The Perfect Hire

    February 6, 2014 by mvarr

    ACCORDING to Get It Done authors Ralph Welborn and Vince Kasten, “More than 64 percent of C-level executives from 250 midsized to large companies in the United States and the European Union have said that being able to execute, to ‘react quickly to changing business opportunities, models, technologies, and processes is critical for their success,’ and yet is nearly impossible to achieve.” It would seem that execution is truly a forgotten art. Sadly, many companies are missing out on primary benefits that go unrealized due to the lack of an effective execution plan.


  2. What Can a Mentoring Program Offer Your Organization?

    January 29, 2014 by mvarr

    TO MOST ORGANIZATIONS the idea of adding a mentoring program sounds promising. Thoughts of internally trained junior executives rising through the ranks under the wings of their predecessors gives a noble air. However, there is much more to consider. What – specifically – can a mentoring program offer your organization? The most common aspect of a mentoring program is that of development. A manager or supervisor works with an employee to help in shaping and training them for future responsibilities. However, mentoring programs are more flexible and diverse than the simple act of training. Mentoring programs reach into practically every area of professional life in order to sculpt, mold and improve those who participate. 

    Continue reading “What Can a Mentoring Program Offer Your Organization?” »

  3. Twelve Ways High Performing Teams Can Get Better Selling Results

    January 22, 2014 by mvarr

    High Impact Teams are always looking for ways to improve. With these 12 ideas for getting better selling results, your team will be well on its way to selling success!

    Continue reading “Twelve Ways High Performing Teams Can Get Better Selling Results” »

  4. Determining Change Leadership and Team Roles

    January 15, 2014 by mvarr

    Determining roles is a critical step to creating your change strategy plan. Clear roles and responsibilities are needed to minimize redundancy and ensure all responsibilities are covered. Caution is a must when assigning these roles and responsibilities. Often roles are assigned based on availability rather than who is the most competent and best positioned. This may result in a poor fit for the role and a less than-successful outcome. Below are a few leadership and team roles you’ll want to include during your planning stage.

    Change Process Leader

    Normally an executive, this leader will have authority directly from those who have sponsored the change effort. A few responsibilities traditionally held by the Change Process Leader include:

    • Facilitating the process of defining, planning, and correcting the strategy and process.

    • Clarifying the scope, outcomes, pace, conditions for success, and constraints.

    • Setting parameters and allocating resources.

    • Advocating and integrating change initiatives and securing resources.

    • Overseeing communication, information generation, and course correction.

    • Modeling mindset and behavioral changes along with other leaders.

    • Providing feedback and coaching to all change leaders and stakeholders.

    • Directing the change leadership team and the change project team.

    • Updating the executive team.

    Executive Team

    This team is the executive leadership team in the organization that is involved in the change management process. In many cases, this will include all members of senior management.

    The executive team is generally responsible for:

    • Supporting the desired outcomes of the change at a vision, strategy, and behavioral level.

    • Running the business and buffering the change effort from organizational constraints.

    • Making strategic decisions as negotiated with the sponsor (or delegate this responsibility accordingly to change leadership team).

    • Participating in designing change strategy and desired state.

    Change Leadership Team

    The change leadership team is a group of leaders and key stakeholders with delegated authority to shape the outcomes and the change process. (Depending on the scope of the effort, this team

    may be the same as the executive team.) The change leadership team will:

    • Focus on vision, strategy, and planning of change activities.

    • Assure adequate resources.

    • Direct and guide communications and course correction during the change effort.

    While other teams or directors may be necessary for your change management project, these three are critical to your success. This stage of planning may take more time than others. However, ensuring you have capable, competent, willing team players assigned to each role will have a tremendous impact on the victory of your change effort.

    Katherine Graham-Leviss is the founder and president of XBInsight, a state-of-the-art talent assessment company that gives executives the actionable information they need to make smart people-decisions. She is the author of The Perfect Hire: A Tactical Guide To Hiring, Developing and Retaining Top Sales Talent and High-Maintenance Employees: Why Your Best People Will Also Be Your Most Difficult…and What You Can Do About It.    

  5. New Year’s Resolutions Every Manager Should Make

    January 9, 2014 by mvarr

    IT’S THAT TIME of year again, the time when everything seems new and we all begin to dream of ways to plan (and accomplish) what we’ve let “slide” during the old year. For managers, New Year’s resolutions can be extremely valuable. However, many simply make broad plans to close more sales, get more done during the day or have better working relationships without considering how to accomplish those goals. Here are some basic skills you and your team can improve upon in 2014 that will have a profound, positive effect on everything else you do.

    Improve Time Management Skills Busy professionals are notorious for never having enough time in our days. Oh, we have the best of intentions… we write in our appointment books, we set goals, we schedule this and hold meetings about that. But, still, we seem to run around playing catch up. Devote some time early on during 2014 to improving your time management skills and the time management skills of your team. Procrastination, unaccomplished goals, poor scheduling abilities, lack of effective delegation, and inadequate strategies for dealing with interruptions all place a greater burden on your day and keep you from doing what you really want and need to do. When you take time to manage time, you’ll be free in many different areas of your professional and personal life. It will be “time well spent.”

    Develop Better Communication Skills Contrary to popular belief “talking” is not the same as “communicating.” Also contrary to popular belief is the ideal that everyone sends and receives communication in the same way. Realizing and investigating these two foundational principles can forever change the way you communicate with your employees and customers. In order to be the best you can be, you’ll want to have a thorough understanding of:

    • The different behavioral styles and how they influence you and those around you.

    • How to increase results through adaptability –meeting the needs of others.

    • How to identify the behavioral style of each team member or customer and know how to use it to communicate effectively.

    • Strategies for adapting to each customer and increasing your chances of closing the sale.

    • Strategies for adapting to each employee and increasing performance.

    By developing better communication skills, you’re equipped to speak with your team in such a way that each member will respond positively and will want to give their all. Take a look around. What do you see in your department? Are your top performers still producing like they did when they first arrived at your organization? Have they become stale… burned out? Maybe it’s time to motivate them toward success. Top performing professionals have several things in common. One of those characteristics is the need for freedom. Freedom to be themselves, freedom to make their own rules, freedom to set their own standards. Don’t constrict the abilities of your top performers by forcing them to fit a mold. Listen to them, find out what their ideas are, ask for their input when creating policies and procedures. Then begin to alter your department into an environment where motivation is an ongoing factor and success thrives. By allocating a little of your time, right now, to improving the basic skills on which your entire business strategy hinges, you and your team will be better equipped to move forward in accomplishing your goals. You’ll also find that your days are smoother, your frustrations are reduced and your productivity is on a steady increase.

    Katherine Graham-Leviss is the founder and president of XBInsight, a state-of-the-art talent assessment company that gives executives the actionable information they need to make smart people-decisions. She is the author of The Perfect Hire: A Tactical Guide To Hiring, Developing and Retaining Top Sales Talent and High-Maintenance Employees: Why Your Best People Will Also Be Your Most Difficult…and What You Can Do About It.


  6. “What Change Agents Value at Work” by XBInsight Founder and President Kathi Graham-Leviss, published in December’s issue of Harvard Business Review Magazine.

    December 30, 2013 by mvarr

    What Change Agents Value at Work

    by Katherine Graham-Leviss  |   10:00 AM December 20, 2013

    When it comes to change management, half the battle is making sure you have the right leaders in place. And that means looking carefully at their competencies, behavioral styles, and values.

    Continue reading ““What Change Agents Value at Work” by XBInsight Founder and President Kathi Graham-Leviss, published in December’s issue of Harvard Business Review Magazine.” »

  7. The Keys to Success in Choosing an Assessment for Hiring

    December 16, 2013 by mvarr

    Kathi Graham-Leviss and XBInsight have outlined the critical pieces of information that must be considered when choosing an assessment to be used for the hiring process.

    • Good hiring is informed decision making
    • Know the job, measure it well, predict success
    • The more applicants the more assessment adds value
    • Closes the loop, allows track back to key outcomes

    Continue reading “The Keys to Success in Choosing an Assessment for Hiring” »

  8. XBInsight is proud to share the amazing accomplishment of Executive Coach Rick Crawshaw

    December 11, 2013 by mvarr

    “Running for Life, Finishing with a Smile”

    Pittsford, N.Y. – Running is not unlike life.

    There are good runs. And of course, bad runs. There are turns you don’t see coming.
    There are marathons.

    Rick Crawshaw of Pittsford never thought he’d finish one. Rick ran cross country in high school, but it was at age 50 when he started to train for marathons.

    After training, one marathon turned into two and two rolled into three.

    “I kind of evolved into it,” Rick said.

    Rick has now run 49 marathons, in 49 states – many of them with his son, Scott.

    “I’ve enjoyed it enough that it’s not really a question of being hard,” Rick explained.
    Along the way, the runner also became a coach.

    Enter Kelly Nash, who was overweight, and looking for a change.

    “Rick really demonstrated to me that I really have a lot more in me than I realized,” Kelly said.

    Rick found great joy in helping others, telling us: “It is a thrill helping other people go through it.

    But not long after he began helping train others, Rick’s run hit the sharpest of turns.

    Rick’s son Mark had died.

    It was sudden. His eldest son – a lover of music and stage – was gone.

    To Rick, there was no choice to put one foot in front of another.

    It is where he felt solace.

    Stopping was not the answer.

    Rick kept running marathons.

    When asked which marathon was his favorite – Rick would give the humble answer: “The next one.”

    This next one, though, is the exception.

    In January, Rick will head to Hawaii to complete his 50th marathon in his 50th state.

    “This will be something we’ve done specifically in memory of Mark,” Rick said. “My goal at the start of each marathon is to finish with a smile, and this one will be to finish with some smile and some tears.

    At the end – with the good and the bad behind you – what else is there to do?

    Running for life, finishing with a smile


  9. Choosing the Right Assessment Tools for Hiring

    December 4, 2013 by mvarr

    Assessments tools used in the hiring process can provide valuable information about an applicant to support your decision making process.  You can learn about an applicant’s skill level, critical thinking ability, and behaviors that impact job fit and job satisfaction.

    Continue reading “Choosing the Right Assessment Tools for Hiring” »

  10. The Keys to Success in Choosing an Assessment System

    November 25, 2013 by mvarr

    XBInsight_TalentCycle Graphic_2

    The first step is to create a benchmark for the job you are seeking to fill. The benchmark defines the skills and abilities that you are looking for in your new hire. Have the candidate take an assessment. Use an assessment system that has validated data for the job. The assessment system should measure different areas.  For example, measuring competencies and critical thinking skills will show if a candidate possesses the skills to perform the job.  Measuring values and behaviors will assist you in determining whether a candidate is a good fit for your organization.

    Continue reading “The Keys to Success in Choosing an Assessment System” »