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January 15, 2018

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The Rewards Of Being An Ambidextrous Leaderby Zenger Folkman

 

I write with my left hand, play tennis and other sports with my right hand, and, like nearly all people, type on a keyboard with both hands. With a modest push from my parents, I’m convinced I could have learned to write with my right hand and play sports with my left. However, even without that, I’m reasonably ambidextrous—which has often come in handy.

Results Or Relationships; Which Is More Important?

There are great advantages in becoming an ambidextrous leader. In a study conducted by Zenger Folkman with 95,000 managers, we asked these leaders to indicate which competencies were most important for their subordinates’ success.  Their answer was “Driving for Results” (“Results”).  “Building Relationships” (“Relationships”) was rated number six.

When you include the views of peers and subordinates on this question, you get a different result. We studied data from 6,910 leaders who had received 360-degree feedback from an average of 13 respondents (managers, peers, direct reports, and others). We looked at the ratings from multiple raters on the leaders’ Results and Relationships abilities.

 We found the following:

Competency scoring higher             % in this category

Results higher than Relationships 49%
Relationships higher than Results 42%
Skilled at Both Results and Relationships 9%

Many leaders take the advice of their managers and focus their leadership efforts on driving for results. But are leaders who are more effective at delivering results better leaders than those who are highly competent in building positive relationships?  If we look at behavior, almost as many leaders were emphasizing building relationships as there were emphasizing results.

Payoffs From Being Ambidextrous

Both skills are critical for leaders, but which skill impacts the overall leadership effectiveness of a leader the most? After gathering the data from these three different groups, we found that leaders who were rated higher on Results than Relationships were, on average, at the 41st percentile in their overall leadership effectiveness. Those who were rated higher on Relationships than Results were at the 44thpercentile.  Those who were skilled at both were at the 82ndpercentile. These differences were all statistically significant.

Which Skills Get You Promoted?

Since managers were so strongly focused on Results, my colleague, Joe Folkman, and I started to wonder if that had a significant influence over who was identified as a “high potential” candidate for more senior positions.  We analyzed the same dataset, where we had “potential” ratings on just over 4,900 leaders. These “potential” ratings included input from other leaders in the organization, but were most strongly influenced by the individual’s manager.

The results of the analysis are in the graph below. Notice that 32% of the leaders who were rated higher on Results than Relationships were placed in the high potential group, while only 27% of those where Relationships were higher were considered high potentials.  While we might debate the importance of one or the other of these qualities, the most compelling point of the study is that 46% of those who did both well were put in the high potential group.

If a manager is good at one and not the other, becoming ambidextrous appears to pay off.The Interaction Effect

Why this happens contains some mystery. We know that correlation does not describe causation. That means we can speculate about why leaders who combine these abilities are perceived as being better performers with high potential, but cannot provide a definitive answer.

There is a strong circular effect between the positive relationships within a team and the results it produces.

  1. Positive relationships lead to members of a team putting forth extra effort.  That discretionary effort readily translates into better results.
  2. People who are generally happy in their work are more productive.  Positive relationships are a major contributing factor in being happy at work.
  3. People generally are much happier when they’re playing on a winning team.  Producing good results together is a strong force in building good relationships.
  4. Individuals who consistently contribute to a team’s success enjoy a higher sense of inclusion and respect than those who are not seen as positive contributors.

The Quest To Be Ambidextrous

Just as people select which hand they use the most, people sense which of these two qualities they tend to favor. The important takeaway is that you don’t need to be brilliant at both to achieve this positive impact. In our analysis, we put leaders into both groups when they were at or above the 75th percentile on both skills. Some people were at the 90th percentile on Results but only at the 75th percentile on Relationships, but still had that positive interaction effect. Rather than make the excuse, “I am not wired that way,” start telling yourself that you can do both skills well.  Pay special attention to the side that is your opportunity for growth. Set goals around making positive connections with others or completing tasks on time, and soon good habits will develop.

This article was first published on Forbes.com

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Research Shows The Best Way To Motivate Othersby Zenger Folkman

 

A few years ago I decided to take my wife and teenage children on a European tour. I was of the opinion that I would not like the experience, but agreed to go because of pressure from my spouse and children. Typically my family prefers to go at their own pace and this tour was anything but flexible. However, soon after starting the tour I found that the tour director was excellent at setting clear parameters and expectations, such as, “The bus leaves from the hotel at 8:00 am sharp, if you are not on the bus good luck finding your own way to the next city!” Even though the tour guide was very directive, I found that it eliminated all the debates about where to go and when to leave. The typical family trip always put me in the middle of trying to decide what to do, but on the tour bus I could just sit back and follow the rules.

On another occasion, I was helping my son with a school report. We did a web-search for the highest mountain in Utah. A picture came up of Kings Peak, which rises 13,500 feet above sea level. As my son looked at the picture he said, “Wouldn’t it be cool to climb to the top of that mountain.”  Hearing my son’s enthusiasm, I thought, “This would be a great opportunity to make a memory and one that would never be forgotten.” I suggested the hike to his scout troop and every person decided to participate. Preparation for the hike was intense; this mountain is in a remote wilderness area and required a four-day, 45-mile round trip hike.  To prepare, two shorter hikes were organized. Finally, the time for the hike arrived. The hike was difficult; there were blisters, muscle aches, and exhaustion. The final climb to the peak was very steep over broken rocks, but that vision I had of my son and I sitting on the top of the peak propelled me up the mountain.

These two examples represent two very different ways leaders motivate others. Have you ever noticed what happens when you are assigned a project and have no deadline? For most people, there is a shift in action, intensity and purpose that comes with a date or time to complete a task. When your leader says to you, “I am going to hold you accountable for…” similar reactions occur.

Direction from others to drive results is one of the fundamental ways for leaders to get work accomplished. The feeling that comes from this direction is often clarity and a sense of responsibility, obligation, or duty when the direction is given.  When things are accomplished, there is a great sense of satisfaction. I call this approach “Push.”

A very different approach occurs when you are excited about a new idea for something that has never been done before, or when you get caught up in a cause that may have a dramatic and positive impact on you, your organization, or the world. You feel a great deal of energy and excitement, especially when you are surrounded by others who are enthusiastic.  When you are inspired your efforts are not because of obligation or accountability, but come from your personal desire to make a difference, or as Steve Jobs said, “To make a dent in the world.” I call this approach “Pull.”

My colleague Jack Zenger and I have been measuring these different approaches for some time. Push has been referred to as “drive for results,” and pull is equivalent to “inspires and motivates others.” What we find interesting in our analysis of nearly 90,000 leaders is when we compare the ratings of effectiveness on push versus pull, 78% of leaders are rated higher on their ability to push than pull.  In fact, looking at the ability to pull compared to  other competencies, it comes in as the lowest, least effective competency. What makes this story even more intriguing is that when we ask the colleagues doing the rating to indicate which competency is most important for a leader to be successful in their current job, they select “inspires and motivates others.”

The Shift

As we examine data from the past decade, we have started to see a shift. Twenty years ago, there were numerous examples of autocratic, results-driven organizations. There are fewer of those organizations today, as we see more organizations relying on pull rather than push. The results below compare leaders by different age groups. High refers to leaders who were in the top quartile on push or pull, while Low refers to leaders below the top quartile.

High Push, Low Pull High Pull, Low Push High Push and High Pull
Up to 25 years of age 8% 18% 31%
26 - 30 6% 15% 40%
31 - 35 9% 12% 30%
36 - 40 9% 10% 18%
41 - 45 10% 10% 14%
46 - 50 10% 9% 12%
51 - 55 10% 8% 11%
56 - 60 9% 8% 11%
61 and over 10% 8% 11%

Note from the table that the High Push, Low Pull column increases with age while the High Pull, Low Push column decreases. The High Push, High Pull column also decreases with age.  As we consider the work environment that our youngest generation of leaders desire, it is clear that they want more pull and less push.

Not Or, But And

Often as people consider this data and the trend toward pulling more, they conclude that they should stop pushing and start pulling. We disagree, and conducted a study to demonstrate why. One of the keys that every organization is working to improve is the engagement of team members. When a team has low levels of engagement, productivity is impacted. High engagement teams are much more effective and can have a significant impact on customer satisfaction.  A desired high bar for engagement is the top quartile.  In this study, we looked at 76,000 teams where we measured the effectiveness of the team leader on both push and pull dimensions, as rated by their direct reports. We also measured the engagement of those direct reports.  Once again, the label high in the graph below refers to leaders in the top quartile and low to those not in the top quartile.  Looking at the graph it’s clear to see that the highest level of engagement is achieved when leaders are high on both push and pull.

 

We believe that there is something very fundamental about this finding. Having an organization where people are on a mission and highly engaged is wonderful, but it still requires deadlines, commitments, and accountability. Leaders who learn how to pull can be very effective, but they will be even better if they also learn to push.

Rate Your Preference For Pushing Or Pulling

Are you interested in knowing your preference for pushing or pulling? We have developed a short self-assessment that evaluates how you prefer to motive others. The link for the assessment is as follows: http://zengerfolkman.com/preferences-for-motivating/.

This article was first published on Forbes.com

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A Meeting Everyone Likes? Ways To Achieve This Impossible Dreamby Zenger Folkman

Meetings are a favorite target of complaints across all levels of an organization. Why is it so hard to have meetings that enthuse every participant?

The obvious response is that we often want different things.  Some prefer a highly structured, disciplined process of making rapid-fire decisions on a wide range of topics; others seek a free-wheeling discussion of current challenges and opportunities.  Some see the meeting as a time when the team comes together to get reconnected and bond; others see it as the opportunity to lobby for their pet project.  The list of differences is endless. It’s no wonder that most meetings result in some participants grumbling about the process and the outcome.

In reality, meetings will always have multiple purposes, which means that not everyone will be equally happy with the outcome(s).  Much good can come from a well-planned and conducted meeting.  The challenge is to structure and conduct meetings that fulfill the needs of most of the attendees.

The average leader spends about 15% of every week in formal meetings.  How do we make the time we spend together be of maximum benefit to as many as possible? 

Effective Meetings Start With Good Agendas

  1. Take your time. The value of a meeting is greatly enhanced if time is spent on matters of importance. Ideally these are also topics that are of high interest to most group members. Time spent on carefully crafting an agenda will significantly elevate the value of the meeting. Fixed agendas, repeated exactly month after month, are a common culprit for ineffective meetings that waste everyone’s time.
  2. Consider the order. The most important agenda items should be placed first in case time runs short. To send the message that you care about the meeting’s content, circulate a draft agenda. Ask if all those items need to be discussed and what important issues may be missing.
  3. Clarify the purpose for agenda items. Is the objective merely to collect opinions, or does it call for a decision? Participants feel better when meetings produce a group of clear decisions.
  4. Suggest times for each topic. Creating aggressive time expectations not only establishes a cadence for the meeting and can assist in moving things ahead, but also signals the importance level of each topic.

Meetings Need An Active Driver.

 Once a strong agenda has been established, meetings need an active, involved person at the helm.

  1. Leaders set the pace. Leaders keep things on track by pulling the group back from sidetracks. They serve as the orchestra conductor, bringing in participants when their contribution is needed. Elon Musk reportedly invites group members who fail to participate to leave the meeting. While this could have unintended consequences, it does send the signal that participants are there to contribute and not to merely observe.
  2. Carefully manage the process. While every participant should be actively engaged in the content of the meeting, the leader is the one person who must also attend to its process. Consider: Are we on topic? Have we heard from all the people who possess important information?  Have all sides of the issue been heard?  The process the leader suggests should be driven by the objective. A decision on a complex question on which there is much data is extremely different than an open discussion on future industry trends.
  3. Utilize different methods for discussion. Leaders should not hesitate in getting ideas from other group members about methods that would be helpful in achieving the best outcome for the topic at hand. Various techniques, ranging from traditional brainstorming to asking each participant for the strategy they would use if they were a new competitor in your industry, can be helpful in opening the valve on new ideas.
  4. Set clear expectations for how decisions are made. For every subject at hand, it helps to be clear about how any decision will be made. Sometimes the leader is seeking opinions but will personally make the decision; sometimes the decision warrants a democratic vote.  It helps when people understand the ground rules.
  5. Infuse the meeting with energy. The leader’s emotions are highly contagious. Sharing your enthusiasm and passion can be uplifting for the entire group.

Improve The Process By Seeking Feedback

At the end of every meeting, ask the group what could be done to have future meetings be even more productive and efficient.  When the question is genuinely asked, participants can see the sincere desire to make every future meeting better than the last one.

A Word Of Caution

Most people believe that the best way to have a shorter meeting is to reduce involvement, based on the assumption that it takes more time. Leaders need to ensure involvement, and work to create a positive atmosphere where members feel they need to contribute. Part of that includes monitoring bad behavior of team members who make it difficult to have productive meetings. Leaders need to provide feedback to team members on behaviors that not only make meetings more successful, but behaviors that hurt meetings as well.

Conclusion

Consider the impact in your organization if every meeting were even just 15 minutes shorter and run more efficiently.  Having the ability to move meetings along quickly, controlling side conversations, taking issues that need more discussion off-line, and getting important decisions made will have a profound impact—it is the one of the bests gifts you can give this year!

This article was first published on Forbes.com

December 27, 2017

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Ep. 110: Encore – 8 Critical Behaviors that Leverage Accountabilityby Zenger Folkman

Raise the bar on your leadership effectiveness!

Imagine an organization where everyone takes responsibility for achieving good results. An organization where people have a personal sense of ownership, and there is little finger-pointing when things go wrong.

If every leader were able to inspire accountability in others, it would not only better leverage leadership, but it would significantly increase bottom line results.

What can a leader do to create a greater sense of accountability in others?

Join Dr. Joseph Folkman to learn:

  • The 8 BEHAVIORS that increase accountability
  • How we can get better at inspiring and motivating
  • How to improve accountability within organizations

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December 21, 2017

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Ep. 109: Summit Speech – “Women in Leadership: Why Harnessing this Underutilized Talent Pool is More Important Than Ever” (Kathleen Stinnett)by Zenger Folkman

In this episode, we present Kathleen Stinnett’s summit address “Women in Leadership: Why Harnessing this Underutilized Talent Pool is More Important Than Ever.” This is a live recording from our 2017 Leadership Summit recently held at Sundance Resort in Utah.

Women are entering advanced college programs and the workforce in numbers equal to men, and yet the number of women in senior leadership roles has not increased for years. Zenger Folkman research shows that women outperform men in their leadership capability on 12 of 16 competencies. So why aren’t women advancing into and staying in key leadership roles?

In this power-packed presentation, Kathleen explores:

  • Leadership competencies at which women excel
  • Industries in which women outperform men on leadership effectiveness
  • Levels of leadership and the gaps between men and women
  • Why gaps in gender intelligence may still exist today
  • What successful organizations are doing to develop and utilize women in leadership positions at all levels

You will leave knowing:

  • The 10 most influential leadership behaviors the best women leaders demonstrate
  • The critical importance of tapping this under-utilized talent pool
  • The strategies organizations use that do and don’t work to foster greater gender intelligence

Kathleen Stinnett, MCC, is a senior consultant and executive coach with Zenger Folkman, bringing more than 20 years of experience working with individuals and organizations to improve effectiveness, enhance fulfillment, and create sustainable change and results.

Working as a master coach and consultant for Zenger Folkman, Kathleen facilitates the full suite of Zenger Folkman programs and certifies trainers and coaches to deliver Zenger Folkman’s 360-degree tools and workshops. Kathleen coaches leaders at all levels of organizations to understand and improve their personal leadership effectiveness. Clients describe her as an energetic, positive force and role model who helps individuals and teams make courageous and intentional changes.

Prior to joining Zenger Folkman, Kathleen worked with Wilson Learning Corporation, leading teams to create, produce and implement performance solutions for Fortune 500 organizations. She later founded FutureLaunch, an organization that provides clients with coaching and human performance solutions.

In 2000, Kathleen completed a professional coaching certification program with the Hudson Institute of Santa Barbara and subsequently earned the Master Certified Coach (MCC) credentials through the International Coach Federation. She currently serves on the faculty of the Hudson Institute as an instructor and master coach assessor.

Kathleen earned a master’s degree in training and development from the University of Houston and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Utilizing her expertise in the field and practice of coaching, Kathleen and Jack Zenger co-authored the book The Extraordinary Coach: How the Best Leaders Help Others Grow (McGraw-Hill 2010), for managers who wish to improve their coaching effectiveness.

A passionate musician in her free time, Kathleen composed and produced her first solo piano CD in 2002. She often uses this music to set the tone for workshops and reflective work. Kathleen lives in Santa Barbara, California, with her Yorkshire terrier, Mocha. She enjoys running, painting, and being in nature. She sits on the board of directors for Coaches Collective International.



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December 20, 2017

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Ep. 108: Summit Speech – “Coachability: Seven Moments to Increase Performance and Advance Potential” (Kevin Wilde)by Zenger Folkman

In this episode, we present Kevin Wilde’s summit address “Coachability: Seven Moments to Increase Performance and Advance Potential.” This is a live recording from our 2017 Leadership Summit recently held at Sundance Resort in Utah.

As organizations move away from traditional performance management systems, many strive to become ‘coaching cultures’ but fall short of sustained success and impact. While much is invested in developing the coach, little attention is paid to increasing employee ‘coach-ability’. This session will provide an overall strategy to rebalance coaching initiatives by highlighting the seven moments where leaders can equip and inspire talent to increase employee coachable capability.

Specifically, you will learn about:

  • Contemporary ways to increase employee curiosity and motivation to seek feedback
  • Approaches to positively leverage the ‘teachable moments of failure’ and falling short
  • Broadening the coaching ‘voice’ from only the manager to a modern network of resources
  • Using aspirations of accelerating advancement, mastery or legacy to ‘pull’ employees into new avenues of growth and performance.
  • Warnings on how the traditional methodology of manager coaching can be counterproductive and undermine improvement efforts.

Kevin Wilde is an Executive Leadership Fellow at Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota. He has a 34 year corporate career in leadership & talent development at General Electric and General Mills. He was named CLO of the Year by Chief Learning Officer magazine and has received awards for his writing in the leadership and talent field.



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December 17, 2017

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Infographic: 8 Steps to Being a Better Boss in 2018by Zenger Folkman

It is, as some say, “the most wonderful time of the year.” While workers look forward to festive parties and Holiday gifts, there is one present organizations can provide that rises to the top of the heap. No, it isn’t the latest computing tablet or a bigger and better game station. By far, the best gift to an employee, anytime during the year, is to have a really great boss.

In order to take a closer look at the “best bosses,” we analyzed 360-degree feedback data for some 45,000 leaders. We were struck with the wide variation in perceptions. Employees viewed some bosses as amazing leaders while others were, in a word, terrible.

The bosses who dedicate their limited time to developing others this year not only improves their relationships with employees, but also increases the productivity and profitability of their organizations. As you contemplate your Holiday gifts this year, remember, it’s not too late to strive to be the “best boss”. Pick one of the behaviors above and turn it into a strength. We promise it will be the best gift your employees and organization could receive.

Download the infographic to learn the 8 behaviors that we have found in the best bosses.

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December 15, 2017

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Ep. 107: Summit Speech – “Connecting the Dots with HR Processes and Tools” (Joyce Palevitz and Traci Consolini)by Zenger Folkman

In this episode, we present Joyce Palevitz and Traci Consolini’s address “Connecting the Dots with HR Processes and Tools.” This is a live recording from our 2017 Leadership Summit recently held at Sundance Resort in Utah. They share ideas on integrating the leadership development practices of organizations with some of their talent management systems.


Joyce Palevitz is vice president of delivery services at Zenger Folkman. With more than twenty-five years of experience in leadership development and communication, Joyce ensures that Zenger Folkman facilitators offer the best content and delivery skills in the industry. Joyce’s particular areas of specialty include leadership development, executive coaching, executive communication skills, change management, and business-to-business relationship management.

Her impressive list of clients includes JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, Deliotte, Ralph Lauren, Procter & Gamble, General Motors, and Bloomberg. Before joining Zenger Folkman, Joyce worked as a partner in a global consultancy specializing in leadership, interpersonal skill development and change management. Her responsibilities included leading client teams to develop and deliver projects to corporate clients, as well as co-managing the North America business unit. Prior to that, she consulted independently, across various industries in the U.S.

Joyce brings to her work a deep understanding of adult learning and performance technology, and consults with clients on how they can best achieve business results by creating superior performers in leadership and management roles. She also has extensive instructional design expertise and focuses on ensuring that workshop solutions provide participants with business-specific, practical experiences that they can use immediately to excel in their professional responsibilities.

Joyce is a native Texan and a graduate of Stephen F. Austin University, and currently makes her home in New York City. She enjoys museums and theatre, and in her spare time, is actively involved in several not-for-profit entities.


Traci Consolini is a Director of Client Relationships for Zenger Folkman, one of the world’s premier providers of leadership research, assessment, development and implementation programs. The company is best known for its unique evidence-driven, strengths-based approach to developing extraordinary leaders.

With over 20 years of experience, Traci’s expertise lies in her ability to collaborate with her clients to identify their leadership challenges and opportunities for development and success. She has worked with many senior leaders and their teams to provide unique and creative solutions to improve leadership skills at all levels, elevate organizational outcomes, and achieve measurable business results.

Traci also is an extraordinary coach working closely with leaders to analyze feedback and create strengths-based, formal development plans.
Her experience with clients is diverse and covers many industries. Traci has worked with many organizations including: ExxonMobil, Marriott International, Boral Industries, MasterCard, ConocoPhillips, Comcast, NASA, Blue Cross Blue Shield and AT&T.

Traci has spent the last fifteen years of her career in the learning and development arena and has experience with eLearning, sales skill development and overall organizational effectiveness.

Traci joined Zenger Folkman in 2008. Before joining Zenger Folkman, she was a Senior Client Executive for Huthwaite. During her tenure with Huthwaite, she worked with clients to improve their sales skills and business development capability.

Living in Atlanta, Georgia, Traci enjoys running, college football and leading Team Elf which provides Christmas to over 2700 families each year. She holds a B.S. in International Business from Auburn University.


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December 12, 2017

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Ep. 106: Summit Speech – “The Future of Extraordinary Leadership” (Joe Folkman)by Zenger Folkman

In this episode, we present Joe Folkman’s address “The Future of Extraordinary Leadership.” This is a live recording from our 2017 Leadership Summit recently held at Sundance Resort in Utah.

As the business climate continues to evolve, what does Extraordinary Leadership look like? What does research tell us will be the important competencies of the future? What are the most accurate tools for predicting the success of leaders within organizations? How do we create an irresistible culture where those identified as having incredible potential can grow and thrive? How do we address the emerging need for new skills? What is the best way to provide the feedback that others need to grow and develop?

Joe will take us on a journey as he shares:

  • Exciting research identifying important new competencies. You’ll learn what they are and why they matter
  • The best ways to measure and predict who will be the most valuable leaders
  • Emerging needs and groundbreaking research that offers a fresh focus for leadership development strategies
  • Gain personal insights on your preferred approach to giving and receiving feedback

After listening to this presentation, you'll leave with:

  • An understanding of the competencies their individual organizations’ leaders need to excel and reach goals and objectives
  • Insights into developing today’s leaders for tomorrow’s challenges
  • Actions to take to create a feedback driven culture

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December 6, 2017

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Ep. 105: Keynote Speech – “Change the Company Culture by Upgrading Leadership Development” (Jack Zenger)by Zenger Folkman

In this episode, we present Jack Zenger’s keynote address “Change the Company Culture by Upgrading Leadership Development.” This is a live recording from our 2017 Leadership Summit recently held at Sundance Resort in Utah.

Historically the objectives for ideal leadership development included acquiring self-awareness and new skills, accelerating the implementation of these skills, and then following up with long-term sustainment of those behavior changes.

During this session, Jack takes a broader look at leadership development and how it impacts the culture of the organization. As the pace of change accelerates, most organizations realize the need for their culture to keep pace with changing technology, evolving markets and the broader cultural changes. The most practical, effective way to change culture is to change leaders through ongoing development.

Join Jack as he:

  • Identifies specific content and methodologies that the best organizations use to
    develop highly effective leaders.
  • Examines how these combine to create long-lasting cultural change.

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