During the past year, the senior leadership team at a nationally-based logistics and supply chain company had the opportunity to engage in executive coaching. While the benefits to each of them individually was sizable, at the company’s next board meeting, they were asked to discuss how they thought their senior management training had helped the COMPANY.
“That’s an interesting way to think about senior management coaching and training,” said one of the EVPs. “I think the focus is often on how coaching helps specific executives develop their leadership skills. But when a group is trained, that should have a pretty significant impact on their organization too, right?”
After discussing their experiences, here are the benefits for the company that jumped out for the members of the senior management team:
7 Ways Senior Management Training Can Help Your Company
1. Alignment of Organizational Culture
Corporate culture is made up of the collective operating values and ways of thinking that guide your company’s beliefs and behaviors. Culture drives how people interact and treat each other, and how they conduct business. The importance of organizational culture is often under-appreciated. But, as iconic management guru Peter Drucker once said, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”
Senior management training helped get everyone on the same page in terms of intentionally shaping the company’s corporate culture. Increasingly, they are using a common language to lead the company, develop initiatives, and get work done. The senior team now feels much more empowered about shaping how teams should behave and function, what types of behavior should be rewarded and what types of behavior should not be tolerated, levels of inclusiveness, and how decisions throughout the organization should be vetted and made.
2. Building a Resilient Company, Together
Running an organization is not easy! Of course, that’s obvious, but we sometimes forget that things rarely move forward along a smooth, straight path. There are always surprises; unforeseen potholes, wrong turns, and dead ends.
When we encounter these challenges, we need to be able to adapt and continue to move forward. Resilience is generally talked about in terms of the individual. However, the senior team noted a newfound sense of COLLECTIVE resilience — the capacity to overcome problems and failures, and to move forward undaunted… Together as a group.
As one senior leader put it, “Organizational leadership is vulnerable to the ‘weakest-link-in-the-chain.’ If some senior leaders are resilient, but some of us are not, the company lacks resiliency. Building resilience among the entire leadership team strengthens company resilience — and the ability to manage change — dramatically.”
3. Enhanced Team-Based Performance
“We all got better at understanding team dynamics and positive team behaviors,” said another senior leader. Practically speaking, the company does most of its work in various sorts of team settings. Together, they learned how to establish trust, engage in constructive debate and discussion, create team commitment, be accountable to one another, and deliver team-focused results in high-performing teams.
“I noticed that we are able to make decisions more quickly, having explored more diverse viewpoints, and in a way we could all move on it in alignment with each other,” observed a senior manager. “Not to mention that our meetings have become more interesting — and shorter. The time savings alone has saved the company, literally, several hundred thousand dollars!”
“Senior management training got us to the next level.”
4. A Group Leadership Development Experience… But Customized
Every member of the senior leadership team noted that the training was group-oriented, however, the improvement of individual leadership skills was customized in a way to address specific needs.
“I really needed to recognize that I can be a bit of a bull in a china shop, and improve my listening skills and my ability to provide productive feedback,” said one senior manager. “My 1-on-1 coaching provided that focus.” Another said, “I was able to develop my communication skills. I really appreciate that the senior management training we engaged in was not a one-size-fits-all program. And the fact that we each did our own work, together, built our trust with one another and got us aligned at a deeper level.”
5. Meaningful, Long Term Change
Several senior leaders said they appreciated that the senior management training was a planned and focused series of group and 1-on-1 coaching experiences that occurred over a 6 month period. There were specific goals and expected outcomes. This was not a weekend get-away, or a one day workshop. As a result, they were committed to the changes they made and the new skills they acquired. “This is change that sticks,” said one senior manager, “And that made the work a real investment for the company, not an expense.”
6. Senior Manager Training Sets the Tone
When it comes to leadership skills and team performance, it’s almost impossible for employees to “get ahead” of their bosses. Senior managers need to evolve and improve before their employees can. Senior management training sets the stage for developing leadership skills and creating high performing teams throughout the organization.
Training and coaching at the senior levels of the company also sets a tone that communicates the value and importance of continual learning and ongoing skills development throughout the company. It reinforces a company culture that expects every employee to work to improve themselves.
7. Senior Management Training Sharpens the Company’s Competitive Edge
“The big bottom line,” concluded one senior manager, “Is that the training and coaching we received makes us more competitive in our industry.” She noted that they have become better communicators, better strategists, and better team leaders. “We’re more resilient and we’re better aligned about how we want to lead, manage, and develop our employees. That improves our productivity, effectiveness, decision-making, and ability to compete and thrive in our markets.”
Coaching and training will also help the company attract new talent, added a senior leader. “People — especially millennials — love professional development. An ongoing commitment to coaching and trading will support a great pipeline for bringing in talent.”
Move Your Organization Forward
To learn more about executive coaching, senior management training, and how it can help you and your organization compete and thrive, contact Arden Coaching at [email protected] or 646.684.3777.