New York Yankees Hall of Famer Yogi Berra said, “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” Many firms have strategic plans they are trying to implement, but are the players in the dugout ready to help you get there? Leadership is essential in ensuring that a firm’s plans for growth are successful. At Hoyle Tanner, we are not only looking to realize the growth of the firm but also our most important asset – our excellent people. We are constantly looking for ways to provide our team members with opportunities for enhanced success, career satisfaction, and accomplishment. Employee engagement and growth are important elements of the firm’s success – they are linked.
“We are 100% committed to providing the best career experience for our team members and this training was a great opportunity to discuss common challenges and lift each other up. We are really happy with what our team put into it and what we’ll all get out of it.” Matthew Low, PE, Senior Vice President
Transition in any business is ongoing as retirements occur and growth initiatives succeed, creating avenues to welcome new team members and promote others into more responsible positions. These organizational maturations likely require enhanced team-building, listening, and conflict resolution skills, which are attributes some individuals have to work harder at than others. How does someone build these skills to help create success in their work environment? The old “trial by fire” and “sink or swim” methods of training people are no longer the most beneficial to the team member, the firm, or other stakeholders, including clients. We recently chose another way.
In fall 2021, we coordinated with our strategic planning consultant, ActionsProve, to create and embark on a leadership and management training pilot program to work with a large cross-section of our current and future leaders identifying leadership skill gaps, promoting active, candid, and constructive discussions, and identifying methods to improve our skillsets. The result: An overall benefit in the leadership of the firm. Thirty-five current and future leaders including division managers, project managers, executive leadership, and “up-and-coming” leaders, took part in the program and the initial results have been positive.
The program was set up as a once-per-month session of approximately two hours for six consecutive months with the first three sessions focusing on strategic discussions while the last three had a tactical focus. At a high level, the topics covered included employee engagement, designing highly-functioning teams, self-awareness and emotional intelligence, communication, delegation, and time and schedule management. In-session, anonymous polls provided opportunities for employees to highlight the challenges that our team members experience, reinforcing the fact that we are all unique individuals but acknowledge similarities and differences within our workspace. All participants had homework following each session and pre-work ahead of the subsequent session which included listening to specific podcasts and contributing feedback through anonymous online surveys.
We recently completed the program and it has been successful. What has it done for us? The program has created a group of 35 individuals invested in the betterment of themselves, their teammates, and the firm. We now have a large group that is comfortable communicating with each other and has learned basic leadership principles stemming from inward reflection and discussions with their teammates.
“Ours is a profession of an ever-changing climate which presents many challenges: incorporating technological advancement, meeting clients’ growing expectations, and remaining profitable. Sometimes, this can lead to people forgetting about the big picture and what is really important to them – feeling good in ourselves and with our work. I am happy to work for a firm that is committed to its employees and wants to empower us as individuals to become the best versions of ourselves to better navigate these challenges. I am grateful to have taken part in this extraordinary experience where I came out with a new awareness of the concerns, morals and values I share with my peers and with the ability to harness the knowledge I gained to build even more positive working relationships, making this the best experience of my career.” Paul, 29 years of experience, 8 years with Hoyle Tanner
We have a talented and committed team at Hoyle Tanner, and this program presented an opportunity for us to learn and grow together. The ultimate goal for this program, and any investment we make into our team, is to provide our team members with the best career experience we can, which is a constant work in progress.
So, what’s next? Many of the challenges we shared revolve around mentoring, time management, and other challenges that impact our team’s very busy days. We will be reviewing the feedback and regrouping to identify opportunities for strategic and tactical improvements we can make to enhance our entire career experience.
Yogi Berra also said, “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” While this may be true, we do know one thing – that the commitment of our leaders will be what creates our success and it will be due to the efforts of many, not a few.