Atlantis has become the benchmark for the Bahamas and much of the Caribbean. Any Bahamian will tell you that if you want the best training and the best in leadership development in the Bahamas, you have to go to Atlantis. We have gone to the international market to find the best practices and the best consultants to help us build those best practices in a way that works for us.
There are a lot of companies in the Bahamas and the Caribbean that are interested in what we are doing in the Atlantis University. They may not have the way to build these training capabilities in-house for themselves. We are increasingly offering training to these other companies.
We have been fortunate to have a top management team that recognizes that if you want the business to do 'this,' then the culture has to do 'this.' And there has to be a thoughtful plan that is refined as you learn what works and what doesn't in your situation. All the things that need to occur outside of the training and the training itself needs to be funded by the organization. And top management needs to model what they want their mangers to do—they need to 'walk the talk.' There are no quick fixes and this is hard for some leaders of other companies to realize or accept. We have been very fortunate.
Dr. Myszkowski: What advice or 'point outs' would you give to others who are beginning a similar journey?
Beverly: First of all you have to realize that attempting culture change is not a destination—it is a journey. There are no quick fixes and we had to continually test what would work at Atlantis. Everybody is different. Be prepared to go down some dead ends. We are still on that journey and we don't expect that coaching will really be completely institutionalized in our culture for at least three to five years from now, at the earliest.
Second, the OD consultants at AU had to build an effective partnership with our internal customers and clients. We needed to demonstrate that we understood what the business needs were. Then we presented to the senior executives what their options were to meet those needs and discussed with them on the pros and cons and implications of different courses of action. And very importantly, we were committed to measuring impact and results as much as the operators were. And finally, we had accountability to work with them in partnership
to make it work. Senior management ownership and commitment to the culture change, the Atlantis University curriculum, and this workshop in particular, were critical.
The third point is that we had to create a foundation which allowed our managers and supervisors to be ready to accept and adopt the training. There were a number of things we did to increase their readiness to engage in this learning.
And finally, once we had concluded that the training would create business value for us, we had to be willing to make the investment and budget enough money. This was not inexpensive. But the investment was worth it. Don't try to do this 'on the cheap.'
A lot of thought and careful consideration guided us on this journey. Unlike our famous water slide, this was not a 'leap of faith.'
Beverly Saunders is the Vice President, Organization Development and Training for Atlantis, Paradise Island. Bahamas. Beverly had extensive experience in training and organization development in the U.S. before joining Atlantis.
Beverly can be reached at: Beverly.firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Gary Myszkowski is a Lore Certified Independent Executive Coach and a Business Development and Engagement Director for Lore with over twenty years of experience. He served as the base trainer for all of the Atlantis Effective Coaching Workshops in partnership with other senior Lore faculty and executive coaches.
Gary is based in Chicago. He can be reached at (847) 420-2420 or at email@example.com