Should You Invest In A Leadership Workshop For Your Team?

leadership workshop

Managers, by definition, must maximize the productivity of others.  When we ask audiences, “How many of you are managers?” over 70% of the audience typically raise their hands.  Many do not have the word “manager” in their title.

As managers, you know that it is your job to maximize productivity and outcomes from your employees.  You need evidence-based best practices in leadership development.  Today.  And you need to demonstrate the ROI of that leadership workshop within 90 – 180 days.  There is a myth that leadership development programs should only be scheduled in the spring and fall, to avoid conflicts with vacations.  The reality is that leadership development workshops include both direct and virtual content that reinforces your outcomes.  Our programs last 3-12 months.  You should invest in a leadership development provider (like Action Learning Associates) because it is cost-effective and efficient.  Your core business is something else.  Our core business is to accelerate leader development.

Here are three reasons why YOU SHOULD invest in a leadership development workshop today.  

  1.  Investment in a leadership workshop should directly increase your team’s engagement 

Leaders need to practice leadership, just as attorneys practice law and physicians practice medicine.  Many studies have shown that when employees are engaged in leadership workshops they are then more likely to be engaged in the workforce. An employee who is more engaged is a) more effective at required tasks, b) more efficient on key performance indicators or objectives and key results (OKRs), and c) more likely to stay employed at your organization.  Retention of desired employees is a requirement in today’s competitive Talent Economy.  Be smart.  You never want to retain average employees- but you DO WANT to retain 100% of your desired employees.  And leadership development workshops are the most cost-effective way for you to increase retention of your desired employees.  We recommend that 70% of your promotions are internal, to encourage career ladders and talent succession.  We strongly recommend that you invest in 100% of your top performers with leadership development programs AT LEAST twice/ year.

2.  Investment in leadership workshops can help you develop your workplace culture

Culture can be developed, and must be developed, in response to changing market demands.  Ask anyone involved in leadership development coaching, and they will tell you that culture cannot be left to chance.   That would be reckless.   The academics describe culture as “how organizations function.”   As an example, we recently provided a leadership development workshop around ONE objective, “to create a culture of fiscal accountability using Objectives and Key Results (OKRs).”  Let me explain…

Culture is best described using three overlapping circles.  Label each circle as: 1) underlying assumptions, 2) espoused behavior, and 3) artifacts.

1) underlying assumptions are the shared beliefs of your organization, including history of acquisitions, traits of key leaders who get promoted faster, competencies of leaders with higher reputations, or that unspoken assumption you have about a market or colleague.

2) espoused behaviors describe what we say we do, including common phrases such as “I’ll solve this” or “that’s not my problem.” Notice the difference between what we say we do, and what we actually do.

3) artifacts are tangible symbols of the culture, such as a new National  office in Nashville, TN for centralized services and consistent management of others. The cultural values posted in the lobby are artifacts of how you work.

Fact:  All three of these aspects of culture can change quickly.  Therefore, you NEED to invest in leadership development workshops to develop your desired organizational culture.   Today.  

3.  Investment in a leadership workshop should improve employee morale

Many studies have shown that large organizations are investing less time, money, energy and training  in their employees than they did 10 years ago.  Professional development discretionary budgets have plummeted from over $10,000 per person in 2008 to $4,000 per person in 2018.   Today, we invest more into maintaining cars and machines than we do in our most critical variable-  people.  That trend is reckless.   If you are investing less in your people than you did 10 years ago then you are LITERALLY in a race to the bottom of your market.   Look at the fact that only 35% of today’s F500 companies have been there for more than 50 years.  If you want to increase employee morale, then you need to invest in your top employees.  Nothing is a more critical investment.  Today.  Employee morale is NOT a lagging indicator.  If you want to develop agile problem solvers, then you need to invest in leadership development workshops.  You can make employee morale into a leading indicator.  Today.

You should not invest in a leadership workshop IF you do not care about 1) employee engagement, 2) workplace culture, or 3) employee morale.  We do NOT want to talk to you.  We wish you Godspeed.

You should invest in a leadership workshop IF you do care about 1) employee engagement, 2) workplace culture, or 3) employee morale.  We DO want to talk to you.  Today.  

We provide outcome-based leadership development workshops that guarantee your results.  We deliver programs throughout the United States and Canada.  We provide expert leadership coaching and executive coaching services, based in Nashville, TN or globally.  We’d like to visit you ASAP.

Contact us here.  Today.

If you are based in the Nashville, TN area then we are neighbors.  See details for leadership training for your employees here.   We’d like to visit you ASAP.

What to Expect in a Leadership Workshop

why leadership training is worth it center for creative leadership ccl

Do you think that you a born leader?  That is a myth. 

The reality is that leadership skills can be taught and developed.  By definition, leaders influence the behavior of others by describing a better vision of the future.  The primary skill of effective leaders is public optimism.  Leaders tell great stories and share optimism.  

Those leadership skills can be taught in a workshop or program.  The most effective leadership workshops include training and coaching, then more training and coaching, to reinforce desired behaviors over time.  Repetition works.

Leaders must adapt to change.  At a recent leadership workshop one executive stated,  “We need to master this content in the next 3 days because we are each the CEOs of our business.  We need to create our future business.”   That urgency is common.

Many of the tactics that leaders were taught 10-20 years ago are obsolete today.  Management by Objectives (MBOs) and Forced Rankings are now considered manipulative, ineffective, and counterproductive. That kind of “leadership” will limit your career. 

We know that rigid managers and leaders prevent innovation and problem solving.  We also know that agility can be taught and developed.    We can teach agile leaders and managers to promote effective outcomes, efficiency, and employee engagement.  

Today, many employees demand fulfillment and purpose.  They want to feel inspired and know their place in society and their contribution to the world.  

We know that leaders need to practice leadership, just as physicians practice medicine and attorneys practice law.  All managers and leaders struggle. 

A great leadership workshop should provide:

  • Leadership exercises and experiential activities that encourage open communication and sharing of ideas
  • Profound breakthroughs in understanding how to influence others.
  • Lectures, digital workbooks, videos, powerpoint slides, and activities designed to model engagement
  • Pre-assessments and Post-assessments to discover your strengths and track the ROI of your investment
  • Leadership development coaching to help key leaders assess their strengths and define a meaningful outcome 
  • Group problem-solving tasks that encourage conflict resolution through a better understanding of human behavior and group dynamics
  • Customized apps with content to download and distribute your consistent messages throughout your organization

A recent client stated, “This was by far the most useful leadership development program I have experienced in over 20 years of forced participation in some kind of training.  The content was easy to understand.  All of the sessions were  customized for our organization.  All of the consultants were experts.  We were fully engaged in each session.  We did our work.  And now I have the skills I need to lead my team in a new and useful methodology.”  

All of our leadership workshops use our trademarked positive psychology AD-FIT™ process.  We typically include our leadership development coaching to assess your strengths and increase your probability of achieving your outcome-based results.

The best leadership workshops should ask you to take an honest assessment of your professional leadership style and define measurable outcomes.  We typically use both quantitative and qualitative assessments.   We offer both virtual and direct workshops with several exciting results-oriented topics to choose from.   See the list of leadership workshop topics here.

We provide services throughout the U.S and Canada.  We recently delivered programs in Chicago, IL, Charlotte, NC, Louisville, KY and Washington, DC.  If you are near the Nashville, TN area, an executive coach in Nashville can help you. 

If you are ready to learn more, please contact us.  Today.

We look forward to providing the outcome-based solutions you demand.  Call us today at 615.236.9845.

How to increase employee engagement? New science for practitioners

Recently I was asked to speak at the Human Resource conference for the State of Tennessee.  They wanted four sessions on “How to increase employee engagement.”

The content and videos are located here.

Here is the session description:

Studies continue to show that employee engagement in the workplace remains low- around the 30% range.  Low levels of employee engagement have a negative impact on achieving organizational goals, and create a workplace that does not encourage high performance.  During this session, we will answer the three key questions of employee engagement:  1) What do we know from evidence-based science?  2) How can I apply that science to increase my personal level of engagement?   3) How can I improve the engagement levels of others?  This course introduces a new model based on positive psychology practices, called the AD-FIT%TM model, that you can apply immediately.

This course provides leaders at all levels with an introduction into the science and practice of employee engagement.  Any manager or leader with a growth mindset can apply this course content to lead individual, group or organizational change in your business.  This content has been distributed to thousands of leaders in governments, private and nonprofit organizations, as well as individuals.

The content of this course is gleaned from thousands of our leadership consulting clients since 1997, and the presenter’s dissertation research on positive psychology.

The goal of this course is to introduce leaders like you to world-class techniques so that you gain competitive advantage.

Learning objectives:

  • Recognize key variables that influence employee engagement
  • Discover how to measure employee engagement
  • Identify how to increase individual employee engagement
  • Identify how to develop organizational employee engagement

Please contact us for the handout before viewing the video section of this course.

The content and videos are located here.

Action leads to learning.  What are you waiting for?

To contact Doug Gray, CEO, PCC, call 615.236.1892 or contact us here.  Today.

What are the best speaking topics for managers and leaders?

I get this question all the time… so here are some details on speaking topics for new managers or emerging leaders.

Assumption #1:  Leaders practice leadership, just as physicians practice medicine and attorneys practice law.  Speaking is one way to reinforce evidence-based practices that should work for you.  If you practice them.

Assumption #2:   Positive relationships matter.   The quantity and quality of our relationships is the greatest predictor of career development, human longevity, flourishing and well-being.  Speaking is one way to practice developing positive relationships

So what are some great speaking topics?  Here are some of my recent examples.  

How to apply positive psychology in your talent development practice.  A 50-minute presentation on the science and practice of positive psychology in any organization.

  • The Association for Talent Development (ATD) International Conference and Exhibition, Atlanta, GA, World Congress.  One of only 2 presentations on positive psychology, amid 400+ presentations, and 12,000+ speakers.  Book signing.
  • Association for Talent Development (ATD) chapter meeting presentations in Chattanooga, TN (June, 2017), Nashville, TN (August, 2016), Birmingham, AL (November, 2016)
  • International Coaching Federation (ICF) chapter meeting in Nashville, TN (September, 2016)

How to Increase Employee Engagement: For You or Others.  A 50-minute interactive workshop designed to help leaders apply the science of employee engagement, and the AD-FIT consulting model, to their work.

  • State of TN, Human Resources Conference, Nashville, TN, 4 sessions July 18-19, 2017.

Trends in evidence-based talent management.  A 50-minute presentation on the costs of human capital and analytics, technology and consulting.

  • Project Management Institute (PMI) Nashville chapter meeting (April, 2015)
  • International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI) Nashville regional chapter meeting (February, 2015)

Action Learning Summit.   A day of thought leadership designed for select leaders in Franklin, TN (May, 2016)

Talent Summit.  A day of thought leadership hosted in Nashville, TN for select leaders in talent management, analytics and consulting (March, 2015).

How to Address Healthcare Leader Burnout.  A 50-minute webinar or presentation.  The need to diagnose burnout and treat healthcare leaders with resilience is critical.   This presentation provides practitioners with evidence-based tactics to apply at the individual or organizational levels.

  • Webinar on July, 2015, partnering with eVisit and CEUs provided by the Professional Association of Health Care Office Management (PAHCOM)

Doug Gray speaker bio:

Doug Gray is the co-founder and CEO of Action Learning Associates.  He has demonstrated expertise in applying positive psychology practices for thousands of individual and organizational leaders.   Doug is a PhD candidate in Organizational Leadership at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. His research topic is the effect of positive psychology on business leaders and executive coaches. Since 1997, Doug Gray, PCC, has been an author, researcher, teacher, and organizational consultant.  His top five signature strengths include creativity, honesty, gratitude, hope and love of learning.  He manages executive coaches for the largest global provider of executive coaches.  He also volunteers as the ATD Nashville chapter president.

Speaker links: 

Contact Doug Gray, PCC, today at 615.905.1892 or  by clicking here.

2014 TN Safety Congress

Yesterday I was asked to “step in” as a speaker for the Tennessee Safety Congress on Monday, July 21, 2014 in Nashville, TN, at the Opryland Conference Center.  Today is Friday.  I said, “Sure. Glad to help.”

The title is “Trends in Safety Leadership” and the main points include data and examples on 1) Frontline Decision Making, 2) Privacy and Control, and 3) technology.

The powerpoint content is located here:  TN Safety Congress

Share this slide deck with your colleagues and friends, then contact us.

I have also added content from recently published articles in Professional Safety, the Journal of The American Society of Safety Engineers here for your convenience.

Initial consultations are free.  Please give me a call at 704.995.6647 to discuss trends at your business.

I would love to learn what you need!

How to use mobile app contests to promote business development and cross selling

Did you know that over 90% of apps are downloaded once, then not used again?  That fact bothers me.

We have technology that enables us to BUILD relationships.  Look at the use of Linked In and internal social sites for business development.   Look at our ability to schedule tasks, and calendar priorities, and key performance indicators…  However, lazy people complain about the accountability of Salesforce or any Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system.  Or they may complain that investing in technology is like investing in a money black hole, where the value is indistinct and endless.  That fear bothers me.

We use technology to build relationships.


Image of apps on any device with a browser

Image of apps on any device with a browser


Last week I met with2 attorneys tasked with generating $1.5MM annually for their  firm.  They stated, “The #1 priority for us is business development.  We talk about cross-selling.  But we rarely do it.”  Like any firm with specialized skills, they track billable time (BT) and working time (WT).

I asked, “How valuable would it be for you to develop new business with your existing clients in other practice groups throughout the firm?”

They said, “Invaluable.  If you can help us develop new business you will solve a massive problem.”

During lunch, I shared an app that I had created for them.  They downloaded it immediately.  Their comments were like popcorn:  “This is a no brainer.  We can start with our practice group.  Imagine monthly business development workshops at the larger offices.  Teams of 3-4 pay $100 to play for the day in a business development contest.  Each team member must be in a different practice group.   Corporate finance will be forced to talk with real estate, or environmental, or product liability.  Those teams will upload content throughout the day.  And answer questions based on a client case study.  And populate or CRM system on Sharepoint.  And then at 4:00 we will score the teams on a question like “Which of these teams is most likely to generate new business for our firm?”  Recurring monthly business development workshops.  Facilitators in the conference room for scheduled BD sessions.  Technology designed to build relationships.”

What is the value to you and your company?  $500,000 in new services?  $1MM?  More?

We provide business development consulting expertise, and customized technology that forces your team to use technology to build relationships.

Why wait?  Call us today at 704.895.6479.