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What does “world-class” really mean? What does it take and how does an organization develop a plan to achieve that dream? We analyzed organizations like Toyota, Walt Disney, and Walmart to learn what organizational aspects or behavioral commonality they shared and how they developed into examples of world-class performance. We found that there are four key principles and four key attributes necessary to develop your team into a world-class organization. Download this white paper to discover your path to world-class performance.
According to many sources, it is estimated that between 60% and 80 % of all improvement initiatives fail to deliver the anticipated results. We invest valuable time and money in programs designed to improve our organizations and processes, yet we do not take the time to ask why we continue to fail. In this white paper, we evaluate how effectively we are implementing these approaches and understand the root cause of why they do not deliver the expected results instead of just writing them off as another “Flavor of the Month.” We also examine some of the things an organization needs to be successful in changing their processes, their culture, their expectations, and how we can overcome the normal and natural resistance to change.
When global companies merge, executives are challenged to develop a world-class, high-performance work team utilizing combined personnel from several countries and multiple cultures. This can be a daunting task, but we have assisted companies of varied sizes and industries through mergers and acquisitions, creating and implementing plans to train executives to successfully work together and ensure that all transitions are smooth and seamless. In this white paper, we explore the four key objectives of any high-performance work team: focus, accountability, discipline, and a precise understanding of what constitutes success. Then we evaluate how you can blend the two teams into one, creating a dynamic, multinational/cultural high-performance work team.
In our world of rapid technological innovation, it’s no longer enough for companies to simply offer the latest technologies and features. World-class quality stems from people, not technology alone. An organization must empower all of its members to create a team that produces innovative ideas at a higher velocity than its competitors in order to stand out in its industry. We explore what it takes to empower your team and create a team-based environment that encourages everyone to contribute to the organization.
Metrics and the data that drive those metrics are the lifeblood of any organization that is intent on succeeding in today’s market.Your ability to interpret data and develop it into information to be processed into knowledge with sufficient accuracy to allow you to make effective decisions is the foundation upon which your organization achieves success or failure. In this white paper, we explore the Four Phases in the life of a metric that determines the effectiveness of the decisions made in driving value as determined by your customer: Data Collection, Data Analysis, the Decision Making Process; and the Evaluation of the Decision.
It is a common belief that process issues at manufacturing plants can only be resolved by relocating to places such as China. In this white paper, we explore a real case study featuring a large textile manufacturing plant that the X-Stream Leadership Group worked alongside and successfully improved their production processes. By implementing sound, effective, LEAN Manufacturing, Six Sigma, and Theory of Constraint principles, a small team of executives developed and implemented a plan that transformed the plant into a quality, organized operation without relocating abroad.
All teams are made up of people with varying personality and work styles, and understanding those styles is key to working together and communicate effectively. In this white paper, we explore some tools that can be used to evaluate the personalities and work styles of team members. We also detail the four key aspects that turn an ordinary group of people into a high-performance work team.
Most change initiatives fail because most executives fail to realize the long-term nature of change management. In fact, you won’t see measurable results from any successful change initiative for three to seven years. In this white paper, we explore the four key principles of world-class performance and the strategies that must be used to achieve and sustain that level of success.
Many people in middle management positions struggle with how to achieve their goals and objectives in the face of seemingly overwhelming obstacles. We are often in a “survival” mode and as a result not very receptive to change. As a result, when we are in a position to suggest change, those in our audiences with the same experiences are often skeptical about the chances for the change you are proposing to make a difference. This is why it’s important to understand that resistance to change is normal. In this white paper, we evaluate the three “levels” of resistance in order to understand why people resist change and explore how you can influence your team to overcome their resistance.
Some people believe that leadership and management are interchangeable terms and roles, but this is far from reality. In this white paper, we debunk some of the myths surrounding leadership and management. We also take a look at some of the world’s greatest leaders in order to understand the greater principles of leadership and its importance in achieving goals and objectives.
If you want to successfully communicate with your managers, you need to know The Big Five: Cost, Sales, Orders, EBIT, and ROI. Understanding the language of those you need to influence cannot be underestimated, and The Big Five are the spine of your managers’ dictionary. In this white paper, we explore how you can effectively communicate with and understand the perspective of your managers.
Communication is at the heart of any successful corporate team effort. The better you can understand, analyze, and anticipate the actions of both teammates and customers, the better you can achieve the goals you've set forth.
Unfortunately, in the past, having this sort of insight into the people around you was nearly impossible. Sure, there are other personality tests, but those aren't really suited for a fast-paced business environment. Someone has to sit down and deliberately take the test, then wait for some outside analysis to come back with the results. We call those "static" personality tests, due to their practical limitations.
How does that help you in the middle of a vital meeting or a crucial sales call? How does that actually help build your team?
X-Stream Leadership Group has a new option: Dynamic Profiling.
We've spent thirty years developing a system that allows personality profiling without dealing with pre-written tests and remote analysis by strangers. Our Dynamic Profiling system can be understood by anyone, and allows you to evaluate the personality of those you're working with in as little as 10-15 minutes of natural conversation.
The next time you're chatting up a sales prospect, they won't even realize that every step of the way, you're gleaning key insights into their personality to help push that next sale.
Dynamic Profiling also represents the next generation of team building through accurate personality profiling.
With Dynamic Profiling, you can:
- Significantly improve your ability to evaluate and adapt to situations as they develop, such as negotiations.
- Identify key personality types and adjust your communications and outreach techniques to best reach them.
- Learn to recognize the Three Levels of Resistance and overcome them, so those you work with will understand your ideas, like them, and like you.
- Build better teams, based on your understanding of their psychology and motivations. No more mismatches causing more friction than fission.
- Understand one of the key dichotomies in leadership: When to motivate vs. when to direct. With dynamic profiling, the question of macro-management vs. micro-management is practically a science.
The techniques developed by X-Stream Leadership Group have shown to have an astounding 73 percent success rate at changing corporate cultures for prolonged lengths of time. To learn more about X-Stream'snext-generation system of personality profiling for team building, please contact us for more information.
This is part of the ACB’s of True Leadership…helping you Achieve what you were Created to Become!™
The ability to effectively manage a team in any industry is a very valuable skill to have. Unfortunately, many people lack basic leadership skills, which has given way to a thriving leadership training industry. However, most cookie cutter programs only touch on the basics, and the lessons are often forgotten before practical application can be implemented within the team environment. The X-Stream Leadership Group has taken leadership training to a whole new level of interactive learning through the X-Stream Leadership Challenge.
It’s all part of the ACB’s of True Leadership…helping you Achieve what you were Created to Become!™
100% Active Participation
Hands-on learning and a dynamic debriefing methodology is the keystone for the X-Stream Leadership Challenge. They believe that true leadership is "25% taught and 75% caught." Using years of professional experience training ultra-high performance teams like Special Forces and Fighter Pilots, the team at the X-Stream Leadership Group has designed this program to force groups to work together as a team to solve increasingly difficult real world problems. Each task is specifically designed to require an entire team to solve the problem instead of “heroic individuals” while highlighting individual strengths and weaknesses. Each challenge requires teamwork and influence to improve those skills and teach more effective communication techniques.
Real World Application
A leadership training program is only as good as its application after the fact. With a 73% success ratio for sustainable long term results in changing behaviors and achieving results, the X-Stream Leadership Group provides real skills, and practical application of those skills to improve team work, leadership skills, and overcome personal challenges. Throughout the program, you can expect to learn:
- How to effectively lead a team for fast results.
- How to build your team and use their strengths to benefit the whole.
- "Bleeding Edge" leadership skills that go far beyond the dated "trust fall" methods.
- How to develop your leadership skills to the fullest.
X-Stream Leadership Challenge is designed to highlight personal strengths and weaknesses, as well as provide valuable leadership and teamwork skills. Upon successful completion of the hands-on leadership training program, you will:
- Have an understanding of your personal strengths and weaknesses.
- Have the skills to develop and implement cutting-edge ideas quickly.
- Improve communication during high stress tasks and situations.
- Develop a specific developmental action item plan to be carried out during the following year.
The Gift of Leadership
Throughout the program, the X-Stream Leadership Challenge will also explore the concept that leadership is a gift given to you by your followers, and how to use this to your advantage by teaching you:
- When and how to use effective communication.
- When to use motivation vs. when to direct.
- How to use shared adversity to encourage tight bonds within a team.
- How to develop an individual project leadership profile.
Using an active approach to leadership training, the experts at the X-Stream Leadership Group are dedicated to the ACB’s of True Leadership…helping you Achieve what you were Created to Become!™ To learn more about the X-Stream Leadership Challenge, contact the experts at the X-Stream Leadership Group today!
In a fast-changing market environment, businesses also need to be able to change - and quickly - to keep up. Agile, flexible organizations are the ones with the capability to seize upon new opportunities as they occur.
Businesses which can't keep up will simply be left behind.
Great leadership development means developing an internal culture capable of handling these changes. VPs, division managers, and other officials may be resistant to change. Often, they are either set in their ways, think they can continue being successful (doing what got them there) or simply do not want to go to the trouble of adopting new approaches. Such attitudes make it so that change initiatives become unsustainable, or even counterproductive.
A large part of our leadership development program & training courses focus on helping business leaders like you understand how to best bring about change within your own organization. A good grounding in the mechanics behind change adoption will allow you to implement similar initiatives within your own organization.
This process can be broken down into five distinct stages, which is what we'll cover in this blog article.
Know the Five Stages of Change to Create Sustainable Changes
The larger your organization, the more difficult it can be to effectively communicate changes in policy or procedure. The smart manager doesn't simply send out a single email or memo (once an improvement is complete). They use multiple communication channels to ensure the message is received and understood by all affected parties. Before undertaking a change, give your team what’s on the horizon. Let them ask questions – they are the true experts! They may very well influence “the plan”.
Human beings are overwhelmingly self-interested. An effective change in policy should not be presented as a dictatorial whim, but rather as something which is good for those being affected by it. Appeal to people's self-interest, and they're more likely to go along. The goal is to make as many of the people who will be affected by the change to be interested in it. Again, this allows people time to think and ask questions.
At a minimum, ensure the people who are directly affected by a proposed change are part of the team changing it. Outside eyes are also important during evaluating changes (they can ask questions like “why have we done it this way?”). Once humans get used to doing something one way, it can be very hard to challenge it (even if it causes waste and lowers morale). Some will fight to maintain the status quo even when it’s sinking the ship. Be data driven – helps take the emotion out and aids consensus.
This is where change sustainability fails for many leaders - they assume that uptake in the first week automatically means it will continue (or any missteps are indications of total failure). So your team came up with a great idea to improve and they have an updated procedure to test it. Let them and be prepared for bumps! This is an important stage of discovery and should be embraced. Warning: When the bumps occur those who have been sitting back waiting for it to fail will pipe up with “I told you so” urging everyone to go back to the “way we’ve always done it”. Wise leaders know this is natural. Expect a learning curve. Ensuring a measurement system is put into place and is providing feedback plays an important role in assisting the larger organization to move towards Adoption.
Measure progress and celebrate success! Continue to measure and address any set-backs quickly. Everyone must be held accountable or back-sliding or reversion will occur.
This is only the beginning of the journey towards more effective leadership. For more information on the X-Stream Leadership Group’s development program & training courses, please contact the X-Stream Leadership Group today!
In our last article on creating sustainable change, we presented a broad overview of the change cycle. We also described the five steps that mark introduction through the eventual adoption of change in the workplace.
Today, let's dig deeper and look specifically at resistance to change or new ideas at a psychological level. Resistance has four degrees of severity.
As we teach in our leadership development program & training courses, resistance is a natural part of the change cycle. Successful leaders understand and prepare resistance from the beginning. This increases the probability of successful through the completion and implementation of any plan/change. Reacting to resistance throughout the change cycle is often less effective.
The Four Levels of Change Resistance
Level One: "I don't understand it."
This is the most common kind of resistance and is the easiest to overcome. Explain vision and rationale for change as clearly and concisely as possible. Answer questions. Provide data. Help your workforce understand how your new ideas will fit into their lives and jobs. Give examples of how it will be superior to the old way. Giving good explanations up-front can prevent resistance from becoming more serious. It can also get people excited about the upcoming change and get people involved in making it happen!
Level Two: "I Understand It…I don't like it."
People may understand a proposed change but they don’t like it! You can usually tell Level Two Resistance from body language as opposed to what they say verbally. Be patient. Listen to what they have to say. Their reasons for disliking the plan could lead you to find ways to refine it, especially if their dislike is rooted in legitimate problems they foresee (or have experienced before). If their dislike is simply reactionary, go back to explanations and focus on how the change will improve their situation.
Level Three: "I Understand It…I don't like YOU!"
Here's where things get problematic. The manager or employee may fully understand what the plan is, but due to personal issues, they're resisting implementation. It's possible, of course, to simply use authority to force compliance, but that tends to create longer-term problems. Find out precisely what it is they have a problem with and deal directly with that issue. It's better to legitimately win back their respect; otherwise you may be fighting this battle over and over. This requires more patience and true seeking to understand. Be ready for candid and challenging feedback. It is a chance for personal and/or professional growth.
Level Four: "I Understand It…I will never trust you again."
This happens when you need to work with someone where there is a damaged relationship. It’s possible it could be too damaged which could affect the team’s ability to being successful. There's no point dwelling on how things got to this level (other than Lessons Learned). Lean on the business case and data. If it’s the right thing to do with expected results that will benefit team members and the organization get support of as many key decision makers as possible. Be ready that sometimes a key person may choose not to participate. Adjust accordingly and ensure any risks are documented in the context of effect on the potential results.
Removing or moving someone to a different position is a worst case possibility (depending on the details of the relationship and potential change being discussed). This can be time-consuming and disruptive and should be avoided whenever possible by better resistance-management up-front.
X-Stream Leadership Group’s leadership development program & training courses bring you superior strategies for implementing real change within your organization, and sustaining it long term! Contact us today to get all the details. If you want to read more about change resistance click here.
Is there a formula for successful change? There just might be!
In our last two articles on implementing and sustaining change, we covered how change happens, and then addressed barriers to change which trigger resistance to change and sustainability. Today, let's focus on the positive aspects of change: How to create situations where the rewards and satisfaction from implementing your change drive long-term-sustainability!
Behavior modification is a key part of our leadership development program & training courses. Understand what motivates your employees, and you can leverage those motivations.
It all boils down to one "formula" for motivation.
The Secret Sauce: N -> B -> R
Needs leads to Behavior, which leads to Rewards. N -> B -> R.
Now, let's break this down a little more.
Rewards - a broad term. The reward under discussion could be pure financial rewards, such as salary and/or bonuses. It could mean an improved workflow or making their job easier to perform. Rewards could even simply mean the satisfaction of a job well done. Some rewards are explicit and some are intrinsic. Different people respond with various levels of enthusiasm to different reward types. You have to know your people well enough to know which type of reward structure will work best with them.
One key trait of highly effective managers -which we teach in our leadership development program & training courses- is understanding and leveraging each employee's individual reward preferences.
Behavior is exactly what it sounds like. In context of change implementation, this means the desired new behavior you wish your employees to exhibit. Behavior is what nearly any change initiative is modifying.
Needs are the underlying motivators of human behavior. Adapting the theories of psychologist Clayton Alderfer, there are three key types of needs. Put in business terms, these are:
- Existential Needs: Basic quality-of-life, such as the ease of doing work on a day-to-day basis.
- Relational Needs: Having satisfying interpersonal relationships, such as employee/boss or team-based experiences.
- Growth Needs: Opportunities to grow, expand, learn, and change - either as an individual or as a group.
So, once you understand these three key factors, N-B-R, it’s simple algebra! You can solve for any one of the three as long as you understand the other two. When implementing change - modifying Behavior - that means focusing on Needs and Rewards.
The real power of this is when you realize that the behavior element is the easiest to understand. We see behavior and have to deal with it on a daily basis. A little detective work will quickly reveal the reward or satisfaction they are receiving from that behavior. We can then find a way to help them realize they can achieve the same or better reward by addressing the need that is driving the behavior. The equation works the same way if we know any two of the variable, we can then solve the puzzle for the third and develop an effective strategy to sustain our changes long-term! Look at the Needs which are going unfulfilled in the current situation, and decide which Rewards are most suitable for the circumstance. Then propose Behavior changes which "connect the dots" from N to R.
Learn to Implement Change More Effectively
X-Stream Leadership Group’s leadership development program & training courses are specifically designed to help you evaluate these three factors, and propose change that ties them all together. Looking for change within your organization? Our superior strategies can help you successfully create the operation you want and sustain your changes long-term for a significantly better return on your investment!
So, you're attempting to implement a series of change events. But how successful are they really?
In previous articles derived from our leadership development program on implementing change, we discussed how change happens and the barriers to change which may create challenges, as well as presenting a general formula for change to help understand the key psychological motivators involved. In this final article, we will look at key lessons or overcoming resistance and sustaining change long term. We will do this in the context of planning, executing and completing a specific improvement event.
- Ensure the problem or opportunity has been accurately and precisely defined: failure to do this may cause the team to solve the wrong problem
- Document the scope of the event in a single page charter. This single page summarizes and bounds the event. It should contain problem/opportunity statement, SMART objectives including measures of success, team lead, team members, champion/sponsor, facilitation support, dates/times of the event. Failure to document the objectives of an event before-hand allows the team to stray, reducing the probability of success.
- Choose the right people to attend. The people actually performing the process under improvement are the experts. If you choose someone to attend just because they are available that week, you are likely to get undesired results.
- Ensure all team roles are defined, understood and agreed to. Any participant (from champion to sponsor to team lead to team member) who does not perform their role jeopardizes the success of the event. Risk: people playing dual roles should be avoided.
2. During the Event
- Kickoff by the champion/sponsor. Leadership must say and act like the event is important otherwise team members will wonder why they should care.
- Just in time training: even experienced teams can use a reminder for each step in an improvement event. Keep it short then have the team execute. One of the values of a facilitator is to keep the team on track. The team members are the experts in process content; the facilitators are the experts in the process of improving.
- Short daily briefings at the end of each day attended by champion/sponsor. Full out-brief at the end of the event.
- The outbrief must contain a complete, specific action item list with a single person accountable to close each item. Shared actions should be broken into smaller pieces so accountability is clear. Ensure actions on communication surrounding the event and executive enablers are included. The team can do a lot – but there are often actions that leadership must take in order to ensure team success.
- Attendance/accountability/eliminate distractions: if team members, who are the process experts keep leaving or getting pulled out, the larger team suffers. If leadership isn’t committed to the event, the team will ask why they are there.
- FOLLOW-THROUGH. Need we say more? Evidence says we do – lack of follow through by any or all team members is the single largest cause of event failure and lack of sustainment. This includes leadership. Visibility: progress towards action closure as well as any lack of progress must be highly visible to the entire organization.
- Communicate, communicate, communicate. Do NOT wait until every action is closed to announce event success. Capitalize on the momentum of an event by celebrating and sharing many small victories along the way. Team and Customers like to hear about progress - give it to them!
- When communicating, use avenues as much as possible. Email, existing business rhythm meetings, etc. Be wary of creating a “new newsletter” expressly for the purpose of communicating process/success. Focus rather on getting things done and sharing it in the manner the team is used to. If something special is warranted, go for it! Use good judgment.
- Sustainability is dependent upon accountability (during all three phases of an event – pre, during and post).
Develop Leadership Skills for Success
The X-Stream Leadership Development Program can quickly and effectively train you to achieve high-performance goals.
Whenever we conduct our leadership development program classes, there's one particular area of confusion that comes up over and over: the difference between a "leader" and a "manager."
They are not the same thing.
In fact, we'd go so far as to say that confusion about what differentiates a "leader" and a "manager" is at the heart of a large number of issues that come up when attempting to successfully guide an organization towards success. So, in this three-part series, X-Stream Leadership Group is going to take a deeper look at the matter.
Today's topic: Busting four common myths about managers and leaders.
Myth 1 - "Leadership" and "Management" Are Interchangeable
As we teach in our leadership development program, a leader has a clear vision for the future to allow an organization to do something it cannot currently do, as well as being able to articulate a plan for achieving that goal. A manager, on the other hand, is focused on the organization as it currently is, and on optimizing/maximizing the potential within that organization in line with a leader's vision.
Myth 2 - Leadership and Management Require the Same Skills
As with the difference in their roles, the skills required of leaders and managers vary significantly. In short: A leader must be able to articulate their vision of the future and convince a team to work towards it. A manager should be focused on day-to-day operations, and maximizing the performance of individuals in pursuit of shorter-term goals.
Myth 3 - There Is Such a Thing as a "Born Leader/Manager"
While people may be born with certain traits - such as high intelligence or a strong personality - that aid them in being leaders or managers, being an effective leader or manager still requires training, discipline, and an ability to learn from one's past experiences.
Myth 4 - Leadership Is All About Authority
True leadership is not about intimidating people or using rules or laws to exercise power over them. Genuine leaders convince people to willingly act in certain ways, even without overt use of power, because they can successfully convey their vision for the future.
For parts 2 and 3 of the series, where we'll look deeper into "What is a manager?" and "What is a leader?" Until then, to get an even deeper understanding of leadership in its many forms, contact X-Stream Leadership Group to learn more about our leadership development program! We have regional offices in Longmont, CO – Dallas, TX – Laurel Hill, FL serving clients in the larger Philadelphia, Denver and Dallas areas and World-Wide.
In our previous chapter in this series, taken from our leadership training courses, we looked at common myths people hold about leaders and managers. Today, we're going to dig deeper into the basic question of what is a manager?
Understanding the Qualities of Managers
Good managers are critical pieces of an organizational team, and necessary for a leader's vision to be properly implemented. There are many types of managers, requiring different skills and competencies, yet there are still several traits all great managers have in common.
As we discussed in Part 1, a leader is primarily focused on the future, while a manager lives in the now. A great manager should have the ability to hold a "big picture" overview of their organization as it currently exists, including both its capabilities and its weak points. From that, they can understand the steps that need to be taken to achieve short-term future goals.
Likewise, while they may not be concerned with long-term plans, they can predict the short-term outcomes of their interactions within the organization. Whether it's implementing new policies, or coaching specific individuals, a key question for managers to ask is "What can I do today to make tomorrow even better?"
Great managers don't necessarily think strategically, but they do think tactically. They are extremely concerned with the results of their actions, and never "just do things" without a clear idea of how they will turn out. This clear idea is not based in wishful thinking but, again, in a clear and level-headed understanding of the pragmatic reality of their current organizational situation.
However, nothing stops a manager from learning more strategic thinking. They could work more closely with a leader, take a more future-focused approach to their job, or enroll in leadership training courses. If successful, this approach can be exactly what allows a superior manager to transition into being a superior leader within their organization.
X-Stream Leadership Group Can Take You to The Next Level
Coming up, in our third and last blog in the series, we'll be looking at the flip side of this coin: "What is a leader?" Until then, to discover how to unlock your own leadership potential, contact the X-Stream Leadership Group for more information on our leadership training courses!
After two previous blogs discussing common myths about leaders vs. managers, and digging into what a manager is, we finally come to the true heart of the matter: what is a leader?
Great leadership is one of those qualities which is easy to identify, but hard to define. Nevertheless, as we teach in our leadership training courses, leadership is a skill which can be developed. Knowing the attributes of superior leaders and how they operate is one of the first steps towards becoming one yourself.
Understanding the Qualities of Leaders
There have been so many "great leaders" throughout history, in so many areas, that it might seem impossible to distill -for example- what connects Franklin D. Roosevelt to Lee Iacocca, or Elizabeth I to Gandhi. However, in our leadership training development, we boil it down to three key traits: Vision, Communication, and Motivation.
Perhaps above all, a great leader has vision. They are aware of the current situation, but their focus is to make it better. Whether leading a war, growing a business, or striving to improve a country, they can see far into a better future and envision paths for reaching that future.
A leader is not merely a dreamer, however. They still should be grounded enough not to ask the impossible... or, at least, to ask the impossible on a reasonable timeline!
It's one thing to have a vision, but it's another to articulate it clearly. Communication skills are at the heart of leadership. They must be able to take that future vision in their head, and share the vision with those they are leading. Without this ability, their plans will often come to naught.
Finally, as we mentioned in Part 1, leadership does not simply mean exercising authority. The third key skill of a great leader is that those they lead will follow willingly. Relying on power alone becomes self-defeating. When a leader and followers share the same goals, great things happen.
Chart Your Own Course Towards Leadership Excellence Today
X-Stream Leadership Group is focused on one thing: taking the best from today's corporate environment, and making them even better. We teach and demonstrate the skills necessary for superior leadership, from developing a vision for the future to helping ensure it's properly implemented within your organization. We have regional offices in Longmont, CO – Dallas, TX – Laurel Hill, FL serving clients in the larger Philadelphia, Denver and Dallas areas and World-Wide.
Contact X-Stream Leadership Group today to learn more about our leadership training!