Leadership Advancement Series with the Rensselaer Chamber

Leadership Advancement Series with the Rensselaer Chamber

In cooperation with the Rensselaer County Regional Chamber of Commerce



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The leader within

  • Enhancing Your Emotional Intelligence: Emotional intelligence can be defined as “the capacity for recognizing our own feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves, and for managing emotions well in ourselves and in our relationships.” (Goleman, Working with Emotional Intelligence, 1998). Numerous studies have shown that emotional intelligence is directly related to performance. Emotional intelligence has also been shown to be more important the higher you rise in an organization.

    During the session, we will discuss the importance of emotional intelligence and how it can impact your overall leadership development. We will also help you determine how to increase your awareness and regulation of your emotions.
  • Building High Trust Relationships: An official definition of trust would be “positive expectations about another party’s intentions and actions toward us in risky situations.” Although the definition is true, it is probably easier to define trust as confidence. When you trust people you have confidence in them – in their integrity and their abilities. The opposite of trust (distrust) is suspicion. When you distrust people you are suspicious of their integrity, their agenda, their capabilities or their track record.

    The differences between a high-trust and a low-trust relationship are profound. With a high trust relationship, everything is more effective. Communication is easier and you have greater confidence that the other person is doing what is best for the organization and all parties involved. Efficiency and effectiveness are both improved in a high-trust relationship. On the other hand, with a low-trust relationship everything slows down. You don’t believe the other person is concerned with your interests or the interests of the organization. Because of your lack of confidence, you spend a considerable amount of time verifying information which decreases efficiency and effectiveness.

    The session will focus on building and maintaining high-trust relationship. We will also discuss what can be done to help restore relationships where trust has been violated.

Communicating for success

  • Effective Communication: Communication is the act of sharing of information between two or more individuals with the goal of reaching a common understanding. Effective communication requires each of us to process what we sense, believe and feel and then transmit that information in a way that allows others to understand our thoughts and intentions. To do this, we must know both ourselves and our target. Our commitment to effective communications also compels us to be present for others. We must become known, be open to ideas, and give and seek feedback to assure common understanding.

    During this session we will discuss the fundamental parts of the communication process, and then explore barriers to effective communication and factors to consider when selecting among various media. We will develop and discuss tips for the various types of communications leaders engage in and practice our communication skills with each other. We will also discuss the most difficult situations in the workplace and the strategies we can use to have these conversations effectively
  • Managing Conflict: Workplace conflict is ubiquitous. Differences among people, goals, needs and priorities can produce disagreement, animosity, negativity and reproach. Effectively managed conflict, however, produces opportunities for cooperation, learning, shared understanding, cohesion and increased creativity and effectiveness. People deal with conflict in dramatically different ways depending on how assertive and how cooperative they tend to be.

    This session will help you determine your preferred style for resolving conflict and provide you suggestions for employing other styles which are better matched to different situations. We will also explore the primary causes of conflict in the workplace, and discuss the strategies and skills that will help you resolve conflict in productive ways

Making effective decisions and leading change

  • Effective Decision Making: Decision opportunities require leaders to assess situations identify preferences and determine whether sufficient information and resources are available to act. Leaders follow the logic of appropriateness when they apply well known rules to decision situations. Leaders follow the logic of consequence when they seek out information, form and evaluate alternatives, and then choose the approach that gets closest to their preferred state. In practice, we find that situations are complex, preferences are unclear, rules can become overused or outdated, situations can change and meaningful information can be difficult or at least costly to acquire.

    During the session, we will discuss the predictable and random nature of decision opportunities and how we can prepare ourselves to make better decisions. We will also discuss how we can structure actions associated with our decisions in ways that allows us to learn from the experience. Those who learn and share lessons with others can truly help their organizations succeed.
  • Leading Organizational Change: Planned change, the kind that breaks poor habits, reinforces productive norms and creates innovative and responsive cultures, requires leadership. We define organizational change as a system wide application of management knowledge and skills to promote efficiency, effectiveness and engagement. Planned change efforts are targeted to develop, improve and reinforce strategies, structures and processes. As change efforts are reinforced, individual habits, group norms and cultural forces in organizations are reworked for the betterment of employees, the organization and its stakeholders.

    During this session we introduce a four-phased model of organizational change that is equally applicable to individuals, groups and entire organizations. The first two phases employ decision making skills as leaders focus on defining the situation, identifying root problems and evaluating alternatives. The third phase requires leaders to develop and implement initiatives for change. Actions include creating and communicating a vision; developing measurable goals; coordinating a guiding coalition with sufficient power to overcome resistance; motivating others and assessing progress. The final phase emphasizes evaluating effects; providing feedback; and reinforcing those aspects which will lead to organizational success.

Managing your human relations

  • Selection and Training: Hiring the right person for the job is one of the most important decisions a leader will make. It is critical to thoroughly understand the job, especially the skills and knowledge required to perform that job, before starting the hiring process. There are many techniques that leaders can use to select the best person – from interviews and personality tests to background checks and simulations. Once a new employee is on board, training is a logical next step. We’ve learned that less than 10% of learning happens in formal classroom training. Techniques such as on-the-job training, mentoring, and coaching are useful alternatives.

    During this session, we will discuss the importance of conducting a job analysis before engaging in the hiring process. We will then explore the types of jobs you traditionally hire for, and examine the various techniques you can use to ensure you hire the best person for the job. Finally, we will discuss various ways to enhance employee performance through training
  • ‚Äč‚ÄčOvercoming Performance Problems: How much of your day is spent handing “problems” at work? Problems can take many forms: a poor performing employee, unclear expectations or goals, and poor resource allocation are just a few examples. A leader’s primary responsibility is to identify “hurdles” to successful performance and remove the hurdles so that employees can perform at peak levels.

    This session will explore a process you can use at your organization to identify the true underlying problem, develop a solution to address the problem, and ensure that employees modify behaviors to overcome the problem. We will focus on problems you are dealing with in your organization and use those as examples as we learn the process. 

Getting the best out of your employees

  • Motivation: One of the most widely discussed management issues is how to “motivate” employees to perform at peak levels. Dozens of motivation models have been developed and even more books have been written on the subject. Motivation can come from the person (internal) or from someone or something outside (external). Either way, the goal is to initiate, direct, and maintain work behavior.

    In this session, we will explore motivation theories and help you develop your own theory of motivation. We will examine how you can apply your theory of motivation at your organization to enhance employee performance.
  • Performance Management: Setting goals, monitoring performance, and providing feedback are critical elements of a strong performance management plan. Employees need to know what is expected of them through a goal setting process. Next, it is important for the manager to gather information on progress towards the goals. Finally, the manager and employee can discuss progress – this can be developmental (focusing on a plan for improvement) or it can be evaluative (with implications for pay and promotion).

    This session will introduce the three-step performance management process. We will examine hurdles to goal setting, monitoring performance, and providing feedback. Participants will then engage in simulated performance management conversations to learn how to better handle tough performance problems.

Enabling successful strategies

  • Strategy Development: There are many elements that go into the creation of a ‘strategic plan’. We will address how you effectively integrate mission, vision, core values, goals and objectives to help craft the right strategy for your organization. We will introduce some effective analytical tools that will help your organization get more intelligent about strategic options and how to decide amongst strategic alternatives. All of this is done with the purpose of establishing a clear direction you can provide your organization to guide critical activities to improve performance and gain competitive advantage.

    Crafting a strategy is all about the critical how’s. How you get from where you are today to that vision you have outlined. It will define how you scale, deliver, acquire customers and service customers. It will tell you how your functions will work together to achieve results. It will tell the organization how you will apply resources, etc. It will outline key initiatives and actions and have timelines and milestones.
  • Executing on your strategy: According to a 2012 Accenture and SuccessFactors study, 90% of organizations fail to execute on their strategy. Some of the more obvious reasons are that only 20% of the organizations rate themselves at having effectively communicated their strategy. Only 18% tie the organization to goals and objectives that will lead to the strategy being successful. Worst of all, only 14% of employees knows what their organizations strategy is. How is an organization supposed to achieve any success with such poor results on engaging employees and focusing them on the right key activities? Just imagine the impact on results if you could significantly increase each of these numbers.

    We will introduce methodologies and concepts that will increase your organizational effectiveness around strategic execution. We will help you integrate your strategic, operational and financial planning as one system. We will outline best practices for managing and tracking initiatives. We will introduce policy and procedure suggestions that will align your organizations reward and recognition systems.