We absolutely love developing people. It is the only reason why we do what we do. We also believe the savvy application of the right skills differentiates those who rise from those who rely entirely on meritocracy to advance their careers.
We ask questions. We help you define what you need to do to find the right answers. We push, challenge and commit. We are empathetic and we are blunt. We measure our success in whatever ways you measure yours. Here are a few examples of ways we deliver that value proposition to you.
LEADERSHIP & ORGANIZATIONAL performance Analysis:
Learn how your team sees you and you will understand more fully how you are perceived and what areas are opportunities for improvement. We conduct in-depth interviews with your stakeholders (peers, direct reports and Board Members). We create a comprehensive report summarizing feedback and design a roadmap to bridge any gaps between how you think your team sees you and how you want them to respond to you as a leader.
Career Development/Career 2.0
Many successful people follow a directed career path and quickly achieve their original professional goals, only to wake up one day and realize they are not challenged, not advancing, and not engaged with their work. High Achievers are the most likely to suffer from career malaise, plateauing or imposter syndrome. We provide the tools to diagnose and solve for the underlying reasons and barriers impacting career health.
Coaching: 1:1 / Teams:
Working with individuals or cross-functional team members to build more effective skills in areas like communication, goal setting, strategic planning, and accountability (learn more about Coaching here).
Strategic Planning & Executive Off-sites
All team meetings are not created equal. If your objective is to walk out of the room with a clear and actionable plan with specific goals, deliverables, owners and timelines, Ascend can be a great partner. We help you create an agenda that focuses on what matters and facilitate the discussions that impact your business: no theories, jargon or time-wasting ice breakers. We will bring high energy, focus and actionable outcomes.
We live in a world of bias; race, gender, age, culture and geography; all that play critical roles in defining how we perform in our professional lives. This program is designed to define and identify bias in ways that can be leveraged to improve the performance of companies, teams and individuals. Perceptions and assumptions based on characteristics that do not impact job performance can kill a team and have a detrimental impact on recruiting, retention and company morale. Curriculum is designed and taught to reflect your company values and culture. This is a highly customized program applying principles of psychological safety to your team’s needs.
Public Speaking/Media Training
Can you tell a great story? Do people listen to you? How can you tell?
Many, many, many companies offer public speaking training. Why choose ours? Ascend combines best practices for clarifying messages, understanding audiences and how to present your most authentic self in a compelling way. Public speaking is not a “one size fits all” bag of tricks. We take the time to understand your personality, vocal quality, confidence level and communication style. We customize a plan using our experience as award winning television and video producers to take your performance to the next level. Do you know how to breathe, establish a connection with your audience and make people really understand what you are trying to say? We can show you how.
We can also facilitate mock press conferences, board meetings and on-camera media training as your needs require.
Effective recruiting and hiring are essential to building strong teams. Many companies have a methodology or a trusted recruiter who identifies and screens candidates. Our approach focuses on the internal mechanisms and personalities that influence the process.
We work directly with key individuals inside your company associated with recruiting and managing new hires. Job candidates need to exceed the job requirements in ways that are not all tangible. Success requires a disciplined approach to identifying and qualifying the intangibles. Personality tests like DISC or Meyers Briggs can be helpful in the abstract as one recruiting tool. Our proprietary methodology helps determine appropriate culture fit and team dynamics.
Why? Because the highest performing teams are typically diverse; reflecting a mix of personality, work and communication styles. Centralized HR departments do not always apply dynamic nuance to specific roles and teams. Team leaders do not always have the skills (or self awareness) to actively seek out contributors different than themselves. This program includes role play and exercises that map to specific company goals and objectives. We look past acquiring the candidate and focus on key indicators that will ultimately influence performance and contributions to the team.
Equine Assisted Team Building Workshops
This innovative leadership training program is best for team off-sites or teams struggling with communication issues. It is an effective way to combine a strategic leadership off-site with impactful activity. Horses establish leadership entirely through non-verbal communication. This program is designed to show team members how their physical cues are impacting their own leadership and communication styles. Your team spends time learning about how (and why) leadership and trust are established and communicated while working directly with a herd of horses. This workshop is a trust exercise on steroids. Horses do not differentiate your role or title. Horses will grant you respect and trust entirely through your actions. This program is co-administered with one of the leading Equine Sports Medicine Vets in the country and is quickly becoming one of Ascend’s most popular curricular offerings. This program is only available to companies in the San Francisco Bay area.
Bringing your Self to work
An organization can be incredibly robust and still not address the core issues impacting their employees' mental wellness. All the offered benefits in the world cannot make up for:
A culture that does not reduce stigma or encourage employees to maximize on the resources available without fear of retribution or shame.
Leadership that does not name and normalize health challenges as well as model vulnerability, accountability and inclusion.
And a management team that has not been equipped with the skills to recognize and respond when their employees need support most.
This program extends beyond an abstract discussion on attitude and behavior to focus on practical implementation of meaningful and effective skills to enact positive, inclusive culture change at all levels of the organization. Training topics include:
Creating a Culture that Talks about Mental Health & How to Support Others
Understanding Stress & Burnout
Fostering Psychological Safety in the Workplace
Navigating Grief in the Workplace
Addressing the Intersection of Inclusion & Mental Health
emerging leader intensive
Rapidly scaling organizations are often faced with the dual challenge of recruiting top talent while simultaneously building professional opportunities to develop and retain that talent. In short, the investment an organization makes in building the team extends beyond the quality of individual hires. It now becomes more essential than ever to support emerging leaders, managers and individual contributors by equipping them with fundamental skills that align with their roles and responsibilities as the company grows.
This emerging leader intensive is a targeted leadership development program designed to provide select managers with the techniques, mindset and network to enable themselves and others to thrive regardless of place. Equally important, this program will establish internal professional development and training led by the participating leaders for future members of the organization. This will be the blueprint to build and grow a successful team in any functional area of responsibility.
connecting through improv
When clients hear they are scheduled for an improv session, most think, "Why are we doing stand-up comedy?" As if public speaking without a script is somehow a better activity than everyone's worst nightmare. We can promise you two things: you won't have to perform onstage in front of everyone else, and you won't have to be funny or clever.
The truth is improv is about active listening, paying attention and showing up with full presence in support of others. This program will provide valuable insights and practical skills to model applied improvisation and change behavior in your day-to-day life and interactions. It's a valuable and versatile tool for team-based learning and training while having fun along the way.
updating your headshots
The Ascend approach is to ensure that one stays true to themselves as they evolve and grow as a leader. That includes updating the professional headshot. It is important that the look and feel of any headshot authentically reflects its subject. We can help with the right lighting, setup, professional equipment and guidance to make one feel comfortable while capturing their likeness. This could also be offered on a "sign-up" or rolling basis depending on demand.
Counterbalance (executive leadership)
If you have ever been half of a high-functioning leadership team (CEO/COO/CTO), you are already aware of how rewarding it is to be part of this unique kind of partnership. After all, two people who can slay dragons are always more fun than just one. Two leaders can leverage each other’s strengths and build the kind of organization that takes advantage of different, and aligned perspectives. When two leaders are working well together, they feel like they are in balance.
But what happens when that critical relationship isn’t firing on all cylinders? Even the best executive relationships can and will go through periods of disconnection, frustration and misalignment.
Counterbalance is a program to redefine roles, re-familiarize leaders with their key strengths and tactfully confront any communication issues that may be hindering progress in the company or individual. It is designed for members of the C-Suite or leadership team who work closely and for whom trust in each other’s decision-making capabilities is a critical part of the day-to-day.
What makes this program so effective is a combination of “one-to-one” strategic advising, coupled with practical leadership development directly connected to specific company challenges and desired outcomes. Goals for this program are not only limited to alignment of interpersonal relationships, but the tangible benefits that successful executive alignment brings to growth opportunities and problems facing the particular organization.