Tailor-made to suit your needs and expectations, our consulting services combine in-depth analysis with clear-cut solutions to remove the specific barriers that block your path to creating high-performing work units. Special focus is placed on managing and communicating corporate changes in a constantly evolving VUCA world and preparing for a new age of leadership, following the ongoing decline of the traditional top-down approach.
Expertly designed to meet the specific needs of our clients, our services provide you with the expert-level communication proficiency required to succeed in the digital age.
The digital transformation entails not only the rapid decline of traditional command-and-control leadership but also the end of ‘leadership communication as usual’, infamously known as telling & selling. Yet many leaders and organisations struggle to find a viable alternative, leaving unanswered a string of key questions. For example, how do you effectively drive the performance of the empowered employees, the agile teams, and the amorphous, cross-functional networks that increasingly define modern business organisations? How do you pro-actively build trust and shared purpose, which are seen as cornerstones of future leadership success? How, in fact, do you enable employees to maximise their contribution toward shared company objectives?
Here is how.
Highly interactive and devised for up to 15 participants, our in-house workshops target key areas of leadership communication. Note that the plug-ins and deep dives are stand-alone trainings, i.e. they can be taken independently of either Step 1 or 2. Click on the respective titles below for key details.
Closing the Communication Gap
In this three-day workshop, we will focus on three key follower expectations that directly translate into three core tasks all leaders must continuously meet: Direction, Coordination, and Protection.
Direction aims at preserving followers’ autonomy through what is known as enabling leadership communication. ‘Evolutionary Leaders’ help their employees improve independent decision-making by actively providing them with big picture contexts required to prioritize their work. They share high-level goals and metrics and constantly build meaningful connections between individual inputs and organizational outcomes.
Coordination is about driving collective performance. It centers on fostering competitive cooperation, which is a key hallmark of high-performance teams (whose members as a rule act independently and never cooperate just for the sake of ’doing teamwork’). More specifically, effective leaders link individual rewards with cooperative sharing, while proactively identifying opportunities for synergistic collaboration based on the potential for tangible business impact.
Protection speaks to the universal human desire to belong to a powerful in-group that facilitates personal success (evolutionarily speaking: survival and reproduction). It centers on proactively building trustful connections, which are indispensable to any well-working human relationship. ‘Evolutionary Leaders’ understand that trust – including, importantly, faith in the leader’s guiding vision – is inseparably interwoven with employee ownership and performance. And they realize that while trust would have been a ubiquitous feature of the small, kin-based communities of our pre-historic ancestors, it will never come naturally at modern workplaces but has to be pro-actively created.
Climbing Communication Peak
Great leaders are great communicators. This is particularly true in a VUCA world marked by the inexorable decline of top-down leadership (‘command and control’) and the parallel rise of the more inclusive, co-creative approaches followers have increasingly come to expect from their leaders. Against this background, actively generating support for a specific plan, an overarching vision, or a particular path of action has replaced the erstwhile telling-and-selling that used to be the mainstay of leadership communication.
In this two-day workshop, participants will learn three fundamental skills that are indispensable to becoming a masterful, top-of-the-class communicator:
a) engaging the audience;
b) facilitating comprehension;
c) steering the audience's perceptions.
In so doing, we will cover a broad spectrum of techniques and best practices, including
>> the four maxims of successful communication
>> Claim – Grounds – Warrant – Backing: a proven model of persuasive argumentation
>> employing ‘Powerful Language’
>> creating cohesion
>> increasing relevance (“picking up your audience where they are”)
>> storytelling and the use of narrative
>> the twin principles of simplicity and clarity
>> the 1-2-3 rule of emphasis
>> making strategic use of key rhetorical devices, e.g. metaphor, repetition, chiasmus.
Storytelling like a Leader
Apologies, this element is currently under construction.
Presenting like a Leader
Presentation tools such as Microsoft PowerPoint have been heavily criticised in recent years to the point where some people consider them a no-go of business communication. This is unfortunate because PowerPoint in particular remains one of the most effective communication tools available to leaders; if used engagingly, that is – which, admittedly, can be a big if indeed.
Against this background, participants of this one-day workshop will learn how to use presentation tools as a powerful reinforcement of what they say, rather than repeating to a bored audience what is written on their slides. Specifically, we will be covering the following elements:
- Who-what-how: the essential task of STORYboarding
- Every presentation divides into three separate documents
- Start with a PUNCH ...
- ... and continue with a narrative
- Balancing your emotional and rational appeals
- Choosing the right visual
- More signal, less noise: decluttering is key
- Emphasize! Creating visual hierarchies
- Focus! Using preattentive attributes
- Reinforce! The thoughtful use of text
- When and how to animate
- Finish with a flourish
- The dos and don’ts of great delivery
Leadership Communication in a VUCA World
In the digital age, change is constant. Business as usual has given way to business as unusual. While traditional, top-down leadership tends to result in below-par performances even in the best of circumstances, it is fully ineffective in a VUCA – volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous – environment marked by frequently shifting targets. In other words, it no longer is enough for leaders to build employee engagement and faith in their vision – simply because the world out there has become far too complicated for any leader to successfully navigate it all alone, making the right decisions on behalf of their team or the company. Paradoxically, however, the more unpredictable the world out there is, the more followers crave leadership and the less they want to assume responsibility and make independent decisions. Indeed, leadership and followership partly evolved for the very reason of overcoming uncertainty and indecision.
Against this background, this compact, highly focused one-day workshop aims at balancing – and indeed taking advantage of – the two opposing forces of overwhelming complexity and underwhelming stability by playing to the naturally selected minds of human followers. In so doing, we will be guided by a two-pronged approach. Participants will learn to strengthen employees’ autonomous decision-making through what is known as enabling leadership communication, while simultaneously building trust to provide staff with the protection required to partner enablement with a sense of being set up for success.
Evolutionary Leadership: A Mindset Changing Deep Dive
Amalgamating a wealth of empirical findings in the cognitive and behavioural sciences, Evolutionary Leadership Theory (ELT) approaches human leadership – and its inseparable twin followership – from the perspective of Darwinian selection. Why do people everywhere readily divide into leaders and followers? What is the ultimate benefit? And what can we learn from the insights gained in field and experimental studies? For example, we know from cross-cultural surveys that people everywhere share a conception of good, desirable leadership, which is at odds with the realities of modern workplaces. In fact, followers have been primed by natural selection to resist vertical, top-down leadership, however subtly, thus engaging corporate leaders in an uphill battle to improve relevant KPIs. Hence, people managers need to work either with or around the evolved limitations the human mind presents to avoid failure and, ultimately, career derailment.
As the subtitle of this one-day workshop suggests, we will be aiming at changing participants' overall approach to leadership by shifting the focus on followership. Specifically, we will highlight the much neglected principle that maximising organisational outcomes crucially depends on maximising the interests of the leader’s followers – that is, on making followership a rational strategy. Looking into best practice solutions to the ongoing leadership crisis, we will never lose sight of the key insight Evolutionary Leadership has to offer: the path to effective leadership starts in the brain – that is, the brain of your followers.
Experience a powerful speech on the game-changing paradigm of Evolutionary Leadership and/or the core principles involved in closing the ‘communication gap’. Designed to open up new perspectives and stir a mindset change in the audience, our passionately delivered key-notes are supported by a stunning presentation and ideally suited for leadership conferences and all-managers meetings. An abridged version lends itself to shorter break-out sessions.