Over the course of ten months in 2014, the UCEC management team met frequently to think more strategically about the company. Led by Blair Koch, CEO of The Alternative Board-Denver West, the ongoing leadership development course was called The Noise Reduction System based on the best-selling book Make the Noise Go Away by Larry Linne.
The leadership development track was designed to help the team think about the company beyond each manager's respective areas of responsibility. "The management team was challenged to problem-solve with innovation and to really think through the consequences of decisions," Blair says. The team also focused on ways to stop “noise” before it reached President and CEO Mark Inboden and to take away Mark’s existing “noise.
This might mean assuming new responsibilities and delegating assignments to the manager’s employees. In addition to those tasks, the team was encouraged through various exercises to become better aligned as a management team. "We examined alternative solutions, instead of perhaps doing what we've always done," Blair notes. "Change is good, but it can be hard."
Mark Inboden says that as a company, UCEC is committed to ongoing employee development. He sat in on the first and last class, but otherwise gave the team leeway to thrive as a management team focused on communicating better, leading more effectively and striving together toward shared company goals.
Other parts of collaborative team building that the group focused on were the different departments’ SWOTS (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats); the UCEC culture; and different training and management tools. Blair explains that an opportunity for development training like this gives room for big picture questions such as, “What are our goals and how do we get there, together?”
“The Noise Reduction System development course was instrumental in helping the management team realize key improvement areas, and identify ways to improve upon what we already did fairly well,” says course participant and VP of Operations Evan Coulter. “Blair helped us realize the full potential of the team and of our employees; never settling for “good enough”; and always pushing us to dive deeper into the problem or task at hand.”
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