Building Leaders and Engaging Employees: Building Your Strategic Leadership Team

April 2, 2015

In March we focused on the topic: “Building Leaders and Engaging Employees:  Building Your Strategic Leadership Team”. 

Don’t miss out on our April Round Table’s where we will discuss: “Training Leaders for the New Global Economy: How Do We Compete?” It’s not too late to reserve your seat, if you’re in the Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids or Detroit area contact us to register today!


Kalamazoo – Tuesday, March 10, 2015


  • Having no Strategy
  • Creating a Strategic Leadership Team
  • Finding the right CEO – it took one year to find
  • Navigating employees to the right positions
  • Lack of Leadership
  • Having the right people in the right place
  • Commitment
  • Taking the talent you have in employees and finding the right expression of that talent.
  • Leaders coaching/developing employees
  • Disconnected Management Team
  • Balance as a Manager/Leader


  • Merit Base Compensation
  • Staying engaged and not shying away from tough conversations
  • Get to know your people
  • Directing the energy in the right direction
  • Running things tight with your people.-Not missing details.
  • Addressing both good and bad issues right away.
  • Engaging employees
  • Getting the right people in the right position
  • Remember; Engagement is a two-way street.

Conversations of confidential case studies

Take a way:

  • Seeing signs of being engaged or disengaged early.
  • Not shying away from tough conversations
  • Get to know your people and directing their energy in the right direction.
  • Running things tight with your people.  Don’t miss details that could make or break the company.
  • Engaging employees – discipline/accountability.
  • Having the right people in the right place.
  • Information from confidential case studies

Kalamazoo – Thursday, March 12, 2015


  • Not assuming your good employees are going to be on your leadership team.
  • The top leadership not following through with training and engagement.
  • Statistics: 54% disengaged employees
  • Nothing is fair about being a leader.
  • Building a leader takes a natural born leader
  • Great employees might not have the skills or want to be leaders in the company and that is ok.
  • Not assuming they have to have the title.  Example:  Most Doctors offices have Office Managers.  They are not Doctors or RNs.  Sometimes they are the unique piece.
  • Assuming the employees are as engaged as you are.
  • The company is busier than it was 5 years ago and yet we haven’t hired everyone back. How do you engage when you are so busy?


  • Having a trial period
  • Give employees bite size pieces to see if they are leadership material
  • Be intentional with early engagement
  • Walt Disney’s parking lot attendants have planning training prior to the first day on the job.  The company knows they are the first person the customer sees.  Budget time and resources for employees right away.
  • Confidence building
  • Lessons learned – “We have sessions where we ask what lessons are learned from situations our company has.”
  • Put a good person in a bad system and the bad system wins every time.
  • Look to God for your answers. Pray and seek him.
  • Communication: Plan to have time to talk  and have discussions getting feedback.
  • Accountability
  • Collaboration
  • Open heart
  • Are you part of the problem or part of the solution?
  • Invest

Kalamazoo – Friday, March 13, 2015

Re-phrase the question:

  • 3 different thoughts
  • Building leaders
  • Engaging Employees

Building your strategic leadership team

  • See your vision of where you want to go and build towards it.
  • As leaders, we need to cast the vision more often
  • Clarify the win & communicate
  • Take a little extra time to think things through
  • Keep employees engaged at all levels – from the lowest guy on the totem pole to the COO
  • Leadership Training Program
  • On-boarding
  • What defines a leader in our organization?
  • How does each role contribute to the success of the organization?
  • It’s a challenge to cast the vision while growing
  • Listen and give people a voice
  • As we continue to grow how can we stay high in value and stay connected – continue to communicate the vision
  • Strategic planning meetings with staff/divisional levels
  • Implement/follow-up from focus groups/make change
  • Dealing with the pressures of wearing multiple hats in one role & communicating the vision & lead people
  • Having more shorter meetings
  • Huddles – no sit downs – stand-up meetings and do them consistently
  • Football analogy – if they don’t huddle, someone will run the wrong play
  • Know your values and teach our leaders those values & design LDP around it
  • Take a genuine interest in their lives; show that we care
  • Do handwritten notes
  • Ask your employees engaging questions at the end of each day to show you care:
  • What are your victories from today?
  • What do you need and from whom?
  • We need to lead ourselves to lead others in a healthy way
  • Have a caring approach and culture of caring
  • Who are the 3 leaders we most look up to?

Marshall – Monday, March 9, 2015

The group discussed the biggest challenges faced in this twofold topic, and the following solutions were suggested:

  •  Building Leaders
  • Mentor managers through one-on-one discussions.
  • Off site group meetings with the managers.
  • Set a good example for your managers.
  • Engaging Employees
  • Sharing pertinent information on the status of the organization with your associates.
  • Willingness to listen to your employees when approached with a problem or suggestion.
  • Setting a good example for your employees.

Grand Rapids – Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Your Challenge:

  • Lack of remembering who is the customer
  • Lack of proper culture
  • Geographic constraints
  • Lack of trust
  • Lack of free time
  • Lack of servant style leadership
  • Knowing what makes a person tick
  • Engaging leaders engage
  • Lack of identifying core works who align with vision
  • People don’t leave companies – they leave managers / leaders
  • Distressed workers
  • Lack of strategic vision
  • Lack of learning
  • Lack of courage / true self reflection
  • Non-credible leaders
  • Lack of authenticity
  • Lack of process
  • Focus only on weaknesses

The Solution:

  • Delegate
  • Monitor
  • Meet with purpose
  • Training
  • Communication
  • Blend inside / outside people – promotions
  • Use Strength Finders 2.0
  • Daily huddles
  • Getting on the same page ….
  • Get rid of cancers
  • Bad people rarely leave
  • Headwinds / tailwinds / key asks – “what is getting in your way” / “what is helping you” / “what needs to change”

The Take Away:

  • Alignment
  • Meetings with a purpose
  • Have to remove the cancers
  • Hire slow / fire fast
  • Don’t be a lid
  • Executive leadership in “other” roles
  • Don’t give people more than they can handle

Holland – Thursday, March 12, 2015

Your Challenge:

  • Leadership and ownership on different pages / vision
  • Transition phase for the organization – 5 years of limbo
  • Dysfunction
  • Poor leadership
  • Built in conflicts of interest
  • Public company pressures
  • The “who”
  • Geographic
  • Peter Principle
  • Wrong people in leadership
  • Poor homework on people – hiring and retaining

The Solution:

  • Testing during the interview process
  • Profiling before hire
  • Measure employee engagement
  • Found out what fulfills your employee (s)
  • Quarterly / weekly meetings
  • Grow the business to provide opportunities
  • Identify leaders now and the future

The Take Away:

  • Measure employee engagement
  • In review process understand “fulfillment portion” of employee