Q&A with our VP of Consulting, Rick Rittmaster

How does our Consulting practice help companies achieve their best results? For this series, which we’ve titled Consulting ‘case studies’, we’re looking at different clients and their pain points, what solutions or services we proposed, and how we helped their people and business grow. Rick Rittmaster, our VP of Consulting, walks us through different scenarios and client engagements. Here’s what he had to say in this first installment of Consulting ‘case studies’. 

Q: Tell us a little about this company and what their pain point was?

A: Recently a 400-hundred-person manufacturing company in the Twin Cities area approached us because they had a handful of strategic initiatives, they were going to be focused on over the next 12 months. The president of that organization knew that in order to be successful they needed to also advance in their managerial and leadership skills. They wanted our help creating a clearer baseline for what good leadership would look like at their company, and ideas for how to grow these important skills.

Q: What CorTalent services or solutions did you propose?

A: The client actually originally came to us looking for a leadership development program and helping to execute on that. We quickly realized that there was nothing in place in terms of a common language or a consistent understanding of what good leadership “looks like”. So we proposed starting with creating a set of leadership competencies – skills and associated behaviors/actions – for the organization to embrace. 

Q: How did you go about executing this plan?

A: When creating a common set of leadership skills like this, it’s really important that the language matches the culture and feels comfortable for the managers who are going to be using it. With the President and the Executive Leadership team, we held an all-day offsite meeting where we brainstormed what ‘good’ looks like from their own experiences and from people who have been successful within the company in the past. That helped us identify 3 core skill sets and 11 sub-skills that all managers could use to define what good leadership looks like at this company. We also created a custom assessment that helps leaders understand what they’re already good at and where they might want to focus their development in the future. 

Q: What positive outcomes did you see happen for this company?

A: There were some really neat immediate impacts that the leadership team experienced, even during the offsite brainstorming. I remember one leader asked, “These are ours, like, we can use these?” and I said, “Yes, absolutely! These are specific to your company”. So, there was this immediate recognition around the value that having these skills would provide for coaching and developing their leaders. We go to great lengths to ensure these skills match the culture of the company.  For example, this client is a cabinet manufacturer, so we titled one of the skillsets “Communicates with a Fine Grit”.  This really helped the team embrace the content – it resonated at a deeper level than “off the shelf” materials.

As we’ve gotten further into the project, we’ve noticed that this is a much more accessible approach for managers to start to understand where they’re already effective and where they need to improve, not only to advance their own careers, but also to add more value to the company overall.  It’s been incredibly gratifying to watch these leaders assume a position where they can meaningfully and confidently contribute to the ambitious, strategic initiatives they are focused on.