Ms. Johnson is an approved Senior Consultant at Appleton Greene and she has experience in human resources, management and globalization. She has achieved a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design, as well as post graduate study in Organizational Psychology. In addition Ms. Johnson holds a number of executive and team coaching certifications, including the PCC credential from the ICF. She has industry experience within the following sectors: Technology; Healthcare; Advertising; Real Estate and Non-Profit & Charity. She has had commercial experience within the following countries: South Africa; Egypt; France; United Arab Emirates and United Kingdom, or more specifically within the following cities: Johannesburg; Cairo; Paris; Abu Dhabi and London. Her personal achievements include: facilitated leadership development; reduced team friction; built more collaborative teams; raised performance metrics and enhanced communication. Her service skills incorporate: leadership development; team facilitation; program management; strengths application and strategic planning.
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The speed of change within which we are all operating demands resiliency, collaboration and innovation to address the challenges that constantly arise and shift for any organization or agency. We face global, systemic challenges that require us all to grow, be courageous and interdependent with all stakeholder groups, considering the value of each voice, each person’s contribution. We have moved from the information age to what many are calling the Human Economy, where we design our work cultures around objectives that serve the business but also serve on a broader level, humanity and the planet. Many organizations are global in nature and seek ways to unify teams and individuals across various cultures, landscapes and timezones to create cultural wholeness and sustainable ways of conducting business that are both profitable and represent the needs of our wider stakeholder groups.
Business objectives ultimately are designed by people, to serve people within and outside the organization. People are our most valuable asset, and when we recognize and optimize the natural talents and strengths of each individual toward outcomes that align with organizational health, community wellbeing, and planetary stewardship, we contribute to a strong global economy and strengthen the connections between us. This allows us to be nimble in our response to unexpected challenges and capable of collaborating to use the best of what we have collectively to solve those challenges. Our organizations become change ready and resilient.
This service drives measurable and sustainable business results through multiple departments using qualitative and quantitative metrics and business processes that are based in positive psychology and neuroscience. These processes are transformational and teachable. They offer a systemic approach to driving performance outcomes.
Every business is a system within a system and at the heart of each are the people who show up and bring their unique talent to bear on organizational initiatives and challenges that are in a constant state of change. Despite the many different offerings across organizations, we find one unit in common where breakdowns and friction can delay and derail ideal outcomes: the team. Performance always swims in the water of relationships.
Whether working with the senior leadership team (C-level executives) or a functional or project team at any level of the organization, significant positive shifts happen through applying processes that are teachable and replicable. They begin with alignment around the the team’s purpose, organizational mission and how the team agrees to work together in order for the best of each individual contribution to come forth. A strengths-based leadership development approach is used, focusing the team on their individual and collective talents. Shared leadership and accountability for outcomes is emphasized, eliminating the propensity to bring all problems to the manager or team lead. This creates high levels of trust, which invites creativity and innovation to flourish. Team members learn to invite robust dialogue, which leads to more evolved solutions representing more stakeholder points of view. By incorporating the considerations and needs of each system and that system’s stakeholders, relationships improve across the organization as well as with communities, customers and vendors.
For the first time ever, employee talent crosses five generations and according to research, each wants to be part of a growth organization that makes a positive contribution to society. This approach adds to engagement, work joy, an inclusive and diverse culture while also attracting top talent, reducing turnover and increasing profits.
Processes include strengths assessments, witnessing team dynamics either in person or remotely, conversations with team leaders and members, setting priorities and taking before and after metrics. Other methods include workshops and activities designed to deepen learning, connection and collaboration.
Companies can elect whether they just require Appleton Greene for advice and support with the Bronze Client Service, for research and performance analysis with the Silver Client Service, for facilitating departmental workshops with the Gold Client Service, or for complete process planning, development, implementation, management and review, with the Platinum Client Service. Ultimately, there is a service to suit every situation and every budget and clients can elect to either upgrade or downgrade from one service to another as and when required, providing complete flexibility in order to ensure that the right level of support is available over a sustainable period of time, enabling the organization to compensate for any prescriptive or emergent changes relating to: Customer Service; E-business; Finance; Globalization; Human Resources; Information Technology; Legal; Management; Marketing; or Production.
The complex challenges we face today require the brainpower and perspectives of many to create solutions that serve a diverse, global population. We have grown beyond the “command and control” style of leadership, yet many managers and leaders struggle to replace that outdated model with a more effective one. Recommended systems are all evidence based, using the latest research in team dynamics and performance. The changing workplace demands that managers move from boss to coach. When teams learn to coach each other and share accountability for team outcomes, engagement and productivity both rise. Performance improvement is both qualitative and quantitative. When clients say, “I enjoy coming to work more,” that is hard to put a number on but it is still important. When they say, “My team is collaborating 50% more of the time,” that is a solid measurement that translates into greater innovation and higher profits down the line. Reducing drama on teams saves time, enhances performance, expands collaboration and raises effectiveness and productivity.
Research of nearly 500 organizations conducted by the Human Capitol Institute and the International Coaching Federation in 2018 showed that those organizations with a coaching culture had an average of 23% more profitability (over the previous year), 21% higher shareholder value, 19% more improved customer satisfaction and many other tangible benefits compared with the organizations who do not embrace a coaching culture.
The mission is to build a learning organization with a positive, coaching culture, helping teams and their organizations be future ready and resilient in the face of rapid change. We do it one team at a time, with systems and processes that are based in positive psychology and neuroscience and can easily be carried forward and built upon by internal staff.
The following list represents the Key Service Objectives (KSO) for the Appleton Greene Collaborative Teaming service.
- Leadership Development
All leadership begins with self leadership, which points to knowing one’s highest values both personal and professional. Only when a leader knows what she or he stands for, can they begin to prioritize objectives and lead others. We share tools with clients like the eight elements of a 360 Leadership tool which measures communication skills, decision-making, delegation, emotional intelligence, managing change, setting goals, team building, and visualizing the future. Depending on the level of experience of the leader, other tools may be drawn upon. Some are Lencioni’s 5 functions of a healthy team and Legacy Leadership competencies which look at other pillars of leadership: inspiring innovation through storytelling, and leading diversity and inclusion by being a role model for that, for example. There is not a one-size approach; each client comes with different levels of experience, different strengths and different challenges, so our approach is somewhat customized to client needs in the moment. We share the research Gallup undertook with 10,000 followers to illustrate how the leaders’ signature strengths (their top 10) can fulfill the four primary needs of followers: trust, stability, compassion, and hope. Leaders are asked to practice the art and skill of aligning team action with the purpose of the team and mission of the organization, while considering the needs of absent stakeholders. The concept of shared leadership invites responsibility and accountability for objectives the team takes on. This ensures each member of the team knows they are expected to deliver on results and collaborate with each other if any member is in need of assistance to meet the objectives. Like a team sport in the Olympics, they win or lose as a cohesive unit designed to be collaborative, supportive and interdependent. The most effective leaders and their teams create value for their multiple stakeholders: clients, customers, shareholders, their communities, organizations and each other. They carry a sense of responsibility for best outcomes individually and collectively.
- Maximize Talent
Recent Deloitte research shows that leading multigenerational workforces is important to success, and learned these groups are fairly aligned in common desires. They are interested in developing talent to full potential. They want synergy between natural abilities, strengths and their role fit. They want a clear connection between daily work and the mission of the organization. People flourish with access to coaching and mentoring. When leaders and teams learn to be coach-like with each other and new employees have access to a more seasoned mentor, performance is enhanced from the beginning. Understanding each others’ natural strengths lets employees cross-partner within and outside their teams to cover possible areas of weakness or blindspots, which we all have. Gallup research shows 10% or fewer managers currently are well suited for that role, accounting for a large percentage of turnover. By studying over 1.5 million managers over the last few decades, Gallup learned the most successful have these traits or strengths in common: They invest in relationships and people, they are willing to listen more, (80% listening, 20% talking) they advocate for employees, they show an interest in employees’ development and in their personal lives, creating stronger connections. Additionally, they create a culture of accountability, share a vision for the future that inspires motivation and coach employees toward stretch assignments. They create trust with willingness to be transparent about where the team and organization are headed, and share their own successes and failures. The best managers check in rather than check up, frequently. Performance, engagement, and retention all rise when managers have frequent, short check-in conversations with followers. They don’t wait for six month or annual reviews to talk about how objectives are being met. There are no big surprises during reviews because things have been addressed as they happen. The Human Capital Institute suggests six best practices that close the talent gap. They include partnerships with local colleges and high schools, hiring with development in mind, focusing more on placing employees that have a growth mindset and willingness to adapt. Onboarding includes investing in the new employee their relationship with the organization, using subject matter rotation to learn different elements of their new role, mentoring, coaching and other high touch care that sets the new employee up for success. A multi-pronged approach to development and learning, like job shadowing, rotation, mentoring and coaching are recommended. Number five encourages collaboration in training with other organizations that do similar work. Lastly, they advocate making the most of the more senior talent in your organization by giving them incentives to teach, share knowledge, provide mentoring so their collective knowledge is passed to the next generation. We use Gallup’s Q12 Engagement Survey, which measures 12 specific factors that have proven to be linked to employee engagement. We have learned that when people operate in their A+ zone, where energy and performance are both high for them and for those around them, satisfaction and results are more sustainable.
- Workforce Resilience
According to the American Psychological Association (APA) resilience is defined as the process of adapting well in the face of trauma or tragedy, threats or other significant sources of stress. We have learned that in order for a workforce to be sustainably high performing, each part, every person requires resilience strategies that work for them. Any of these may contribute to strength, wellbeing and the ability to bounce back quickly. When people are aligned with the organizational vision and mission and clearly see the connection between that and their own sense of purpose and meaning in their work, that becomes both a foundation and guiding star. One of the first checkpoints we use, therefore, is role fit. We also know that people are more emotionally at ease and have access to their best thinking when there is a strong sense of psychological safety. They know they can be themselves, they have permission to experiment and fail without being ridiculed. Employees experience this to a greater degree when they are acknowledged for their unique strengths and contributions. We are most healthy, happy and resilient when there is a balance between work and life and our workplace provides adequate flexility to tend to both. Health and wellness breaks are crucial to resilience. We know that long periods of sitting without taking adequate breaks for movement, stretching and hydration puts stress on the body and can lead to injury. The attitude of the leaders in an organization or team have a big influence over whether other members take care of their own mental and physical well being. Leaders and managers are to lead by example what it means to have balance, to take care of one’s health both emotionally and physically. Micro learning and reminders around wellness practices like deep breathing, yoga stretches, reflective writing, for example are encouraged. Positive psychology provides guidelines for emotional tone in creating mental and emotional strength and resilience. They suggest a consistent intent toward looking at opportunity and optimism in every challenge by carefully choosing language that inspires hope and engenders trust. When leaders and managers act and speak with integrity, employees and other stakeholders respond in kind. We learned during the extended period of remote working that personal connection is deeply significant to employees’ mental wellbeing, feeling part of the team, the organization and feeling cared about. Frequent connection creates a sense of hopeful buoyancy and knowing they matter, which all of us require to be at our best.
- Effective Teams
The most effective teams hit their objectives and create maximum value for and with their various stakeholders. They begin with a clear charter for why the they’ve come together—their purpose—and how they choose to be together in service of the purpose they commit to. They put trust in themselves and each other as the foundation they stand on. There are clear and measurable objectives and timelines. Each objective is supported with commitment from team members who share accountability and responsibility for moving forward at an agreed-upon pace. Ideally, team members have taken a Clifton Strengths® assessment and know their own and each others’ areas of top strength. This enables them to collaborate in a way that allows for maximum time in the A+ Zone, where energy and performance are both high for them and those around them. It also provides a way for members to help mitigate effects of weaker areas or blindspots, which we all have. Since trust and understanding are high, the members welcome robust discussion and are not shut down by differing opinions. One tool used is the Strategic Interdependence Model®, which helps eliminate or diffuse the inevitable drama that arises in teams. There is a commitment to excellence and delivering on shared objectives. Communication flows with ease, because the team has chosen a primary means of communicating with each other and sharing information at the beginning of their time together. Additionally, they have worked out the most effective and productive ways to conduct meetings, so there are few surprises around how they make progress and check in with each other. Since each team is different with multiple personalities and levels of experience, approaches will be customized with them. Some of the tools and practices include systemic team coaching, based on the work of Peter Hawkins, Patrick Lencioni’s model of five functions of a healthy team.
- Systemic Calibration
Every team is a constantly shifting, complex system nested within other changing complex systems who all need to work together to achieve broad understanding and mutual objectives. The systemic leader manages the relationships between these systems. They are not distracted by surface tension, but instead look underneath, to core issues that might prove to represent a bigger challenge if not calibrated regularly. By stepping back to consider the needs and possible contributions of each of those systems, leaders and their teams gain the benefit of multiple informed perspectives. Relationships within and between these stakeholder groups are examined, and any necessary adjustments made. We look at the team in relationship to the overall organization and its overarching mission. We explore the relationship between this team and its members to the senior leadership team, or C-level leaders. Sometimes those leaders operate as a cohesive team, and more often they operate independently, which is part of why there is a system breakdown. We ask, “How well does each leader understand the objectives, challenges and top priorities of the rest of that group? What does each need and what are the spoken and unspoken expectations each holds of the others?” We also look at this team and its relationship to shareholders. If they were in the room, what would their needs be? We look at the team and its relationship to the end user, client or customer. What are the top priorities and concerns of that stakeholder group? We expand outward to the vendor and supplier stakeholder group. How is their point of view different and how can it inform our priorities and decisions? Then we expand the view again to include the local community and its stakeholders, then the state, the country and the eco system we all share as a global community. What is required of us to meet the needs of the present and future which brings new challenges and demands continuously? By considering the input of each of these systems, we position the team we are working with to see the bigger system or picture, giving them useful information with which to prioritize and make well-considered decisions that affect many. The question they are always answering is, “How can we consider multiple perspectives, to be fit and prepared for a future that always gets here before we see it coming. Who do we need to become in order to do that?”.
“Ms. Johnson helped me get clear about top priorities and skills as a leader. She helped me navigate some difficult relationships within my own functional area. Each time we met, my confidence grew stronger, learning how I contribute to the success of my team using my natural talents. Through our sessions together I was able to take steps to ensure my professional relevance ten years out while improving the relationship in my team. Satisfaction in this area improved by 75% during our time together. On a personal level, by understanding my own strengths, I was able to have a better relationships with my daughter and my mother, so the work we did together had a positive ripple effect.”
“When Ms. Johnson and I first started working together, my teams were not functioning well across business units, and I was considering letting one team lead go. When we learned about his strengths, we were able to redirect him and others, and now is he my strongest team lead. After a year, team cohesiveness was up over 40%, and we were well-positioned to respond effectively during the Covid crisis. One objective was having the IT department be more a part of strategy sessions with senior leadership. That improved by 129%. I am more effective, spend more time in reflection and am a better leader today because of our work together.”
“Ms. Johnson was instrumental in helping me find my voice as a leader and a public speaker. I grew up in a culture where women were discouraged from speaking up, and overcoming that mental barrier was difficult. In my role at IBM, I was getting sweaty palms and butterflies every time I had to present. Ms. Johnson helped me focus on the contributions I was making to those I was presenting to, and that was helpful in gaining confidence and managing anxiety. Every couple of weeks when we met, she would challenge me to stretch a little farther. I now feel at home in front of an audience and am enjoying my accomplishments more than I ever have.”
Duke University Medical Center
“As a doctor and a professor, I often present to students and peers on medical cases and although I am thoroughly knowledgeable about my topics, I was having a hard time not feeling a bit intimidated by the vast experience and wisdom in the rooms where I was presenting. Ms. Johnson, in a few sessions was able to help me connect with my audience more authentically, and realize that I could use that wisdom in the room. She helped me coin an opening phrase I use often: “I won’t presume to be the sole expert—none of us is. So let’s tap the wisdom in the room as we go along.” This was an enormous help in taking the pressure off me and inviting the participation of my peers.”
“I reached out to Ms. Johnson for support when newly promoted to bank manager and navigating some other big goals, like finishing a book. In our time together, she helped me prioritize objectives at the bank and also helped me create a structure and writing process for completing a book, something that had been on my list for a long time. This was a good investment for me on a professional level and a personal level; I really wanted to have more balance between work and life, and Ms. Johnson helped me strategize ways to be disciplined about my commitment to both.”
More detailed achievements, references and testimonials are confidentially available to clients upon request.
This service is primarily available to the following industry sectors:
The technology industry as a whole was better positioned to weather the storm brought on by Covid 19, although there are lingering effects and some fared exceedingly well, while others did take a financial hit. With most global employees forced to work from home, companies that were positioned to enhance connectivity using video conferencing like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Go To Webinar gained market share and increased stock value. Cloud technology also had and will continue to have higher demand. In this sector, the ability to move quickly, and pivot toward creating greater flexibility and innovation will help all. The landscape is still shifting and what the future holds is still a mystery to all of us. Three steps to take now are creating greater transparency and responsiveness in supply chains, upgrade capabilities with cloud technology and partner with other service providers adjacent to your area of speciality to share brainpower, strategy and co-branding opportunities.
In the startup tech space, a couple of companies stand out. Airtable, based in San Francisco raised over $170 million in venture funding this year, and their mission is to democratize software creation. Calm is an app that provides meditation music to enhance falling asleep. Calm has received awards from Apple and Google and was voted by users (over 200,000) as “the world’s happiest app.”
Although no one knows exactly