some image


Achieving Financial Goals and Success Through Teamwork

Team Building

This is a guest post from a colleague of mine, Stephen Wagner. Stephen is the Director of Operations at Katie Wagner Social Media, a marketing agency that we currently use here in Orange County, and I asked him to write about an experience he had while working on a team.


teamwork, achieving goals through teamwork, executive consultantAt one point in my career, I worked for a large coffee retailer in operations management. The company was known for its great culture, great benefits, and innovation in the retail sector. Additionally, they offered a management training and development program that was one of the best in the country—it was a great fit for me in many ways.

As a manager of one of the company’s stores, I ended up working with two separate teams. The first team was the one I had hired and trained to run the store and provide customer service, and the second team was a team of my peers—other store managers in my area with all of us reporting to the same manager. Read More

Team Building is not Team Playing: Devaluing Meaningful Intervention

Team Building

team building, what team building isn't, leadership development orange countyRecently, I read an article in Newsweek entitled “Inside the Company That Bungled Obamacare.” The author described the nature, culture, management history, and philosophy of CGI Federal, the U.S. subsidiary of the Canadian-based CGI Group, who were awarded the contract and had the daunting job of building the federal online insurance marketplace—a large, complex website intended to help millions of Americans obtain health insurance that, as we all know, failed and caused tremendous loss of credibility for the President and the Affordable Care Act. The article started by describing a two-day event of CGI senior management at the luxurious Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in southwestern Pennsylvania. During the event, PowerPoint presentations were made that celebrated the phenomenal success of the company, their big profits, and its bright future. Read More

Onboarding: The Next Phases

Hiring Executives

onboarding executives, hiring executives, successful hiringIn a previous blog, I addressed the front end/pre-hiring phase of the onboarding process and in this blog, I would like to share some of my thoughts regarding three additional aspects that are essential to a successful onboarding experience.

Although often not considered part of onboarding, the “job offering” process is, from our perspective, a very important phase of the onboarding experience. All elements of the job offer provide the new employee with a set of impressions regarding the ways of the organization that make an impression and have a lasting effect. Some key questions and activities to reflect upon, which require answers and strategy, are—who communicates to the candidate that he or she has been selected for the job? What is the message that needs to be conveyed? How long after the final interview with the candidate should a call be made? Who makes the offer—is it the CEO, the CPO, or the SVP of Talent Acquisition? Who negotiates the compensation package? Who writes the offer letter and what is its content and tone? Each one of these decisions and subsequent actions convey an implicit message. Many companies fail to recognize this and what impression that leaves or is thought about from the perspective of the candidate/future executive. And, at times, the message that the organization is sending may not be consistent with the organization’s brand, image, values, and culture—both explicit and implicit. Read More

Onboarding: “The First Phase”

Hiring Executives

onboarding senior level executives, execuquest, executive assessmentsOnboarding is a multiphase process that organizations use to assimilate newly hired employees into the organization’s culture—with the ultimate goal of retaining them and making them valuable contributors.

Onboarding for senior level executives begins much sooner than most people assume. The process is typically thought to start only after the candidate is hired. However, an effective onboarding program actually starts the moment the candidate is first contacted and continues throughout the entire hiring process and up to a year beyond the hire date.

Initial Contact

Who makes the first call to the candidate? Is it the recruiter from the hiring agency or an HR manager within the organization? Whoever makes the initial contact, it’s important that they convey the organization’s “message” or “brand” in a positive way and that it’s consistent with the organizational culture and environment. After the initial contact, then what is the protocol? Who invites the candidate for an interview and at what level are they? Is it the agency recruiter or the organization’s Chief People Officer? Each communication and interaction with the candidate must be considered a unique and important opportunity to introduce the vision, goals, aspirations, and core values of the organization. Read More

Sabotaging the Success of a New Hire

Hiring Executives

sabotaging new hire, executive coaching orange county, execuquestHiring managers in organizations may recruit talent based upon criteria that often does not represent the reality of the organization and can actually sabotage the success of a new employee.

Most companies develop a list of success factors or aspiring values which drive the decision making during the selection process. When assessing talent for our client organizations, we insist upon spending time understanding and, in some ways, gauging the environment in which the new hire is going to be working. In doing so, we can evaluate the consistency between what the Talent Acquisition Function and/or Hiring Manager is telling us and the fundamental requirements that the candidate needs to have in order to be successful in the company and in their job. Often, we have found that this criteria is based upon a theoretical model and not upon what is actually valued and observed in the company or within a given department or group. We hire, based upon what business theorist, Chris Argyris, describes as, “the espoused theory versus the theory in use.” This subtle but very significant difference has a great impact upon the success or failure of the new hire. Read More