Living As A Leader

Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:36 pm

The scenario is played out daily in corporate America: An employee is a star performer, producing results far superior to his or her peers. The company promotes that key performer to a supervisory role. However, the performer has absolutely no training in leadership and is now in the uncomfortable position of overseeing his former peers. The company has, in effect, replaced its star performer with an ineffective supervisor.

That scenario exemplifies the need for leadership training in corporate America, according to Nancy Lewis and Aleta Norris, co-founders of Impact Consulting Group in Brookfield. Lewis and Norris created the Living As A Leader (LAAL) program in 2004, and it has grown significantly in the past year with over 50 organizations participating.

One reason for the growth in the program is a widespread lack of effective leadership within companies, Lewis and Norris said. "There is a very serious and real crisis of leadership in this country," Norris said. "Organizations want results; employees want fulfillment. It is the leader’s direct responsibility that both parties get what they want." Lewis and Norris are committed to helping businesses get more done in less time and training leaders to be effective in their roles. An example of ineffective leadership is the sometimes irresistible tendency of some supervisors to schedule unproductive meetings. "Productive meetings involve staying on task, managing participant behaviors and tendencies," Norris said.

Proper pre-meeting communication and follow-up are also essential to success, she said. Ensuring the meeting is interactive is also vital, she said. Giving employees a voice "allows for more energy and a more vibrant outcome," Norris said. "In our leadership training, we train leaders to facilitate participant-centered meetings," Norris said. A company’s problems can many times be linked back to an individual leader, Lewis said. The most common problem that prevents companies from achieving success is their leaders lack the skill, humility or willingness to improve, she said. Lewis and Norris teach the LAAL sessions with five certified leadership trainers. Impact Consulting also holds quarterly leadership breakfasts that offer tidbits of leadership information and give prospective trainees insight as to how LAAL functions and what its benefits are.

LAAL offers monthly development training sessions for one-year and 12 personal coaching sessions to help ensure application of knowledge and skill in the workplace, a process unique to the Milwaukee market, Norris said. Leadership topics are discussed in a workshop format first. Later, they can be applied, reinforced, customized and further developed on a one-on-one basis with each individual situation, Norris said. The financial cost to employers includes a $550 program materials fee, a $150 fee for the monthly skill building session and an additional $150 for each coaching session.

Jim Winistorfer, general manager of Milwaukee Electronics Cos., relies on the Living as a Leader series for development of managers and front-line supervisors. "We use it in particular for (managers) who are leading people for the first time," Winistorfer said. "A lot of people who do a nice job as individuals who are suddenly promoted into leadership with little or no training are placed in an environment for learning with people in the same situation.

"(LAAL) is something we’ll continue to do to develop our mid-level managers. You see a more mature way of handling real life and real work situations from them," Winistorfer said.

When a company’s leaders become more effective, the firm benefits with lower employee turnover and more accountability, Lewis said. Before Impact Consulting Group was founded, Norris was a consultant for Wilson Learning Corp., and Lewis sought her counsel. They decided to combine their skills to provide better service for their customers.

They developed LAAL’s curriculum and tools and handle all marketing, sales and delivery for the program. "We’re kind of a full-service duo in being able to do all those things," Norris said.

The evolution of Living As A Leader stemmed from their passion for leadership and developing leadership skills in people, Lewis said. "So often, the roadblock to success in what we were doing was the leader," Lewis said.

"It comes from life experience, (and) it comes from professional experience in leading others," Norris said. "I would say more than anything we are students of our clients.

In 2006, Norris said the program is planning six groups. LAAL’s January and March sessions sold out one month in advance, Norris said.

The program’s growth strategy is to eventually franchise the LAAL series. Lewis and Norris are putting together the various support tools a potential franchisee or licensee will need, including their philosophies, ideas, stories and materials. They will unveil Living As A Leader at the 2007 American Society for Training and Development National Exposition in Atlanta.

Leadership Skills

Monthly seminar topics in the Living As A Leader program include:

  • Leadership Models, Tendencies and Attributes for Success
  • Creating a Culture of Civility
  • Understanding Your Leadership Style
  • Communicating By Design
  • Maximizing Employee Performance
  • Supporting Others Through Change
  • Resolving Conflict and Other Difficult Situations
  • Facilitating Productive Meetings
  • Brining Out the Best in Your Teams
  • Leadership Application/Learning Recap

Corporate Mission

Impact Consulting Group, founded in 1996, seeks to enhance leadership success by teaching business executives how to manage the delicate balance between accountability and inspiration and emphasizing that leaders serve others.

The Brookfield-based firm utilizes business coaching as a means to reach higher levels of effectiveness. Impact Consulting approaches coaching sessions as long-term commitments to creating success. The business also provides support in the design and facilitation of strategic planning, sales and annual meetings.

Impact offers a wide range of printed material that can be used internally for the professional development of individuals, in both group and individual settings.

The company is growing since launching its Living As A Leader services.

For more information, please call 262-821-8178 or visit:

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