Professional summary

Susan Bowen is the founder and principal consultant at Leadership Elements, LLC. With over 25 years of experience in learning and organizational development, Susan is accomplished in building leadership capacity and capability within teams and organizations.

Leadership Elements works with small to medium-sized business as they face today’s challenges related to growing leadership bench-strength. Partnering with each client, Susan develops programs that meet specific needs with regard to individual and team development, succession planning, and change management. Using a variety of assessment tools to build self-awareness in the individuals she coaches, Susan specializes in building interpersonal skills with a focus on emotional intelligence.

Engagement overview

Duration and cost of an engagement depends on the scope of work, identified during the initial consultation.


Researching best practices is a great way to glean lessons learned regarding performance management and succession planning. I believe effective internal sourcing is based on three criteria: performance over time, potential, and desire.

- Performance can be ascertained through the implementation of a competency model along with manager and "other" feedback. The Lominger Leadership Architect ... Read more

Congratulations on your progressive thought process and for recognizing the dangers of 'busy' work. As a start-up, you are in a great place to begin implementing best practices and processes that will positively impact your bottom line.

I am a huge believer in each employee having a "drive for results". I do get a bit concerned when I hear the terminology "results-only culture". My initial t... Read more

I suggest you talk with an attorney specializing in human resource/workforce issues to ensure you know what the legal constraints are. I also suggest that you reach out to your local Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) chapter or the national SHRM association for practical advice from practitioners. You might want to consider joining these associations (in case you are not a member). I... Read more

Congratulations on having the opportunity for self-evaluation. In many cases, we see the performance discussion as a one-way road. The fact that you are asking this question means that the review process will be a dialogue. That is so very helpful in ensuring you are on the same page as your manager and moving forward.

First of all, use your current goals and objectives as your discussion fr... Read more

Congratulations on your new opportunity! Team leadership can be an incredibly fulfilling role.

A couple of quick thoughts.

1. First, a common goal is critical. So having a discussion of where you are going and being clear on your mission is the first step. It will take everyone to get there.

2. In addition, I would spend some time identifying each team member's individual contribution ... Read more

With regard to team formation, I prefer to first identify team members based on their expertise, performance and ability to produce the results in an effective manner - then use assessment results to build understanding among the members. Assessments are an incredibly valuable data point - but, please beware of using the results as the sole determinant in bringing someone into the team.

I do l... Read more

I am always a proponent of aligned cultures. Establishing a set of values for the broader concern then allows for a "trickle down" to the individual businesses. Even though each company in the group may be unique in service, product, and/or operation, they are all "related". Core values at the group level provide a set of criteria against which decisions are made at the group and business unit ... Read more

The lack of collaboration and teamwork you describe is troubling. Coupled with a huge customer loss, it could be devastating for your company. It is time for your manager to get some help in the form of an executive coach. An executive coach can reach places that you and his other key team members will not be able to go. The coach will be able to help him learn from this failure and (hopefully... Read more

Change is difficult under the best of circumstances, much less when you have been subject to multiple "upheavals". So I understand your wariness about experiencing one more change within your organization. I suggest that you read any of John Kotter's books on change to help understand the process and how to implement successful change initiatives.

With this said, however, I would like to addr... Read more

When working with teams of diverse experience and backgrounds, I always like to start off the experience by honoring those differences. And, I find the best, most non-threatening way, to do this is through a facilitated Myers-Briggs Type Indicator workshop. Each person completes the assessment and then gathers in a workshop to identify one's own preferences and those of their colleagues. The ba... Read more

What's in it for them? (The Site GMs). That will be the first hurdle to overcome in order to to gain buy-in. Does this plan provide the sites with more resources or more productivity - or does it mean that they will be in a continual battle with the HQ functional/account head? Clear roles, responsibilities, and reporting relationships among HQ and the sites will be extremely important.

You wi... Read more

With mentoring programs I have managed in the past, I always ensure that participation is voluntary. Both potential mentors and proteges are asked to complete an application. The protege applicants are asked to indicate the areas of expertise they wish to gain, the amount of time they are willing to devote to a mentoring relationship, and what outcomes they anticipate. The mentor applicants are... Read more

Without having more information it is difficult to provide you with advice that would be most useful to you. However, a first step might be to identify and agree upon the roles each level of the organization should undertake. At the executive level, if you don't focus on strategy and the future, you will indeed return to the "near-death" phase. That is the stark truth of the matter. So, if you... Read more

I reiterate the advice of my colleagues above. Having individual conversations with your direct reports will provide you great insight - an opportunity for them to share with you what they are seeing and an opportunity for you to share with them what you are learning as you develop these skills.

Another thought -

When you began your coaching relationship, did you participate in a multi-rater a... Read more


Congratulations on your merger and the opportunity that this expansion brings. I agree with you that you should move quickly in getting critical roles settled. I am assuming that one of the issues you have is redundancy. So you will want to look at the performance of the existing managers and use that as one of your decision factors. Hopefully your new executives can give you a sense of how th... Read more

I agree with my colleagues that the first step is for you to have a conversation with the CEO and share your observations. If this is not the desired behavior, then the CEO does need to wait to comment - or maybe not even comment at all.

But I believe additional issues should be addressed here.

Another thought is to look at the preferences of the meeting attendees and also the content of th... Read more

Is there a possibility to use those who get on board quickly to be your additional communicators? Are there those in your organization who have already internalized the changes and are benefiting from those changes? Do they have a compelling story to tell? If so, how about recording their stories in a podcast and adding a link to your company intranet (which I am sure you have)? I find that i... Read more

Political savvy is an important competency for employees to have ... as long as it serves the good. In the workplace, we all need to be aware of how we represent ourselves and how we build our relationships. But when offices turn into political bailiwicks, effectiveness can go by the wayside and the culture becomes a negative, "us against them" environment.

Your fast growth has impacted many... Read more