Advanced Systems is a privately held, woman owned, small business consulting and training firm that supports crazy busy forward thinking leaders who are tired on the current status quo and want to achieve a new status quo that delivers sustainable results. The process begins by defining the desired results, utilizing proven assessments to confirm the current status quo and then aligning the solution to not only achieve the desired results, but to avoid the gaps between strategies, structure, processes/systems, rewards and incentives.
Leanne Hoagland-Smith the Chief Results Officer is proud that Advanced Systems was one of the first 10 nationally certified facilitators for Rising Stars, a unique, research based, youth self leadership development curriculum. They also run boot camps for high school and college students that are self leadership camps throughout the country.
Can you tell us more about your background and how it led you to creating Advanced Systems?
Having over 20 years in corporate, I decided to start ADVANCED SYSTEMS after earning my first degree to help businesses with to increase inside sales force productivity. Then I secured a public teaching position, earned my Masters, lost my job and reactivated ADVANCED SYSTEMS after a two year hiatus. Then I began to focus on development because learning was not sticking in the K-12 or the corporate arenas.
Who would benefit from working with Advanced Systems, and what kind of concrete results do your clients see?
Clients begin to see results within a couple of weeks to several months because all results are directly tied to a proven goal setting and goal achievement process. In some cases through coaching in areas of attitudes and beliefs, communication and interpersonal skills results have been realized in 24 hours.
One manufacturing client with an annual growth of around 6% in 9 months realized 25% growth in new sales. The initial goal was 15% and this was perceived as a BHAG.
Another client reduced one internal reporting process that was never delivered on time to being two days ahead of schedule and at an annual cost savings of over $25,000.
One of my Rising Stars graduates was going to be a doctor until I asked her what did that job look like outside of the operating room. She took action, volunteered at a hospital and realized two things: She could not stand copious amounts of blood, her exact words and she had too much empathy. She switched her career path to business with a Spanish minor and then to social work with the same minor. Her desire to help others was a key motivator far more so than the money. Now seven years later, she is still working her action plan with her husband.
Can you tell us more about the boot camps and leadership camps you run?
With so many young people taking 6 years to earn a 4 year college degree, those who can earn a 4 year degree in 4 years save thousands of dollars, earn a strategic competitive career advantage because they have been in the workforce for two years sooner than those taking 6 years. In the past, this training has been offered through some private organizations such as Workforce Development.
The boot camps are designed to give a strategic and competitive career and leadership boost to young people because these individuals are not receiving the interpersonal skills necessary to have both college and career success. With time being a premium, I have designed a camp where students and parents meet on a Sunday night to jointly experience the “Kick-Off.” Then students return for 4 hours each day for the next 5 days. On Friday night there is a graduation celebration for both students and parents.
For parents who may also desire some additional interpersonal or what I call self leadership skills, I am offering 2 hours for 4 nights in a row to polish these skill sets. Parents will have the opportunity to take a proven assessment that will assist them to leverage their strengths far better. The information from this assessment is integrated into the evening sessions.
You offer adult leadership development including work on time management and effective communication. What advice on time management can you offer to our readers?
First, time management is truly an oxymoron because no one can manage a constant. There will always be 60 seconds in a minutes, 60 minutes to an hour, 24 hours to a day and 365 days to a year. By changing this belief is the first step to improved self management. How do I manage myself within this constant of time?
Second, it is necessary to understand the linkage between time and goals. For without goals, who cares about whether you get something done, arrive some place on time?
Third, separating urgent from important is the next step. Urgent is anything you have given your word to doing or someone might be in harm if no action is taken. Important is everything else.
Fourth, using the Final Four structure of reprioritizing important goals is another great tip. What this does is to separate your existing priorities that may keep you immobile because you cannot decide between one and two. Your brain continually pairs one and two together.
You talk about avoiding the gaps between strategies, structure, processes/systems rewards and incentives. Can you delve into this a little further and tell us what happens because of these gaps?
For example, in business most firms want to increase sales or revenue. The CEO says he wants a 10% increase. However, the current physical structure of the building cannot handle such an increase without some remodeling; the processes/systems are already at capacity; incentives are equally shared among all workers and thus penalizing those who produce more; and the people have not been developed to handle the additional work. Each VP or department head may take action that is contrary to the other departments and hence the goal is not executed efficiently or effectively. Resources are depleted causing a loss of productivity to profitability. This is an simplistic explanation.
You have been in business for about 15 years now. What has been the most rewarding part of running Advanced Systems?
The most rewarding part regardless of working with youth or adults is supporting them to realize their own talents and capacities for achieving more than they ever believed possible. So many people have been beaten down, told they cannot do this or that and these thoughts become in house or in brain records that run 24/7 singing songs of self limitation and self defeat. As I have worked with them, I have been able to have financial success and even more importantly a lot of fun.
For without humor, life is far to boring and uneventful. Laughing is very good for the soul.
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