Leadership Development is a Process

Leadership development is ongoing

There are many names for the process dedicated to organizational growth.  Here are just a few.

Leadership and skills development.

Capacity and team building.

Empowerment and opportunities.  

Informal and Formal Processes Matter.

It is essentially important to formally and informally build capacity within your organization to do what it was created to do.  

Formal practices might include orientations, peer groups, leadership development opportunities (available to all interested), retreats, workshops, various forms of meaningful professional development, trade conferences, speakers, coaching services, etc.

Informal practices might include meeting-less days, intentional agendas, flex time, remote work options, valuing vacation time, workspace climate and culture, competency of management, how folks treat one another, etc.

The informal process happens when a formal ongoing process is developed, embedded within operations, becomes the norm and is built into the culture of the organization.  

Sadly, a quick one or two day approach, when a problem arises or at the beginning of the year, simply won’t cut it.  Equally unhelpful, efforts made for the few folks considered to be in leadership positions or those “with leadership potential”. 

The process must be on-going, intentional and available to all. 

When things are going well within the organization, these items often get cut from the budget.  However, when things are going well within the organization – magic is awaiting your organization and this is the very best time to ensure these items are in place.    

It’s common to bring in a program or speaker when conflict arises, tension is high or productivity is low.  A person is often hired with the hope that s/he will set the misdirected folks straight and do a team building exercise and all will be well.  This approach rarely works.  

It doesn’t work for many reasons.  

One reason it doesn’t work – folks that “need to hear it” are unavailable, literally or figuratively.  They find a reason to not attend, because they don’t see themselves as a problem. And if it is mandatory, they sit closed minded.  Again, they don’t see themselves as a problem or as a potential solution. 

Some attendees think “yes, oh yes”, “say that again” and “can you repeat that”.   People actually say this because they believe what I am saying is meant for someone else, not them.  Not only is this uncomfortable for the presenter, because a presenter can tell dynamics pretty quickly, it only worsens the environment and does more damage.  Information is for the entire group, solutions take the entire team and culture is based on everyone’s contribution.  

This is not the ideal environment for growth.   

A second reason it doesn’t work – this is a process.  It can’t happen in one training or one retreat.  Teams aren’t built from an expert coming in and telling “others” what to do.  Highly impactful environments are created with trust and great leaders, both take time.     

A third reason it doesn’t work – real growth happens when the focus is on opportunities and strengths, not problems.  People are more open and self reflective when they feel safe.  

Strategic Planning is a Different Process.

Another common mistake – It is common to hire someone to update the strategic plan.  However, if you don’t have a high performing team, high trust environment – you won’t get an impactful strategic plan.   Unless your team is dynamic, your strategic plan will simply not be dynamic.  And unless your organization is high functioning, your strategic plan will not be high functioning after design.

Three Levels to Consider.

Organization or leadership development should be considered in the context of all three levels below.   Workshops, retreats, peer groups, coaching opportunities, and so much more should be a regular on-going process at all levels. 

The organization

The team

The individual

Change the World with Your People.

Having a positive environment, where trust is high and creativity flows is imperative.  This isn’t a budget item to be cut.  Your human resources are your greatest assets.  

I compare organizations to icebergs. Things might look smooth and slick on the surface, but underneath there is a lot going on.  A trained and skilled facilitator knows how to work below the surface, allowing your people, your teams and your organization to be the very best they can be while truly changing the world!

It is not too costly or too late to invest.

With purpose,


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Leading a Great Meeting

Once I had a boss that started conducting team meetings because she thought she was suppose to have one.  

Many board chairs call meetings because the bylaws require the organization to meet at set intervals.  

Scheduling a meeting just to say you met is never a good idea. Meeting for a specific purpose, with set outcomes – most always a great idea.  

Often, agendas are late to arrive, team/board members aren’t sure how best to contribute and the meeting is filled with folks reciting their list of recently completed tasks.  Attendees leave the meeting not entirely sure the purpose of the meeting and even more overwhelmed.  

Here are a few things to help you have a great meeting. Because leaders, we can do better! 

Prepare an agenda in advance.  Not just a last minute list of items that come to your mind.  Meetings aren’t about regurgitating information.  You can do that via technology.  Meetings are for collaboration, idea generating, big question exploration.  Agendas allow attendees to know the purpose of the meeting and that the meeting actually has a purpose.  Agendas show you value attendees’ time and it allows attendees to come prepared.  If appropriate, make sure attendees have an opportunity to contribute to the agenda.  Your team has valuable insite, use it.  

Start on Time and End on Time.  Even if no one is in the room, set the expectation that the meeting will begin on time.  I guarantee the next time everyone will be in the room on time.  End on time, respect everyone’s time and end on time.  People need to know when they can get back to their workday, even if you are the boss.  And, don’t allow folks to come speak/report and then leave, it is rude. Of course things will happen, but make it the expectation that if someone wants to be heard – they also need to listen to others.  

Report Time verse Discussion Time.  Report time is not a time for folks to start a discussion.  It is when reports are given.  I prefer to have folks send in reports for team members to read on their own time and then just open the meeting report time for clarifying questions – not discussions.  Discussion time should be separate.  When discussion time begins, make sure your team sets norms so everyone feels comfortable participating.  

Team Time. If your team is new or doesn’t get together often, make sure you schedule some team building.  Folks that know each other tend to work better together. 

Meetings should be worth having or we shouldn’t have them. Time is valuable and not just figuratively.  Add up the salaries of everyone in the room for the amount of time you keep them in the meeting.  Are you getting that much value out of the meeting?  Or, are you being negligent with the organization’s money?    Something to ponder…

With Purpose,