Category: Blog Roll

The Magic of Rebranding a Company: Introducing Kadabra

Change is inevitable. Whether you are a leader or a company, growth is a much needed element–not only for survival, but for success and future growth. You may be familiar with SJ Leadership Coach’s dedication to helping people become leaders, and while the mission and the work haven’t changed, the company’s name has. Introducing Kadabra. Yes, you guessed it, the company rebranded.

With our merger with NextGen Orgs, it was the perfect time to rebrand and move forward as a new, different and combined organization. Kadabra doesn’t belong to just one person; it’s entirely new. It belongs to us.

Knowing Your Audience is Key to Survival

Rebranding–It’s bold. It’s risky. For Kadabra, it was time. This change is driven from a desire to be more transparent and intentional. Over the years of its existence, the company has transformed and expanded, naturally requiring an upgrade.

There comes a time when evaluating the progress of your organization is necessary. Sometimes it’s okay to stay the same and sometimes, it is time to change to more accurately portray the values and mission you represent. The essence of Kadabra goes beyond its enchanting name. It believes in the connection it has with the clients it serves and its desire to be inclusive.

Success is Driven by Purpose

But an organization is more than its name, it is its purpose. Kadabra is people driven and focused on creating results. In a world where instant gratification and how-to-tutorials have overly saturated the internet, Kadabra is still like no other leadership development company around.

A company’s mission or purpose is like the motor of a car. It is what keeps a vehicle moving. Kadara’s motor is the people it serves because that’s where we get our energy to continue to do the work. Kadabra is also a team of people that thrives on ensuring you evolve and reach your goals.

The Magic is in the Science

While the new name of the company is more than what appears, there is no denying there is some level of magic involved. We don’t deny that. In fact, we celebrate when it happens. But although it feels magical, our methods are based on science and rigorous research. Our so-called magical methods are, in reality, reliably repeatable.

We not only let clients peer behind the curtain, we give them a map of the territory. Our goal is to create an unprecedented surge of positive change, beginning in and around the leaders of every organization we serve.

We simply cannot reach our goal if we hold our cards so close to the vest that nobody else can learn how to play. It’s in our best interest to empower the leaders we work with to learn from us, to develop their skills and adapt their behaviors to be both successful and relatable, and then turn around and mentor those that are coming up behind them. That’s the ripple effect of positive change that Kadabra is committed to.

One of the best attributes of the organization strives for is the quality of service it provides to its clients. But although it feels magical, Kadabra’s methods are based on science and rigorous research. The only magic brewing at Kadabra is client success.

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Values Misalignment at Work: A Case Study

I left three Fortune 500 companies in my corporate career because of misalignments between my values and how the companies were operating. In two of the cases, what I was asked to do was unethical at best and very shady business practices. In one case, I was asked to do something illegal. I refused to sacrifice my values each time, choosing to leave each company in search of a more ethical place to work.

What I didn’t do was stand up to the unethical business practices.

I walked away and kept my story to myself (mostly). Which is why the story of Julia Bond, an assistant designer at Adidas, struck a deep chord in me.

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Big Changes in Big Leadership

With the nomination of Kamala Harris for Vice President of the United States, we heard an echoing rally cry from people of all gender identities, races and geographies. As the first Black woman and first Indian woman on a major presidential ticket, she is also known as an outspoken leader in the U.S. Senate.

At Kadabra, we couldn’t be more thrilled to see Harris on the Democratic ticket, because it’s a sign that our collective thinking around leadership is evolving. And while the tide may be turning, there’s still much work to do.

Unless people see leaders who look, sound and come from backgrounds similar to theirs in prominent leadership roles, they are much less likely to aspire to those roles. With Harris elevated to a place of high visibility and international leadership, so many more young people in the United States will see themselves as potential leaders someday, too.

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How to Have Brave Conversations

If ever there was a time for brave conversations, it is now. With all that’s happening in this country and the world, we can’t afford to shirk our responsibility for having brave conversations. At the same time, brave conversations take courage. We don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings. Moreover, nobody likes to be the bearer of bad news. We don’t always know what we need to say. 

But brave conversations are a necessary part of being a leader. They’re what keeps our teams functioning properly because having these conversations can help us to understand team members better and give them the space and courage to share their own insights.

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Where to Start Your Organization’s DEI Work

For organizations, committing to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) means playing the long game. It’s not enough to sponsor ad hoc initiatives—Band-Aids like new mentorship programs whenever issues arise; organizations must reframe DEI in the same way they have had to reframe their digital transformations. What used to be a nice-to-have has become a must-have for future sustainability.

But where do you start your DEI work? DEI is first and foremost an outcome of personal development work and strategic decision making at scale, supported over a prolonged period of time. This, unfortunately, is where we see a disconnect in most organizations.

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Emotional Intelligence: The #1 Skill Needed by Leaders

Now more than ever, emotional intelligence is the most important skill a leader can learn. And yes, anyone can learn how to be more emotionally intelligent. People call emotional intelligence a soft skill, but we consider it an essential skill.

The so-called soft skills are the prime differentiator between great leaders and mediocre ones in the coming years. Senior leaders are aware of this, and they lament the lack of proficiency they see in candidates. In a recent LinkedIn study, 89% of executives reported that it’s difficult to find people with soft skills. And virtually every soft skill—from conflict management to teamwork, communication skills to problem solving—is related to emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence is the ability to be aware of, manage and express one’s own emotions. It’s also the ability to handle interpersonal relationships with wisdom and empathy. There are four aspects of emotional intelligence, also known as EQ. They are: self-awareness, self-management, other/social awareness, and relationship management.

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DEI Band-Aid: How to Avoid it

Making swift progress to achieve greater diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) is not a feel-good campaign—it’s hard, necessary work. I worry that some leaders consider DEI to be just another type of management fad, a Band-Aid,  popular today but like most trends, one that won’t last. If I drag my feet long enough and/or throw some money at it in the form of a few initiatives, we’ll be all set until the next big thing rolls around, right?

Wrong! DEI isn’t about pursuing initiatives for the sake of appeasing stakeholders or appearing more virtuous to your customers. Becoming an inclusive organization doesn’t happen just because you say you are one or even because inclusivity is one of your core values. Inclusivity manifests when it becomes part of leaders’ and organizations’ entire approach to the way they run their businesses. In other words, it’s an outcome, not an initiative.

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How to Build & Show Resilience as a Leader

Leaders don’t need to be resilient only in times of crisis; they need this every day. Consider that most of us experience disappointment and suffer failures every single day, in addition to coping with the history-making and world shaping events going on around us. For example, when:

  • The traffic light that turns yellow just as you approach it and you are already late for an appointment
  • Or the store doesn’t have an item in your size.
  • Or when you forget to hit “send” on that email and miss a deadline.

These are minor hiccups in the grand scheme of things. What leaders (and their team members) can often do better is apply the same coping skills we use to deal with the little things to bigger disappointments and failures.

You can begin to do this by noticing first what exactly you are thinking about a big disappointment and then redirecting those thoughts toward a growth mindset and productive actions.

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Get Better as a Leader Based on What You’re Doing NOW

“During a time like this, we’ll either get better as a result of what we choose to do as teams and organizations, or we’ll be diminished for what we fail to do.” – Patrick Lencioni

This quote rings incredibly true for so many of us working to keep our organizations afloat, both amid COVID-19 and in the wake of the terrible injustice that we witnessed so recently in Minnesota and Georgia, among other places. What we do in a time of crisis, in a time when everything feels so difficult–how we show up in business and in life–will profoundly impact where we are three months, six months, a year from now.

What we don’t want is for this cycle to repeat itself, again, 100 years later, as it already has.

We must take action.

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Consistency in Leadership Even in an Inconsistent Environment

There’s a limit to consistency in business today. Whether it’s because the markets are swinging wildly, the fate of the organization is uncertain or changes in technology mean the organization is shifting…change is in the air.

It’s the leader’s responsibility to balance consistency in being both adaptive and responsive in a crisis, making decisions and communicating information as needed. Consistency, or a lack thereof, is just one of the barriers to organizational change.

What matters most is looking at all the factors involved and making changes that are in the best interests of team members and the organization, while keeping an eye on the checkpoints and benchmarks that ensure business continuity.

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