Are You Leading for Change Management?

website media Are You Leading for Change Management?Leading for Change...a few years ago Patti, our Strategist,  was interviewed for an article of the same title in Success Magazine.  In that article she stressed the importance of involving the team in finding solutions, saying;

“When employees know the plan, the direction, the mission and the goals, it gives them something concrete and real to focus their actions toward. It helps them understand how they add value to the direction of the company and shows them their own worth toward building success for the organization.”

Recently, a new client approached us because they have been struggling with the internal management of some of their change initiatives.  The topic of managing change is a relatively new area for them and they have made assignments regarding the change management role.  When we identified for them that they have not developed a common understanding across the organization as to exactly what change management is, they began to better understand why some of their initiatives were failing.

What was happening?

  • Employees believed they WERE performing change management in their respective areas.
  • The words Change Management were being used but not necessarily performed in the manner the industry recognizes.
  • They were seeing ‘ownership’ of their piece of the project threatened by the new change management role, assuming their piece would be taken away.
  • They were unwittingly sabotaging the change efforts of the change manager.
  • They had a number of ‘change’ initiative going on, but did not support at the highest level.
  • They were treating the process as an administrative duty.

It didn’t take long to get them on the right track, what they needed was a company-wide definition of the Change Management Process for their organization. They needed to engage the people in the organization to clarify this common definition for the entire company.  Then they needed to engage teams in learning just what that involved.  Most had no idea that change management is actually a process, not a series of random steps performed in isolation of the other steps.  “We added a little Change Management to this…” means they had no idea what change management actually involves.SuccessMagazine e1389916187730 Are You Leading for Change Management?

In your best sponsorship, are you leading change by creating clarity and understanding from the top and including people from ALL levels of the organization so that they have both input and a common understanding of initiatives? Here are some ways to help you build the competency in your organization:

  • Bring in someone to help you define a change process for your organization.
  • Train the people you will be assigning as change practitioners
  • Enlighten the organization with clarity on exactly what change management involves.

Let me leave you with Patti’s other quote I like from the article:

“You don’t have all the answers, and science is showing that a group of committed collaborators trumps a single genius for finding amazing solutions.”

Clarity and engagement – two keys to success in Leading Change – Make it Grand!

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Wallyb icon Are You Leading for Change Management?Walt Blackstaffe works with Sports Organizations to develop Business Practices and Manage Change guiding them toward mastery and leadership. Walt accomplishes this through Change Management, Advising, Coaching, and delivering team building.

You can reach us at 1-855-968-5323

Contact us here to book for:

Strategy | Change Management | Executive Coaching | Team Building

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Culture, looking to shift…

 

free vintage image retro lady clip art Culture, looking to shift...

It seems the holidays and approaching New Year puts many leaders into a state of reflection and renewal.  January hearkens the desire to keep what works and change what doesn’t.  The time is ripe and prime for a shift….but you have been through this before…it isn’t easy to address a culture shift.

“So, tell a better story…”  Work cultures are built on the stories we tell and most companies are filled with stories that embody the image employees have of their company – sometimes these stories are accurate, and sometimes they are not.  “If they don’t like it they can leave.” is the kind of story employees will share for years, or at least the ones who stayed, even if it was poorly translated and uttered by a single executive who did not intend it to come off quite as harshly as it did.

First step to take is to know and understand what the existing stories are, what compels your staff to either love or hate the company in which they work and what stories do they repeat most often to support those beliefs? If those stories are truly an inaccurate depiction of the whole truth, what are you doing to share the stories that are most relevant to meeting the truth?

Here is the second step…if you are looking for culture shift find the employees who act in the manner to which you wish your culture to shift… then tell their stories proudly and often.  What have they done that is positive?  How do they do those things?  What do you do to support that kind of behaviour?

It isn’t enough to ‘like’ their actions – we need to support those actions, tell their stories, coach others to behave similarly.

What else can you do?  Take action yourself – adopt activities that empower the kind of shift you want the company culture to take – and let your employees tell those stories.

Transition will be weird, even messy at times – the stories won’t match what they already believe, but that will shift over time.  Not an executive?  That’s okay, anyone who witnesses positive action, collaboration, great execution – they can tell stories too!

 

What’s Your Story??

 

 

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Wallyb icon Culture, looking to shift...Walt Blackstaffe works with Sports Organizations to develop Business Practices and Manage Change guiding them toward mastery and leadership. Walt accomplishes this through Change Management, Advising, Coaching, and delivering team building.

You can reach us at 1-855-968-5323

Contact us here to book for:

Strategy | Change Management | Executive Coaching | Team Building

___________________________________________

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Own It to Change It

french.horn2  Own It to Change It How does organizational change occur?

Change occurs because people, just like you and me, made the decision to change.  How that decision came about may be different for each individual involved; the motivator, influence or even traumatic event that may occur and spur someone toward change is usually personal and unique to each.

In the end, change occurred because the individual decided to take responsibility for their contribution to the current state of affairs & take action toward the future.

Every stakeholder involved plays an instrument in the orchestra of change.

Successful, sustained change occurs when someone owns and takes responsibility for their individual piece of the musical score, especially if it achieved a not-so-appealing outcome based on past performance.

Change is hard.  It involves leaving our comfort zones, habits or belief systems and developing new ones.  The transition is messy while we figure out how to accomplish new behaviours.  There will even be a few mistakes along the way and people will need to readjust, (forgive), move forward and shift action.  It can be awkward or frustrating.  Keeping the whole orchestra (organization) and the final performance (goals) in focus will help.

  • Each person needs to know what instrument they play and how that instrument contributes to the whole.
  • Each person will need their own sheet music and it will be slightly different than someone playing a different instrument.
  • Each person will need to own their personal performance AND how they perform along with others.  (You’ve all heard music when one instrument is off or out of tune.)

Making change is not about laying blame, it’s about being responsible for and owning ‘what doesn’t work’ or is no longer sustainable action – owning it personally in your corner of the stage – and it will take practice.  Equally important to successful change is collaborating with others, following the beat or lead of another, being supportive of and aligning with other members of the orchestra, not to mention caring deeply about those people who will bear witness to the performance.

Own it to change it…

With luck, your orchestra has a supportive and active conductor guiding you along the way.

P.S. If you have an absentee or a non supportive conductor, you are still part of an orchestra and need to own your part in the overall performance in spite of a lack of leadership.  Working together WITH the other musicians toward the greater performance is the best way to win with change.

P.P.S. Pointing fingers at others and blaming a lack of leadership as an excuse for poor performance or a bad attitude is a cop-out that shifts responsibility to others – this is a lose-lose activity.  Win-Win activities involve owning it to change it.

 

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patticropped 150x150 Own It to Change ItPatti Blackstaffe works with people and organizations to develop Happy Workplaces world-wide guiding them toward mastery and leadership through change mangement, advising, coaching, speaking, and delivering training/team building.

You can reach us at 1-855-968-5323

Contact us here to book for:

Strategy | Change Management | Executive Coaching | Team Building

___________________________________________

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Are You Asking the Right Questions?

Question Are You Asking the Right Questions?“We find … it’s much more important and difficult to ask the right question. Once you do that, the right answer becomes obvious.
~Amory Lovins

If you want to know more about why people do or don’t change, then ask more questions.

When working with organizations and teams, it is important to first listen and understand before building plans and developing programs for them.  For organizations that do not have coaching as a mainstay offering for their leaders, they may be surprised to hear it is those coaching methodologies that open the door to understanding.  For a large company, it is definitely worthwhile for key individuals and leaders within the organization to be coached, and for those in charge of organizational development (OD) to have some coaching training behind them.

There is a generalized stigma around coaching that can be hard to shake and it’s often referred to as that ‘airy-fairy’ soft-skills stuff.  There is nothing soft about coaching!

If you remember being figuratively pinned to the wall as a teen in high school as some wise adult helped you learn to stand up and take responsibility for your own actions, you can easily recognize the value for coaching in any environment.  Through great questions,  a coach can dig deep enough to get to the root of why you choose your current thought patterns and reactions, helping you better understand where you fit among the dynamics of a multifaceted team of individuals.  There is nothing soft about it.  The secret to a coach’s success is the training they receive within two areas:

  • learning how to ask questions and
  • the right questions to ask.

This is why people in Change Management (CM) are also effective coaches.  One who seeks to understand the stakeholders and the stakes involved in any change initiative is best served by first knowing the right questions to ask.  Great questions return great results, further creating introspective reasoning for the individual who is providing the answers.  The people being asked begin to think a little more about what they do and why they do it, eventually getting to the heart of why, within a change initiative, the stakes are so high for them.

This doesn’t mean the stakeholders are all in an ‘organized coaching program’, but rather, through a varied series of meetings, one-on-one discussions, facilitated group sessions and other forms of analysis and risk analysis, the CM professional is able to dig deep to the heart of any challenges that may inhibit change.

Change is inevitable, but change as a push mechanism is rarely successful.  Change initiatives that take into consideration all stakeholders and build a plan for change that motivates and inspires people to move forward from resistance to desire find greater success.  It is my experience that there is usually a lot more to resistance than what is initially shared, and a little coaching methodology can certainly loan itself to finding the greatest resistance and helping the people within an organization work through it.

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patticropped 150x150 Are You Asking the Right Questions?Patti Blackstaffe works with people and organizations to develop
Happy Workplaces world-wide guiding them toward mastery and leadership
through consulting, advising, coaching, speaking, and delivering training.

You can reach Patti at 1-855-968-5323

Contact us here to book for Idea Sessions, Change Management, Executive Coaching or Team Development.

Idea Sessions | Change Management | Executive Coaching | Team Building

 

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Are You A Team Player?

Team 700x350 Are You A Team Player?

In his blog titled, “We Don’t Need To Make it Better” on February 5, Seth Godin says this about improvements.

“Just because it is uphill doesn’t mean it’s hopeless, though.  One of the most essential tasks a leader faces is understanding just how much the team is afraid of making things better (because it usually means making things worse—for some people).

Change is scary for most people, and risky change that might adversely affect someone or cause a wave, even scarier!  The thing is, it is important to do what is RIGHT instead of working in fear.

Malcolm Gladwell notes in his book, “The Tipping Point:  How Little Things Make a Big Difference

Cooperation and conciliation and compromise and teamwork are all arts, and like all arts they require practice and commitment.  In a complex world, success is not possible without teamwork.”

Let me put it this way, if you are a member of a team or a ‘Tribe’, as Seth Godin calls them, you have a responsibility to that team; not only to each other, but to the overall mission (or company) as well.  If you have been hired in a role and you work with other people to accomplish that role, you are being paid to work with them and help develop plans for reaching the BIG PICTURE.  Not sure what that is?  As a team, ask these questions:

  • What is our collective why?
  • What exactly does success look like, what are we trying to accomplish overall?
  • Who is needed to accomplish that goal?
  • What do I have to do in my specific role to make it an amazing success and who do I need to collaborate with in order to reach success for the BIG PICTURE?

Now bump it up…..

  • How can I bring the very best of myself to that role and help everyone else shine so they too can accomplish our BIG PICTURE Mission?

Ultimately, it is not about you. If your loyalty is only to yourself and not with the team and the company who is paying you, you are in the wrong job or at the very least not giving your best to the job you have.

Here are a few great actions of a team-player.

  • They keep professional confidences and do not put the company or their team mates at risk for selfish gain.
  • They see and recognize the strengths that EVERY member of the team brings to the table and are willing to work WITH those people for the BIG PICTURE success.
  • They are both transparent and honest, protecting the path to the BIG PICTURE along-side their team members.
  • They deal directly with the individual they have a qualm with and do not drag clients or outside individuals into their emotional dramas or insecurities. (P.S. that is called gossip)
  • They do not disparage other team members to each other (or anyone else for that matter), but rather find ways to turn the other team member’s poor performance or lack of success into a coaching opportunity before writing them off.
  • They are loyal to the BIG PICTURE realizing the people or organization paying their salary are where their loyalty lies, and they work together to meet that big picture.

Getting the drift?  If you are a member of a team within which you can take these actions, then you are on the right team.

If you cannot find yourself loyal to the team or play well in the sandbox with the people you are supposed to be reaching the collective goal with, united for a common cause, (or you don’t believe in the cause), it is time to find a different place to work.

Why?  Your heart is with you, not the team or the goal.

Go do something GRAND, something you can be passionate about in reaching a common BIG PICTURE goal WITH people you can respect – or – find a way to be a solid member of your existing team, unite and build a plan together so that you can again be passionate about what you do and who you work with.  Stop waiting for your company to change so you can make this happen – you have much more power than you think.

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patticropped 150x150 Are You A Team Player?Patti Blackstaffe works with people and organizations to develop
Happy Workplaces world-wide guiding them toward mastery and leadership
through consulting, advising, coaching, speaking, and delivering training.

You can reach Patti at 1-855-968-5323

Contact us here to book for Idea Sessions, Change Management, Executive Coaching or Team Development.

Idea Sessions | Change Management | Executive Coaching | Team Building

 

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Policies, Procedures and the Leadership Team

people 1 150x150 Policies, Procedures and the Leadership TeamWhether you have 10 people walking in the door for work or 1000, they all bring with them their dreams, hopes, values, frustrations, problems and their desire to make their career the best it can be. People bring with them every experience they have ever had, and their perception of what that experience has meant to them, good or bad.  Most of them will react to everyday situations based on those experiences, putting a wrapper around the situation based on what they believe it means to them.

Witnessing the human dynamic can be both awe inspiring and difficult, depending on what is playing out at any given time within the organization.  You will have motivated and non-motivated employees, you will have great leaders and managers who are biding their time.  There will be people with good intentions and the odd one with not-so-good intentions.

And this is why every company needs to have policies and procedures in place with strict adherence to them.

For the routine actions and for the unusual actions that will occur in any company, a set of guidelines for both employee and employer provide clarity and help avoid miscommunication.

First, the best place to start is to look at your Provincial or State labour standards or code.  These are the guidelines you as an employer must uphold, it is the law in the place where you live.  It is also the job of every manager in your company to know what these are; are you helping them?  Small companies without a solid HR presence will especially need to know what the rules are.

Second, you need to protect the company and your employees from harm.  Harm includes law suits, security issues, labour problems and safety.  There are clear guidelines in all of these areas as well.  Do your homework, make sure you know what your rights are and make sure you know the rights of your employees.  A company handbook can include some of these items.

Third, you need to understand what processes you as a company wish to work within, basically; “What are my manager’s supposed to do and what are they allowed to do within these walls and how do I want them to accomplish it?”  AND “What are my employees supposed to do and how do I want them to accomplish that?”

Many companies are unaware of how important their own policies and procedures are.

Executive team, not everyone ‘works like you and thinks like you.’

I know a lot of companies are weary trying to keep up with the legislated pieces and want to apply more of the budget to operations rather than HR.  However, HR, when given the right direction and authority, have the ability to save the company many dollars in the long run.

From vacations to stress leave, from benefits to complaints, without a solid set of procedures to access and the guidelines of what to do, your employees will be scrambling for answers and wanting support.  In most companies employees want their immediate manager to have both the answers and the authority to make a difference for them.  Have you prepared your management team to handle all they will need to handle when they encounter a difficult situation or event, a budgetary shift, a grievance?  Have you prepared your HR team to take on what the manager cannot?  Have you outlined the differences in their roles?  Are you tracking attrition, complaints, costs of transition, and more?  Have you outlined the overall ‘behavioural intolerance level’ your company will not accept and what happens when they arise? If not, you have some work to do.

It is easy to make the assumption your staff understands how you want the company to run, after all, you are there every day and you are showing them how to do it.  Be cautious, leader, these people need things clearly laid out, eliminate as much opportunity for misinterpretation of your desires as possible.  Empower your staff to make decisions without you because the policy or procedure is spelled out in a way that supports your teams and protects your organization.  But be aware, this is not a quick task or a two month answer, you will need facilitation and direction through about 18 months to two years of development if this is the first time you have embarked on such a task and you have more than 20 employees.

Give your Managers and HR department the tools and the power to make a difference for you and for your staff.  Develop a company where everyone knows what support looks like and your teams are empowered to shine.

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patticropped 150x150 Policies, Procedures and the Leadership TeamPatti Blackstaffe works with people and organizations to develop
Happy Workplaces world-wide guiding them toward mastery and leadership
through consulting, advising, coaching, speaking, and delivering training.

You can reach Patti at 1-855-968-5323

Contact us here to book for Idea Sessions, Change Management, Executive Coaching or Team Development.

Idea Sessions | Change Management | Executive Coaching | Team Building

 

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Why I Can’t Be Hired

Be willing to do the work, not play the victim of circumstance

get hired 150x150 Why I Cant Be HiredWorking in Organizational Development (executive coaching and change management) is my passion.  I love situational, character and behavioural development within an organizational environment.   I personally study hard to build my programs and I take neuroscience, anthropology and psychology research into account for all jobs involving people.  I have done this self-study for almost 20 years regardless of where I have worked – I am fascinated by people.  What really charges me is when I am asked to come in and work with teams for greater collaboration and communication.

To determine if I am a good fit for the consulting contract, I ask the following two questions:

  1. How much action and change is the executive leadership willing to take on in order to make my efforts worthwhile for the company?
  2. What kind of support will be available from the top in order to make positive change happen?

The one statement that leads me to decline a consulting role with a company is this:

“I just want you to come in and fix ______________.”  (This statement is rarely associated with actions of the executive leadership.)

First, your people don’t need fixing.  Second, I am powerless to ‘fix this’ because as the consultant that is not my job, as the leader it is YOUR job.  Third, I am hired to guide you and lead the way, the work involved belongs to each and every individual within the company STARTING with the top level leadership and supported through to the front lines.

When a problem exists, the first step is for the leadership to be able to admit there is a problem, but they cannot stop there.  They must be willing to admit the actions they have been taking thus far are not working and something needs to change.  It needs to change first at their level.

I have been known to decline any job whereby the hiring individual is unwilling to do what it takes to turn around the morale or working relationships within the company.  I will also turn down coaching jobs with any manager who is not willing to take the action necessary to make change at their (leadership) level.

Coaching and consulting are about providing the assist, but we don’t come in and score the goals for our client, that is their job.  They must be willing to do the work – not play the victim of circumstance.

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patticropped 150x150 Why I Cant Be HiredPatti Blackstaffe works with people and organizations to develop
Happy Workplaces world-wide guiding them toward mastery and leadership
through consulting, advising, coaching, speaking, and delivering training.

You can reach Patti at 1-855-968-5323

Contact us here to book for Idea Sessions, Change Management, Executive Coaching or Team Development.

Idea Sessions | Change Management | Executive Coaching | Team Building

 

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Rock and Roll Momentum

r n r Rock and Roll Momentum

Have you ever noticed when a really catchy song comes on the radio, you can’t help but tap a toe, hum or even sing along?  For me, it is when a song from my late teens and early twenties comes alive.  There is something about reminiscing back to a time of personal freedom, and feeling like the world is your oyster, that truly gets a person going.

Do you remember when you first entered your career or business and you could feel your body vibrate with excitement about what you were doing?  Remember the thrill of anticipation for a new project?

How long has it been since you felt a rock and roll momentum in your job?

Perhaps it’s time to shake things up and take a good look at what you do every day.

  1. What are the work activities that charge you the most?
  2. What action could you do to bring an inspiring activity at work into your every day?
  3. Who are the people at the office that you can collaborate with to give you the kind of energy and enthusiasm you want at work?
  4. Is there a project you can get approved that keeps innovation and motivation charged?

The key thing to note is this:

People have a tendency to wait for their boss, employer, co-workers to present them with activities to excite them about going to work.

The reality is that we create our own motivation and inspiration.  Stop waiting for the company, boss, co-worker, department to change, start taking action to create your own beat and dance to the music.

The energy we put into our work is the energy we get out of our work.

Now, shake, stir, repeat!

Every day is a new beginning granted to us for approaching life with enthusiasm – and life includes work!  Find at least one activity or action to bring you closer to a rock and roll momentum, then seek approval, schedule it and enjoy!

Opportunity:  There is a good possibility you will be rewarded with renewed respect from co-workers for your innovative and enthusiastic attitude.

What kinds of activities give you a charge you at work?

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patticropped 150x150 Rock and Roll MomentumPatti Blackstaffe works with people and organizations to develop
Happy Workplaces world-wide guiding them toward mastery and leadership
through consulting, advising, coaching, speaking, and delivering training.

You can reach Patti at 1-855-968-5323

Contact us here to book for Idea Sessions, Change Management, Executive Coaching or Team Development.

Idea Sessions | Change Management | Executive Coaching | Team Building

 

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The Credit is Due

Credit Due The Credit is DueIdeal: Everyone wants to work for a great team and to give credit to a great team – that’s most people’s workplace utopia.

Reality: Human dynamics, competition and workplace conflict make it difficult to know just where credit and responsibility are to be shared.

Here is a hint:  It’s multi-level and sometimes confusing.

Clarification:  Your team contributes to the overall success of the company and it’s imperative to give the team credit when publicly celebrating any success.  “The group did this! WooHoo!”  Where that thinking goes off the rails is when the focus is group, group, group, and there is no credit given to each individual for the unique strengths and abilities they bring to the team.

Tip:  Every person wants to believe they bring value to the team, that they have made a difference in their own unique way.  When we fail to pay attention to the individuals, we negate the hard work of each member of the team and this erodes the individual’s motivation to continue contributing.

Each member must be willing to acknowledge the core strengths of the unique individuals on their team.

Just as each type of cell in your body does a remarkable and unique function and contributes to a remarkable whole, we must give each type of cell its day to shine.  The body is only whole and functional because of the individual parts.  Just ask anyone who has had an injury how difficult it is when one part of the body is no longer functional.

The team itself is not discounted by recognizing strengths in the individuals (unless one person is taking ALL the credit for the team’s success – and that is a different blog altogether).  When team members refuse to acknowledge the individual strengths of its members, it fails to function as a team – it’s broken.

Ironic, isn’t it?  By giving credit only to the whole group and ignoring the individuals, the group begins to crumble.

Give the team credit – by all means, they’ve earned it by working hard together to accomplish their jobs.

Just remember:  A team is made up of many individuals bringing unique strengths and qualities that only when united with other team members are they contributing to the whole.  So when someone mentions a unique talent or strength of one of the members, don’t be too quick to call it a team effort –everyone’s unique contribution matters.

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patticropped 150x150 The Credit is DuePatti Blackstaffe works with people and organizations to develop
Happy Workplaces world-wide guiding them toward mastery and leadership
through consulting, advising, coaching, speaking, and delivering training.

You can reach Patti at 1-855-968-5323

Contact us here to book for Idea Sessions, Change Management, Executive Coaching or Team Development.


 

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Five Years!

sm5YrAnniv1 Five Years!At the end of January we will be celebrating our 5 year anniversary as a business!  On January 29th, 2008 Strategic Sense Inc was incorporated and what a ride it has been.  Keep in touch and follow us as we make plans to celebrate our 5th year!

 
 
 
 
 

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patticropped 150x150 Five Years!Patti Blackstaffe works with people and organizations to develop
Happy Workplaces world-wide guiding them toward mastery and leadership
through consulting, advising, coaching, speaking, and delivering training.

You can reach Patti at 1-855-968-5323

Contact us here to book for Idea Sessions, Change Management, Executive Coaching or Team Development.


 

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