Introduction

As leaders grow within an organization, they gain greater authority and responsibility. Along with this come more changes to manage, an increasing reliance on their people versus their own technical skills, and more stress. A leader’s task is to successfully manage these increasing demands by exercising good judgment and by using his or her unique personality as a tool for motivating people to get things done. Sometimes, however, these demands outstrip the leader’s skills and resources. Examples include:

  • General or specific developmental needs (e.g., interpersonal skills, managing people, assuming more responsibility);
  • Personal conflicts with employees or clients (e.g., too harsh on subordinates, destructive competition with peers);
  • Loss of motivation and commitment (e.g., burn out, career ambiguity or uncertainty);
  • Difficulties adapting to changing business realities (e.g., reorganization, new system, change in management, new team context);
  • Spillover of personal issues into work performance (e.g., divorce, loss, illness).

The Executive Development Consultation (EDC) helps leaders become more effective by providing an uncommon opportunity for them to examine their judgment and personalities in depth with skilled professionals in a trusting and confidential environment. Important insight is gained through the combination of Morrison Associates’ assessment and the feedback from the client’s boss, subordinates, and peers. The EDC is suited for both the executive who wants to work on a specific set of issues or problems, as well as the person who uses it as a preemptive process for maintaining good judgment in times of change and stress.

Program Description

The Executive Development Consultation is a one-and-one-half day program at Morrison Associates’ metro-Chicagoland offices. In advance of the consultation, the client will receive information to familiarize him or her with the structure of the program, as well as a packet containing pre-work to be completed. The client’s supervisor receives a packet containing evaluation forms to be completed by him or herself, by peers, and by subordinates (360 degree feedback).

Testing and interviews comprise the first half of the first consultation day. The purpose of this is to efficiently gather relevant data about the client, as well as to begin pursuit of his or her goals for the consultation. The client’s consultation team is comprised of professionals trained in psychiatry and clinical psychology as well as management consultants. A multi-disciplinary team provides balance and depth to the consultation and ensures that psychological dynamics are tied to the business issues and goals. As the consultants boil down the data, the analysis follows a general course:

  1. Review the client’s goals for the consultation. Assess how they fit in relation to the goals of the organization.
  2. Understand the client’s personality and underlying motivational dynamics. What are his or her relevant strengths and weaknesses?
  3. Using the data from interviews, testing, and 360 feedback, identify patterns of behavior which either help or hinder the goals the client is striving to attain in the spheres of his or her work, family, and self.
  4. Build a conceptual linkage between the client’s behavior and his or her personality, motivational dynamics, and strengths and weaknesses.
  5. Use the linkage to enable the client to stop unproductive behavior patterns and start new ones.

The afternoon of the first day is comprised of an interactive dialogue between the client and consultants. The consultants give their feedback, and work with the person to build an understanding of his or her strengths and weaknesses. The next morning the client and consultants integrate the feedback from boss, peers and subordinates into this understanding. Examining the relative fit of Morrison Associates’ assessment with the 360 degree feedback helps determine how the client’s strengths and weaknesses get played out in workplace behaviors. The later part of the morning is spent building a strategy to realistically accomplish the client’s and organization’s goals. The client leaves with a written summary of his or her strengths and weaknesses, and a written assignment to summarize the main points of the consultation. One week later, a consultant will contact the client to review this consultation summary. Based on their discussion and the consultation itself, the consultant sends the client a final set of written recommendations. At four to six weeks, a follow-up meeting is held (either in person or by telephone) to measure the client’s progress and identify any problems that stand in the way of solving the original goals. Additional follow-up is scheduled as needed. Regarding confidentiality, our contract is that information from the first day of the consultation will not be shared without the written permission of the client, but that an aggregate of the 360 degree feedback, along with work-related recommendations, may be shared with the client’s supervisor.

Program Benefits

The benefits of the Executive Development Consultation include the following:

  • Achieving the goals of the consultation. The client’s goals are the beacon that orients the program, and are the highest priority. The client gains a strategy for achieving these goals, as well as continued support in the future.
  • Greater productivity, efficiency, and effectiveness. Unproductive behaviors are identified and the client is given a structure for change that fits his or her own unique personality.
  • Better judgment. The client learns how to leverage his or her own strengths, while compensating for weaknesses.
  • Greater interpersonal power. One’s personality is the most important tool for motivating people, and the client learns how to use it more effectively as well as smooth out the rough edges.
  • More resilience in times of stress. By understanding one’s own response to stress, the client can incorporate supportive structures in order to maintain sound judgment.
  • A day to gain perspective on one’s professional, family, and personal needs. As the pace of business increases and people’s lives get more compressed into a series of tasks, it is important to set time aside to reevaluate one’s perspective on the things that are important.

Given the right tools and support, people are capable of remarkable change and personal growth. Since 1976, over one thousand professionals have benefited from our Executive and Executive Development Consultations.