Posts Tagged ‘Management’

Businesses like to put off spending money on training by questioning, “What if we train them and they leave?”  While the trainers fight back with the sales pitch, ‘What if you don’t train them and they stay?” you get caught in the middle.  It’s not that your boss doesn’t want to invest in you or that you’ll leave if you are trained.  It’s an excuse bosses throw trainers because he or she doesn’t want to waste your time and their money on something that isn’t working.

We hear a litany of complaints about traditional training and development programs.  We can group them into 5 reasons your boss won’t invest in your leadership development:

1.  The content has no relevance to your unique organization or challenges.

2.  There are cute lists of “immutable laws” or “habits” but nobody gives you a practical way to do it.

3.  Training is the same for everyone.

4.  The much-hyped curriculum is generic and gives you no relief for ever-growing ‘To Do List’.

5.  Nothing of value is measured.

Coffee shops are full of people trying to get caught up on generic homework. Until more businesses realize there is an effective way to develop their next generation of leaders, the painful coffee shop experience is likely to continue.

Read more: “Why Your Company Isn’t Training You: The Dirty Little Secret.”


Nikki Ellison is a business adviser and master-certified executive coach. She Co-Founded ELEVATE Results and Franchise Success Institute with Andrew Neitlich, Founder of the global Center for Executive Coaching.  Their renowned leadership skill development program, ELEVATE Your Leaders, was recently launched as a licensed program and will soon be operating in 16 states in the U.S. along with locations in Canada and Southeast Asia.   Her firm, Ellison Partners, facilitates ELEVATE Groups in Omaha and offers certification workshops for Leadership Coaches and Executive Coaches.

2013 ©Nikki Ellison

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EinsteinEinstein put it bluntly when he said “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”   The harsh reality is that leadership programs and experiences that delivered today’s leaders will not continue to deliver the next generation of skilled leadership.

Changing business landscapes are requiring new leadership skills.  Subsequently, the gaps between current leadership skills and the new required skills are driving businesses to rethink their leadership development to keep pace.

Key to success will be the alignment between the goals of business, its leadership development programs and the resulting impact on customers.

Businesses are under pressure to ensure leadership is aligned with changing business strategies.  Every day, our clients share with us the problems they face in developing new skills of future leaders in response to the ever-changing external marketplace.  These problems include:

  • A continued struggle to find the leadership skills they need externally despite recent upswing in the stock market and economy.
  • Constantly evolving is the definition of what success looks like for each businesses.
  • Businesses are being forced to develop more leaders from within to manage gaps between future business goals and the skills that will be required to achieve them.

Top talent must be identified, developed and retained. With key skill shortages in the marketplace, many businesses will not be able to buy their way out of their leadership shortages. They will need to build from within. Three key priorities will help businesses succeed today and in the future:Bright ideas

  1. Alignment of business goals with the strategies required to achieve real results.
  2. Identifying the gaps between leadership skills necessary to drive the strategy and what leadership skills are currently available to the business.
  3. Identify those in your organization with the potential to take on a stronger leadership role and dedicate to developing their skills in new, more usable ways.

Recently, Aberdeen Group released a research report on Accelerating Leadership Development. Their research cited the need to find more creative, lower-cost means of developing leaders and called on businesses to rethink their leadership development to keep pace.  “Successful organizations know that the key to ensuring a steady stream of leadership talent is to provide differentiated opportunities to individuals who demonstrate the greatest potential for future organizational impact.” 

Critical thinking is an essential leadership skill but it doesn’t stop there.  The ability to apply critical thinking is equally important.  The harsh reality is that leadership programs and experiences that delivered today’s leaders will not continue to deliver the next generation of skilled leadership. 

The big question is what will you do about it?


Read more: Helping your managers use their critical thinking skills.


2013 ©Nikki Ellison

Nikki Ellison is a business advisor and master-certified executive coach.  She co-founded ELEVATE Results and the Franchise Success Institute with Andrew Neitlich, owner of the global Center for Executive Coaching.  Their renowned leadership skill development program, ELEVATE Your Leaders, was recently launched as licensed program and will soon be operating in 16 states in the U.S. along with locations in Canada and Southeast Asia by the end of 2013. Her firm, Ellison Partners, is Omaha’s only provider of the ELEVATE Your Leaders program.

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Congratulations to our Spring 2012-2013 leadership program graduates!  They are:

  • www.ellisonpartners.comCarmen Sirizzotti, Director of Strategic Staffing and Compensation at University of Nebraska Medical Center
  • Cathy Spicka, Vice President of Accounting at DEI Communities
  • Crystal Thompson, Production Planning Manager Epsen Hillmer Graphics
  • Kari Heunink, Compliance/SBA Officer, Washington County Bank
  • Mike Arkfeld, Vice President of Operations at Titan Medical Group

We are proud of your leadership, your hard work and most of all we are proud of the business results you have achieved.  Read More!

Contact us today for a no-obligation, no pressure conversation about your leadership development needs and whether our program is right for you.  402.884.7300.

Nikki Ellison is a business advisor, master-certified executive coach, and founder of Ellison Partners.  Through effective leadership coaching, proprietary skill acceleration programs and assessments, Ellison Partners helps individuals and business leaders achieve results.

2013 ©Nikki Ellison

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light bulb team

Creating a Team Building Culture

Last time, we reviewed the four things  you must do to create a

Team Building Culture and they are:

  1. Assess the individual employee
  2. Assess the leader
  3. Assess the team
  4. Create a culture that values engagement

Now that you understand the individuals on the team and their leaders,  combine what you’ve learned and develop an understanding of how the team members will interact with each another.  This is when you bring them all together to assess the team dynamics.  A team workshop will help everyone see a big-picture perspective. Each employee brings unique skills, behaviors and interests to the work environment.  This process will allow everyone to understand how those qualities interact.

You will no doubt find that you’ll need to make adjustments. Clarity is easily achieved by having the results and data.  Adjustments to the current work environment become obvious and much simpler to make.  The way your team works together directly impacts on productivity and now that you have clear understanding of where strengths and weaknesses vary, managers can make intelligent adjustments to maximize efficiency.

Once a team is correctly assessed and adjusted, job satisfaction improves significantly!  This happens because with the right job fit and a well aligned team, employees feel fulfilled in their roles.  When all roles are understood and appreciated, employees feel engaged and work to their full potential.  Happy employees also encourage their peers and coworkers to achieve maximum productivity.  Better fit and better alignment creates higher engagement, better productivity and increased profits.  It is that connected!

Next time we will bring it all together when the culture of having strong teams really becomes a part of the fabric of your company’s DNA.  No longer a “flavor-of-the-month” management topic, an organization that genuinely values engagement will begin to see the fruits of their efforts through stronger branding, enhanced company identity, better retention and a leg up on the competition when recruiting.

In our final discussion, we will explore the attitudes that will keep this culture at the heart of an organization.

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Creating a Team Building Culture


Last time, we discussed “what not to do” when your mission is creating a culture that puts a high value on strong teams.  We identified the four things you must do to create a

Team Building Culture and they are:

  1. Assess the individual employee
  2. Assess the leader
  3. Assess the team
  4. Create a culture that values engagement

We begin with employees, because they are the foundation of your strong teams.  First, make sure they are in the right jobs. The average employee wants more than just a paycheck from his employer, many want training and stimulation so they can develop and promote. You can provide this opportunity using predictive performance or job matching technology. This way, you can strategically invest in your people, fully developing them for the jobs they are in, and you can tailor specific training for career advancement.

Identify your target employees, those who fit well in their current job, are fully engaged in their current role, and whose performance exceeds expectations. This is the kind of employee who achieves goals and has the ability to elevate the performance of other employees, teams, departments, and divisions. The right assessments will tell you about employees’ cognitive skills, job-related behaviors and occupational interests. You’ll need the right data for identifying your stand-out, target employees and those employees who are doing a good job but may not yet have emerged as your rising stars.

Challenge your employees! Managers may be four times more engaged than frontline employees because they have additional responsibilities. Give your employees stretch goals and let them learn from their mistakes. This will enhance the level of employee engagement.  Get their feedback as you challenge them because what you learn from them can be extremely important in helping implement solutions. Try this approach: Encourage the employee to identify: What can be improved?  What do we need here?  What can be adjusted? What should we start or stop doing?

The actions of senior leadership, managers and supervisors are the key drivers of your employee engagement. This is critical because it needs to be a vital part of every leader’s job profile and leadership skill set.  Next time, we’ll learn the value of assessing your leaders to reveal how adept they are at engaging those on their teams.  We will show you how!

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Return on Investment, otherwise known as ROI, is calculated on most business investments.  For money invested in training and development programs, ROI is measured by how well the participants apply the newly learned skilled.  Or is it?  Disappointingly few skills are actually implemented on the job and business results achieved as a result of applying those new skills are lacking.  Worse, effective leadership skills are among them.

Asleep at DeskBersin & Associates research found nearly 75% of all leadership teams fail to achieve business goals.  I cannot help but think about the sinking feeling you get when you realize your leadership team didn’t hit their business goals. It’s one we’ve all felt at times but successful leaders understand that to remain competitive they cannot afford to fail in achieving business goals.

The good news is that the Bersin research proves organizations have signficant opportunities to improve their bottom lines by developing leaders with the ability to act on their organizations’ business goals.  In fact, Bersin asserts the business case can be made for effective leadership training by citing research showing that good leaders can double profits.

So what can you do to ensure that your employees apply the skills they learn in training?

It’s really fairly simple when you think about it.  Start measuring the ROI on your training dollars spent.   If you aren’t measuring your ROI on training,  you’re risking ineffective training and employees who miss their business goals when they fail to carry out the skills learned.   I can’t help but wonder why any leader would tolerate this?www.ellisonpartners.com/leap.php

A colleague of mine, Andrew Neitlich, posed a key question to leaders he coaches: “What are you tolerating in your leadership role that is costing your team and organization revenues, profits, productivity, employee morale, and/or customer loyalty?”  Neitlich, Founder and Director of the Center for Executive Coaching, noted that ‘In life as in business, you get what you tolerate’.    He challenges leaders to control what they tolerate and what they don’t and to set the tone by chosing one thing you are going to stop tolerating in your organization and to take action today.

Smart leaders are chosing to stop tolerating another dollar being spent on training programs without a direct way to ensure skills learned are applied on the job and in their companies.  They’re taking action to ensure training ROI is achieved by insisting the training programs they invest in:

  • Show how they support the application of the newly learned skills on the job; and,
  •  Prove the link between the training and improved business outcomes as a result of applying new skills.

Nikki Ellison is a business advisor, executive coach and founder of Ellison Partners. Through effective leadership coaching, proprietary skill acceleration programs and assessments, Ellison Partners helps businesses and their leaders achieve results.

© Nikki Ellison, 2013.

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