At the beginning of every year, each member of our team
shares development goals. Throughout the year, we’re
proactive in looking for training and development
opportunities aligned to their goals. When we find
one, all a team member needs to do is tell me the cost,
the time they need, and how they think it will benefit
them in their job. In addition, I send books and articles to
the team on topics that may be of interest. We participate
in frequent team-building activities. Sometimes they
are around the behavioral assessment we use in our
recruiting process. Other times it’s a community service
project or maybe just a team lunch. We share what we’ve
learned through professional development with one
another in our weekly team meetings.
— Jolene Risch
President and Founder, Risch Results | Dallas, Texas
Vistage member since 2020
Developing our people and our teams is critical. I work
with each of my direct reports in finding development
opportunities that they are excited about and buy
into. Without the buy-in and the willingness to learn and
stretch, development dollars end up wasted.
— Julie Thomas
President and CEO, ValueSelling Associates, Inc.
Rancho Santa Fe, California
Vistage member since 2014
Mentor younger business leaders. Each month at
ForensisGroup, we watch “TED Talk Fridays” because I
believe strongly in cultivating a culture of intellectual
curiosity and personal fulfillment.
— Mercy Tolentino Steenwyk
President & CEO, ForensisGroup, Inc.
Vistage member since 2007
The most important thing is to find ways for people to
experience different aspects of the business. Start
by having the conversation with the employee to find
out if they are interested in developing professionally. If
they are, let them know you will find ways for them to
have different experiences throughout the company.
Have them lead a committee of cross-functional team
members or spend time learning a different position by
shadowing or doing a rotation into different departments.
Have them attend meetings they would not normally
attend at different levels in the company. This comes with
some coaching and mentoring, and maybe even specific
training. Assign them to bring questions or key takeaways
from their experiences.
— Andrea Fredrickson
President, Revela | Omaha, Nebraska
Vistage member since 2014
Pay attention to culture. You can feel a culture when
you walk through the door. Your employees will vote
with their feet if you do not work every day to offer
them an extraordinary experience while valuing their
contributions. Be a coach, not a manager. Your
employees do not like micromanagers. If you coach
individuals so that they can become their best selves, you
will be able to give and get real feedback. Coaching is a
gift to be cherished in any organization. Develop career
paths. Many employees will give up compensation if you
are focused on helping them grow and learn. If you are
spending more on finding new talent, divert those
funds to keeping and developing the great talent you
— John Dame
Vistage Chair since 2007