As we gear up for our 2017 CFO Performance Conference on Thursday, May 11, we are so excited about our programs and keynote speakers, including Executive Coach and Leadership Consultant Michael Seaver,
MLP_3737-562368-edited.jpgwho will enlighten us on “Overcoming A Team’s Most Critical Challenges”.

A Certified Professional 12 Driving Forces® Analyst and Behavioral Analyst,  Michael is notorious for utilizing business strategies and positive psychology concepts to help both renowned business leaders and corporate teams to thrive in fitting environments, unleash potentials, and overcome challenges.  In addition, he has partnered with Financial Executives Research Foundation and Robert Half to publish a white paper, Creating a Leadership Pipeline: Developing the Millennial Generation into Finance Leaders.  

CFO Performance Conference Logo_FINAL-03.jpgHere are a few previews from Micheal about his keynote discussion: 

If you’ve been following the aerospace industry, you’ve likely noticed the market volatility organizations in that ecosystem are experiencing. Increasingly tight government budgets, uncertain global military programs, and increasing competition from technology vendors (who aren’t part of the core defense industry) are a small sampling of factors contributing to the unpredictability. These changes have become far more real world for me as I’ve helped guide a client through the uncertainty. I was initially asked, by the CEO and COO, to open lines of communication, focus the team’s energies on their strategic objectives, and find unique ways to engage their multi-generation workforce. After working closely with the team for six months, it became obvious that three executive team members weren’t going to be a good fit for the new culture we were developing. So, the CEO and COO began the arduous journey of exiting the three employees and then selecting, onboarding, and acculturating new leadership team members.

MS Quote3.pngPerhaps, you’ve guided a team through a similar experience? I bet you’re envisioning a former colleague or work environment right now. Be thankful for that period in time. All challenging situations are beneficial in developing your executive brand and finding the levers that drive teams to achieve outstanding results.

As we dove into the myriad ways this organization was going to design a new company culture, one value that we discussed repeatedly was trust serving as the foundation of relationships, decision making, and goal achievement. This topic has been covered by experts in Stephen M.R. Covey’s The Speed of Trust, Patrick Lencioni’s The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team, Rachel Botsman’s TED Talk, The Currency of the New Economy is Trust, and many, many more. Through each of these publications, you’ll note that trust is absent when a person fears having to be vulnerable. Proactively creating an environment where all employees feel safe to be authentic, make mistakes, and complete tasks using their strengths is how trust can serve as the cornerstone of an organization’s culture. Our society is slowly accepting that vulnerability, emotional intelligence, and the ability to influence truly is power.

During our brainstorming dialogue, I asked the CEO and COO to each grab a piece of paper and draw a line down the center. On the left, each was to describe how he/she communicates with the person on the team he/she trusts the most. Their ideas included: respectful, unguarded, honest, direct, enthusiastic, friendly, loyal, open, reliable, fun, confidential, creative, and compassionate.

MLP_3937 resized.jpgOn the right, I asked each to describe how he/she interacts with the person on the team he/she trusts the least. Their examples included – filtered, guarded, unreliable, cautious, incomplete, cold, limited, challenged, no patience, combative, and heavily managed. 

We then reviewed how this gap in communication and trust may lead to stress, unhealthy emotions, unnecessary business risks, lost productivity, physical exhaustion, repeated mistakes, drops in employee morale, poor time management,  and a destructive company culture. These costs can have astronomical impact on a leadership team’s ability to guide an organization.

Could you complete a similar exercise with your direct reports? It’ll take you less than 15 minutes. Consider trying it during your next round of face-to-face meetings.

If you want to establish more trust-filled relationships, here are a few methods that may help you –

  • Understand others’ core behaviors, personal motivators, strengths, competencies, and goals.
  • Acknowledge weakness and mistakes to one another and allow for safe sharing. 
  • Proactively and willingly apologize. 
  • Be unguarded, genuine, and forthright with information, even if it doesn’t shed the highest light on you,
  • Openly seek input, advice, and mentorship.
  • Know personal details about one another.

Fast forward to March, 2017 when I was facilitating a discussion with this company’s new executive team. After starting the meeting with a celebration of the team’s wins (which blew me away), I asked each team member to write on a sticky note how each would rate the CEO and COO respectively on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 low, 10 high) in terms of how much each trusted his/her leaders. The group handed me their notes and all responses were 8, 9, or 10.

Maybe you work in an industry that is going through volatility similar to what the aerospace market is. Maybe you desire to open lines of communication, focus energy on strategic objectives, or find unique ways to engage your employees. Maybe you want to build trusting relationships to avoid stress, lost productivity, or low employee morale.

If so, remember that vulnerability, emotional intelligence, and the ability to influence are the core of your executive brand and the most important components of trust.

On May 11th, at The CFO Performance Conference, I will continue this discussion talking about trust as the catalyst for using conflict positively, driving commitment, enhancing accountability, and ensuring results are discussed openly. You’ll learn pragmatic ways to drive personal and organizational success.

I would love to see you there.



Don’t miss out on the opportunity to learn from Michael’s expertise and discover the best ways to allocate your resources, enhance productivity, and effectively engage your employees.  Purchase your conference ticket today. In the meantime, to learn more about Michael’s background and experience, we encourage you to visit his website at