Abilitie and Western Digital Win Silver for “Best Use of Blended Learning”  


We at Abilitie are excited to announce that we have earned a coveted Brandon Hall Group silver medal for excellence in the Best Use of Blended Learning category in partnership with Western Digital.

The winning program, Leading@WDC, is a hallmark example of what a creative partnership between committed organizations can create. We are honored that the hard work shared between Western Digital and our team at Abilitie has continued to pay off.

Read more about the award-winning program here.

“Excellence Award winners symbolize the power and impact that Human Capital Management practices can have on a business or on any organization,” said Rachel Cooke, COO of Brandon Hall Group and head of the awards program.

Award entries were evaluated by a panel of veteran, independent senior industry experts, Brandon Hall Group analysts and executives based upon the following criteria: fit the need, design of the program, functionality, innovation, and overall measurable benefits. 

We see this award as especially exciting, as it highlights one of the often forgotten benefits of a comprehensive training and development program—learning together leads to a strong company culture. As one leader of an acquired team noted, “I’ve never felt more welcome than when I came to this program.”

Participants of this blended learning program forged strong networks with one another and built trust. This trust is essential, and we at Abilitie believe that engaging, challenging, and rewarding learning programs are among the best ways to build it.


Abilitie Breaks Through!

As summer quickly came to an end for 20 rising eleventh-grade students, Abilitie had the opportunity to interact with engaged, hard working, and bright young minds in their Professional Experiences Institute through Breakthrough Central Texas. 

Breakthrough builds a path through college, beginning in middle school, for students from low-income communities who will become the first in their families to earn a college degree. The program combines individualized, long-term case management with extended learning time for students who statistics say will not enroll in or graduate from college without significant support. 

The Abilitie team served on a panel to observe and listen to student's presentations about key learnings from their summer. Members of the panel were given the opportunity to deliver presentation feedback, ask questions and continue conversations with the students around their future development goals. 

Abilitie holds a vision to change the way people learn and our team was ecstatic to work with an organization who fosters learning in new and innovative ways for our younger generation! 


Two Tactics to Train Managers for Clarity in Leadership

Clarity in leadership is an essential aspect of modern management. It is also not something that comes naturally to everyone—luckily, it is something that can be learned! With enough work and a careful approach, anyone can improve their ability to manage with clarity.

Why it Matters

Communicating clearly with the people you manage should be a priority. Not only is there the risk that tasks will be completed incorrectly or that team members will not be aligned, but unclear management will spread into other important aspects of company culture. In fact, the ability to foster trust in a team is deeply tied to clarity in leadership.

According to Dr. Paul J. Zak, “vague or impossible goals cause people to give up before they even start.” This is in contrast to a manager who has been trained effectively in clear communication and is able to inspire her direct reports by outlining audacious goals in terms that actually increase engagement. When a challenge is well explained and the path to success is outlined vividly, there is a net gain in engagement, even if the task is difficult.

Make Challenges Specific

When teaching managers how to better communicate with their teams, an easy improvement we all can make is to be specific when we set goals. This specificity is proven to increase manager effectiveness.

Action: Rather than tasking a team with “improving sales,” task a team with engaging with ten more leads a week than they currently do.

Model Emotional Transparency

For many managers, it can be difficult to adopt emotional transparency as good practice. This isn’t to suggest that a manager needs to unload all of their emotional baggage on their team (this would probably confuse them more than anything!), but there is value in building a team culture in which openness is not just accepted but expected.

Action: Try starting team meetings with a short “State of Being” discussion. Model openness by sharing some of what is happening in your non-work life and encourage that others share as well.

It's Only the Beginning

There are many more ways to incorporate clarity into your management training offerings, but these are two solid first steps. By integrating these two tactics, team engagement will rise and team productivity will follow.

Three Elements of Motivational Speech

Motivating a workforce is one of the most persistent challenges that managers face. Even at the most mission-driven companies, it can be hard to bring people together to put their energy toward a common goal.

According to research conducted by husband and wife team, Jacqueline and Milton Mayfield, there are three key elements that must be balanced in order to achieve this group motivation.

The first, “direction giving,” is an essential tool for any communicator. In the case of a motivational speech, this can take the form of a challenge. Rather than encouraging your team to “increase sales,” one might lay out a task: “Call 20 potential clients.” This challenge is specific and actionable. It’s a lot easier to get aligned and motivated for a task that has already been outlined than for a task that is theoretical.  

“Emotional acknowledgement” is an element of motivational speaking that is familiar to most managers, but can be easy to neglect when deadlines are looming. That being said, this element is as easy to add as saying (and genuinely believing!), “I understand this is not easy, but we are in it together.”

Last and certainly not least is “meaning-making language.” This is often the missing ingredient when managers communicate with their teams. While we can always pull up our company website and read off the mission statement, it is worthwhile for you to articulate to your team the “Why?” of your organization. Think of it as a rejuvenating practice--you have a captive audience, remind them why they actually want to be achieving!

Utilizing these elements in tandem can be difficult. Speaking in terms of big picture “meaning-making” can make it easy to breeze over the more personal “emotional acknowledgment.” Focusing on “direction giving” can minimize the “meaning-making” you want to accomplish. It takes practice and determination to learn how to be a good manager, but with an intentional approach to development, it is possible!

Abilitie at NewCoAtx: Management Challenge Demo

We are excited to share that Abilitie will be one of the presenting host companies at this year’s NewCoAtx Conference. 

NewCoAtx is bringing together companies from a wide variety of industries with the common quality of driving positive change in our communities.

At our session, we are excited to share with you our newest simulation, Management Challenge, in which participants drive organizational change at the “people level”. We hope you will come visit us on June 21 at 4:00pm in the Capital Factory 16th Floor Classroom. 

By attending and taking part in our demo, you will encounter challenging scenarios (a new hire who needs extra coaching, an employee who doesn’t want a promotion, a team that needs just a little more motivation) and must manage your way to a profitable quarter and a better developed workforce. Along the way, our facilitator will coach participants through debriefs to translate the game experience into tangible skills. We’re always working for that “Aha!” moment.  

As a special gift to our local Abilitie community, we’re offering discounted tickets to come join us at our NewCo demo presentation (as well as the many other excellent presenters). Simply use the code ABILITPC when checking out here.

Thank you for your involvement with Abilitie. With every new relationship we build and old relationship we maintain, we believe we are elevating and refining learning opportunities in the workplace. See you next week!

Abilitie Flies

Abilitie staff took a short break from work today to celebrate one of our team members—Taylor Taliaferro is going to medical school!

In honor of Taylor's accomplishment and to celebrate all the great work she's done here at Abilitie, we went to iFLY Indoor Skydiving in North Austin to get our adrenaline pumping before Taylor hits the books. 

We're sad to see Taylor go, but know that she is going to make us proud in medical school and beyond.

One thing is certain: the Abilitie team is going to have to work double-time to bring as much energy and enthusiasm into the day-to-day without Taylor around. Luckily, we think she'll still visit. 

Abilitie is pleased to announce we've won a coveted EFMD Excellence in Practice Gold Award in Executive Development. The EFMD Excellence in Practice Awards (EIP) recognize outstanding case studies describing effective and impactful Leadership and Development interventions between partner organizations. Abilitie partnered with Nokia and Complex Adaptive Leadership to develop this award-winning program. Abilitie CEO, Bjorn Billhardt remarked:

"We at Abilitie are excited to see our work in Executive Development recognized beyond the borders of the United States. This prestigious award is a testament to the talents and hard work of Abilitie's European colleagues led by Nathan Kracklauer. As we expand our global footprint, we are excited to be recognized for our work in Europe."

The EIP Awards were launched in 2007 and are now in their 11th year. Since the launch of the Awards, over 250 cases have been submitted for review. An international judging panel of representatives from EFMD, companies, business schools, and alternative providers reviews the case studies submitted for the EIP Awards.

We are proud to have earned the Gold Award from EFMD and look forward to growing more "Gold Level" partnerships around the globe.

Did you miss our Motivators in the Workplace Webinar? Watch it now!


Did you miss our webinar on motivators in the workplace yesterday? You can watch the full webinar here or, if you're short on time and want to watch the highlights from the webinar you can do so here! A huge thank you to our amazing partner and facilitator, Carol Shuherk for sharing her expertise on how to identify and engage your employees' motivators. After watching the recording, you will be able to:

  • Describe the three intrinsic motivators of autonomy, mastery, and connectedness.
  • Identify practical ways to use these motivators in the workplace to better coach to peak performance.

Webinar: Motivators in the Workplace

What are the innate needs that all humans share - no matter their age, gender, culture, or environment? Join us on May 24th from 12 - 12:45 PM CDT as management expert Dr. Carol Shuherk discusses the three motivators of autonomy, mastery, and connectedness and shares practical ways to use these top motivators in the workplace to better coach to peak performance. This webinar will provide tools and tips on how to create and fine tune an optimal environment for each of your employees with the motivators at the core.

Abilitie Client Takes the Stage at this Year's Learning, Development and Talent Executive Forum

Abilitie is attending this year's Learning, Development and Talent Executive Forum hosted by Richmond Events. This conference provides a unique platform for senior Learning and Development professionals to access new ideas, solutions, and thought-leaders that hopefully, help move their organizations forward. 

Keynote and seminar sessions offer insights to help attendees develop and execute excellent learning strategies. Abilitie client and partner, David Metzger, is leading an interactive workshop on Appian's journey to leadership and management development. For those of you in attendance, we look forward to meeting you there and hope you garner fresh insights, make great connections, and learn some innovative ways to make an impact in your organizations.

Welcome to Abilitie, Enspire's new brand for our industry-leading leadership development programs.