Leadership, Learning, and Managing in the Era of Zoom I Natalie Loeb, Loeb Leadership Development

In episode five of Season One, Calvert and Farone spoke with Natalie Loeb, founder and CEO of Loeb Leadership Development, a certified woman-owned business that she runs with her husband, Gordon Loeb.

Loeb revealed that, by combining methods of remote and virtual learning, companies can make incredible inroads in training better managers and leaders. Prior to the pandemic, Loeb Leadership recognized the direction that learning and development within professional services firms was headed, and quickly crafted a strategy to move in a more innovative direction. Was it risky? Yes. Was it worth it? You bet.

By combining online platforms with group training and adding one-on-one coaching, Loeb Leadership turned the idea of management training on its head. Loeb spoke about managing remote teams as well as creating diverse and inclusive workforces; she also described some of the state-of-the-art business tools available to help diagnose and solve management issues. As Loeb pointed out, there are several solutions to these issues, but the most important element to drive change is having authentic, involved commitment from leaders.

Loeb further described the essential elements for professional services firms that want to create a culture that helps build leaders and continuously reinforces a diverse workforce: “You need to ask, ‘What kind of culture do you intend to build? What does that mean, and what is the responsibility of the leadership? What are the behaviors that are going to model it?’ Hold yourself accountable to that, and then watch what happens.”

Loeb shared three key points on communication and building a supportive culture within a firm:

  • Video conference fatigue is a very real thing. We need to recognize other ways to connect (e.g., phone calls or socially distanced outdoor walks). Whatever the ultimate solution, we need to seek out creative communication modalities.
  • Some team members may not feel comfortable talking over Zoom or Microsoft Teams, so it’s important to have other forums. Loeb shared her own experience with establishing office hours, a time when any member of her team can just visit for some one-on-one time with her.
  • Culture-building isn’t something that starts and stops with a mission statement. It must include intentional direction that the leadership recognizes as important. It takes a lot of consistent work and determination to build and maintain a healthy culture.