Category Archives: People Matters

Posts related to the people side of strategy and operations

Achieve Breakthrough Performance with More Effective Leadership

Growth is good.

But growth can be really hard.

Maybe your organization’s growth has plateaued. Why has it stalled? Is the issue in strategy, alignment, execution, backlog, or capacity? Maybe all these areas?

Or maybe you have the opposite problem, and growth is exploding and your team can’t keep up. What needs to change to enable the organization to scale?

IntelliVen has created one-of-a-kind tailored and immersive experiences to prepare your leaders to answer these questions and address these problems.

The Manage to Lead for Breakthrough Performance Program arm leaders and their teams to maximize organization performance when facing a variety of challenges crucial to meeting your goals. 

The program introduces practical tools, methods, and principles consistent with Organization Development (OD) best practices for leaders and their teams, and their HR/OD business partner or business consultant if they have one.

All organizations can benefit, especially those struggling to reach the next level or those facing such rapid growth that leaders are overwhelmed. Other organizations will find value as they seek to innovate in the face of market disruption. The program will also benefit those looking to capitalize on new technology, introduce new products, enter new markets or manage strategic initiatives. 

The IntelliVen MtL for Breakthrough Performance Program focuses on making sure your leaders are clear and aligned on important questions such as:

  • What are we trying to accomplish?
  • What do we provide?
  • Who are our target customers?
  • What problem do we solve for them?
  • What are we counting on each other to do?
  • How do we identify and respond to performance blockers?
  • Do our leaders possess and use the mindset, interpersonal skills and behaviors that propel excellent team performance?

MtL Systems and Programs do not make judgements or provide answers. Instead, they provide tools, methods, and principles leaders learn to apply as they see fit in their organization. Up-and-coming leaders with technical backgrounds find MtL particularly helpful in that it makes people and business skills accessible and easy to implement.

IntelliVen is a San Francisco-based management consulting firm that works with up-and-coming leaders and their teams to get clear, aligned, and on track to achieve breakthrough performance.  Our proprietary system of tools and templates package what we have learned from decades of running and growing dozens of successful businesses.

We make doable the hard-to-implement actions driven by disarmingly simple truths.

The MtL Breakthrough Performance Program is offered as:

  • A Side-by-Side Accelerator Program where MtL-Consultants work alongside inhouse teams who learn and apply MtL tools, templates, and principles as they progress towards completion on a specific change initiative.
  • An MtL Immersion Program Academy where MtL Senior Operating Partners lead a cohort of two to five organization, unit, or function leaders and their top teams through 10 modules of asynchronous topic content and live sessions.

Either way, Your Case IS the Course. The program is a shared experience for a leader and team to work on, not just in, their business. You will apply business and organization development best practices to conceive, launch, and guide initiatives that realize targeted benefits, with real-time feedback. 

Guided by IntelliVen Principal Consultants with deep experience across all aspects of business, leadership, and organization development, your team will be immersed in a unique interactive online curriculum complemented with live online or in-room workshops featuring role-playing, case-based concept exploration, and direct feedback and assistance on your own case. 

Program alums join a Learning Community that is connected continuously online, and that convenes live virtually semi-annually, where new MtL System tools are introduced and progress with case application and lessons learned are shared.

The MtL Breakthrough Performance Program is based on the IntelliVen Manage to Lead System, a collection of tools, methods, and principles drawn from decades of experience applying organization development concepts and human behavior theory to developing successful organizations.  MtL melds competence in process and business for breakthrough performance improvement as depicted in the following diagram:

Process and Content
Manage to Lead flipped classroom learning where Your Case IS the Course

We work with several universities to develop and offer leading executive team development programs. Our approach is distinguished in that everything we do reflects executive competence in organization development and the practical application of human behavior theory.

Elements of MtL have been taught at The University of San Francisco, American University NtL/MSOD, MIT, Stanford, University of Maryland, George Mason University, Golden Gate University, and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

3 Truths and 6 Power Skills to Master Organization Politics

Organization politics make a lot of people uncomfortable. The untrained hope is that if politics are ignored, and if a job is done well, then well-earned rewards will come. Things rarely play out that way.

Organization politics is defined as anything done at work to increase the odds of success that has nothing at all to do with the work itself. Master executive coach and workplace psychologist, Dr. Dory Hollander, presents three unassailable truths about how things work in organizations and Six Power Skills for mastering the art of career enhancement. Continue reading 3 Truths and 6 Power Skills to Master Organization Politics

Case: The Ideal Mix of Sr. Executive Team Skills for Success

Case Background

Leaders of fast-growing, early-stage organizations operate at a fast pace. Often, the last thing there is time to do is to assess the top team’s skills and performance to determine how to prepare them for the next stage of growth.

Most team members know each other pretty well. They have a good idea about:

  • What each other is good at doing.
  • What each has contributed.
  • How each has grown.
  • What each should focus on next to improve.

However, team members rarely have the time, energy, training, or nerve to share what they know in a forthright, supportive conversation with one another.

Yet there are serious consequences to not providing feedback when it is needed most. As highlighted in the Wall Street Journal article, “How To Tell If You Are a Jerk in the Office” (C-Suite Strategies, Journal Report, Feb 23, 2015), confidential feedback for executives is important. Not only are leaders and co-workers affected adversely by dysfunctional behavior, but business performance and customer service can be damaged, often permanently, if poor behavior continues.

IntelliVen, a San Francisco-based executive development organization, uses a proprietary approach to help top leaders and their teams address executive feedback issues head-on. For example, IntelliVen worked with a fast-paced, $10M financial analytics firm serving Freddie Mac, U.S. Treasury, and Capital One among other leading financial institutions. The IntelliVen approach was used to assess the firm’s top team of senior executives relative to norms for successful organizations at a similar stage of evolution and to identify individual and team opportunities for learning.

Continue reading Case: The Ideal Mix of Sr. Executive Team Skills for Success

3 Levels of Human Identity Can Be Used to Build Relationships Across Difference

The business case for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Anti-oppression (DEIA) programs in organizations is no longer being built…it has arrived. Investors, employees, and customers are making clear to leaders that DEIA is now critical to their bottom line and that it will be so forevermore.

Consequently, leaders must learn to integrate cross-cultural skills and competencies into all levels of the system.

Education and change management plans that help leaders, managers, and employees navigate their differences and use them to achieve better business results are important and, thankfully, becoming more available.

To start, it helps to have common language and frameworks that make it possible to understand the complexities of communication dynamics posed by working across social group identities such as age, ability, gender, culture, class, race, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status.

In her article Alliances Across Difference: Useful strategies for building effective relationships across difference, Amber Mayes does us all a tremendous service by laying out two foundational concepts to get us started:

  • Levels of Human Identity
  • Social Power and Group Dynamics

Amber developed and uses these concepts with leaders across sectors, industries, and geographies to resolve conflict and unleash the power of diversity in organizations for 15+ years in her role as a consultant to leaders, teams, and organizations. Continue reading 3 Levels of Human Identity Can Be Used to Build Relationships Across Difference

How emerging executives can achieve high-impact with key players more senior than themselves.

An up-and-coming executive engages with an important sales prospect, client, supplier, partner, or colleague on par with his or her degree of comfort and security with the other party. The more seniority the other is perceived to have relative to his/her own, the more anxiety and insecurity is induced, the less is said, and the fewer impact results from the interaction. Pushing to the highest possible level of engagement drives the best results and accelerates career progression.

It makes sense for the up-and-coming executive to think of it as climbing a staircase.

Continue reading How emerging executives can achieve high-impact with key players more senior than themselves.