Like everyone else, we at LDW continue to rethink our approach as we persist through the Corona Virus Pandemic. In times of crisis, nothing should go to waste, especially time. Galvanized by the opportunity to innovate, we have been working with our clients to adapt our practices and develop new solutions. For example, we have developed some additional assessment offerings for emerging and mid-level leaders. We've also used this time to continue our diversity, equity, and inclusion journey. As we have gone 100% virtual, for the time being, we have amassed a number of insights and reflections which we hope will be helpful.

Insights From the Field: Leading Through Crisis From Afar

Leading through the computer isn't exactly a three-dimensional experience. Many of you have asked for our advice about virtual leadership during these uncertain times. To that end, we've been integrating our client insights into noteworthy themes to provide perspective on the implications.

Patrick Hopp, Ph.D.

When Covid hit, we were concerned about how it would impact our clients’ businesses and ours. While, unfortunately, we have seen some significant declines in a few key accounts, many of our clients are now doing quite well and have actually seen their businesses grow even stronger. Some, in fact, are in full hiring mode and are asking us to help them select and develop talent at multiple levels of their organizations. Having switched to 100% video-based interviews, our stakeholders (LDW consultants, our clients and most candidates) agree that the effectiveness of our interviews and the accuracy of our assessments still remain high. Our clients have been pleased with the increase in efficiency that has come from having less travel time.

Scot Boespflug, Ph.D.

Structured onboarding and New Leader Assimilations are continuing, but with a very different format, being virtual. We are more intentional with new leader check-ins and stakeholder alignment meetings. The cadences are different; earlier, briefer, and more frequent. People prefer not to spend a full day on video, and time zones also make that tough. Breaking things up into bite-sized pieces seems to be working.

Disha Joshi, Psy.D., MBA

People are craving emotional connectivity right now. It is even more important to deliberately devote up-front time in meetings for personal “check-ins” that have more of an emotional component and help build trust. We can’t just jump into the task. We need to become more intentional, with personal sharing and vulnerability. At LDW, we are experimenting with everything from sharing personal “highs and lows” to “virtual happy hours.” Giving people permission and space to take breaks becomes critical in this new environment.

Introducing New Services

Using this time of reflection to listen to our clients, we have developed new services that address the selection and developmental needs at lower levels of the organization. In our last Touchpoint newsletter, we introduced a suite of offerings for mid-level leaders known as our Streamlined Assessments. See more details below. This month, we are excited to announce the LDW Summit Experience.

LDW Summit Experience

The LDW Summit Experience is a cost effective, scalable solution that provides highly valued feedback, coaching, and development planning with an LDW Consultant. Featuring a quick turnaround time, the LDW Summit Experience leverages validated online measures to predict areas of strength and development. An emerging leader's unique professional experience is integrated with their leadership profile through a structured feedback process, culminating in a customized development plan that relates career objectives to personal growth.

LDW Streamlined Assessments for Selection and Development

An abridged version of our standard Executive Assessment, the Streamlined Assessment features a distilled process to pinpoint strengths and development opportunities for mid-level leaders and emerging executives.

LDW Focus on DE&I

Creating diverse, equitable and inclusive organizations is not only important to our clients, but core to LDW’s social responsibility and values. For us, this is not a "check the box" initiative, but an exercise of continuously educating ourselves and elevating our awareness around workplace issues related to DE&I. From consulting with subject matter experts to reviewing thought leadership on the issues, the LDW staff keeps up to date and accountable to the responsibility we hold. To that end:

  • We have dedicated a portion of regular internal meetings to peer consultation and increasing awareness around our own “blind spots."
  • We continue to circulate thought leadership content related to the topic to ensure we are abiding by best practices and latest industry guidance.
  • We regularly consult with DE&I experts to help us reflect on our own biases, “walk the talk,” and stay informed.
  • We use validated personality measures that prevent adverse impact.
  • We are adapting our reports and feedback to include tailored onboarding guidance for each candidate, with the intent of facilitating success.
  • We help our clients think about how they can best support and capitalize on individual differences in leadership styles to optimize team performance.

We are committed to a process of continuous improvement that will further expand our capacity to support a diverse and inclusive environment in our client organizations.

Virtual Team Building: Lessons Learned

Like many of you, we have been spending more of our time together virtually. As such, we've been focused on finding ways to create meaningful connections and continue building the fortitude of our team while working remotely. We are happy to share some of the lessons we've learned and tips we've picked up along the way:

  • Break out rooms: Randomly assign participants to virtual breakout rooms for initial introductions and for lunch breaks. Speaking in small groups saves time at the beginning of the meeting and enables more informal conversations and connections.
  • Tools make it interactive: Use online polling tools as much as possible, both for in-the-moment "pulse checks" as well as for pre-planned topics. You can also use the chat room as a virtual "parking lot" to support sidebar conversations and keep them on record.
  • Use a meeting producer: Technical difficulties distract from your content and reduce your impact. It helps to have somebody whose only responsibility is making the meeting technology and software run smoothly. It may seem like an indulgence, but with any new platform comes new challenges and requirements where an expert can help.
  • Keep it balanced: The dynamics of a virtual team meeting require a different approach. Considering the new communication challenges, it helps to reduce your expectations around the number of agenda items by at least 1/3rd. And, keep it manageable. For example, put people at ease by giving them explicit permission up front to deal with any unexpected distractions that may pop up at home.
  • Be part of the group: Just like agendas need to be modified, so do individual approaches. For those of you not used to being interrupted, get used to it. In this environment, it is ever more important that we encourage others to be vocal and share. Be sure to build in opportunities for others to contribute. For those who typically like to stay "low key" during meetings, you will need to push yourself harder to be seen and heard as an active participant.
  • Find ways to have fun: This may sound obvious, but we have found that deliberately building in time for lighthearted connecting via informal "get to know ya" activities not only makes things more lively, but also significantly helps to bridge relationships.

As always, we thank you for your continued partnership and for allowing us to support and develop your leadership teams. We value our long-standing relationships and look forward to navigating the future together. We hope this snapshot of our last global staff meeting brightens your day like it did ours.