Should I bring in a facilitator or facilitate my own meeting?

The first rule of thumb is that you can’t both facilitate a meeting and be a participant. A facilitator will free you up, especially if you are the boss, to get fully involved in the discussions.

So, there are essentially four situations where having a facilitator will add value:

  1. When you want to participate yourself.
  2. When you will be addressing sensitive issues, including conflict within the group.
  3. When your team is stuck, unproductive, and not making any progress on the tasks or decisions it needs to do.
  4. When your group will be dealing with a complex issue where many different perspectives and viewpoints need to be included.

A skilled professional facilitator from Fulcrum Associates understands group process and has the confidence to take tough stands, if necessary. He or she will design and manage the progress of your high stakes meeting and guide your participants to a successful outcome.

For more information, you can check out Ian Cook’s article, What if We Brought in a Facilitator?

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We’ve invested in training for our managers but they aren’t applying the skills they were taught. There is no change in their behavior. What does Fulcrum do to make your training “stick?”

We humans are creatures of habit. We don’t easily change our ways. When new behavior doesn’t occur back at work, consider these two elements:

  1. The design of the program. Did the workshop deliver just concepts and theory? Or were your participants taught practical techniques and approaches and given an opportunity to practice in class.
  2. How has the desired new behavior been reinforced back on the job. Did the immediate managers of the participants encourage and support their new behavior?

There are several ways we help our clients reinforce the learning for their people:

  • Build a lot of hands-on skill practice into our workshops.
  • Have the participants identify specific behavior they will try back on the job.
  • Send a series of monthly follow-up e-mails that reinforce key points from the course and drive the learning even deeper.
  • If our client is willing, arrange for each participant to have a structured discussion with his/her manager…
    • before the program, to set learning objectives and
    • after the program, to plan for specific application on the job
  • Again if the client is willing, conduct post-training small-group coaching discussions, on-site, to help the participants master real challenges they are facing in applying what they have learned.

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How does Fulcrum conduct leadership development with a top team? Is it different from your courses for middle managers?

A leader operates both in the outer world of his/her competency dealing with people and the inner world of the leader’s habits of thought, beliefs and attitudes. Success at the top is determined more by the latter–character and mindset–than by skills.

We work with executives both in their leadership teham and as individuals. Our top team transformational program, The Authentic Leader, helps the senior leader better understand his or her current “inner operating system” that strongly shapes the leader’s behavior and decisions.

To generate self-awareness as part of The Authentic Leader, we use The Leadership Circle Profile. TLCP is a breakthrough 360º tool that, along with one-on-one coaching, enables the leader to enhance his or her effectiveness by developing competencies and ways of thinking that, research shows, lead organizations to significantly higher results.

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What are the minimal, fundamental skills you recommend for our managers?

Keep in mind that there is an element of leadership that should be reflected in any suite of management skills. The skills we present in our management development program, The Skillful Leader, fall into four areas

  1. Self-awareness Any manager who supervises others should have a good awareness of his or her interaction style, how he/she is hardwired and how to “flex” to other styles when the situation calls for it. This is a fundamental attribute of the best managers.
  2. Communications Since a manager leads people, communications obviously constitutes a platform skill. This includes using questions, listening, influencing, non-verbal language, the role of perceptions, and assertiveness.
  3. Leadership and motivation We believe managers should have a clear understanding of what “leadership” is in today’s world. In addition, they should be able to adjust how much direction they apply with employees, depending upon the situation. Leaders articulate–with passion–a vision for their unit. They engage their employees by helping them identify what motivates them and how staff can meet their own needs while working in their current job and organization.
  4. Performance Management Includes skills from handling the “nuts and bolts” of managing priorities, delegating, and setting objectives and work plans to the whole performance cycle of (1) setting performance expectations as the year begins, (2) coaching throughout the year and (3) conducting formal performance reviews at year-end. Underlying it all is the ability to talk to their employees about performance and take action when it falls below acceptable levels.

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Do your workshops mostly present theory or do you also engage people with practical learning activities?

Among the participants in any workshop you will always find a variety of learning styles. While some like to have the concept and theory presented first, others “get” the skill when they have a chance to try it out in class or when they observe someone demonstrating how it should be done.

We design our sessions to offer a wide mix of learning modes, including:

  • Theory/concept presentations
  • Stories and examples
  • Hands-on skill practice
  • Skill demonstration by the presenter
  • Coaching in class
  • Videos demonstrating how to do (or not to do) certain skills
  • Small group discussions
  • Individual reflection
  • Problem-solving on real situations from participants’ workplace
  • Role-playing
  • Simulations
  • Concrete action planning for back at work

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How do you customize your programs and presentations?

Here are five ways we customize to your particular requirements:

  1. Customization begins at our initial meeting(s) with you where we seek to identify the particular issues you want addressed, what precipitated them, and what outcomes you are looking for in terms of changed behavior and business/organizational results.
  2. Wherever possible, we prefer to visit your work site in person to experience your organization and culture first-hand. We often ask to tour your facility and speak to a few of your key executives, managers and/or employees.
  3. The approach we recommend in our written proposal–whether it be one of our flagship leadership programs, a select training workshop, team building, 360º feedback + one-on-one coaching, etc.–is always carefully designed to meet your needs.
  4. As the assignment unfolds, we keep in touch with you to monitor the progress and make any needed adjustments to ensure that you receive the payback you expect from your investment.
  5. With participant workbooks, customization includes selecting and assembling the particular mix of training modules that best supports your learning objectives, including creating pages for special activities called for in your program.

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How can my organization benefit from one of your “experiential learning events?” Are these like training?

Our experiential learning events are a half-day, fun, high impact way to create learning for your people. They combine the elements from a skill training session with the impact of a keynote presentation.

As with a keynote, they focus on just a few important themes and drive them home. Like a training workshop, the debrief covers related skills, behavior and approaches and their application back at work.

To steal a line from the old Candid Camera TV show, in these simulations your participants “catch themselves in the act of being themselves,” of operating in their “default” style. Armed with this awareness, they consider the outcomes of their approach, vs. the potential impact of more effective ones. The first step in learning new behavior is to become aware of your current behavior.

While special learning events don’t develop skills like our training programs do, they are a great way to present key learning messages (e.g. operating with a maximizing mentality, breaking down silos) to your entire team or organization through a shared experience they will remember for years to come.

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In your training workshops, do you put executives in the room with mid-level managers?

There is no single “right” answer to this question. It depends upon several factors:

  • The degree of trust and openness that exists between levels of management
  • How important it is that both groups experience the same learning
  • The skill level of the executives–do they lack some management fundamentals or could they perhaps benefit from a refresher course?

As a general rule, we highly recommend that executives join with their managers in workshops, especially for leadership skills training. When they do, you benefit in three valuable ways:

  1. The executives demonstrate an integrity and humility by being willing to reveal that they, in fact, don’t “know it all” and are willing to learn.
  2. Opportunities arise in the workshop activities and discussions for the usually more experienced executives to do a bit of coaching in class.
  3. By participating, they communicate the importance of the particular skills being taught. They also model one particular value found in any high performance organization: continuous learning.

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Where does coaching fit in your leadership development programs?

In both The Authentic Leader and The Skillful Leader programs we present an array of skills, approaches and ways of thinking that characterize effective executives and managers.

Every program participant, of course, is at his or her own individual level of proficiency in each skill area covered. Furthermore, part of being human is to resist changing the way we behave and think, even if we know that it will make us more effective. Coaching is the single best way to help a manager realize and then overcome his/her resistance and build a strategy to become a better leader.

Our multi-day programs build in a coaching component, either between the workshop days or following completion of the program. This coaching can take place in two ways:

  1. Small group coaching for 4-6 participants who meet with a consultant for a couple of hours to work together on skill application by addressing a actual people management challenge each individual brings to the session.
  2. One-on-one coaching for select participants whose job or role requires rapid mastery of a particular competency, whose overall performance must improve significantly, or who has the clear potential to take on a greater role in the organization.

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What is a CSP?

Certified Speaking Professional is the speaking industry’s highest earned designation. It is conferred by the National Speakers Association (NSA) and recognized by the Global Speakers Federation (GSF). Fewer than 10% of member speakers worldwide have their CSP.

Because of the designation’s strict criteria, the letters CSP following a speaker’s name reflect proven platform skill, high value delivered and a record of client satisfaction sustained over time. CSPs have demonstrated commitment to ongoing education, outstanding service and ethical behavior.

Criteria for earning your CSP:

  • Maintain on-going membership in an association (e.g. NSA) affiliated with the IFFPS and subscribe to its Code of Professional Ethics.
  • Serve a minimum of 100 different clients within a five-year period.
  • Present a minimum of 250 professional speaking engagements within this same five years.
  • Submit testimonial letters from clients served.
  • Submit professionally-prepared promotional materials.
  • Receive excellent ratings from past clients on professional performance evaluations.
  • Continue education in the professional speaking field through NSA’s many educational programs

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