By Barbara Stankowski
I started my business 10 years ago; and must say I was wildly excited, but clueless, about what this would entail. I had little experience starting and running a company, even though I had completed 28 years as a Naval officer in leadership positions, and 8 years working at senior levels in several woman-owned small businesses.
My time in the Navy compelled me to become a student of leadership. Assignments to develop a Total Quality Leadership Training Program for the Department of the Navy, and to build a Navy Leader Development Training Continuum for both officers and enlisted members, forced me to dive deeper into the practice and theories of effective management. These assignments heightened my passion for reading every book about leadership and quality. Some of the books left a big impact. My favorites include:
- Edwards Deming’s, Out of Crisis
- Mary Walton’s, The Deming Management Method (I read and re-read his 14 points for management and the seven deadly sins in Chapter 3.)
- Ken Blanchard’s, The One Minute Manager
- John Cotter’s, Leading Change
- James Collin’s, Good to Great
I often ponder the challenges leaders face in trying to define and create an organization where leadership and culture are a priority. My studies have concluded, and I believe this: that effective leaders are essential, at every level, to ensure success. It is my dream to create a company where the staff is engaged, committed, and who grow professionally and personally along with the company.
AMTIS grew significantly from 2011 as our team rose beyond 6 or 7 to over 180 today. With growth, and the natural requirement to re-organize into practice areas, I began to focus on the issue of corporate culture and leader development. I was determined to put into practice the theories and concepts I had read about, personalized, and taught for over 20 years. Several key fundamentals essential in making AMTIS into a model company include:
- Valuing, respecting, rewarding and caring for each team member to facilitate his/her focus on your customer
- Hiring people who are passionate about their work
- Giving team members the tools, resources, and autonomy needed to do their work
- Focusing on learning and improving from mistakes rather than on what went wrong or blaming
Based on these fundamentals, the AMTIS Team has created a performance management approach that supports the culture and leadership philosophy we are creating. Our approach does not include annual performance evaluation. It focuses on conducting continuous conversations throughout the year between leaders and their team members. These conversations focus on four key areas:
- Goal setting and expectations
- Coaching and mentoring on performance
- Individual development planning
- Rewards and recognition
I know our success is directly attributable to the fact that all our leaders are committed to listen, work with their direct reports to set achievable goals and expectations, provide constructive feedback on performance, help team members develop, and provide frequent praise and rewards. We train all our leaders to ensure they have the necessary skills and abilities to foster a positive culture by leveraging the Ken Blanchard Companies courses that align with our philosophy and values.
In summary, leader development is essential for small and medium companies to succeed. AMTIS will offer Ken Blanchard Companies leader development courses locally at our AMTIS Training Center or at client site to support learning and success. For information, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Barbara Stankowski is President and CEO at AMTIS, Inc. Prior to establishing AMTIS, Inc., she worked as a training and education consultant bringing over 30 years of program management, training development and IT operations experience to the company. She is a leader development expert, exceptional coach, speaker and facilitator.