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Four Powerful Questions Every Leader Must Answer


A recent Deloitte study identified the top four critical challenges facing every organization today — leadership, engagement, culture, and performance. To tackle these concerns and spark change, you need to ask engaging, thought-provoking questions.

  • Leadership: Where are tomorrow’s leaders coming from?
  • Engagement: What drives your most engaged people?
  • Culture: How do your people interact to achieve the organization’s goals?
  • Performance: How do you connect workplace behavior to personal motivations?

The Total SDI creates the opportunity for powerful learning experiences and striking insights to be made to take your leadership and team performance to the next level by answering The Compelling Questions Every Leader Needs to Answer.


The Questions Every Leader Needs to Answer

1) Where Are Tomorrow’s Leaders Coming From?

Leadership begins with managers who hone their personal and interpersonal skills.

To become leaders, managers must learn how to influence people, give feedback, drive change and produce results. It’s about learning what’s important to each member of the team, eliminating faulty assumptions and working through misunderstandings that arise as a result of different communication styles.

This requires self-awareness and the ability to connect with people from different backgrounds, generations and values. We develop such skills through intentional effort, comprehensive tools and, most importantly, insightful experiences that allow for practice.

The most effective leaders are those who use effective behaviors (strengths) to build strong relationships within their team and broader networks. These leaders are positioned to take on greater responsibilities in the future and to, ultimately, succeed.

2) What Drives Your Most Engaged People?

The most engaged employees have a heightened sense of ownership.

They give meaning to their work by connecting their motives, values and personal sense of purpose with their work. In fact, they have such a strong sense of alignment that their daily tasks become an expression of who they are and what they care about most. As a result, they take initiative and stretch themselves by trying new ways of interacting with others to get the results they need.

This sense of ownership is nurtured when employees feel understood and valued. The key is using TotalSDI as the common language to identify and discuss what motivates employees and activates a deeper level of personal responsibility.

3) How Do Your People Interact to Achieve the Organization’s Goals?

Healthy cultures support new ideas and offer an environment where people can express themselves freely and without fear.

They invite opposing views and encourage dissenters to offer a better way, with each person’s voice and view honored through respectful and authentic conversation.

Building this healthy culture requires managers who have keen self-awareness and the interpersonal skills to communicate in ways that are both genuine and effective. They invite honest dialogue, while maintaining an appreciation for different communication styles. Effective communication occurs when open collaboration and respectful disagreement are embraced without anyone feeling threatened or under personal attack. Organizations filled with people who can do this have vibrant cultures that encourage great work.

4) How Do You Connect Workplace Behavior to Personal Motivations?

When people want to do what they have to do they become self-directed and accountable for key results.

Ninety of the top Fortune 100 use TotalSDI’s suite of assessments to create powerful and memorable learning experiences that address the interpersonal components of effective leadership, high employee engagement and healthy organizational culture. Whether it’s training, coaching or consulting, TotalSDI makes it easy to provide insights and apply those concepts in everyday situations.

Organizations need leaders who focus on developing efficient work processes (the what) and effective interpersonal processes (the how). Unfortunately, most leaders concentrate their time and energy on building work processes, while most problems and challenges arise from interpersonal processes.

The key is connecting the behavior to your own personal motivation (the why) — be it people, performance or process. Everyone needs to understand what is driving choices about how to behave and communicate, and how those choices and actions are perceived by others.


Suite of Assessments

Create Powerful Learning Experiences with TotalSDI

TotalSDI identifies intrinsic motives with eight in-depth assessments that target the priorities and values impacting behavior. TotalSDI’s interactive design creates a powerful learning environment for leaders and teams, as the learner’s own words and insights fuel the classroom dynamic with rich discussion that draw out performance-enhancing practices that stick.

The TSDI Suite of Assessments includes:

Strength Deployment Inventory

totalSDI_img03The Strength Deployment Inventory (SDI) digs into what is really important — people, performance and process — and how these priorities shape any given situation. The SDI highlights how people express the priorities in two conditions: when things are going well and when there is conflict or opposition.

But the SDI also goes further than the individual. It provides a Team SDI Triangle report, your results and the results of your teammates, so you can see where motives align, correspond and even conflict. This visual makes it easier for people to interpret and discuss the results, leading to greater understanding and stronger collaboration.

As you work through a team’s individual and group results, you will help them learn how to better relate to others, prevent unproductive conflict and improve their own performance.

Strengths Portrait

totalSDI_img02The next step is identifying people’s preferred behavioral strategies. The Strengths Portrait describes the strengths (behaviors) people most often use to reach their goals. The Portrait links to SDI results and motives, providing the most compelling learning and development opportunities. By combining SDI and Strengths Portrait results, you will help others gain an instant understanding of how they decide what is important and what is not. Learners in your session will see why others may have different priorities and learn to flex their communication styles and combine priorities when inevitable conflicts occur and maintain positive dialogue throughout.

Overdone Strengths Portrait

totalSDI_img04 The Overdone Strengths Portrait helps you identify how people’s individual strengths — when overdone or misapplied — might disrupt productivity and trigger conflict in the workplace. The Portrait gives you a tool to help people recognize and adjust these behaviors in order to collaborate more effectively and avoid the costs associated with overdoing or misapplying your strengths.

Feedback & Expectation Editions

The self-assessments are also available as Feedback Editions® and Expectations Editions®. These assessments help you guide conversations that explore interpersonal perceptions, prevent unnecessary conflict, and build stronger working relationships. Once you start working with the TotalSDI self-assessments, learners will ask you: “Shouldn’t I get my coworkers or boss to do these assessments on me?” You can say: “Yes, and while we’re looking at how others see you, we should also look at what they expect from you.”


Training and Development Options

Choose from a variety of individual assessments or a combination of a complementary suite of assessments as listed above.

  • Ÿ Individual Leadership Coaching
  • Ÿ Team Training
  • Organizational Development