Through its professional coaching and premier leadership development programs, LSI offers services that improve the skills of people in the organization that are targeted to become leaders. Following is the conversation that Manage HR had with Wayne L. Anderson, the CEO of LSI to understand its distinctive model which allows the company to partner with clients and design the right path of development for both the clients and their people.
In your interactions with CIOs of leading companies, what are the challenges that they face now in the leadership development space and how LSI effectively addressing these issues?
We see several situations that CIOs are facing today. First, and most obvious, is their own development. They are under an enormous amount of stress to get things done. This generally does not leave much space for them to pursue their own professional development. Secondly, as they put new leaders in place, those leaders face the same challenges and also miss opportunities to develop their leadership skills. As a result, organizations sometimes see a negative impact on their teams from people who are excellent technicians but poor leaders. They do not always understand why they are poor leaders. What the CIOs do not realize is that these people became successful by being “heroes” as technicians. The real problem is that the new leaders do not realize that now their success comes from a team effort.
LSI helps CIOs with their dilemmas by making it easy for all team members to receive leadership development. We know that these are busy people with busy schedules; we provide coaching and training with little disruption to their daily activities. We offer the same type of service for all members of their leadership teams, which includes their firstline leaders. This helps them to develop their teams while maintaining their productivity levels.
Please walk us through LSI’s leadership development services on the basis of its methodology, features and benefits involved?
At LSI, we recognized that coaching and training might not be enough for effective development if we don’t have a baseline for each individual. We are test administrators with both the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the International Coach Federation (ICF). This means we have access to hundreds of different types of skills assessments. These assessments can range from specific skills (e.g., change management, sales, etc.) to personality assessments. For all our clients, we first create a baseline of their current skill level in a particular area (e.g., emotional intelligence). Then we establish both a coaching and training program to develop those skills only in the areas that need development. That makes the development program specific to each individual. For example, two salespeople in the same company, at the same level, may have completely different development programs based on their particular needs. Those needs were identified in their skills assessments.
Please cite one case study on how LSI have enabled clients to overcome hurdles and attain desired outcomes with its innovative array of solutions.
In one situation, we were coaching a chief operating officer (COO) in one of our client companies.
The company made a new acquisition. The president of the company approached us, indicating that the COO, for some reason, was hesitating on a particular decision. That decision, by the way, was to divest a portion of the new acquisition. We did some skills assessments and applied some coaching techniques to determine why the COO was delaying his decision. After working with the COO for a small period of time, he quickly made a very effective decision that positively impacted the company.
We had another situation where we were working with a chief financial officer (CFO). After coaching him for some months we recognized that he should be a candidate in our Executive Leadership Development Program (ELDP). We made that recommendation to the president of the company. The CFO was later recommended for and accepted into our ELDP. About halfway through the eighteen month program he was made the chief operating officer (COO) of the company. Nine months after graduating from our program he was made the president of the company.
How does LSI differentiate from other competitors?
At LSI, we employ strategies that are like those outlined in the book, Blue Ocean Strategy. What that means is we have a total understanding of how the competition operates and how they vie amongst themselves to acquire clients.
LSI helps CIOs with their dilemmas by making it easy for all team members to receive leadership development
We have created a “blue ocean” that is completely different from the way our competitors operate. Our approach gives us the ability to help our clients understand the value of our services, the methodology for using our services, and the techniques for implementing our services that help them achieve their company goals. Our approach is to bundle services that our clients would normally have to get from multiple competitors. We then utilized our specific and distinctive skills to deliver those services in a way that is both proprietary and unique to the industry (e.g., our flagship service, Virtual Corporate UniversitySM). As a result, we tend to keep our clients for an exceptionally long time.
What does the future hold for LSI?
We are experiencing more and more of our clients recommending LSI to their clients. We are continuing to study the needs of our target market. We see the marketplace changing to a “new normal.” This is posing some real challenges for both individual leaders as well as companies. As a result, we plan to implement several new services soon that will support our current and future clients in succeeding in this environment. We also believe it will further extend our lead in the marketplace.
We adhere to the adage, “a rising tide lifts all boats.” Therefore, although our largest customer base is company executives and leaders, we also focus on the development of all people within our client companies. We recognize that whether it is the receptionist in the lobby or the CEO of the company, all people play a role in the achievement of the company’s success. Therefore, we partner with human resource professionals and leaders of our client companies to improve the skills of all its people. As a result of the implementation of our people development programs, we have seen major successes within our client companies that even they did not realize they could achieve.