How AHRC utilized Ariel’s Presence Essentials to turn leadership theory into powerful practice.
As a leading global hospitality supplier, the family-owned American Hotel Register Company (AHRC) provides a wide range of products and services to hotels, the military, healthcare organizations, academic institutions, and others in over 170 countries. Their services include full project management services and guidance on industry trends and strategic direction.
As part of their leadership development efforts, the company identifies associates with high potential to participate in training programs designed to develop their leadership skills. AHRC offers high-potential programs for three cohorts of associates:
- Associates seeking to become managers
- Supervisors/managers seeking to advance to the next level
- Director-level associates seeking to advance to the next level
The professional development programs, which run for six to nine months and include 12 to 16 associates, combine virtual classroom sessions, assignments on leadership development, and assessments. Each cohort meets every month for three hours.
One of the company’s goals is to help high-potential associates develop presence. While AHRC covered presence in its new-hire training and also offered a workshop on the topic, the skills and behaviors of presence still posed a challenge for some leaders. So, the company sought a way to integrate presence into its leadership development programs.
AHRC’s organizational development leader contacted Ariel and partner Pearson after viewing a presentation on Presence Essentials. This immersive, comprehensive online learning experience enables organizations to develop the skills of presence in a scalable way through six modules: Setting the Stage, Learning Your Part, Rehearsal, Scene Selection, Hitting Your Mark, and Leaderboard.
AHRC agreed that presence was a smart idea.
What they needed help with was putting theory into practice.
Specifically, the AHRC team needed help with:
- Building confidence in daily interactions and public speaking
- Integrating presence practices into their high-potential leadership programs
- Increasing awareness and empathy in their leaders
AHRC was attracted to the fact that Presence Essentials was comprehensive, flexible, and had accountability built into the learning experience. So, they agreed to a 6-month pilot program with 13 participants, integrating Presence Essentials into its upcoming leadership development program for the cohort consisting of managers seeking to advance to the next level.
The participants were required to work toward completion of one of the missions in the Rehearsal section of Presence Essentials. Missions are activities involving self-reflection that focus on an element of presence. In their monthly meetings, the participants discussed the skills they were learning and their experiences in working on their mission. In the final meeting of the program, they demonstrated the output of their Presence Essentials journey to members of the senior leadership team.
AHRC recognized that Presence Essentials was flexible, insightful,
and comprehensive – but at the same time, incredibly EASY.
American Hotel was pleased with the implementation of Presence Essentials. The company’s strong learning culture, as well as the enthusiastic executive sponsorship of the leadership team, greatly contributed to the training’s success. The associates, who had applied to the high-potential program, were also highly motivated to participate in the training.
Ultimately, they learned:
- How to reduce multitasking to achieve better engagement
- The subtleties of knowing and relating to their audiences
- Increased confidence in speaking and articulating points of view
- The value of stepping outside their comfort zones
Best of all, the entire company now has a foundational understanding of presence, which makes conveying and practicing the concepts easier, and will lead to more sustainable results. With some guidance from Pearson and The Ariel Group, AHRC’s next generation of leaders was really checked in.
“Presence embodies many traits—from projecting a confident and professional image amongst peers to having deep self-awareness and the capacity for empathy in working alongside others. Especially in our business, growing the values of presence in our associates is paramount to our success as an organization.” – Angela Korompilas, President & CEO, AHRC
[Presence Essentials] has made me better at what I do and thus made it more enjoyable. I have a fantastic relationship with my team, and I believe it’s due to the knowledge I gained from the course.”
– District Sales Manager, AHRC
Results of a survey conducted after the 13 participants completed the online learning experience showed the following:
- 100% of the participants either “agreed” or “strongly agreed” that they would immediately be able to apply what they had learned when presenting to a group.
- 100% either “agreed” or “strongly agreed” that they would immediately be able to apply what they had learned in one-to-one interactions.
- 84.6% either “agreed” or “strongly agreed” that the experience was relevant to their career advancement.
- 92.3% either “agreed” or “strongly agreed” that the experience was relevant to the work challenges they face.