The After: Will Your Team Emerge Stronger After COVID-19?

For many of us, the COVID-19 pandemic has made time stand still – the world as we knew it came to a screeching halt and everywhere you turn, talk is about the coronavirus. While the situation remains uncertain, it is important to keep a level of normalcy in our lives. Connecting with loved ones, taking walks to clear our minds, picking up a new hobby or two – all of these actions help keep our minds positive and focused on the good. And there is so much good out there to be had.

Professionally, one activity that tends to energize us is focusing on our own professional development. Many leaders have progressed successfully through their careers thanks to their love of learning – always finding new ways to hone their craft and even re-invent themselves.

COVID-19 may have forced us to hit the breaks on certain aspects of our daily lives; however, it cannot take away our innate thirst for knowledge. And bonus – focusing on your team’s professional development right now just might be the positive distraction we all need.

But in this odd new normal, how do you progress your skills? While the usual methods of development may not be available, the rise of virtual work offers another avenue. Whether you are mentoring your leaders of tomorrow or simply looking to build a high-performing team, consider the following strategies to keep professional development during COVID-19 top of mind:

Virtual lunch-n-learns

Looking for a way to boost both socio-emotional and cognitive learning at the same time within your team? Take your lunch-n-learns virtual! There is nothing stopping you from transitioning this fan-favorite learning style to online. Have everyone brown bag it to your weekly video call and invite an SME to speak to the group. A fun way to keep your team engaged, connected and learning.

Be Social

This sounds great, right?! Especially in an era of “social distancing”. We are social creatures who crave connection. And although we may not be able to get the face-to-face interaction we love right now, virtual is the next best thing. When was the last time you updated your LinkedIn profile? Or researched alternatives to LinkedIn to build your online professional community. Take this time to beef up your online presence and connect with new people in your field.

Read, listen, repeat

Encourage your team to read up on topics that will help them develop personally and professionally. Prefer podcasts instead? Check out these 7 inspiring podcasts on leadership.

Times may remain uncertain, however adding in some normalcy to our daily lives can help us push forward during even the darkest of times. We must remember there will be an “after” – how do you want your leaders and teams to emerge?

black businesswoman addressing colleagues at a corporate business meeting, close up

Looking to boost your leadership or professional development efforts? Head on over to our website to download your free copy of Leading the Business for insightful strategies on leading a successful organization. If your organization could benefit from a new perspective during this challenging time, I encourage you to contact my team and I at East Tenth Group today.

 

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4 HR Consulting Secrets That Affect Organizational Change

Businesses today face more challenges than ever before; global competition, creating unique business models, and changing technologies all must be addressed if companies wish to continue their growth and success. Sustainable and long-lasting organizational change is the essential tool businesses must rely on to meet and exceed these challenges. 

With that said, introducing new methods and strategies to an organization can be anywhere from fruitful to disastrous. I have been apart of this, both in my corporate career as well as now. It’s a delicate balance that requires keen insight, lasting patience, and confidence. That is why creating and implementing strategies for successful organizational change is such an essential component of keeping your business running smoothly. 

In the best of situations, organizational change leads to greater productivity, higher work quality, fewer redundant tasks, and larger profit margins. In the worst of circumstances, organizational change can be stressful, confusing, and harmful to your business. Your team might feel unfit to adjust to new processes and mind-sets, and sometimes, they cannot achieve the desired result. 

Fifty years after organizational change was established as a field, 70% of initiatives still fail. Remarkably this statistic has remained unchanged since the 1970s, but it speaks to how persistent this issue has been. More than that, it demonstrates an undeniable issue in organizational change processes: many people blame the foundational theories of organizational change, but theories of the field are seldom to blame. Recently, I was in an executive team planning session where some of the leaders were entrenched in the opinion that the coming transformation for their company did not need any type of “organizational change” focus. I wholly disagreed. 

The Four Secrets of Organizational Change

Sometimes, organizational change failure results from an unrealistic goal or unreasonable expectations. Other times, the business leadership team is ill-equipped to implement and sustain organizational change. In most cases, though, HR professionals overlook simple principles of organizational change. These principles can make the change process simpler, less stressful, and more successful.

Businesses seeking real, long-lasting success through a shifting organizational structure need to understand these pivotal HR consulting secrets.

Focus on Continuous Improvement

One-off efforts to change the processes and structure of an organization rarely succeed. One-time changes usually come unexpectedly and inorganically. In most cases, managers and their employees revert to their old ways soon after the pressure to change is lifted.

Continuous improvement encourages constant incremental change. It is far less difficult to require businesses to improve efficiency and alter processes by tiny increments in the short-term than a single massive increment in the long-term. Businesses are more adaptive to change when they have experienced it previously and witnessed positive results. This works because, in my experience, it becomes part of everyday work.

Involve Your Team at All Levels

Leaders, managers, and entry-level employees will feel more committed and equipped to adjust to organizational change if they are involved throughout the overall processes. Every team member has excellent ideas and insight, so it’s always valuable to keep an open mind and listen to their opinions.

Organizational change efforts must also work from the top down. CEOs and other business leaders should show to the rest of the team that change is possible and that everybody and every process can be improved, including C-level leadership. I like to say this is a ground-up effort, not, believe it or not, top-down.

Communicate with Empathy

Organizational change is surprisingly more swift and successful when each team member feels appreciated and involved. HR consultants and business executives must communicate with empathy, expressing each employee’s value to the organization and the value of change to each employee. Don’t be shy. Express that you, too, feel challenged by the changes required.

According to a recent Duarte survey, out of 138 leading business executives that plan to start or are amid organizational change, only 69 are considering their team’s sentiment about the change. Being transparent and open about your plans’ goals encourages team cohesion and assures everyone is on the same page. We all know change is hard, personally and professionally; don’t underestimate the time needed to bring people along. Communicate, communicate, and communicate again through a multi-channel approach. It matters, it really does.

Perform Skill Building and Capacity Building Within the Organization

Change does not facilitate itself automatically. HR consultants and business leaders should first clarify that change is difficult and then train and coach each team member. As a result, often you will see individuals feel empowered to improve their skills and capacities.

On the other hand, team members will feel demotivated if you assign them a new task or role and then walk away. Change will be most successful when the organization follows through on each step of the training and skill-building process. It cannot be emphasized enough how essential consistency and dedication are to your efforts. 

Put simply, every business should welcome organizational change. Faulty business practices, unsympathetic leaders, lack of training, and sudden, rigid goals can all hinder attempts to evolve and improve an organization. But if you eliminate those barriers and see the effort through, ultimately you will look back on the challenges of organizational change and see how much they improved the company and your teammates. Again, this is where taking time and effort upfront and throughout the change pays off big time. In my experience, getting more people on the change bus will help cement the way forward.

Get your copy of our free HR consulting resource: Performance Management Innovation.

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5 Ways to Bake Transparency Into Your People Strategy

As the proverb goes, honesty is the best policy. In mid-market or larger firms, embracing honesty translates to a culture of transparency at every level of the organization.

Baking transparency into your people strategy has deep and lasting benefits; some financial, some legal, and some cultural, all of which manifest into positive PR. However, I would never say that embracing transparency is a simple process—it is harder than you think. It requires rigorous reforms in every area of the business.

With that said, there’s a growing expectation that today’s companies are making an effort to be more transparent, and we can all start somewhere. Here are five key ways you can build transparency into your corporate culture.

Stop Hiding Negative Truths

Imagine you’re taking a drive to another state with a group of colleagues. You’re driving, and as everyone chats around you, you notice something is going wrong with the car’s steering. You have a choice to make in this moment. Would you keep the problem to yourself and carry on, or would you say something to the others in the car?

If you continue driving, you’re excluding the only people who can help you from decisions that affect them. What if someone else noticed, but assumed you had it under control? What if someone else knows how to diagnose the issue? What if another passenger knows where the nearest mechanic is?

When we keep bad news and unfortunate truths hidden, we’re telling our teams they can’t help us. Ironically, they’re the only ones who can. Provided we frame these issues as business-wide objectives, rather than admissions of defeat, negative truths are capable of sparking innovative thinking and a productive sense of urgency. We must never underestimate our team’s ability to find solutions to big problems, as long as they understand the scope.

Give People the Tools to Decide for Themselves

If the line managers need to approve or request everything their department does, you’re designing bottlenecks into your processes. You’re also sending a message to other team members that they can’t be trusted to act in good faith.

Instead, have leaders create a scope of approval by defining what their teams can do without direct permission or instruction. This scope should also be specific about what is out of bounds, and at what point a project does need to pass through an approval process. Teams with more agency are able to get more done, and empowering them creates a healthier dynamic with their reporting manager.

This also applies to professional development. If leaders have a plan for a talented individual, and that person is not involved in the planning, the organization is setting themselves up to collide with their star talent’s interests. Engage top talent in conversations about where they hope to see themselves develop. Putting talented people where you want them, rather than where they want to be, will make their job offers from competitors seem all the more appealing.

Develop your people strategy and click here to get your copy of Emotional Intelligence and Smart Leadership. Inside, you’ll find actionable advice for a people-first leadership approach.

Re-define Sensitive Information

There’s a difference between transparency and reckless exposure—a window still needs glass panes. However, the line between an organization’s confidential and public information needs to be thoughtfully defined.

When it comes to which pieces of information are kept confidential and which are not, the reasons behind your choices matter. Some are obvious; there is no appropriate time to share your people’s social security numbers.

However, there may be certain information that is riskier to keep confidential than to make public, particularly as the political climate changes around us. For instance, with hot topics like pay equity gaining momentum, you may want to think carefully about whether pay transparency is a more strategic move in the long term. Of course, the answer will depend entirely on the complex circumstances of your business. 

Encourage Candid Conversations

Candor is a cornerstone of people strategy in firms throughout NYC and across the globe, not to mention the subject of umpteen leadership books. Steve Jobs had such a belief in candid honesty that the concept of “fearless feedback” is a pillar of Apple’s culture that lives on to this day. Whether you use Jobs’ term, or you call it “radical candor”, or something else, it comes back to offering constructive, honest,  feedback—100% of the time.

There’s a reason people write so much about candor—it’s hard. Few people enter the workforce with the confidence to tell other people they could have done better. Of those who do, a smaller percentage have the emotional intelligence to deliver their feedback tactfully.

The benefits of candor are well-documented, but it’s not enough to hold a Lunch & Learn and call it a day. Every level of leadership must be committed to modeling the candor you want to see in your organization. That commitment must be ongoing, and it must work both ways. Furthermore, while tough conversations should be held in private, their benefits should be celebrated. Using a few morning standup minutes to share an example of how internal feedback leads to a positive outcome will show your team the value of these conversations.

Create Channels for Honest Communication

By now, most organizations use some form of internal messaging platform, like Slack. Fast and easy communication throughout the organization is key to breaking down silos and encouraging collaboration.

However, as a leader, ask yourself whether your organization has channels in place for communicating about sensitive topics without the perceived risk of political interference. What procedures exist for reporting unfair or harmful management practices? How should someone communicate their need for accommodation for an invisible disability? In a transparent organization, the onus is on you to build these channels of communication and ensure your team knows about them.

Committing to a culture of transparency is not easy, and in the beginning, there are bound to be uncomfortable choices to make. For guidance on integrating transparency into your people strategy, contact my team and me at East Tenth Group today.

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Roles for succession

Leadership Transition Series Part 4: Who’s On First: Defining Roles for Succession

Part 4 of ETG’s Leadership Transition Series

Succession planning is a joint effort between multiple layers of leadership. Even though the objectives are relatively concrete in theory, the planning process often seems abstract. 

While private and public companies may encounter their own challenges when it comes to succession planning, both rely on key actors to take ownership of the process.

While these roles may look different from one company to the next, each play a necessary part in moving your organization’s succession plan forward.

The Board as Criteria Setters

In a publicly traded company, the board has a great deal of skin in the game. Failure to plan for leadership transition is a risk no board would knowingly take. Therefore, the board should be involved in all aspects of succession planning.

Ideally, a selection or nomination committee should exist at the board level. Their mandate must be to define the criteria for the successors to critical roles. They should also communicate perceived risks, assist in assessing talent, and hold the CEO accountable for their role in executing succession planning within the organization.

In order to be effective, these committees should have a strong ability to make objective decisions. Furthermore, the processes by which succession management decisions are made should be transparent and clearly defined.

The CEO as Decision Maker

The CEO is ultimately the decision-maker in matters pertaining to succession planning.

Working closely with the selection committee, the CEO should synthesize their criteria and assessments into actionable tasks for internal teams. The CEO should also take ownership over whether these tasks progress at an acceptable pace.

Furthermore, the CEO should be instrumental in moderating and leading decisions around the selection, development, and recruitment of successor candidates.

The C-Suite as Team Coaches

Just as an NFL coach works to develop their teams to their full potential, executive management must be focused on developing their talent pipeline.

Executive leadership should maintain a coaching mindset with potential successors. This begins with detailed performance assessment that illuminates the strengths and development opportunities of each candidate. These assessments should form the basis of each candidates’ development programs.

These candidates should be re-assessed on a regular basis to monitor progress and performance. Executives can use these opportunities to course-correct, or further challenge leading talent.

Over time, close coaching will reveal whether the current talent pool contains suitable successors. Executives can make the call whether to double down efforts to coach in-house talent—or trade in talent from another team.

Is your leadership team equipped to prepare up-and-coming talent for their next roles? Our Leadership Transition Coaching helps future leaders cultivate the right skills for success.

HR as Development Leaders

While executive leadership is preoccupied with selecting and mentoring successors, HR plays a key role in leadership development programming.

HR must work with the executive team to identify development opportunities for high-potential candidates that will have meaningful benefits for the business. Using assessment and performance review data, HR can work with the executive branch to develop and approve enriching experiences for up-and-coming talent.

Take, for example, Eli Lilly’s bi-annual action learning program. The program is a six-week session organized by HR and Eli Lilly’s line managers. Its purpose is to focus the attention of eighteen high-performers on a strategic business issue identified by the CEO. The group is exposed to experts, thought leaders, and customers to gain immersive experience with finding high-level solutions for the business.

Line Managers as Talent Culture Ambassadors

A great succession plan isn’t simply written on a whiteboard in the executive boardroom. It permeates the culture of the entire organization.

Line managers must be trained to lead with development in mind, looking for opportunities to challenge and develop their teams’ skill sets. 

These managers can work with HR to provide input on development programming that supports the talent pipeline and motivates people in their current roles.

Make it an expectation that line managers should be always be actively seeking to enrich their teams’—and their own—ability to benefit the business. As ambassadors of a culture of ongoing development, managers influence their teams to continuously pursue the extent of their potential.

The responsibility to prepare for succession rests on the highest levels of leadership, but the effort itself is shared by many. By making leadership transition planning a clearly defined responsibility for each of these roles, it’s easier to hold ourselves and others accountable.

If your organization could benefit from a new perspective on your succession planning systems, I encourage you to contact my team and I at East Tenth Group today.

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5 roles for an effective succession plan

Leadership Transition Series Part 3: The 5 Critical Roles in an Effective Succession Plan

Part 3 of ETG’s Leadership Transition Series

Succession planning is about people. Your people are what make your business—its identity, its reputation, and all of its assets. 

At the heart of an effective succession plan, there is an undercurrent of appreciation for the team you have. The way I see it, everyone on my team plays a valuable role in making our organization what it is. To plan for their eventual departure not only ensures that I’m keeping a realistic view of the future, but also acknowledges the contributions of each key team member.

Let’s be honest; the faces you see around you this year won’t all be the same in five years—or even two years from now. By focusing succession planning on the roles of your key people, your plan will provide clarity on how to move forward while staying true to the values of the business.

These are the five role categories you must consider as you work through your plan.

Role 1: CEO

Succession planning is indisputably important for multiple roles in an organization, but preparing a successor for the CEO is essential.

As a figurehead for the organization, it is mission-critical for each organization to have a plan for who will replace the CEO in the long term, and who should step in should the CEO get “hit by the proverbial bus.”

Every stakeholder in the organization has a vested interest in the success of this candidate. Installing a successor in a state of panic can have disastrous consequences—particularly for publicly-traded companies.

Between the board, the current CEO, and the rest of the C-suite, it’s imperative to prioritize these conversations. The right candidates take time to select, develop, and transition. The best case scenario is planning years ahead of the current CEO’s expected departure from the role. 

While it’s nice to be optimistic, it’s safer to anticipate all scenarios when succession planning—including the worst ones. Asking difficult questions today can save precious time and reign in damage when it’s time to act.

The most common reason organizations fail to plan for the CEO’s departure is the false perception that there’s plenty of time. Leaders must act on these conversations with the same urgency they’d have for any other high-stakes threat to the business.

Role 2: The C-Suite

It should come as no surprise that anyone who occupies a corner office should also have a successor waiting in the wings.

Direct reports to the executive team are the obvious talent pool for filling these roles. The sooner the CFO, CTO, CHRO, and other high-level executives are able to nominate a successor, the sooner they can begin long-term preparations for future transitions.

Once candidates for C-suite positions are chosen and vetted by the CEO and board (if there is one), the CEO should engage HR to enroll them in leadership development programs along with additional technical knowledge to own their roles.

When it comes to developing a timeline for transition, succession planning for executive roles should look similar to that of the CEO. Each executive should use a dual-lensed approach by considering a long-term, best-case transition scenario as well as a plan of action for emergencies.

Are your future leaders ready to assume these roles? Contact us about our Leadership Transition program. We’ll help your team prepare top talent for the next stage of their careers.

Role 3: C-Suite Successors

As we prepare successors to reach the top of the corporate ladder, we must also consider who will follow behind them up the rungs.

As the talent pool grows more diffuse, the importance of maintaining a culture of leadership development grows clearer. Consistent effort to develop high-potential talent at every level of the organization helps to build bench strength as leaders move on.

While on the surface it may seem unnecessary to develop many candidates for one role, we can never predict how long any individual will stay with the organization. A larger pool of qualified candidates safeguards our ability to hire from within. The optics of external hiring at higher levels of management can be very demoralizing down the pipeline.

Role 4: Business-Critical Talent

In a sense, larger organizations are like vehicles. Each component plays a role in ensuring the driver’s commute is safe, smooth, and predictable. While a business needs leadership like a car needs a steering wheel and tires, both cannot proceed on these core components alone.

In every department of your organization, there is almost certainly someone whose knowledge and skill set is critical to maintaining smooth day-to-day operations. These people may not be line managers, but they’re just as important.

The danger in excluding these people from succession planning is not as much about transitioning leadership as it is about securing productivity. You can safely assume people like this—passionate, committed teammates—exist in your organization. Making leadership development a part of the corporate culture helps to ensure these people are identified, developed, and retained.

The other side of this is ensuring process development is a core attribute of your business. If key processes only exist in the brains of certain high-value individuals, their departure can have hazardous consequences. Ensuring the business has a defined methodology for documenting and archiving critical processes contributes to a well-rounded succession plan.

Role 5: X-Factor Talent

Let’s revisit the analogy of the car. Toyota and General Motors cars are alike in utility, functionality, and general design. Despite their similarities, the Toyota has a much higher perceived value.

‘X-factor’ talent are individuals who define the identity of an organization. Perhaps it’s a designer in marketing whose concepts have effectively changed the face of the business. Or, perhaps it’s a product developer whose innovations have been instrumental to the past year’s growth.

Consider how your business will manage to retain that competitive edge if these ‘x-factor’ individuals were to leave. You might start by asking these valuable people to become mentors for rising talent. 

I also advise building strategies for recruiting top talent that can meet or exceed the performance of your star players.

By imagining a future without the people you count on today, you have a golden opportunity to intimately understand what makes your organization ‘tick’. Honor these unique contributions by identifying how you can maintain or build on them as your business evolves.

If you need help with identifying and preparing successors for these key roles, I encourage you to contact my team and I at East Tenth Group today.

 

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HR Digital Disruptive Change Leaders

Why HR Teams are Today’s Digital Disruption Leaders

I’m a big believer that one of the only things we can count on for consistency in our lives is change. Whether in our personal lives, or at work, change appears to be occurring at an accelerated pace these days.

Disruptive technology, a term coined by Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen, is an expression which refers to any new technology which changes, or “disrupts” an existing industry or the technologies it uses. We can see evidence of our “disruptive economy” whenever we read the news or speak to our colleagues about the latest technological advances, and the impact they have on how we do business.

At East Tenth Group we work closely with CEOS and business leaders, and I wanted to share how forward-thinking experts are applying disruptive change practices to spearhead organizational change so that you can apply these tactics to your business:

Identifying Emerging HR Trends

One of the key components to successfully implementing disruptive technology within the HR space is to be as in-the-know with emerging technologies, business trends, and how the two can work in lockstep to the success (or detriment) of modern HR teams:

Recent trends in HR have included:

  • Companies are eliminating traditional hierarchies. By considering the workplace as a series of interconnected teams, rather than a series of silos, team collaboration and innovation can flourish. This often requires restructuring internal teams and processes to accommodate this changing workplace dynamic.

  • Employees need to be empowered to succeed through continuous learning. Many HR experts I speak to are worried about artificial intelligence (AI) and the unknown implications it may have for their teams. There is nothing to worry about! I might be dating myself but back in the day we were worried about the internet…now look at us. In response, many leaders I speak to are adopting an “always-on” learning environment which encourages employees to build their skills quickly, and on their own terms.

  • Leaders are using data and cognitive tools for recruiting. Leaning on the latest recruiting tools and technologies takes much of the “guesswork” out of sourcing the right candidates, transforming this process from guesswork to a precise science.

How HR Can Lead the Way Towards Digital Adoption

Because HR plays a potival role in helping an organization and it’s leadership, it’s easy to understand why HR teams are the most well-suited to lead digital adoption and organizational change within a business.

By adopting a forward-thinking and modern approach to digital tool integration, HR teams can accelerate how quickly a business can adapt to the latest changes by implementing team-centric solutions and using the latest HR tech tools.

Here, the process of integrating these tools and processes is key: as HR teams begin to understand the needs of the modern employee and craft learning and development experiences which reflect and meet those needs, everyone touched by these new policies will begin to adapt accordingly. This process is one of the reasons why collaboration and support from C-Suite leadership is critical in order to successfully lead organizational change.

How HR Can Work With the C-Suite

In my years working with CEOs and other top leaders I’ve come to identify successful methods of planning for change, and for collaborating with leadership to ensure that the process meets their needs in addition to being beneficial for the organization overall.

  • Identify the top concerns. Have a frank discussion with the leadership within your organization and take note of the top concerns of the C-Suite leadership, as well as any other key business stakeholders which may impact adoption.

  • Apply “design thinking” to problem-solving. Consider the challenge from the perspective of the stakeholder, how any changes will affect their teams, etc. and use emerging HR technologies to address these issues. One example I love from Visa was when they created Visa University, a learning portal designed to assist top level executives who needed to brush up on their understanding of mobile ecommerce.

  • Provide opportunities for review and feedback. Work collaboratively with C-Suite leadership and take their feedback and experiences into consideration when making adjustments or tweaks to new processes.

Remember: Organizational Change Doesn’t Have to be Painful

While change is inevitable, especially in our age of rampant technological progress, it’s important for us to remember that disruptive change must be managed, and managing this change goes beyond just tracking performance indicators and making adjustments as-needed.

As an HR expert leading the digital transformation within your organization, it’s your responsibility to control, measure, and manage all of the key players involved with this change including: technology officers, project managers, C-suite leadership, and other individuals who play a role in shaping company culture.

Remember: just because a new technology is “disruptive” doesn’t mean that it will be painful to implement into existing business and HR models.

By framing “disruptive change” as the implementation of positive, necessary steps which will lead to increased productivity and organizational success, your HR team can make the leap from traditional HR to the latest generation of technologies which will enhance the workplace experience for everyone.

I attended the HackingHR in NYC event just recently. I was thrilled. We covered all things HR and these are trend setting HR innovators wanting to ensure we truly have our digital HR strategy minted. From the founder, Enrique Rubio, to all the participants we are definitely headed into new frontiers. I say jump right onboard!

At East Tenth Group we’re committed to working with you and your teams to overcome professional and organizational challenges. Visit our services page for more information on how we can assist your HR department with leading organizational change, take action now and subscribe to our newsletter, and connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

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How to Use Technology to Meaningfully Enhance Your Leadership

In the modern workplace, leadership development is a key area that many businesses are willing to invest in. In just the United States alone, billions of dollars are spent annually on learning and development (L&D) for both current and future leaders. Many training and coaching endeavors include in-person conferences and workshops, with the hopes of inspiring new leadership skills and capabilities within C-suite leaders, high-level executives, and other high-potential employees.

However, choosing to spend these billions of dollars solely on in-person workshops and trainings may not be giving organizations as much bang for their buck as they might hope. Recent studies have found that adults participating in a lecture-style setting of learning may forget almost 50% of what they learn – and that’s within the first two weeks.

In addition to the challenge of retaining valuable information designed to enhance leadership capabilities, a survey by the Korn Ferry Institute found that 62% of business leaders are reporting that they still experience leadership gaps, with only 17% of leaders feeling confident that they have the leadership capabilities to fully deliver on strategic priorities.

To truly invest in – and increase – the human capital of your organization, it’s time to listen to Millennials and utilize the overarching power of technology within the workplace.

In our guide to the Top 10 HR Predictions for 2017, we outline that the focus on human performance and wellbeing will become a vital part of leadership development, also noting that digital HR and learning solutions will make the L&D experience more engaging and compelling. But how, exactly, can technology be used to sustain quality leadership skills and capabilities of executives and future leaders, while empowering them to continue learning even when the in-person leadership training is over?

Pair In-Person Leadership Training With Continuous Online Learning

To be clear: integrating technology into both your professional and personal leadership training doesn’t mean that in-person workshops and trainings should be ignored. These are high-value, informative, and motivational components of quality leadership training strategies that shouldn’t be overlooked. This is why East Tenth Group delivers customizable, in person, one-on-one leadership development paired with technology delivery to drive leadership skill development both on and offline.

However, with the volume of content that is absorbed everyday by high-potential employees and leaders alike, it can be tough to retain the information gained from in-person training, and to sustain those learned skills moving forward. With countless meetings, high-stress environments, and the other factors that make up the everyday life of a CEO or executive, business leaders need accessible and relevant content resources which allow them to access and refer back to what they’ve learned.

Modern agencies have caught onto this trend, and are utilizing current technologies to the fullest to enhance their L&D programs. Not only do online L&D resources help the modern leader flourish and scale their leadership capabilities, but they help large-scale organizations cut training costs while simultaneously increasing employee learning outside of the workshop.

According to Bersin by Deloitte, future-forward HR technologies are working to curate an engaging online L&D environment, helping leadership learners learn new skills on a consistent basis through self-directed learning on platforms like LinkedIn Learning, Oracle, and Saba.

There are a wide variety of useful Web 2.0 tools designed to help leaders retain information while maintaining an active presence within the workplace, including:

Online Instructional Tools: These software tools are designed to share high-level content with a targeted end user, with modules and trainings available in an online location which is accessible to leaders anytime.

Media Sharing Platforms: Platforms such as Youtube may not immediately come to mind when thinking of high-quality leadership training, but these online environments are the perfect place to store and share relevant, informational, and engaging videos. From presentations from respected business leaders to short-form animated content, these value-filled platforms allow for quick sharing of high-quality content.

According to HubSpot, 55% of people consume video content regularly. Furthermore, 59% of executives agree that if both video and text are available on one topic, they’re more likely to choose the video-based content.

Web Conferences: With web conferencing methods, business leaders can take part in live trainings, meetings, and presentations without leaving their office. This allows for a presenter to reach a wide range of viewers, while participants can actively participate in the conference by asking questions and answering poll questions. Click here to access ETG’s growing library of webcasts and videos for some superb examples.

Podcasts: Podcast-based leadership learning means that business leaders can access high-quality content on-the-go. Trainings and presentations can be recorded and shared on an accessible platform, so that leaders can listen back while commuting, on the bus, or during a quiet part of the workday. Plenty of high-level business leaders regularly share their valuable insights and tips, helping you effectively retain information that will help you increase your leadership skills.

Effective continuous online learning is diverse, accessible, and stimulating. When you choose to use available online resources to hone in on developing a specific skill, you can do so in a way that keeps you engaged and stimulated when the time is right for you. By pairing our one-on-one, customizable leadership development with technology-based learning, leaders can access new skills with unparalleled ease.

Use Technology to Build Meaningful Connections and Enhance EI Skills

Social media platforms are not only for casual or personal relationships – they’re tools for building powerful interpersonal skills while finding professional connections and gathering valuable knowledge.

By maintaining an active presence on these online communities (such as LinkedIn), you can participate in online training events, listen in on leadership webinars, share your knowledge with like-minded and future-forward leaders, and catch up on the latest industry-related articles.

Likewise, virtual simulations and virtual reality (VR) training sessions are quickly becoming a trend within high-level organizations, including enterprise-level businesses such as WalMart.

These sessions and simulations can increase engagement and increase Emotional Intelligence (EI) so that leaders can better retain and transfer their learned skills into real-life workplace environments, while having a safe environment to practice newly-learned skills. So, although these high-cost and high-tech simulations can be expensive, they are of low cost when considered from a cost-per-person perspective.

Technology to Optimize Your Leadership State of Mind

Not only can effective technology use enhance your leadership capabilities, it can enhance your mental well-being, allowing you to reach new heights as an effective leader. Wearable devices, such as a smartwatch, or other health-monitoring apps allow you to monitor aspects of your health such as your heartrate, the steps you take every day, and even the amount of time you spend on your feet.

Studies demonstrate that an increase in your physical fitness contributes to your mental well-being, as well as providing other valuable cognitive benefits such as:

  • Enhanced creativity
  • Faster learning
  • A sharper memory
  • Prolonged mental stamina
  • Lower stress levels

Exercise allows you to perform better as a leader, working to foster interpersonal connections and collaborations. As your mood can directly affect that of others within your team, investing in a wearable device that motivates you to move and take care of yourself can help you be better, and do better.

Using a wearable device throughout the day can help you reach the mental competency necessary to effectively lead your team.

No matter the industry, it can take several years to build digital maturity within your leadership training. However, a study completed by the MIT Center for Digital Business shows that the level of digital intensity gained by a company helps them manage more volume with the same physical capacity, including driving 16% more revenue with both their human and physical assets.

As a C-suite leader or other high-level executive, it’s time to level-up your leadership capabilities with the proper utilization of technology throughout your day. Whether you’re attempting to boost your KPI’s, or simply want to increase engagement with your colleagues and target market, technology can help you streamline your leadership strategy to boost your overall performance.

To fully immerse yourself in enhancing your leadership capabilities, keep in mind that it’s a balance of in-person coaching and development sessions and technological resources that will enhance your leadership capabilities. When you learn new skills while and leverage technology to help you retain and embrace this new information, you can become the future-forward leader and set the tone for your organization.

At East Tenth Group, we offer high-value, one-on-one leadership development, optimized to your specific business circumstances. Amplified by a robust content library stocked-full with webcasts, videos, ebooks, and insightful articles, our boutique consulting team is available to help your business reach new heights.

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As the CEO & Founder of East Tenth Group, Michelle leverages 25 years of business and experience as a strategic advisor and executive coach to help drive actionable people solutions and provide practical insights on business strategy to senior leaders. she and her team and are fiercely committed to the development and growth of people and companies because we believe that when people thrive, business thrives.

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3 Ways to Manage Change Effectively

I don’t believe in employing change management consultants. They take what should be an on-the-ground, tactical approach to leadership and convolute it. I’ll tell you a secret: The only way change occurs successfully in any organization is when top leaders support the changes they want to implement. Change is a top-down process with a cross, down, bottom, up and everything-in-between effort.

To manage change effectively, you must:

  1. Make the change necessary. Change should not be an experiment. It should not be something the organization implements for one week, only to retract the change the next week. The change should be necessary to the survival, improvement, and long-term success of the organization. Start with asking the pertinent, often forgotten question, why change?
  2. Achieve buy-In. It doesn’t matter how necessary the change is for your organization, if you’re not addressing your employees in terms of what’s in it for them, the change won’t be as successful. Achieving buy-in for your organizational goals requires a change in mind-set – not just for your team but for you as well. It can’t simply be a top-down, trickle-down list of commandments. It takes an ongoing, full-court press: constant communication from every angle, both formal and informal. Too many leaders deliver one or two formal announcements or a town hall or two and then, silence. You need to be ready to stay in it for the long haul.
  3. Address concerns. It’s human nature to resist change, so leaders must be willing to address concerns. This means being available and approachable. Don’t deflect and don’t run. Address concerns head-on. It might get messy. And you might not have all the answers. I have seen so many leaders “run for the hills” because they don’t have it all figured out and are afraid to say so. Yes, you need to build confidence and credibility, but when concerns pop up that you don’t have an answer for, it’s ok. Gathering around that concern, figuring it out in the short term and perhaps inviting that employee to help you solve it, will gain the traction you need for a long-term change initiative.

[Tweet “Successful change happens if the change is necessary and buy-in is achieved at all levels.”]

Change is an unqualified necessity in today’s globally competitive, rapidly changing environment. How you approach change, and the people you expect to implement change, makes all the difference.

[Tweet “Change is a top-down process that requires less consulting and more leadership.”]


As the CEO & Founder of East Tenth Group, Michelle leverages 25 years of business and experience as a strategic advisor and executive coach to help drive actionable people solutions and provide practical insights on business strategy to senior leaders. she and her team and are fiercely committed to the development and growth of people and companies because we believe that when people thrive, business thrives.

Learn More About Michelle

Read more