As we move through these summer months, I remember the excitement of the leadership conferences I’ve attended in the past. As a leader, the conferences were a way to rejuvenate one’s mindset, enhance leadership skills, collaborate with others, strategize on best practices, and take a break from the everyday workplace. These conferences provided not only a renewed energy to the workplace upon my return, but also new leadership abilities, equipping me with insights on how to achieve optimal results.
The monotony of the day to day can cause any leader to lose focus on what is truly important. Endless emails, mandatory meetings, and daily pressures detract from what is happening at the ground level of the organization. Leaders must be aware of their company’s culture and how the employee experience affects organizational performance. Understanding your employee experience is essential to improving your organization’s bottom line. One of the best ways to understand and enhance your employee experience and culture is through executive education and coaching.
Executive education and coaching are often neglected; however, they are critical because culture starts at the top. The actions and attitudes of executives shape the working environment, thus enhancing leadership skills, which ultimately yields a better environment for employees. Executive education builds leadership and communication skills through increased self-awareness and enhanced interpersonal skills. It improves overall emotional intelligence, which is an essential leadership trait. It can also be a catalyst for making improvements and establishing long-term viability.
Executive education takes on many forms, which can include a keynote speaker session, an off-site retreat, a series of workshops, or one-on-one coaching sessions. However, most effective programs are ones that are customized to your team’s needs. The goal is to provide your leadership team with an opportunity to refocus on building an employee experience that will inspire performance. Executive education offers an opportunity to refocus, align, develop new strategies, and implement change.
Refocus and Align
One of the main benefits of executive education is the opportunity to refocus and align thinking among those at the top, which requires the leadership team to answer a series of questions around why the company exists. How does this company create value for customers? What role do our employees play in meeting our customers’ expectations? How does our culture align with what we want to accomplish long-term? What needs to change to ensure we are achieving our goals? An executive coach guides the team in answering these questions, challenges traditional ways of thinking, and funnels ideas and information into a specific vision. Establishing a clear vision and an agreed-upon set of priorities provides guidance as to what actions need to take place following the training.
Develop New Strategies
Once a clear vision is in place, the executive team must create strategies to move through the process. Strategy and culture go hand in hand—a strategy serves as a logical plan for achieving goals and culture guides how those goals will be achieved. An executive coach can help create a clear plan for achieving goals through improving culture. The coach ensures that the agreed-upon priorities remain priorities and provides a tactical approach for reaching results. Specific measurements are put in place to track progress, and a detailed timeline is established to ensure accountability.
Coaching is critical to implement change. All too often, plans are created, but there is no follow through. In fact, 40% of executives surveyed stated that the toughest part of a culture change is in the day-to-day decisions that undermine the strategy. The foundational work completed during the executive education program must be brought to life through daily decisions and actions. It can be easy to get distracted by other pressing items, but a commitment must be made to ensure the employee experience is improved. Implementing an executive coach is an effective way to hold leaders accountable. By having specific tasks and due dates, a coach ensures that real progress is being made and decisions are aligned with the strategy. A coach is also an excellent resource for discussing challenges and helping to re-strategize as needed throughout the implementation process.
Keep It Going
After successful implementation, a coach can re-group with the executive team to identify and address the next set of priorities. Implementing an executive coach provides a lifeline to your executive team to discuss challenges, get input on ideas, and work through important initiatives. The coach helps develop the executive team continually and ensures an optimal operating environment for everyone.
SGEi specializes in executive development. We partner with executives to understand their current culture better by building cultural roadmaps, improving the employees’ and customers’ experiences, and driving better leadership at the top of your organization. We’d love to connect to see how we can help you achieve long-lasting success.