Turning Coal Into Diamonds


Building A High Performance Team

high performance teamsHow long has it been since you last looked at your training programs? Take a hard look and you may find that you are paying attention to only portions of your program. Take your executive training program and distill it down to the very essence of its focus. Do you end up with a gem – or a lump of coal? And how do you know the difference?

This is the diamond standard: a training initiative that reaches across the entire management spectrum, from front line supervisor to the C suite, and results in a leadership team of only top producers.

If such an entrenched, comprehensive and powerful leadership development program seems a little like a fairy tale, you’re certainly not alone. But I intend to convince you not only that it’s possible, but it must be the intended outcome of your leadership and sales training.

And I will give you a glimpse of the process. However, the tools necessary to achieve such an essentially ingrained culture of executive development are cutting edge. They include neurolinguistic programming and emotional intelligence, concepts you may have heard about in casual conversation.

While many trainers list them among their portfolio of professional offerings, their actual experience may be just as casual as yours. By the very nature of these tools, they need to be undertaken under the guidance of a highly accomplished coaches/trainers.

Used effectively and with a sensitive understanding of your corporate culture and goals, they can deliver results like no other leadership and sales training available.

NLP for me?

Neurolinguistic programming is a model of interpersonal communication that was developed to educate people about the relationship between behavior and thought. Ultimately, an individual can be empowered to change his or her mental and emotional behavioral patterns in a lasting and meaningful way, if influencing people is important to you.

As well, NLP provides the tools for “modeling,” or understanding how successful people are able to achieve at an outstanding level. Every top performer in your company or industry matches a certain profile of excellence. It’s reasonable to expect that when applied on an organization-wide basis, such a powerful method of personal change could be nothing short of transformative. 

Not all EQ is equal

Everyone is familiar with IQ. Intelligence quotient is a measure of an individual’s ability to learn, and is determined by his or her performance on standardized tests.

The often overlooked component of intelligence, however, is the counterpart to thinking: feeling. Our emotional mind has its own kind of intelligence, or EQ.

In their book, Emotional Intelligence 2.0, Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves define it as an ability to identify, assess, manage and control emotions. The book seeks to enable readers to understand the concept and apply it to achieve personal change.

A study at Yale University that was presented at the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology concluded that EQ is a major indicator of high achievement — more so than past job experience and IQ combined. Organizations like American Express and the US Air Force are using EQ in all their leadership development — shouldn’t you? At AT& T management, executives with higher EQ were 20% more productive. What would it mean if your entire management team were 20% more productive? IBM, Lucent, PepsiCo and British Airways participated in a 500-company study and found that EQ was more relevant to job performance than any other leadership skill as it relates to overall performance.

When properly integrated into a leadership development program, an emphasis on EQ cultivates personal management skills, encourages confident decision making and enhances performance under stress.

A leaders development in EQ also acknowledges the role of influence and empathy to help recognize the feelings of others, which assists with everyday problem solving. A happy side effect is sustained personal drive and the initiative essential to building only high-performing teams filled with people who want to contribute and give 100% every day.

Two decades of research validates that EQ is 90% more powerful than IQ in realizing high performance. Unfortunately, very little corporate training exists today that reflects that reality.

Again, as with NLP, such an intensive individual focus, applied globally in an organization, can achieve results that seem miraculous. Not all coaches and trainers, however, have the required practical knowledge and application of the concept.

All in

Merging NLP and EQ into a leadership development strategy can help you achieve the same results dozens of Fortune 500 companies around the globe that have instituted this type of training already enjoy.

The idea is to integrate NLP strategies, which develops leaders and associates to manage their emotions and decision making, with EQ awareness to orchestrate team collaboration.

With proper coaching and a comprehensive leadership development strategy, the results are – for lack of a better word – beautiful. It’s the type of thing you would expect from Baldridge Award-winning companies. And it’s the type of thing you should expect from your own company. Is it time to elevate your leadership and sales training to “best in class”?

John Lankford was recognized as the 2007, 2008 2009 and 2010 Associate Business Coach of the Year in North America. John was also recognized as the 2008 Global Associate Coach of the Year. His business expertise has been tapped as a syndicated business columnist and by the New York Times and CBS. He is the author of Superstar for Life…Career Transitions. John’s keynote speaking has landed him on the elite team that trains and certifies the new Executive Coaches. John has also served as the Chief Executive Officer for the Innisbrook Leadership Institute. 

Perhaps his most prestigious recognition was being named the award winner for the 2009 Abundance Coach of the Year, for his volunteer work helping people. 

John can be reached at (888) 730-1950.


John Lankford

John Lankford was recognized as the 2007-2010 Associate Business Advisor of the Year in North America and brings proven executive experience and best practices to select companies every year. He served 18 years at the Executive Education Center at Ford Motor Company and is former Senior Director of Ascension Health Learning Institute. John has developed top leaders around the world in partnership with the University of Michigan Business School, the Center for Creative Leadership, Comcast University and GE University, to name a few. His business expertise has been tapped by prominent business media such as the New York Times, CBS and Dbusiness magazine and has been a syndicated business columnist. He is the author of The Answer is Leadership and Superstar for life…Career Transitions. John’s keynote speaking has landed him on the elite team that trains and certifies the new Executive Coaches joining the worldwide coaching community. John is also former Chief Executive Officer of the Innisbrook Leadership Institute. Lankford can be reached at [email protected] or call (888) 730-1950

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