were asked to rate their own strengths and weaknesses with the following results:

Strengths Weaknesses
Vision 1 6
Sales and Marketing 2 (tie) 5
Product Innovation 3 3
Managing People 2 (tie) 4
Information Technologies 5 2
Financial Strategies 4 1

It appears that the CEO has the vision but doesn’t always get there. I question whether or not the CEO has created a “dashboard” for himself that reflects both strengths and weaknesses and is using metrics to formulate benchmarks and to consistency re-evaluate his plan of action and implementation process along the way. It seems like many CEO’s are stuck when it comes to both the planning and implementation process. The statistics tell me that the CEO has a strong sense of awareness but for some reason the plan and implementation process are not giving the CEO the desired results.
I wrote a previous Blog on the formation of “dashboards” and this data tends to lend credence on the fact that CEO’s may not be focused on not only the “things that matter most”, but also don’t measure and monitor the metrics or trends that define the success of the organization. It could also relate that other key members of the executive leadership team are focused on the results that their departments contribute to the overall success of the organization. Sounds like our alignment with strategic objectives must be off or even non-existent. IF the disconnect occurs between the CEO and the people who work in the organization, then the end result is a “disconnect” between the CEO and the Board of Directors resulting in termination or resignation. Basically, we are back to the old adage, “Is it the People or the Process?” You can blame it on one or the other, but it is usually a combination of performance and people resulting in an ineffective process of measurement.
CEO’s better learn how leading companies measure performance and offer a goal and results-oriented culture. Ok, CEO’s, “Start your engines, monitor your dashboard, and stay focused on the finish line”…