August 2017 Business Case Study

The Situation: Executive Leadership Presence

Phyllis was brought in for her technical knowledge and history of success in dealing with customers. However, her visual presence and lack of tact in dealing with critical issues was less than acceptable. Phyllis also tended to shy away from conflict.

The Solution:

Her skill is in reviewing data and strategies for results and her assessments revealed a style better suited as a team player. In putting together her team, we chose a number two-person good at conflict and sales.

In a video taken of Phyllis, she realized an elevated presence was needed. One way to do that was by making new clothing / color choices that transitioned her from an invisible to a visible presence. A new hair style, makeup and eyewear continued to strengthen her appearance. We also worked on her presentation skills beginning with her choice of words and platform skills (posture, moving in front of an audience and pacing words).

The Outcome:

After a year of coaching to successfully manage the customers through her group, the senior team noted positive changes and the board of directors approved her 2018 goal strategies based on a presentation Phyllis gave. They also acknowledged the improvement of her visual presence in the office and on the road.

“Being perfectly well-dressed gives one a tranquility that no religion can bestow.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson

July 2017 Business Case Study

The Situation:  Managing a new and old team

Gary has been with the organization a year. His role is to strengthen the group by hiring new associates while assessing the effectiveness of the current team members. He realized after replacing a non-producing associate that another member is not respected either. Senior management is now concerned Gary is not an effective team leader.

The Solution:

Gary will do a 360 to determine strengths and areas for improvement. He also realizes more time should be spent with the weaker team members by partnering them with the stronger ones. Gary also must build his relationship with his new manager and realize that using an inclusive tone of voice with his team and boss will help the situation.

The Outcome:

Gary continues to empower his team and deepen his relationship with his new manager. He scheduled a retreat for his group with another team that supports his. They will look at lessons learned in the past year and at opportunities to be successful in the remainder of 2017 and into 2018. He will also take the group out in the evening for a fun cooking class and dinner.

A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be.” – Rosalynn Carter, former first lady of the United States

June 2017 Business Case Study

The Situation: Dealing with a difficult leader

Anita is the third executive assistant for this CEO. She was hired because of her credentials and calm demeanor. After being in the role for almost six months, she has not been her best and HR is unsure of her future.

The Solution:

Anita’s calming demeanor is a real asset and she is task driven like the CEO. The path to Anita’s growth is to make quicker decisions without being reactive. The CEO is a dominant director and is not interested in all the details. He needs enough data to feel reassured that situations are being handled. Anita and the CEO established some timeouts so that when a situation is out of balance, there is a meeting of the minds.

The Outcome:

The challenges continue but there are fewer major ones. Anita and the CEO work through their differences and feel more confident engaging with their different communication and process styles. The end results are more positive than negative.

The first sentence of a book is a handshake, perhaps an embrace. Jhumpa Lahiri

May 2017 Business Case Study

The Situation:Building Relationships and Engaging Leaders

Andy was brought in to develop key best practices for organization leaders. However, he got off on the wrong foot in meeting with the leaders by asking what was viewed as “I am smarter than you” questions. A year has gone by with no key initiatives in place and he continues to struggle to secure management buy-in.

The Solution:

Andy is a subject matter expert with many wins from previous organizations. He has been resilient enough to make changes when needed. Unfortunately, in his initial meetings with stakeholders he left them the impression that he knew more than they did. They resented his direct style and flippant remarks. In fact, the senior leaders are beginning to think about replacing him.

Andy realized that he needs to find opportunities to work on earning stakeholder respect and to build confidence with them on their views. Andy began developing critical active listening skills focusing on not immediately responding. He learned to read the audience, grasp what was said and stay between the lines by not immediately challenging their points of view. Andy worked on understanding how to continually modify the process by applying effective listening skills and empathetically adapting to different communication styles.

The Outcome:

Senior leaders are noticing changes. Andy has made it a priority not to interrupt in meetings. He waits to be asked for an opinion. He continues to handle tricky situations by creating strong relationships with the stakeholders. Andy is making real progress creating some best practices that incorporate input from peers and stakeholders.

Networking is an essential part of building wealth. Armstrong Williams

April 2017 Business Case Study

The Situation: Leadership presence

Jane was considered for a general manager job. She brought experience in the field and a well-known success rate in handling controversial clients in her previous organization. The challenge for Jane in the new organization was that her lack of presence eroded the confidence of the leadership team. They were concerned that future board interactions would be ineffective.

The Solution:

Jane needed polish in her communications and presence approaches with senior leaders. In her previous smaller organization, she worked mainly in the trenches. Her combination of wardrobe and grooming choices (hair style and color) hurt her presence. Jane needed a personal brand and quickly became excited about developing one. The new Jane eventually exuded a brand of leadership presence, effective listening skills and a sensitivity to adapting to different communication styles.

The Outcome:

The senior leaders immediately noticed the changes in Jane’s appearance along with the way she handled difficult situations. She created strong client and board relationships and earned a promotion to a general manager!

The power of a handshake – What does your handshake say about you? Do you know?