In these times of rapid change, our ability to identify business needs, solve our clients' problems and Act with Certainty are critical to a client’s overall satisfaction. These truths shaped the design of the 2018 Edelman Leadership Academy.

This year, 70 of our top leaders from 32 offices around the world gathered in Montréal to participate in a unique, leader-led coaching experience. More than 30 Edelman executives and internal experts conducted small cohorts in learning structured around three pillars of CourageCollaboration and Operational Excellence, guided by a thematic construct of Unlocking Value for Clients.

Our design challenged our participants with key client value questions:

  • Courage – Are we pushing our clients and ourselves out of our comfort zones and beyond the “status quo?”  Are we asking the right questions?  
  • Collaboration – How are we collaborating internally and externally? Are we creating and inspiring integrated teams?  
  • Operational Excellence – How well are we leading the client, the work and our people? Are we creating a seamless experience?

Finding the perfect balance of courage, collaboration and operational excellence can be achieved by challenging clients to move beyond the norm, asking “tough questions,” bringing them the right solutions that address the client problem and operating with relentless client-centricity without regard to traditional team, geographical or territorial boundaries.

To achieve these values and provide the best work for your clients, start internally. Investing in people development and creating peer-to-peer and leader-to-leader connections is vital to any good operation and an employer advantage to keep an organization moving toward its goals – something Edelman prides itself on by setting aside three full days to focus on building skills, bringing in leaders to mentor, coach and challenge our employees through hands-on learning and application.

Global Chief Talent Officer Marie-Claire Barker reinforces the sentiment that learning and development is critical in any workforce.

“Unless we are growing, adapting and being flexible with a learning and development strategy, we’re going to get left behind. It’s about making sure that whatever we’re putting in place, the conversations we’re having, the growth strategies we’re putting in front of [clients] is actually helping them achieve [their goals,]” Barker says.

Over the course of three days, the participants unlocked client challenges and opportunities through hands-on learning sessions culminating in a fast-paced leadership communication simulation designed to develop our next level leaders in the vital areas of leading with courage, building high-performing integrated teams and ensuring impact through operational excellence. Each delegate left the Academy with a personalized learning plan and the tools to coach and develop others back in their local offices.

“For me, it’s about being a student of our clients’ business, a student of our business, and getting to know each other’s colleagues to understand the richness of those around us and what they can deliver to a client,” Matt Harrington, Global Chief Operating Officer says. “[Our employees have] the support of all of us at Edelman to be that strategic partner to their clients.”

Matthew Black is the EVP, Global Lead, Learning & Development.