High Performance News

A Quarterly Newsletter About Performance Improvement  

Introducing Two New HPL Programs  

In This Issue
Improving Performance with Emotional Intelligence
Emotional Intelligence Case Study
Using The Fundamentals of Lean Improvement
An Interview with HPL Senior Consultant Marc Spaulding, PhD
About HPL

Since 1994, HPL has provided leadership, management, and employee development programs and consulting services to more than 300 federal agencies, manufacturing companies, and service firms throughout the United States. We help our clients to improve individual and team  performance, quality of products and services, and organizational effectiveness - especially during periods of rapid change. Our 25+ senior level consultants and training professionals have worked with many large private sector organizations as well as many federal agencies. Our Corporate Offices are located outside of Boston, and we have regional offices in Washington, DC and West Palm Beach, FL. 

Customer Testimonial
"Thank you HPL! We are extremely happy with the training you provided, and we have every confidence that your team will continue to produce great results for us. Thank you again for all your help and guidance throughout the planning process." 
Director of Human Resources
LogMeIn, Inc.
HPL Programs and Services 
Birkman Assessment
Behavioral Interviewing
Change Management
The Changing Role of Management
Coaching for Sucess
Collaborative Conflict Resolution
Continuous Improvement
Customer Service
Dealing with Difficult People
Dealing with Unacceptable Behavior
DISC Assessment
EAGLES (Personal Achievement)
Effective Communications
Emotional Intelligence
Faciltation Skills
Group Decision Making
Handling Multiple Priorities
Influence Skills
Innovation & Creativity
Interpersonal Skills
Leadership Development
Leading Change
Leading Effective Meetings
Lean Improvement
Managing Difficult Conversations
Mastering Major Presentations
MBTIŽ Assessment
Motivation & Communication
Participation & Quality
Performance Management
Process Improvement
Project Management
Sales Training 
Sales Management
Six Sigma
Strategic Planning
Team Building
Team Problem Solving
Time Management
Writing Skills
Join our list
Join Our Mailing List
WELCOME to the first issue of High Performance Learning's quarterly newsletter: High Performance News.
By providing you with the latest developments at HPL, along with highlights from the leadership, management, and employee development fields, we hope to help you and your colleagues continue on your journey to becoming a high performing organization.
Please feel free to forward this newsletter to your friends and co-workers, and as always, please contact us with any comments or questions. We look forward to hearing from you!

Improving Performance with Emotional Intelligence

All too often, managers and employees are conditioned to leave their "emotions" at home, believing that they should base their work solely on their "intelligence." Emotions, however, are a fundamental part of who we are and how we function, both personally and professionally. HPL's Emotional Intelligence training helps participants view emotions as a form of intelligence that can become a source of collaboration, improved productivity, and increased effectiveness. This new, one-day, workshop will help your managers and employees increase their emotional intelligence competencies.
"In today's stressful, ever-changing work environment, our research has shown that managers and employees need to not only be aware of the five Emotional Intelligence Competencies, but they must also work at enhancing their skills in all five areas if they want to improve teamwork, morale, and performance," says HPL's President and CEO, Steven Aronson.
The Five Competencies of Emotional Intelligence:

1.  Self-Awareness: Without self-awareness, we can be blinded by our emotions and do things or become people we don't want to be. If we are aware of such feelings and thoughts, we can choose the way we will act or react in a given situation.

2.  Self-Regulation: When we are angry, we don't usually make good decisions and often react inappropriately by blowing an incident out of proportion. By learning how to moderate our responses, we can reason effectively and act intentionally and more strategically rather than emotionally during times of change and stress.

3.  Self-Motivation: Directing the power of our emotions toward a purpose that will motivate and inspire us can make us strong, self-motivated workers who adjust to change, are more flexible and find ways to overcome obstacles.

4.  Empathy: Emotional Intelligence also involves tuning into the feelings of those around us. The key to accomplishing that is empathy - learning to see things from another's perspective in order to better relate to that person.

5.  Effective Relationships: It is not enough that we simply become intelligent about our own and others' emotions. To be effective in our jobs, managers and employees need to combine these competencies to be "socially intelligent." They need to learn how to interact with people successfully and become adept at managing emotional situations to achieve higher levels of innovation, collaboration, and performance.

Wendy Barnes, co-author of HPL's Emotional Intelligence workshop,says: "Emotional Intelligence is all about bringing reason into the picture to temper negative emotions and allow us to step back and make rational, thoughtful decisions at work, as well as in our personal lives."
For more information on HPL's new Emotional Intelligence training program, please contact us at 508-877-3600.

Emotional Intelligence Case Study

HPL was recently asked to conduct its Emotional Intelligence workshop in an organization facing a myriad of challenges.
The Client: A large federal agency (the Agency) with more than 1,000 employees serving in regional offices across the country.
The Need: New laws and regulations have caused many changes in the Agency's work, including significant modifications to the oversight work its employees perform, rapid changes to policies and procedures, and more frequent interaction with customers.
The Challenges: The staff was frequently faced with situations where the information they provided was not what the customers wanted to hear. Employees were forced to engage in difficult conversations and found themselves in highly emotional situations - and at a time when they were required to do more work with fewer resources.
HPL's Charge: Until HPL provided the Emotional Intelligence training, there were no programs in place to help Agency staff manage these challenges. The goals of the training were to: 

  • Manage emotions in order to improve listening skills
  • Improve interpersonal relationships and teamwork
  • Deal with providing unfavorable information to customers
  • Cope with rapid change
  • Manage feelings and handle stress more effectively 
  • Learn how to manage the emotional aspect of conflict
  • Learn how to manage emotions in order to achieve the desired outcomes.

The Training: HPL conducted 10 workshops for the Agency's regional offices, delivering experiential learning activities and group-based learning on the Five Competencies of Emotional Intelligence. We worked with participants on how to deal with such issues as: being sensitive to colleagues' emotions; responding to management inattention of employee insights; learning and improving from past experiences - not falling into the same traps; and focusing on actions to enhance each person's performance.
The HPL instructors found the vast majority of attendees to be employees who wanted to succeed and excel in their positions. They were full of positive ideas and suggestions on how to make the Agency and their respective functions work as effectively and efficiently as possible. Some activities and case studies led to emotionally charged and often heated discussions, fueled (our facilitators believed) by a lack of closure on previous changes that were seen as hastily implemented without adequate employee input.
The Results: Out of those discussions, the HPL consultants were able to work with participants to solve two major problems: 

1.  Prior to the training, many participants felt that their opinions, expertise and input were not valued and often times ignored. Many had lost the motivation to offer new ideas - consistently just doing the work they were "told to do." The training enabled participants to overcome these obstacles and make sure their input was now heard, in an emotionally intelligent way.

2.  Participants also felt strongly that the Agency, as an organization, needed to be more proactive, not simply reactive. The training helped them to properly prepare for new organizational changes - from management down through front line employees.
The Follow-Up: HPL is continuing its work with the Agency, helping them to continue to model the skills of empathy, effective conflict management, and manage their own emotional triggers. We will soon be providing this program remotely to the regional offices using a group video conferencing technology. We will continue to work with the Agency on improving their skills as well as addressing long term challenges, such as change leadership and management skills; collaborative problem-solving and planning; and individual and team communication skills. 

Using The Fundamentals of Lean Improvement

Both a philosophy and a long-term initiative, Lean Improvement enables an organization to deliver increasing value to its customers by focusing people and systems on eliminating waste and defects. HPL's new, The Fundamentals of Lean Improvement workshop teaches managers and employees how to implement the practices and skills they need to consistently achieve optimal results.
The fundamental principles and methods of Lean Improvement (often referred to as Lean Manufacturing) are used by all types of businesses and organizations to create and sustain a culture of continuous improvement. To achieve Lean goals, you must examine every critical process to ensure that:
  • All activities are value added
  • Waste has been eliminated 
  • Lead times and cycle times are optimal
  • Defects and errors are reduced to appropriate levels
  • Customers are increasingly satisfied with your products and services

Fundamental Principles: With Lean Improvement methods and tools, organizations can make significant improvements that have measurable impact on both customers and the bottom line. To understand Lean, you must view the way work gets done through a new and sometimes different set of lenses, based on these five fundamental principles:

1.  Focus on Customer Value: The drive for improved performance begins and ends with customer focus: Waste is seen as an obstacle to meeting and exceeding customer expectations; Defects are simply failures to meet measurable customer requirements; and Improvements are defined by their impact on customer satisfaction and the value they add to the customer.

2.  Fact-Driven Management: Project teams select which measurement tool they will use to gauge customer satisfaction and performance. The team collects and analyzes data to understand the root causes of organizational/process problems and identify key drivers leading to waste and inefficiency.

3.  Focus on Process Management and Improvement of Flow: The study of work flow is essential to Lean methods - leading to a better understanding of the activities, tasks, decisions, inputs, information, and so on, that deliver a chain of value to the customer.

4.  "Boundaryless" Collaboration: Lean initiatives help to smash the barriers that block the flow of information, ideas, and action up, down, and across the organization. Increased collaboration results when more managers and employees understand their roles in improving the key work processes that flow across departments and functions.

5.  Strive for Perfection; Tolerate Trial and Error: Each project adds to the knowledge needed to remain competitive in an ever-changing environment. The scientific method that underlies the methods of Lean supports continuous improvement through ongoing study, piloting, and experimentation. You can drive for perfection while realizing that there will be dead-ends or partial successes; there will always be more work to be done to make important improvements.

Significant Benefits: Organizations that make Lean principles a way of life achieve critical advantages that lead to increased competitiveness and sustainability:
  • Less effort is required to design, build, and service products and services
  • Products and services are delivered with fewer defects and less waste
  • Fewer supplies, resources and less inventory are used to support work processes
  • Cycle times in critical processes like concept to launch, order to delivery, and problem to repair are reduced
"Anywhere you find wasted time, effort, and/or money, you can use the Fundamentals of Lean!" says HPL Senior Consultant, Marc Spaulding. 
For more information on HPL's new Lean Improvement training program, please contact us at 508-877-3600.

 An Interview with HPL Senior Consultant Marc Spaulding, Ph.D.

marc 2009 
Marc Spaulding is a highly skilled HPL consultant who has worked with organizations in both the public and private sectors. With over 20 years of continuous improvement, leadership training, and organizational development training and consulting experience, Dr. Spaulding assists managers and their teams with a broad range of strategic initiatives, including programs on executive development, accountability, culture change, and lean improvement projects. In addition to his work in large-scale organizational change, Dr. Spaulding is one of the co-authors of HPL's new program, The Fundamentals of Lean Improvement.
HPL and Dr. Spaulding recently conducted a web chat with several clients interested in learning more about The Fundamentals of Lean Improvement. The following is a portion of that discussion: 
Question: We have all heard a lot about Lean Manufacturing, are Lean Improvement methods only for manufacturing companies?
Marc Spaulding: Absolutely not! The Lean methods and tools can be used to improve just about any business process or the operations in any organization. It is being used in financial services, administrative offices, health care, and government. Since the main idea behind Lean is to drive waste out of day-to-day operations, Lean can be used to improve R&D, operations and administrative, sales and marketing, and budget processes, as well as manufacturing. Anywhere you find wasted time, effort, and/or money, you can use the Fundamentals of Lean!
Q: What are some of the tools or methods of Lean Improvement?
MS: For many, Lean is the set of "tools" that assists in the identification and steady elimination of waste. As waste is eliminated, quality improves, while time and cost are reduced. However, Lean goes beyond the typical continuous improvement tools, encompassing new techniques such as Value Stream Mapping, 5S, Pull Systems, and Error-Proofing, just to name a few. A second approach to Lean Improvement features techniques to improve work flow that include Production Leveling and "Pull" Production, which can be used in a variety of organizations and industries.
Q: I have heard about the 5S method. What can I expect from a 5S project?
 5S is a tool for continuous improvement that provides a disciplined way for teams to create a better, more efficient work area that presents well to customers. The 5S's stand for: Sort, Store, Shine, Standardize and Sustain. For example, an employee at my bank spent 10 minutes "looking for the right brochure" to answer my question - clearly this office was not "sorting and storing" product brochures properly. Using the 5S model, you would see that office "shine," and be well organized and responsive to customer requests.
Q: How difficult is it to start a Lean Improvement project or initiative?
 It's really not difficult at all. The key is to gain management's support for the initiative. This may involve educating managers and potential participants on the Lean process, tools, and benefits. Then it's a simple matter of planning the project and providing the necessary support to the team: workshop materials, meeting place, and a well-trained Lean Improvement facilitator. Over the next few years, everyone will be seeing and/or reading about Lean Improvement projects in both the public and private sectors.

Q: What kind of results can I expect from a Lean Improvement project?
MS: There have been thousands of success stories about Lean!  A Corporate Executive Board study recently found that financial firms using Lean Improvement techniques achieved a 20 to 40% cost reduction in 12 to 18 months. Equally remarkable were specific anecdotal results:
One of the world's largest financial institutions, headquartered in the U.S., increased credit card activation by 10% in one year, achieving $2 million in additional revenue. A prominent national bank reduced its wholesale lockbox (payment processing) unit cost by 58%, while reducing associate handling time by 48% and errors by more than 75% in only eight months.
To discuss your organizational development and training challenges, please contact us at our:
Mid-Atlantic Regional Office                                                                      Corporate Headquarters
Washington DC                                                                                        Framingham MA 
202-548-2909                                                                                           508-877-3600
jennifer@hplinfo.com                                                                                Steve@hplinfo.com
Visit us on the web at: