Change Management Consulting

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Leadership Development/ Executive Coaching

07 24 2015

Leadership Evaluations for Higher Performance

Corporate Therapy, Effective Performance Evaluations, Leadership Development/ Executive Coaching, Rapid Customized Executive Assessment Package

August 2013

A Brief Overview on Leaders

Exceptional leaders tend to share a common desire: knowing which problems exist in their organization, so their people, processes and systems can either be improved or removed. After winning the 24 hours of Le Mans, Mario Andretti was asked by a reporter what it felt like to drive a “perfect race.” Andretti responded, “I didn’t drive a perfect race. In fact I made tons of mistakes; I just caught them quicker than the other drivers.” All of us make mistakes; chalk it up to being human. The people who consistently improve and evolve in this life are those who are willing to be honest with themselves and others and listen to constructive insight and then do something about it.

Working with National and International corporations, I have discovered the higher a leader’s position in an organization the less honest people tend to be with that leader. The paradox is that the higher the position, the more his or her decisions impact hundreds or thousands of people.  Therefore, would it not seem logical, that these leaders receive performance evaluations from the staff and the customer? It is, and it needs to be done for many reasons. Those few who implement these types of honest two-way interactions tend to have better bottom line profits to show for it. Leaders must set the example by creating these highly interactive types of cultures within their organizations. After all, accountability and performance improvement should go in both directions, shouldn’t it?

Benefits of Leadership Evaluations

Leaders must not simply talk about “honest communication, trust, and tell people their door is open” they must prove it with their behaviors and set the example. What follows are the benefits of leadership evaluations, for the leader, the employees, the organization and most importantly THE CUSTOMER.

  1. Leaders should meet face to face with customers and employees, asking them to be honest about their product and service from A to Z. One of my tenants of business is that “if it does not positively impact the customer, it has no value.” Who better to ask how to improve then your customers or employees? This will be the best Return On Investment you will ever get.
  2. Happy, involved, and trusted employees equate directly to happy, involved and trustworthy customers. In fact, it’s impossible to have unhappy employees and happy customers. More than anything else, people want to feel valued and respected by their leader. Asking for their opinion and really listening will help achieve that.
  3. Four steps to professional development are: Train, Coach, Counsel, and (as a last resort) Terminate. Where do you stand in this mix? Are you trainable, need coaching, require counseling, or are you not worth the investment and need to be terminated?
  4. By opening yourself up to performance evaluations by others, you will quickly find out if you really are trusted, have good communication, and are a good leader. You will find out if your management methods are effective or ineffective and why certain people require less input or more input from you. You will learn to understand them and who best to learn from than those you are leading. Ask your people how best to lead and manage them. They will tell you either by what they say, or more importantly, what they don’t say. You will quickly know, see and feel if they are lying to protect their jobs and helping you save face.
  5. You will show your customers and people that they matter and are important. And along the way you will learn some very valuable lessons about yourself.

Kelly Graves, CEO
The Corporate Therapist
Cell: 1.530.321.5309
Toll-Free: 1.800.704.3785
Office: 1.530.321.5309
Internal Business Solutions, Inc.™

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Posted by at 11:26 AM

08 28 2013

10 Steps to Personal and Professional Growth

Business Management Consulting, Business Success, Communication Issues, Corporate Therapy, Leadership Development/ Executive Coaching, Mergers: How to Manage Organizational Change

August 2013

1. Awareness 2. Dissatisfaction 3. Affirmation 4. Responsibility 5. Personalized Goal 6. Demoralization 7. Intention 8. Action 9. Self-Support 10. Sustained Change. An Established Habit

First, think of something you can do so well that you can teach another other person how to do it. Second, now think about the stages you went through on that mental and physical journey and the time it took to achieve your current proficiency. Third, now apply that understanding to this article and your professional career.

Anyone who has attained a certain level of proficiency in any endeavor, whether that be in a professional business setting, in academia, or in various sports and hobbies have all gone through and experienced a similar ebb and flow of struggle and growth. I have outlined these stages so that one may know how to more reliably attain the goals you have in your mind.


Awareness of existing behavior, including thoughts, feelings, images, sensations and actions that are experienced as problematic: For example:

A. Catastrophic thoughts: e.g., “If I express my true ideas and opinions my colleagues or superiors will think I’m stupid.” …..Or my VP’s, supervisors and staff won’t think I know everything and will not have faith in me….. or will try and take my position.” B. Distressing feelings: e.g., anxiety, depression, guilt, etc. C. Disturbing images: e.g., an image of yourself as ineffective in your position, unsuccessful leader or a poor decision maker. (this is also known in the early stages in one’s career or promotion as the “imposter” syndrome). D. Discomforting sensations: e.g., generalized anxiety, headaches, shoulder, stomach or back pain etc. E. Ineffective actions: e.g., procrastination, inhibition, ineffective communication (listening and/or speaking), poor decision making skills, poor managing or leadership qualities.

(I have worked with experienced Presidents, CEO’s and other leaders who were technically capable yet inadvertently unaware and on their way to, or currently in the midst of, sabotaging their organization and subsequent careers because of their “blind spots” and fear of working with someone through them.


Dissatisfaction with present behavior: This can either produce motivation for change or the extinction of awareness through various psychological and/or outside influence’s or “distractions.” e.g., denial, obsessive compulsive behaviors, excessive alcohol & drug use etc.


Affirmation of your present behavior’s original survival value: People will often justify the present behavior as needed or valued. I had a client who was a very smart woman and valued her ability to “multitask.” Yet her directors and staff saw this behavior as not valuing them, being distant, and not involving them in decisions. Inadvertently, projects fell through the cracks because she would often “forget,” communication between her departments became more strained because they all needed to stay on her “good side.” She did not fully comprehend the gravity of the situation until the President asked me to work with her and her division.

When this affirmation step is omitted, people frequently undermine (Sabotage) their motivation for change with self-blame or “finger-pointing” e.g., blaming others.

For example, let’s look at the two possible scenarios. Inhibition, placating, letting others always have their way (non-assertiveness) might have been an affective technique for a ten year old child when dealing with a harsh and critical parent. Conversely, the other extreme can be just as damaging as when that child took the abuse at home and then redirected that anger toward others.

As an adult these symptoms can play out as: a person needs to be the center of attention and rarely allows others a voice, unreasonable expectation of others, requires excessive attention/admiration, lacks empathy, envious, or has a sense of entitlement. As you can imagine and have no doubt experienced, a professional manager, Vice President or CEO with these tendencies can sabotage an otherwise successful team, department and/or career. Working through this step is integral in establishing a strong sense of self and an intrapersonal attitude that is conducive to professional growth, self improvement and change.


For instance, some people in the workplace may have a “chip” on their shoulders. As a result, and as the previous example disclosed, their personal thoughts can be punitive and harsh as can their behavior toward others. Their actions can also be either too kind or too harsh given the reality of the situation. As a result, they are ineffective and cause themselves and others grief and the organization time and money with the bottom line being they come across as victims displaying some of these behaviors (e.g., attention seeking, need for admiration and lack of empathy, feelings of inadequacy, submissive and clinging behavior or preoccupation with orderliness, perfectionism and control). On the surface the symptoms may appear to be diametrically opposed, however, the underlying issue is the same and resolution to this challenge is to take personal responsibility for one’s life (not blaming oneself or others). This must be a major first step toward becoming a more satisfied individual, an appreciated co-worker and a successful leader.

The examples below highlight the difference between a person which allows the “victim” mentality to have control and a person who is being responsible, taking an active role in their thoughts and applying personal growth strategies:

A. Responsible position: “I feel depressed because I’ve “bought into” the belief that I don’t deserve to feel good about myself.” Victim position: “I feel depressed because nobody seems to care.” B. Responsible Position: “I have a point that will add clarity to why our marketing penetration is off by 7%, but I will wait until Gloria is finished speaking before I present my findings.” Victim position: Gloria is constantly talking and not saying anything useful, I’m going to interrupt her and present my data now. It’s more important anyway.” C. Responsible position: “I haven’t been willing to assert myself because I tend to doubt myself when others disagree with me.” Victim position: “I haven’t been able to assert myself because I keep getting shot down”


Set an achievable goal, that is, a change that is under one’s own control rather than dependent on someone else’s approval. Trying to gain another’s approval may be regarded as a desire (or want), but not a personalized goal which is under one’s own control. Focusing attention and energy on personalized goals increases one’s sense of personal power. Conversely, focusing primarily on desires or approval by others tends to increase one’s sense of powerlessness and vulnerability. Some examples are given below:

A. Personalized Goal: ”I’d like to reprogram the belief and overcome my anxiety of speaking up in meetings. Desire: “I want others to care about me so that I won’t so scared to speak up in meetings. B. Personalized Goal: “Effective leaders set the example and are respectful of others, when Gloria is finished I will tie her ideas into my new data so she saves face and the group gets the updated information required to hit our marketing target of 12% penetration. Desire: I am the Executive VP and I should be able to interrupt at anytime to present my information and move these meetings along. C. Personalized Goal: ”I’d like to support myself in the face of other’s disagreement so that I am willing to express my ideas and opinions more assertively during our meeting.” Desire: “I’d like to have my colleagues accept me so that I can express myself more assertively.”


Frustration and demoralization often occur at this stage when one discovers that steps 1-5 do not automatically produce change. There is often a mental struggle going on inside of you where one part is wanting to quit, but the other knows that if you work through this “stage” then success will be forthcoming.

Example, Think of any previous success you have enjoyed whether that is sports related, academic achievement or any act that made you “endure” over a period of time. If you draw on the mental processes, steps and strength it took to achieve that milestone or success then, you no doubt, know the next steps you must take at this cross road. In essence, revert to what you know and have been successful at (the processes, concepts and struggles that were needed) and apply them to this particular challenge.


A strengthened resolve to give the goal implementation process vigilant attention is required at this critical stage. This is the step at which one’s personalized goal is translated into an intention to change. An intention to change doesn’t guarantee change; however, it does have more action potential than wishing or wanting to change.

“Until one is committed there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elemental truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too.

All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issue from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way.

I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets:

‘Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.’”

-W. H. Murry from the Scottish Himalayan expedition to Mt. Everest


One’s intention is then translated into specific action steps. These steps must be intentionally repeated, over and over again, until the new behavior begins to be expressed automatically. This frequently takes more time and attention than people are willing to devote.  But success is assured to those who persevere and apply sound Problem Solving, Decision Making and Implementation skills.


Learning to support yourself through the period of vulnerability that occurs right after one lets go of the old familiar pattern of behavior and up to the point where one begins to feel secure with the new behavior or habit. One must model consistent mental and physical behaviors until which time the “experimental behavior” is firmly established, thus requiring increasingly less attention to maintain the change. A personal or professional mentoring group can be very helpful at all stages but especially this stage. Think of them as your personal “Board of Directors.” Corporations have them, why not you?


Congratulations. You have successfully completed your personalized goal. Now apply each step of this process to the small and large challenges that life presents to you each day and a happier more successful life will be yours as the old unhealthy patterns slowly fall to the wayside and the new patterns build up momentum and show themselves to you in ever self-fulfilling and profitable ways.

“10 elements of Intentional behavior Change” was originally developed by Dr. Joe Russo and stemmed from the work of James O. Prochaska of the University of Rhode Island and colleagues who developed the Transtheoretical model beginning in 1977 . I morphed these time tested behavior modification techniques and have applied them to the corporate environment for individuals and organizations who want to achieve “sustained change,” not just read about it, go through some idealistic steps and pretend change has occurred, when in reality, it has not. If one aspires to achieve extraordinary results, then extraordinary thoughts, behaviors and actions are needed. Are you ready to start?

Kelly Graves, CEO
The Corporate Therapist
Cell: 1.530.321.5309
Toll-Free: 1.800.704.3785
Office: 1.530.321.5309
Internal Business Solutions, Inc.™

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Posted by at 11:56 AM

08 28 2013

Successful Leadership: Seven Actions

Business Management Consulting, Leadership Development/ Executive Coaching

August 2013

It’s rare to find anything new in the area of employee-leader relations. Effective leaders know the value of establishing trust, setting rigorous and tangible goals, reflecting on and refining practices and procedures, and keeping communication lines open. Here are seven other important considerations that will take your organization to the next level.

Grow Your People. Make professional development a priority. Model personal and professional growth. Never tire of developing your team and yourself.

Make Your Communication Count. Use your words and your energy to inspire, support, and lead through ordinary and extraordinary conditions. Regularly check for understanding. Build consensus related to the standards and expectations in your field. Make good on your promises. This modeling will naturally encourage and teach your people to do the same.

Make Work a Learning / Doing Place. With each new project, with each new employee, by staying on top of trends and advancements in your field, make every day a time to learn. Learning will keep your people interested and curious. Knowledge is power. Share it through coaching, consulting, collaborating, and mentoring. Helping others will grow your leadership at all levels. Day in and day out, encourage problem solving, creative thinking, and structured growth.

Grow a Successor. Surround yourself with talent and skills. Encourage and grow these individuals. Such support will elicit loyalty and make your business excel. Choose a small group of individuals who have demonstrated their strong values, their sincere commitment to the organization, and wisdom beyond their years. Chose wisely and nurture these future leaders. Assume it is from this group that you will someday cull your successor. Begin planning now for your successful handoff.

Model Integrity, Relationship-building, and Commitment to Your People. Have real and honest conversations with your people. Listen. Be honest. Follow through. Be trustworthy, and expect the same of your people. Communicate in ways that demonstrate your sincerity. Care about your people. Grow their opportunities. Encourage their career development. Respect their values. Commitment to your people will lead to impressive interpersonal as well as organizational results.

Know Your Employees and What They Do. Leaders are knowledgeable about their employees’ performance, which builds considerable trust and respect. Most would say that this is a “no-brainer,” yet, on average, only 30% percent of employees report that their managers communicate performance standards and provide fair and accurate feedback to help them do their jobs better.

Give Strengths-based, Specific and Timely Feedback. Make feedback timely, specific, POSITIVE, and based on mutually-accepted goals and objectives. Keep feedback respectful, related, and reasonable. Look for strengths in your people. Address performance gaps as opportunities to grow your organization (e.g., “we need your help to strengthen the team in these specific ways,” rather than “you messed up and need to improve in this area”). Recognize and celebrate strengths and successes as essential links in your organizational chain.

These seven qualities should be due diligence for all leaders. Practiced regularly, they will grow your people, your organization, and yourself. You know you have the heart and mind to establish a core culture of integrity and success, a place from where you will no longer have to lead only by command. With these seven qualities, you will enjoy your people instead of control them, nurture a highly-productive environment rather than clean up after mistakes, discover the many hidden talents and potential in your future leaders through ongoing dialogue, and realize breakthrough improvements in manager-employee relationships and on-the-job results.


Kelly Graves, CEO
The Corporate Therapist
Cell: 1.530.321.5309
Toll-Free: 1.800.704.3785
Office: 1.530.321.5309
Internal Business Solutions, Inc.™

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Posted by at 10:32 AM

08 23 2013

How to Set Goals & Achieve Them

Business Strategy and Implementation, Business Success, Corporate Therapy, Leadership Development/ Executive Coaching, Staff Development for Profit

August 2013

Business Strategy and Implementation, Improvement, Leadership Development/ Executive Coaching, Mergers: How to Manage & Coach People Through Change, Work Place Articles

Many people struggle with achieving goals, not because they aren’t serious, but because they don’t know how and don’t have a map to follow.

Whether learning to lead people, run a department or ski having a proven formula or system to follow will improve your success rate tremendously. Setting goals is commendable but how does one actually implement the process, avoid the obstacles and naysayers, and follow-through to success?

For those of you who want to do this but are fearful, congratulations. If you weren’t ready to take it seriously, then you wouldn’t be feeling fearful or anxious. Take a step toward that fear and you will conquer it.

Remember to have fun as you stretch yourself. The process isn’t always easy. Here are ten steps that will provide you with a higher probability of achieving your goals.

1. Select a Personal or Professional Goal


  • Health and exercise. Reduce calories by 38 percent per day, hit the gym three times per week. Do 100 miles a week on your bike.
  • Improve organizational gross revenue by 18 percent in the next 12 months.
  • More quality time to spend with my beloved and children

2. Identify the Benefits to You and/or Your Organization for Making This Change

  • Feeling better, more energy, improved appearance
  • Less stress, happier employees, stronger financial company, improved market share, growth of my business or the department I manage
  • A loving and happier home environment for my children, my beloved and me

3. Identify Strategies for Accomplishing Your Goal

Identifying strategies is a three-part process. First, list ideas for possible strategies to achieve your goals. Next, consider the obstacles that might keep you from reaching your goals. Finally, consider ways to overcome such obstacles:

  • I could get up before work and hit the gym, I could go directly after work.
  • Proactively coach my employees and set clear accountabilities with timelines.

4. Obstacles That Might Get in the Way

  • I hate getting up early, this is a hassle, and I’m tired after work.
  • I don’t have time to coach people.
  • I don’t like setting clear and firm accountabilities because I don’t know what to do if they don’t achieve them?

5. Consider Ways to Overcome Such Obstacles

  • I used to work out after work and it actually gave me more energy.
  • I need to re-prioritize my day and make time to coach. We have a great team; if we did this, the gross revenue targets would be very attainable.

6. Adjust Your Surroundings for Successful Goal Attainment

The people and habits you currently have in place can greatly influence your behavior. By creating supportive surroundings, goal attainment can be a successful and satisfying process. Examine your support system. Family, friends, subordinates and superiors can all help or hurt your goal attainment efforts. Help and teach people how to help you attain your goals.

7. Implement Your Strategy and Record Your Progress

Make a game out of it. Wall charts that measure growth are magic at encouraging consistent behavior modification and improvement.

8. Reward Yourself Along the Way

Rewards are key to human motivation and make the process more enjoyable.

9. Visualize Clear Accomplishments

Our brains work very similar to software programs. In fact, the mind doesn’t know the difference between visualization coupled with feelings of succeeding at an event and actually doing it. This is why you often notice professional athletes visualizing a race course or hitting a golf ball. Coaches call this visualization and psychiatrists call  it self-directed Neuroplasticity. The bottom line is it works and there is much empirical evidence to support it. If you consistently visualize (program) in your mind the exact results you want to achieve this will help your brain duplicate it and look for ways to improve.

10. Make Adjustments as You Progress

If you determine that success is not happening like you hoped, review your goals, barriers, and support systems and make adjustments. Persistence is important, but, if your goal process ends up being all work and no fun and you are beginning to dread the change or feel like quitting, it’s time to adjust your approach. Adjustment is a normal part of your evolutionary change process.


Kelly Graves, CEO
The Corporate Therapist
Cell: 1.530.321.5309
Toll-Free: 1.800.704.3785
Office: 1.530.321.5309
Internal Business Solutions, Inc.™

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Posted by at 5:02 PM

08 21 2013

Executive Coaching & Leadership Development Methodology

Leadership Development/ Executive Coaching, Mergers: How to Manage & Coach People Through Change, Staff Development for Profit

August 2013


This is where you are, but… THIS is where you WANT to be…
  • As hard as you try to get the executive committee and staff to support the same vision, it seems everyone has different goals that don’t directly support the overall business objectives.
  1. The leader leads by example. Period.
  2. The leader aligns the entire organization around crystal clear objectives with succinct responsibilities.
  3. The executive committee or management team honestly discusses and agrees on strategy and tactics needed to achieve individual goals which directly support organizational objectives.
  4. The leader understands people from their perspective and has the ability to motivate each person to buy into the organizational vision.
  • Our organizational structure is in place, we are lean, and people stay busy, and yet timelines are being missed and objectives still aren’t being met.
  • Work doesn’t translate into profit.
  1. Objectives are measurable and focused on the customer, staff, and your product or service.
  2. Internal busywork is filtered through this simple belief: If the customer doesn’t feel it, it doesn’t exist.
  3. Leaders have ensured that organizational structure and philosophy are fully supported; individual goals support the organizational goals.
  • The leaders of the organization have lost touch with the customer.
  • The leaders of the organization have lost touch with the employees who directly serve customers.
  1. Leaders know the secret to success: Only internal and external customer opinions count.
  2. The leader has his/her fingers on the pulse of the customers and the employees who directly serve customers.
  • Our leadership approach seems to be reactive and defensive rather than proactive and offensive.
  • We focus on solving problems instead of preventing them in the first place.
  1. Foresight and innovation are always the first step; “reactionary” problem solving is a second step, and only as needed.
  2. The leader equips her/himself and those within the organization with fundamentally sound planning skills.
  3. People are educated to think for themselves; all have the freedom to fail now and again. i.e., to make the original mistake and learn from it.
  • We lose good people and then scramble to fill positions.
  1. We have deep “bench strength.”
  2. Leadership develops and invests in key people and provides them with mentoring; talented people are ready to step in to fill key positions, as needed.

Strong leaders understand the critical role they play in creating and communicating strategy. They know how to drive transformation to build a sustainable competitive advantage.

Successful leaders use a positive yet realistic approach to overcome the economic and psychological uncertainty of today’s business environment.

Above all, great leaders know how to achieve results.

I strive to awaken the hidden leadership genius within you and your people. Let me help you create a cohesive, common-goal work team that transcends your current abilities. I help you achieve cutting edge transformation, not rely on cookie cutter one-size-fits all coaching and leadership programs.

Through leadership training, you and your executives will see tremendous results and improvements in the following:

  • Your team’s ability to work together more efficiently. Cultivate confidence in each other through honest conversations that develop trust and group commitment.
  • Learn to work through and remove the “unspoken” but volatile topics that everyone knows about but are unable to overcome. You know what I’m talking about….the “taboo” topics, the “Emperor has no clothes” topics that keep you and your team from moving forward.
  • Enhanced employee buy-in and commitment that lead to job satisfaction
  • Better communication, innovation, creativity, and production
  • Improved problem-solving and decision-making capabilities
  • Better foresight and project planning abilities
  • Significantly improved execution and implementation of strategic plans and projects


You and your organization are unique, so I design a customized leadership development training program that makes sense for you.

I learn the language and culture of your organization so the program I design is a perfect fit for the needs of your people and organization. Through my leadership development training, you and your executives will gain the specific skills needed to evolve and succeed.

My Leadership Training has four straightforward goals:

  1. Help leaders, executives and managers identify their own talents and strengths so these are leveraged and developed into high-performance leadership capabilities
  2. Develop intrinsic and unique attitudes and skills necessary to sustain long-term change
  3. Help each individual executive grow and then weave these individual leaders into a unified team capable of extraordinary results.
  4. And last, help refine micro and macro goals into prioritized objectives so results can be achieved in profitable time units.


I start from the “inside” of your executives personalities and organizational structure and work out to the pre-determined organizational objectives; the end-result which can be measured in any number of ways. I work with client organizations in “real-time” to observe and evaluate the hierarchy that is present in your corporate environment. My goals include tailoring your leadership development program to each specific executive or manager’s personality and that of the executive team and organizational culture.

For organizations striving to open up their full potential, leaders hold the key. Leaders bring the short- and long-term goals of an organization to fruition by inspiring each and every individual to work to his or her personal best. The program I design will support leaders as they strive to meet individual needs, respect personality types and learning styles, and guide the organization to achieve its goals and objectives.

Leadership development is a deliberate process that includes focused conversations and assessments. Through the process, I will guide your team to create environments that support individual growth, purposeful action, and sustained improvement. My program will produce leaders who:

  • Remove barriers that hinder individuals from realizing their full potential
  • Provide skills for gaining valuable insight into crucial situations
  • Identify obstacles that impede an individual’s progress

Contact me today to discuss where you would like your organization to be in 12-24 months. By developing your executive and management teams we can partner on acieveing organizational objectives.

Kelly Graves, CEO
The Corporate Therapist
Cell: 1.530.321.5309
Toll-Free: 1.800.704.3785
Office: 1.530.321.5309
Internal Business Solutions, Inc.™

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Posted by at 2:26 PM

08 19 2013

Customized Executive Assessment Coaching & Pre-Hire Selection Package

Business Management Consulting, Communication Issues, Corporate Therapy, Effective Performance Evaluations, Leadership Development/ Executive Coaching, Rapid Customized Executive Assessment Package, Staff Development for Profit

August 2013


This is where you are, but… THIS is where you WANT to be…
  • Assessment tools are so generic they produce non-specific and unreliable results.
  • No implementation piece results in rapidly fading benefits.
  1. Customized assessment tools produce results that are highly reliable and customized to your firm.
  2. Results will include specific feedback on individual strengths in key leadership competencies, as well as recommended areas for professional development.
  3. Long-term usability permits cost-effective repeat implementation.
  • There is no connection between assessments and ongoing training or staff development.
  1. A customized assessment tool and process for coaching and developing your executives are solidly in place.
  2. Return on investment can be clearly measured.
  • Assessment results are fun, cute, or random, rather than based on specific competency criteria.
  1. Your organization has clearly defined competency criteria.
  2. Your customized assessment process will assist the organization’s decision makers with predicting and selecting future executives who will be the best match for your departments or divisions.
  • Assessment data do not inform decision makers in ways that support the organizational goals.
  1. Your assessment process creates a road map of information. When used by your organization’s training department or Board of Directors, it will accurately inform decisions about diagnosing, planning, and delivering highly specific and relevant training opportunities needed by your entire executive team.


Our customized approach to assessing the developmental needs of your management team is designed to provide you the essential tools for choosing new executives and defining the strengths of your current executives.

Our approach is unique in that we assess executives not just by looking at isolated traits, skills, and interests from a battery of generic assessments, but by analyzing actual behaviors, thoughts and patterns such as the dynamic interplay between the executives he or she will be working with, the culture he or she will be required to become a part of and the organizational setting including behavioral expectations, pace and stress factors. Research has shown that this approach is much more cost effective than having to “terminate” or “live-with-it” later. This has proven to be a vital step in assisting an organization to build its successful executive community.

Benefits to Executives

Our package includes an assessment of your current executive team, your culture and spoken and unspoken values; (on rare occasions depending on the type of organization and people within it; personality tests), face-to-face interviews, observations, and group as well as one-on-one feedback sessions. The specific recommendations that emerge from my assessment reports benefit both the individual being considered, the current executive team and the organization:

  1. Leadership chooses the correct personality for their specific type of executive team, culture and organizational objectives.
  2. The leadership team looks at skills and work history. I observe behaviors and look past the conscious verbal answers into the deeper and more elusive yet honest subconscious. It is here where we will significantly improve our odds of understanding how they work, make decisions, lead and manage people, deal with stress and communicate.
  3. Candidates as well as current executives make immediate positive adjustments to their leadership and management skills and style.
  4. Team leaders use results to achieve their objectives and create a clear, long-term road map to improve overall management skills, collaborative methods, and leadership qualities.

Contact me now so we can discuss your challenges, refine your objectives, and zero-in on your options:

Kelly Graves, CEO
The Corporate Therapist
Cell: 1.530.321.5309
Toll-Free: 1.800.704.3785
Office: 1.530.321.5309
Internal Business Solutions, Inc.™

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Posted by at 7:07 PM

08 19 2013

Profitable & Improved Staff Development

Business Success, Communication Issues, Conflict Resolution, Corporate Therapy, Improvement, Leadership Development/ Executive Coaching, Staff Development for Profit

August 2013

This is where you are, but… THIS is where you WANT to be…
  • No buy-in and no follow through from participants once they return from a workshop or training.
  • Trainings are ineffective or off-target and result in poor recall on Monday morning when trying to implement the new skills.
  1. People deeply understand and buy into the training because they were involved from the beginning. They support that which they helped create.
  2. Follow through over time is more consistent.
  3. Better information retention; a “learning environment” is created by staff where all continue to train and teach each other.
  • Workshop training manuals get shelved, forgotten, and collect dust.
  1. Participants refer to training manuals and rely on them as valuable resources.
  • Training or team building is like a doughnut (enjoyable, but with no lasting nutritional value).
  1. Consistent innovation moves people to take action and create new habits.
  2. A greater return is received on every training investment dollar.
  • The training is “off the shelf,” one-size-fits-all, or so generic it doesn’t translate well to our particular people and their specific challenges.
  1. Trainings are specifically designed for our objectives, our culture, and our people so that individual and organizational growth can be measured and maintained.
  2. Participants are taught how to overcome daily challenges and integrate information.
  • We want to utilize the information, but work and pressing issues dictate our priorities.
  • We just don’t have time right now.
  1. Trainers don’t leave after one day. They partner with the organization to ensure long-term learning and return on investment is received.
  2. Morale is higher and more consistent.
  3. Prioritization is improved.
  • We don’t know how or don’t take the time to implement staff development because our culture/industry/business is unique.
  1. Training is designed specifically for us from A to Z. Implementing the information is part of the training process and our people grow consistently over time as a result.

You May Want to Ask Yourself These Questions:

  • How do we establish or reestablish trust? Are you ready to improve and add extra strength to the back-bone of your organization?
  • How do our people communicate? How can we really improve communication, goal setting and execution so our people and departments GET RESULTS and we actually utilize all of our resources, people and departments as a UNIFIED whole toward specific objectives.
  • Where are we now and where do we all want to go? How can each member of our organization help to improve our bottom line and why should they?
  • Is any of this even possible?
  • If someone told me it was, would I believe them?
  • If I did believe them would I take the two  minutes out of my busy day and do anything about it? would I call, text or email?

Profit from the inside out. I specialize’s in designing employee development programs tailored specifically for your staff and you. I provide you with the necessary training and tools to ensure that your staff continues to teach itself, monitor itself, and show improved results long after I have left.

Are you getting the best out of your employees? If not, then take steps to improve your organization by investing in an employee development program.

Make no mistake about it: all your closest competitors have good R & D… They have access to financing and resources, and they are training their people. The only resource which separates you from your closest competitors is… YOUR PEOPLE… SO INVEST IN THEM EFFECTIVELY.

All organizational challenges will ultimately be solved by and through your people! Whether your challenges are technical, financial, or in some other domain, these challenges will always hinge on human communications and processes. Understanding and improving communication is hugely important to your organization’s survival and success, because the bottom line is: it’s YOUR people who will ultimately take YOUR organization to the next level.

Important considerations for employee development:

  • Urgency and energy are produced to create a new future.
  • Broad participation quickly identifies performance gaps and their solutions, improving productivity and customer satisfaction.
  • First tackle the larger issues or conflicts that are tying up your organization’s time and effectiveness.
  • Alleviate stress and you emphasize camaraderie.
  • Employee morale will soar higher and stay more consistently positive through employee development; when employee’s morale is high, areas of need will be addressed more quickly and effectively, so problems won’t fester under the surface and get out of control.
  • Encouraging employee feedback on business challenges will help people grasp issues.
  • Employees will become aligned around a common purpose and will create new directions, because they understand both the difficulties and the opportunities of change and growth. In short, employee development creates “ownership.”
  • Lastly, it is virtually impossible to have satisfied customers and dissatisfied employees. Everyone knows when a clown has makeup on and your customers know it when your employees are faking the smiles. So quit insulting them, because in this competitive age they WILL shop you.

In essence, when employees realize that they have some semblance of control and are being heard, the company, the leadership, and the employees all benefit. Thus, it is through this improved communication and shared purpose that the value of employee development truly begins to sink in for all stakeholders. This is when your team will take your organization to the next level. Through employee development, you are guaranteed lasting commitment and support of your strategic plan and your company vision!


Kelly Graves, CEO
The Corporate Therapist
Cell: 1.530.321.5309
Toll-Free: 1.800.704.3785
Office: 1.530.321.5309
Internal Business Solutions, Inc.™

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Posted by at 6:22 PM

05 03 2013

Workplace: Cars Boats and Setting Goals

Business Success, Improvement, Leadership Development/ Executive Coaching, Work Place Articles

Cars and boats are wonderful for transporting people from point A to point B. However, both of these machines are technically worthless without a device to steer them in a precise direction.

Humans are similar; we are beautiful creatures capable of many things and yet without a device to steer or guide us we can often end up working as a CPA when our life’s passion was and still is, anthropology.

Goals and objectives are as necessary to human beings as steering wheels are to cars, or a rudder is to a boat. They guide you precisely where you want to go and should you need to make mid-course adjustments, that’s fine. Set a new course and turn the wheel or rudder.

1. Professional Tune-Ups

Here are a few suggestions on how to steer your personal and professional life toward a direction of your choosing rather than leaving it to the winds of change.

  1. Yearly: What would you like to achieve this year in your personal life and in your career or work? What trips would you and your family like to take and when? What kind of products and services would you like to provide to your customers this year? What kind of health improvements would you like to make for yourself?
  2. Monthly: In order to achieve your yearly goals, what must you do each month to get you one step closer to achieving them? A small portion of savings put into your Disneyland vacation fund, one night-class to improve your career development, improving your workout frequency from one per month to four per month?

2. Charting Your New Professional Course

Start small and work yourself up. The older you are the bigger your ship and the longer it may take to turn your ship into a new direction.

  1. Weekly: What do you need to accomplish this week to help you hit your monthly objectives?
  2. Daily: In the 1940′s a CEO paid $25,000 for this one piece of advice; make a list of what you need to accomplish today and prioritize it. When you accomplish an item on your list, mark it off and then do the next priority on the list. At the end of the day start a new list so the first thing the next morning you can simply follow your list again. (Also, by updating your list at the end of the day, it helps jump-start you the next morning and gets you into the game more efficiently and effectively). If you have thirty minutes before your next appointment, simply choose a thirty-minute project or phone call and mark it off as completed.
  3. Debrief: Every thirty to sixty days it would be prudent to look at your objectives and compare them to your results and ask yourself:
    • What is working well?
    • What isn’t working so well?
    • How might I improve the gap between my objectives and where I currently stand?
  4. Refine: Since we are embarking on an adventure, don’t have a crystal ball, and don’t yet know what we don’t know, adjustments will always need to be made. Therefore, reassess, make the necessary adjustments and keep sailing in the direction of your overall objectives.

Most people assume because they work hard they will find success. This would be similar to thinking because your car or boat has a big engine that you will arrive at your destination quickly. Horse power, hard work, and good intentions mean little if they aren’t directed effectively toward a specific destination or goal. Drive your life like you drive your car, with purpose and clear direction.


Kelly Graves, CEO
The Corporate Therapist
Cell: 1.530.321.5309
Toll-Free: 1.800.704.3785
Office: 1.530.321.5309
Internal Business Solutions, Inc.™

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Posted by at 1:45 PM