Category Archives: wellesley massachusetts

212 Is Growing!

We are excited to be adding new members to our management team and, with the added leadership, we are expanding to more locations.  We would like to give some recognition to the team members that have worked hard for their promotions.  

Congratulations Oliniyi on your promotion to Assistant Manager!
Great Job Okletey on taking on the expansion of a new location in New Mexico!
Congratulations Tiffany  and Armand on your upcoming promotions to Management and leading the expansion to two new locations.

We are excited to see these expansions close to double the size of the organization.  Great job to a hard working team.  Keep up the good work.

6 Ways Successful Teams Are Built To Last

http://www.forbes.com/sites/glennllopis/2012/10/01/6-ways-successful-teams-are-built-to-last/

Glenn Llopis, Contributor

It takes great leadership to build great teams. Leaders  who are not  afraid to course correct, make the difficult decisions and establish standards of performance that are constantly  being met – and improving at all times.   Whether in the workplace, professional sports,  or your local community, team building requires a keen understanding of people, their strengths and what gets them excited to work with others.   Team building requires the management of egos and their constant demands for attention and recognition – not always warranted.   Team building is both an art and a science and the leader who can consistently build high performance teams is worth their weight in gold.

History has shown us that it takes a special kind of leader with unique competencies and skills to successfully build great companies and teams.  In the sports world, the late John Wooden set the standard for great coaches, leading UCLA to 10 NCAA national basketball championships in a 12-year period — seven in a row.   His success was so iconic, Wooden created his own “Pyramid for Success” to help others excel through his proven wisdom. In the business world, we can look to Jack Welsh,  who was the Chairman and CEO of General Electric between 1981 and 2001. According to Wikipedia, the company’s value rose 4000% during his tenure.  In 2006 Welch’s net worth was estimated at $720 million and in 2009, he launched the Jack Welsh Management Institute  at Strayer University.

Building companies requires the know-how to build long-lasting teams.   This is why most managers never become leaders and why most leaders never reach the highest pinnacle of leadership success.   It requires the ability to master the “art of people” and knowing how to maneuver hundreds (if not thousands) of people at the right place and at the right time.  It means knowing how each person thinks and how to best utilize their competencies rightly at all times.  It’s playing a continuous chess match – knowing that every wrong move that is made can cost the company hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars (just ask BP and Enron).

As you evaluate the sustainability of the team(s) you lead and its real impact on the organization you serve, here are six ways successful teams are built to last:

1.       Be Aware of How You Work

As the leader of the team, you must be extremely aware of your leadership style and techniques.   Are they as effective as you think?  How well are they accepted by the team you are attempting to  lead?  Evaluate yourself and be critical about where you can improve, especially in areas that will benefit those whom you are a leading.

Though you may be in-charge, how you work may not be appreciated by those who work for you.  You may have  good intentions, but make sure you hold yourself accountable to course-correct and modify your approach if necessary to assure that you’re leading from a position of strength and respectability.

Be your own boss.  Be flexible.  Know who you are as a leader.

2.       Get to Know the Rest of the Team

Much like you need to hold yourself accountable for your actions to assure you maximize performance and results, you must make the time to get to know your team and encourage camaraderie.   In my “emotional intelligence blog,” I discuss the importance of caring, understanding the needs of your team and embracing differences and helping your colleagues experience their significance.  In this case, gathering intelligence means learning what defines the strengths and capabilities of your team –  the real assets that each member brings to the table, those they leave behind and those  yet to be developed.

All great leaders know exactly what buttons to push and when to push them.  They are experts at activating the talent that surrounds them.  They are equally as effective at matching unique areas of subject matter expertise and / or competencies to solve  problems and seek new solutions.

Fully knowing your team means that you have invested the time to understand how they are wired to think and what is required to motivate them to excel beyond what is expected from them.

Think of your team as puzzle pieces that can be placed together in a variety of ways.

3.       Clearly Define Roles & Responsibilities

When you successfully complete step 2, you can then more effectively and clearly define the roles and responsibilities of those on your team.  Now, don’t assume this is an easy step;  in fact, you’ll often find that people’s ideal roles  lie outside their job descriptions.
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Each of your team member’s responsibilities must be interconnected and dependent upon one another.    This is not unlike team sports, where some players are known as “system players” – meaning that, although they may not be the most talented person on the team,  they know how to work best within the “system.”    This is why you must have a keen eye for talent that can evaluate people not  only on their ability to play a particular role – but even more so on whether they fit the workplace culture (the system) and  will be a team player.

For example, I once inherited an employee who wasn’t very good at his specific job.  Instead of firing him, I took the time to get to know him and utilized his natural talents as a strategic facilitator who could keep all of the moving parts within the department in proper alignment and in lock-step communication.   This person helped our team operate more efficiently and saved the company money by avoiding the bad decisions they previously made because of miscommunications.  He was eventually promoted into a special projects manager role.

A team should operate as a mosaic whose unique strengths and differences convert into a powerful united force.

4.       Be Proactive with Feedback

Feedback is the key to assuring any team is staying on track, but more importantly that it is improving each day.   Feedback should be proactive and constant.   Many leaders are prone to wait until a problem occurs before they give feedback.

Feedback is simply the art of great communication.  It should be something that is part of one’s natural dialogue.  Feedback can be both formal and informal.    In fact, if it becomes too structured and stiff, it becomes difficult for the feedback to be authentic and impactful.

Remember that every team is different, with its own unique nuances and dynamics.  Treat them as such.  No cookie-cutter approach is allowed.   Allow proactive feedback to serve as your team’s greatest enabler for continuous improvement.

Take the time to remind someone of how and what they can be doing better.  Learn from them. Don’t complicate the process of constructive feedback.  Feedback is two-way communication.

5.       Acknowledge and Reward

With proactive feedback comes acknowledgement and reward.  People love recognition, but are most appreciative of respect.   Take the time to give your teammates the proper accolades they have earned and deserve.   I have seen too many leaders take performance for granted because they don’t believe that one should be rewarded for “doing their job.”

At a time when people want to feel as if they are making a difference, be a thoughtful leader and reassure your team that you are paying attention to their efforts.   Being genuine in your recognition and respect goes a long way towards building loyalty and trust.  It organically ignites extra effort!

When people are acknowledged, their work brings them greater satisfaction and becomes more purposeful.

6.       Always Celebrate Success

At a time when uncertainty is being dealt with each day, you must take the time to celebrate success.    This goes beyond acknowledgment – this is about taking a step-back and reflecting on what you have accomplished and what you have learned throughout the journey.

In today’s fast-paced, rapidly changing world of work, people are not taking enough time to understand why they were successful and how their success reverberated and positively impacted those around them.    I have seen leaders fall into the trap of self-aggrandizement – because of what their teams accomplished – rather than celebrating the success stories that in many cases required tremendous effort,  sacrifice and perseverance.

Celebration is a short-lived activity.  Don’t ignore it.  Take the time to live in the moment and remember what allowed you to cross the finish line.

Leaders are only as successful as their teams and the great ones know  that with the right team dynamics, decisions and diverse personalities, everyone wins in the end.

i4u.com Recognizes 212, Inc. for Charity Work with Operation Smile http://www.i4u.com/2012/10/boston-ma/smile-operation-212-money-tournament-raises-dodgeball-inc-charity


212 Inc., a sales and marketing firm based out of Wellesley, MA, traveled to Miami for a national client hosted conference. The weekend is an annual event geared around rewarding the country’s client vendors. In addition to dinners, a talent show, free jet ski rides and awards ceremony, there was a charity dodgeball tournament to raise money for Operation Smile.


212, Inc. is a premier outsourced sales and marketing firm in the greater Boston area. As a privately owned and operated firm, 212 is dedicated to providing opportunity to Fortune 50 clients as well as every associate.

One of the main clients at 212 is the nation’s leading provider in the telecommunications industry. The client provides bundled Internet access, telephone, and television services. 212’s focus is to acquire and retain account holders for the fiber-optic communications division of the company.

212 is hired because its clients look for “an edge” in advertising. 212, Inc. helps fill the gap between client and customer that advertising leaves. 212 achieves its results by conducting live presentations one on one with client account holders.

Operation Smile, a non-profit organization founded in 1982, is an international charity for children. The organization is a mobilized group of doctors and nurses who provide reconstructive surgery for children born with facial deformities such as cleft lip and cleft palate.

Since inception, Operation Smile has created a presence in over 60 countries and has helped more than 2 million people with evaluations as well as conducted over 200,000 free surgeries.

The dodgeball tournament involved several teams of 6 competing in a best out of three bracket style competition. Each team paid an entry fee of $100 to play. One hundred percent of the donated entry fees went to Operation Smile.

“It is always exciting to give back. Operation Smile is such an inspiring organization of extremely selfless people. I am glad we were able to be a part of the event and I look forward to continuing to work with Operation Smile in the future,” explains Andrea Atkinson, President of 212, Inc.

The event helped raise $3600 and the winning team got the honor of presenting the total donations in their name. 212, Inc. has also volunteered with the Salvation Army’s Adopt A Family program and will continue its philanthropic work in the months to come.

212 Inc. Raises Money For Operation Smile In Charity Dodgeball Tournament


212 Inc., a Massachusetts based sales and marketing firm, traveled to Miami and participated in a charity event for Operation Smile.
212 Inc., a sales and marketing firm based out of Wellesley, MA, traveled to Miami for a national client hosted conference.  The weekend is an annual event geared around rewarding the country’s client vendors.  In addition to dinners, a talent show, free jet ski rides and awards ceremony, there was a charity dodgeball tournament to raise money for Operation Smile.

 212, Inc. is a premier outsourced sales and marketing firm in the greater Boston area.  As a privately owned and operated firm, 212 is dedicated to providing opportunity to Fortune 50 clients as well as every associate. 
One of the main clients at 212 is the nation’s leading provider in the telecommunications industry.  The client provides bundled Internet access, telephone, and television services.  212’s focus is to acquire and retain account holders for the fiber-optic communications division of the company.
212 is hired because its clients look for “an edge” in advertising.  212, Inc. helps fill the gap between client and customer that advertising leaves.   212 achieves its results by conducting live presentations one on one with client account holders.

Operation Smile, a non-profit organization founded in 1982, is an international charity for children.  The organization is a mobilized group of doctors and nurses who provide reconstructive surgery for children born with facial deformities such as cleft lip and cleft palate.

Since inception, Operation Smile has created a presence in over 60 countries and has helped more than 2 million people with evaluations as well as conducted over 200,000 free surgeries.

The dodgeball tournament involved several teams of 6 competing in a best out of three bracket style competition.  Each team paid an entry fee of $100 to play.  One hundred percent of the donated entry fees went to Operation Smile.  

“It is always exciting to give back.  Operation Smile is such an inspiring organization of extremely selfless people.  I am glad we were able to be a part of the event and I look forward to continuing to work with Operation Smile in the future,” explains Andrea Atkinson, President of 212, Inc.

The event helped raise $3600 and the winning team got the honor of presenting the total donations in their name.  212, Inc. has also volunteered with the Salvation Army’s Adopt A Family program and will continue its philanthropic work in the months to come.

5 Ways To Find Your Strengths To Be An Exceptional Leader

http://www.businessinsider.com/5-ways-to-find-your-strengths-to-be-an-exceptional-leader-2012-9

Samantha Cortez

In order to become better leaders, people typically focus on improving their weaknesses. But now, research is showing that developing your strengths is actually more effective.

John Zenger, Joseph R. Folkman, Robert Sherwin, Jr., and Barbara Steel—authors of the book How To Be Exceptional: Drive Leadership Success By Magnifying Your Strengths—believe that working on strengths dramatically improves one’s leadership skills and leads to more successful business interactions.

“If you concur that leadership is a set of skills and not a body of knowledge or a personality type, then learning leadership skills probably has much in common with learning any other set of skills,” they say.

Here are some tips they provided on improving leadership strengths:

1. Have humility. The authors believe that humility, or humbleness, is a difficult strength to improve on, but will make a good leader in the long term if mastered.

“It is difficult to come up with a plan for improving humility, and often leaders would write something like ‘just be more humble’ or ‘don’t be arrogant.’” Try exercises in and outside of the workplace where whenever someone describes a scenario or situation they’re in, you put yourself in their position. Do this over and over, and being able to relate to others will come more naturally.

2. Identify the behaviors that should be developed. “We propose a model with three important filters for identifying a behavior that could be expanded for strength. We label this the CPO model, where C stands for ‘competence (how effective you already are with this skill),’ P for ‘passion,’ and O for ‘organization need.’”

3. Ask for feedback. This will allow you to let your guard down and embrace open-mindedness. Good leaders should always welcome suggestions.

“A key competency of any successful leader is the ability to continually gather, accept and respond to feedback. Data collected from thousands of respondents on the coaching behavior of their boss confirm that asking for feedback is the behavior on which these leaders received the lowest single scores. Yet, when we look at the willingness of a leader to ask others for feedback, we find that there is an excellent overall leadership effectiveness.”

4. Take a behavior modeling class. An extremely powerful formal development process for teaching many leadership skills is behavior modeling. This technology utilizes video clips that show managers handling difficult situations well. The course content explains the key action steps that were being followed. The bulk of the learning process involves participants practicing and rehearsing these skills with one another.

5. Try cross-training. Once you’ve developed a particular skill to a high degree of competency, it’s time to look at sharpening other skills which are complementary to the primary strength, such as communication or technical abilities.

“When athletes aspire to become more than just casual participants in a sport, they often turn to cross-training. Aspiring runners take up cycling, swimming, and weightlifting. Our favorite example is a football coach who scheduled several of the lumbering lineman to take ballet lessons in an attempt to make them more conscious of their footwork and acquire more agility.”

212 Inc. Travels To Miami For A Combination of Business, Fun and Giving Back

Executives of 212 Inc. will be traveling to Miami Beach for an annual national conference and a bit of fun on the beach.

The weekend will be hosted at the Miami Eden Roc hotel and will include some brief meetings, a chance to relax on the beach, networking opportunities with several business professionals from all across the country, and two charity tournaments.

This year’s charity events will include a beach volleyball tournament and a beach cornhole tournament.   These tournaments mark the 5th year the company will be attending a charity event at the client hosted national conference. 

This years charity will be a Beach Volleyball Tournament followed by a Beach Cornhole
Tournament.  Teams of six for volleyball pay an entry fee of $100 and each team of 2 for cornhole pay a $20 entry fee.  One hundred percent of the entry fees collected will be
donated to Operation Smile and the winning team will have the honor of presenting the donation check to Operation.

Congratulations to those hard working individuals who have earned the opportunity to attend this fun filled weekend.

10 Leadership Lessons From Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn

Jeanne Meister, Contributor
I had the pleasure of attending the first video pilot interview of LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner by Adam Bryant, New York Times Senior Editor for Features.

As a user of LinkedIn and loyal reader of Adam’s Corner Office columns I had high expectations for the live interview. I walked away feeling like a high school girl who experienced her first crush. And now I am writing a tell all!

Jeff’s open and compassionate leadership style keeps the company focused on growing at the rate of two new members every second (that translates into 175 million registered users in more than 200 countries) while reducing the business mantra to just two words: “Next Play.” Weiner borrowed the phrase from Duke University basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski, who shouts Next Play, every time the ball changes hands. Krzyzewski uses the phrase to make sure the Duke University Blue Devils don’t spend too much time celebrating a success or feeling down about a miss. Instead, they are coached to focus on one thing: the next challenge. During the interview with Bryant, Weiner described how powerful Next Play has been for the company. On the day LinkedIn became a public company, employees received a black T shirt with the company’s name and stock ticker written across the front and Next Play emblazoned on the back of the shirt. Even today 16 months after the LinkedIn IPO, employees continue to talk about their Next Play and stay focused on delivering results.

During the video interview, Weiner shared 10 lessons in leadership I think every businessperson should be aware of. They include:

1)    Define leadership in your company: At LinkedIn, Leadership is the ability to inspire others and achieve shared results. It starts with defining a clear vision. In the case of LinkedIn it is to create economic opportunity for the 3.3 billion people in the global workplace by matching skills with job opportunities.

2)    Understand how to evolve from a start-up to a public company: A CEO and the leadership team must understand the importance of growing their skills from solving problems to coaching others to achieve business results.

3)   Prioritize your business goals: Start with asking yourself and your team if we could only do one thing, what would it be? This is a lesson Weiner learned from Steve Jobs and practices every day. Weiner’s advice is to focus on doing fewer things, and do those things well.

4)   Practice time management: Weiner carves out 2-3 hours each day to reflect, think and see the big picture. Weiner’s advice if you do not carve out at least an hour you are fitting way too much into your schedule.

5)   Encourage all employees to think like an owner: Employees in a start-up must understand the business decisions they make are ones that have P&L implications. In the case of LinkedIn, this means understanding how the decisions they are making impact the company mission of connecting the world’s 640 Million professionals and making them more successful.

6)   Keep putting your customers first:  At LinkedIn, one of the values is simply stated as: Members First. So anytime the LinkedIn product team considers new enhancements the first question revolves around: Is this putting our members first, or is this putting the company first? “If it benefits members, it will ultimately benefit the company.

7)   Remember To laugh: Executing on a bold vision like creating economic opportunity for 3.3 billion people around the world is tough work. So humor needs to be a part of every executive’s day.  Make time to laugh with your team members. Weiner says he values his team members’ sense of humor and sometimes, on a tough day, that can trump their talent and expertise!

8)  Find time to reflect on what’s important to you: Working professionals should take time to ask themselves: “If you had to look back at your career 20-30 years from now, what do you want to say you have accomplished?” Weiner says he is amazed how many people he interviews cannot answer this question and worse yet have never thought about it. Instead, far too many focus on the next job role, next title, or next compensation package, without knowing what it is you want to leave the world. And Weiner believes once you take time to articulate this to yourself, you begin to manifest this to others and before too long, you start on a path to realize your vision.

9) Understand what makes you happy: Weiner lives by five keys to happiness: (articulated by Ray Chambers, an entrepreneur who helped create the leveraged buyout industry, as well as a number of non profits such as National Mentoring Partnership and Americas Promise) These include:

    Stay in the moment.
    Step back and become a spectator to your own thoughts.
    It’s more important to be loving than to be right.
    Go out of your way to serve others.
    Take time each morning, to write down what you are grateful for and read it throughout the day.

10) Communicate the importance of next play to your team: The faster a company grows, the more opportunity there is to experience both successes and failures. While it’s important to celebrate the successes, and reflect on a failure, you ultimately have to move on and focus on the “Next Play.”

So did Weiner share LinkedIn’s Next Play? No, for that, we will all have to log onto the site and see for ourselves. 

Happy Birthday To An Amazing Human Resource Director!

212, Inc. wishes a happy birthday to our Director of Human Resources, Renee!
Happy Birthday!

5 Things Business Leaders Can Learn from Tiger – Forbes.com – Jason Selk, Contributor

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jasonselk/2012/08/24/5-things-business-leaders-can-learn-from-tiger/

After falling off the performance roadmap for a few years, Tiger Woods has recently re-established himself as one of the top players in the world.  Not only is Tiger positioned to make history and become known as the greatest golfer of all time, but it also appears he is leading others to improve their game, as well. Here are 5 things business leaders can learn from Tiger:

1. Face Pressure Head On

When recently asked about how much pressure he was under for an upcoming Major, Tiger responded by saying, “The same. The same pressure as any other tournament, and the same pressure every other player faces.” Pressure is self-imposed and can serve as quite a distraction if not dealt with properly. The most effective method for working through pressure is to acknowledge that the stakes are high and then move on. Force yourself to focus on what you can control, rather than allowing your mind to fixate on what could go wrong or on what the competition is doing. Jim Weddle, Managing Partner of Edward Jones, knows all too well about dealing with pressure. In 2011, in the face of a tough economic climate in which most brokerage firms struggled to survive, Weddle lead the company to one of its most successful years in the firm’s history. Weddle exemplified an unwavering focus on working with long-term individual investors and emphasizing quality rather than allowing his mind to waver on the uncertainty of the market. If you find yourself focusing on the potential obstacles to your success, commit to replacing those thoughts within 60 seconds with an idea for one thing you can do to put yourself in the best possible position to move forward.

2. Learn to Give Credit Where Credit is Due

Self-confidence is the number one variable for positively impacting performance in the entire field of sport psychology. This principle extends to the business world, as well. Tiger is often heard giving himself credit for his “strong iron play” or having his “focus on-target.” Learning to give oneself credit is an extremely effective method of increasing self-confidence and, hence, improving the likelihood for strong future performances. Get in the habit of writing down at least three successes at the end of each day. Doing so will have a compounding effect on self-confidence, thus allowing you to bounce back from tough times more quickly.

3. Emphasize Preparation

Prior to his dreadful Thanksgiving disaster, Tiger was definitely the hardest working and the most prepared player on the tour. I was lucky enough to have access to his training plan, as well as that of 4 other tour players with whom I was working. Tiger was out-preparing 3 of the 4 players by more than 30%, and the forth he was outdoing by a whopping 50%. After working through some personal distraction, Tiger is back on track with his mental and physical preparation. George Paz, CEO of the “mega-pharm” company, Express Scripts, lead his team to unprecedented market cap growth by emphasizing industriousness. In an interview discussing the changes within the company, Paz referred to his task of ensuring that the quality of the level of service provided to clients remains strong as “my 8-to-5 job.” He went on to say, “My 5-to-8 job is what’s the next move?”  Work ethic and preparation will go a long way at determining the final score on the scoreboard. It is a fairly straightforward equation: if the work ethic is consistently there, the results are sure to follow. Are you outworking your competition?

4. Believe

When Tiger was recently asked if he was surprised at his reemerging dominance, he simply answered, “No. Next question.” An old saying in sport states: “Positive thinking doesn’t always work…negative thinking does.” When you believe in yourself, you significantly increase your ability to achieve greatness. Easier said than done, yet replacing negative and self-doubting thoughts with affirmative thoughts will have a significant impact on your success. Consider adopting a mental training program to train your brain toward positive thinking.

5. Be Accountable without Deprecation

Tiger has learned to be accountable for mistakes without internalizing failures. Take for example his comment about losing a late lead in the US Open: “I had the lead, and I lost it. I’m not happy about it, but it happens.” Great athletes and leaders alike have a tendency to beat themselves up when they fall short of expectations. Individuals who spend too much time punishing themselves for shortcomings become poised for lowered self-confidence and emotional unrest. Jack Welch, the former CEO of G.E., has been famously quoted stating: “I’ve learned that mistakes can often be as a good a teacher as success.” Welch has used the solutions generated from his mistakes to put himself in a better position than when he started. Learn to own failures without making excuses, and then quickly begin focusing on solutions to increase the probability for improvement. There is no need or benefit in stewing about your shortcomings, so stop doing it.

Tiger Woods is an inspiring example of leadership and dominance in sport, and some of the principles of mental toughness he displays are also found in the most successful business leaders in the world. He has not always been on top, yet his relentless drive serves as a mold for success. Realistically, business leaders are not always going to experience success, and high times are going to be tempered with seemingly brick walls to climb. How these difficulties are handled separates the leaders from the ones who fall behind. Developing a plan to deal with pressure and keep confidence high, while consistently working hard will go a long way at putting you on the leader board in golf, business and life.

Learn the skills of a horse whisperer for leadership success – by Selina Denman

http://www.thenational.ae/lifestyle/well-being/learn-the-skills-of-a-horse-whisperer-for-leadership-success

Tauseef Qadri first started exploring the idea of “equitelligence”, or equine-inspired emotional intelligence, while studying management sciences at Loughborough University in the UK. Admittedly, Qadri was not your average management student. A keen horseman who began riding as a toddler and went on to study natural horsemanship under Ingella Larsson, one of the world’s leading “horse whisperers”, he was as familiar with the workings of horses as he was with the workings of human beings.

“I had to do a course on emotional intelligence and how we applied it in our own context. The world I knew was horses, so I thought about how I could apply those concepts to horses. I got a fantastic grade in that thesis, which encouraged me to think about developing those ideas further,” he says.

Natural horsemanship involves communicating with a horse using barely perceptible signals and subtle shifts in body language. It demands that a level of trust be built between the two parties and that they develop a common, non-vocal language. “Horsemanship is about developing an innate understanding of the horse’s perspective of the world. You have these two different worlds and in horsemanship you try to find a symbiosis.”

But many of the key principles in horsemanship can just as easily be applied to human behaviour, particularly when it comes to the workplace, Qadri discovered. After completing his degree, he went to work for Xerox and then did a stint in the financial services industry, which brought him to Dubai in 2006. All the while, he was incubating his ideas on “equitelligence”.

He subsequently developed a two-day intensive leadership programme based on developing emotional intelligence through interaction with horses, which has already proven popular with a number of high-profile corporations. “Usually the most experiential part of emotional intelligence workshops is when you interact face-to-face on a role play basis. But in that kind of context, both you and I know it’s not real. Try telling that to a 1,200-pound animal. With a horse, you have to be absolutely authentic.”

Qadri shared five key leadership skills that he believes can be developed through interactions with horses.

Empathy

Part of the course involves grooming the horse and learning more about them. “This generates that elusive skill of empathy, which is so important in the workplace,” says Qadri.

Physiologically, and often unconsciously, at this point people will start smiling, their pupils will dilate, they will start salivating and they will get a tingling feeling in their back. “Those are the biological signs of empathy – it means that you are really making a connection. And people seem to have that with horses; that species divide is transcended.”

Body language

Horses communicate almost exclusively through body language, but more than 87 per cent of human communication is also purely physical. Participants learn the rudiments of horsemanship, which covers how they direct their energy, how they direct their focus, how they highlight to the horse that they are relaxed and how they increase their energy and transfer that energy to the horse.

Push versus release

Participants are invited to stand in front of their horse and make them walk backwards. “There is a rope connected to the halter and you just wiggle it increasingly vigorously; at a certain stage the horse will understand that he needs to move back. If people struggle with assertiveness, they will never go beyond a light wiggle. The horse will look at them and do nothing. Other people will swing the rope so hard that the horse will feel that jerk and literally run backwards. That’s not what you want either. That’s a reaction, not a response,” says Qadri.

“Similarly, in a board meeting, you should know when to press the accelerator because you are trying to drive a point home, but you should also know when not to because you are going to elicit a reaction and not a response,” says Qadri.

Consistency

Because they are herd animals that are eager to please, horses will relinquish leadership if they understand what is required of them and think you know what you are doing. If you are inconsistent, they won’t.

The role of recognition

There’s a saying in horsemanship that is all-important: “The pressure will motivate but the release teaches.” Participants must encourage the horse to take some kind of action, but if that action is completed, they must immediately take away the pressure. “You must be able to say to the horse at that point in time, ‘Thank you, you’ve done a great job’. The more you can create that recognition culture, the more a horse will try harder for you,” says Qadri.