How to Plan A Successful Lunch and Learn Program

Lunch and Learn Program

A lunch and learn is a fun and beneficial combination of a learning and social event. It helps businesses to maximize professional development, build skills and engage in a little laidback team building too. They are short, training-focused programs that can take place during your attendees’ lunch break, enabling them to enjoy a meal and pick up new information and skills before returning to their desks to continue their work. How should a business go about planning and hosting a lunch and learn? Here are five steps to get your first lunch and learn underway.

Create Surveys to Decide on the Topic

The first step is to decide on a good topic. First, find out what your employees feel they need to learn more about. Ask for feedback – even better, send out a survey asking the team what kinds of topics they would like to learn about. Decide what you want to achieve as a team. You can focus on team development or business goals or even life skills. Good food will always act as an incentive and the point is for the team to acquire real skills and knowledge that will benefit them in doing their work. 

Keep the Discussion Open

Both prior to and during the lunch and learn, be sure to foster an atmosphere of open discussion and collaboration. Fostering this kind of open atmosphere will help staff members to engage with the subject matter and ensure that the learning material sinks in and makes a positive difference in work performance.

Find A Good Presenter

Aside from good food, a lunch and learn should also feature an engaging, knowledgeable speaker who can get the information across in an entertaining way. Remember that people are giving up their lunch break to attend the session, so make it worthwhile. A dynamic and engaging speaker, together with a good spread, will help ensure that staff members see the session as time well spent and thus make the best of what they learn. 

Food Is A Priority Too

Speaking of food, be sure to cater well and offer your staff something enticing. Along with the survey on the subject matter, ask everyone about their dietary preferences and then splash out a little on a great spread that will make team members glad they passed on that sandwich they could have brought from home or the takeout they would normally buy.

Choose An Appropriate Frequency

How often should you host a lunch and learn? That depends on you and your goals. It could be something you need to do on a quarterly basis, once a month or once a week. It depends on what needs to be taught, how much information there is to cover, your budget, and your business objectives. Choose the frequency that is most appropriate to your training strategy. 

Corporate Class Inc. is a global authority in leadership coaching and empowerment. We strive to develop exceptional leaders and assist organizations in developing effective leadership approaches. Based in Toronto, and with a worldwide presence, we have helped to nurture mindful leaders since 1984. Contact us to find out how we can help you host an enjoyable and edifying lunch and learn.

Social Selling: A Must for Every Salesperson

Social Selling

If you think that social selling is just a buzzword, you need to think again. We all know how big social media is and what a central place it holds in so many people’s daily lives. Thanks to this unparalleled reach, social media provides a platform on which a business could increase its leads and ROI exponentially. Why is social selling so effective – and why should sales teams invest more time in mastering it, taking full advantage of it? Here are four reasons we think are pretty compelling.

You Can Easily Pinpoint Your Target Audience

Obviously, any effective marketing campaign requires you to identify your target audience as accurately as possible and then target that audience directly. However, this is not always so easy. Social selling makes it a considerably more achievable task. It offers you the opportunity to get to know your prospects on a more personal level and then identify their needs, challenges, and issues. You can engage with all of your audience members on a regular basis, getting feedback and useful information about their preferences and the trends prevailing among them. It is difficult, if not impossible, to do all this with traditional marketing.

Real Relationships Are Formed

Social selling enables you to connect with new and existing customers on social media, where they’re already engaged in ongoing conversations. Social listening tools give you the power to go a step further and identify who are already talking about and to your business and your industry. You can reach out to an audience that is already interested in what you are selling, offering useful, authentic information, and building trust and loyalty.

Take Advantage of Warm Introductions

Social media networking provides the opportunity for warm introductions. A warm introduction is when a mutual connection introduces you to a sale prospect, providing recommendations and testimonials, linking you directly to a potential new customer, and priming them to buy your services and products. You can gain a new client’s trust by association.

Everyone Cares About Social Media, You Should Too

Even if you are not terribly interested in social media, you can rest assured that a large portion of your audience, and many of your competitors, most certainly are. Your customers and prospects are, most likely, already buying on social media. Other brands are active on social media, picking up leads that you could be gathering for yourself. You really cannot afford to ignore social selling if you want to remain competitive.

Corporate Class Inc. is a global authority in leadership coaching and empowerment. We strive to develop exceptional leaders and assist organizations in developing effective leadership approaches. Based in Toronto, and with a worldwide presence, we have helped to nurture mindful leaders since 1984. Contact us to find out how our training and consultation can help you master social selling.

Why Mental Fitness Is Important in The Workplace

Why mental fitness is important in the workplace

No leader or management team can ever afford to ignore or neglect the mental health of their workforce. Mental health is every bit as important as physical health. If a workforce is not thinking, feeling, or performing at its best, distress, exhaustion and other negative symptoms may result. When these unfortunate results occur, it is bad news, not only for those who suffer from them, but for the business as a whole. Fostering good mental fitness is, therefore, not only a humanitarian good that companies can grant to their employees, but a strategic investment in future prosperity.


Poor mental health can have a disastrous effect on output and productivity. It is associated with additional absenteeism, presenteeism, and lost productivity. Employees with good mental health miss fewer work days, and are much more likely to be rated as top performers and engage more deeply in their work than people struggling with their mental health. Staff who suffer from poor mental health have difficulty concentrating, take longer to perform tasks, experience difficulty reasoning and making decisions, put off challenging work, and have difficulty juggling tasks. All of this translates to reduced quality and quantity of output.  

Project Management

When one or more team members are slowed down by poor mental health, the entire team suffers. In addition, it takes a toll on supervisors and managers. The potential for interpersonal conflicts, tension and generalized unproductive behavior tends to increase. Management finds itself having to neutralize these potential issues, while also struggling to find ways to maintain productivity. 


Workers who are mentally fit are inclined to be more satisfied with their jobs, and thus less likely to leave of their own accord. Fostering mental fitness is, therefore, a great way to reduce staff turnover and nurture a committed and invested team.

Coaching for Mental Fitness

Thriving employees who enjoy good mental health are more productive, more satisfied, and less likely to leave voluntarily. They recover more quickly from setbacks, are more engaged in their work, and more creative. All of this reflects increased productivity and a robust bottom line – so, how do employers get their staff to this sought-after position? Professional productivity coaches can certainly help. Training mental fitness involves fostering a proactive approach to life and work. Staff are taught to recognize and process their negative emotions before they become habitual. They are also shown useful reframing exercises that help them view situations differently and take a solutions-centered approach. Mindful practices are also central to good mental fitness in the workplace. 

Corporate Class Inc. is a global authority in leadership coaching and empowerment. We strive to develop exceptional leaders and to assist organizations in developing effective leadership approaches. Based in Toronto, and with a worldwide presence, we have helped to nurture mindful leaders since 1984. Contact us to find out how our training and consultation can help you promote mental fitness in your workplace.

How does compassion help in leadership?

Better leadership starts with compassion

What would you say are the key traits of effective leadership? Focus, the ability to motivate, perseverance – these are all important, but they tend to focus on tasks rather than people. Great leadership comes from the realization that it is your people, not your products, that are most important to your organization. The key trait when it comes to people-oriented leadership is compassion. Leaders haven’t always understood the connection between compassion and leadership, but it really is central to an organization’s success, especially in uncertain times.

Not only is it important to be compassionate yourself, and to treat your team members with compassion. You need to encourage a culture of compassion among your team as well. Compassion should be one of the hallmarks of your organization’s internal and external connections, alongside gratitude and pride.

Cultivating compassion in your team

Gratitude, pride and compassion are not just HR watchwords. Cultivating these three interlocking emotional traits will always have a positive effect on your business outcomes too. Innovation and achievement are team efforts, and all teams that recognize and nurture the emotional needs of their members will do better in the long run. Each team member is hired for their specific set of skills, expertise and experience, but these must be combined through active cooperation in order to reach the best results. In turn, effective cooperation comes about through strong social bonds. These bonds can only be created and developed through compassionate communication among your team members, a sense of shared gratitude for the organization’s resources, goals and incentives, and a strong bond of mutual pride in the outcomes. Although the unifying emotions of gratitude, pride and compassion must permeate the team as a whole, it is up to the leaders to initiate them and ensure that they are instilled in each member and the collective. 

Traditional motivational tactics have often involved a combination of discipline and incentive. “Just keep your head down and do the work, and you will each see rewards in the end.” While this approach does yield limited success, it is no substitute for a team that is self-driven, bonded by a sense of compassion for one another, and united in shared gratitude and pride for their organization and their places in it. Simple discipline has a tendency to isolate, while gratitude, compassion and pride cause people to behave in more supportive and mutually encouraging ways. As a result, leaders who encourage pride, gratitude and compassion are sure to have happier, more motivated teams, and will experience increased productivity and innovation as a result. Compassion, in particular, builds dedication. People who work in conditions characterized by trust, acceptance and social cohesion, demonstrate heightened engagement, better performance, higher energy levels, lower absenteeism and increased work satisfaction. 

Compassion, gratitude and pride motivate individuals and teams to cooperate and invest in themselves, their colleagues, their organizations and products. They encourage each team member to appreciate their part in the team and the process, and thus to strengthen their commitment to the organization’s goals. Individuals who experience compassion from their colleagues and leaders, and who respond in kind, as well as feeling proud of their contribution to communal achievements, are sure to be happier and more productive team members.

Corporate Class Inc. is a global authority in leadership coaching and empowerment. We strive to develop exceptional leaders and to assist organizations in developing effective leadership approaches. Based in Toronto, and with a worldwide presence, we have helped to nurture mindful leaders since 1984. Contact us for more information on the connections between compassion and leadership, and how to develop mindful, empathic leadership practices.

4 Tips on How to Lead with Compassion

4 tips to lead with compassion

We all want to be enthusiastic and positive leaders, ones who inspire our team members to contribute and excel. We want to foster teams that thrive and that seem to generate their own abundant energy. We want to be leaders who connect with our team members, identify their strengths and weaknesses and help them work with both. How do we foster that ability to connect? Here are four steps to help you lead with compassion.

Embrace self-awareness and self-compassion

Success as a leader starts with you – how you treat and understand yourself. Your step, therefore, is to accept your own feelings and reactions. Be compassionate with yourself as you assess your own responses and your perceived strengths and weaknesses. How much do you expect of yourself? How do you respond to yourself when something goes wrong, or when a deadline is looming, and you need to push yourself through an 80-hour week to achieve it? Be kind to yourself. Practise discipline by all means, but also know when to take your foot off the gas, and even give yourself some acknowledgement and rewards.

Develop a gratitude practice

Never underestimate the power of gratitude. It has genuine, measurable positive effects on your mental health. Too many people – leaders among them – focus on problems, faults, shortfalls and crises. Their approach to daily tasks and to leadership will reflect this focus. A negative focus will not foster a compassionate and success-driven approach. Choose to cultivate gratitude instead, and let this drive your approach both to the daily routine and unforeseen crises. This will require you to take a step back from your busy schedule for just a few minutes each day. Just take a moment to pause and reflect on what makes you feel grateful. This helps clear your mind of distractions, allowing you to focus more clearly on the present and uncover hidden opportunities. Once you have mastered this approach, you can easily share it with your team members – it is amazing how contagious feelings of gratitude and contentment can be.

Practice and hone emotional intelligence

Business is never just business. While it is important to behave professionally, doing so does not require repressing your emotions for the duration of the working day. On the contrary, you and your team should be encouraged to bring your emotions to the workplace and express them in an adult manner, while also honing your ability to listen to, and understand the emotions of others. Encourage open-mindedness and the willingness to share.

Embrace curiosity, open-mindedness and innovation

Being a leader does not mean that you must come up with all the ideas, nor does it mean that everyone needs to think as you do. On the contrary, diversity of thought is crucial to the success of any enterprise. You must always be curious about new ways to approach your work. You should always ask your team members to contribute their thoughts on the subject and show a willingness to adopt their ideas if they prove tenable and constructive. Encourage everyone to share this approach, sharing ideas openly and actively seeking and discussing ways to innovate, to reach goals more efficiently, and produce better outcomes. This fosters an environment of collaboration in which each team member feels that they have a part to play, and that their contributions are appreciated. It also lays a strong foundation for growth and innovation, helping your business move forward into an uncertain and fast-moving future.

Corporate Class Inc. is a global authority in leadership coaching and empowerment. We strive to develop exceptional leaders and to assist organizations in developing effective leadership approaches. Based in Toronto, and with a worldwide presence, we have helped to nurture mindful leaders since 1984. Contact us for more information on how to develop mindful leadership and lead with compassion.

Cultivating compassionate leadership during the pandemic

Cultivating compassionate leadership during the pandemic

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic reach further into our daily lives than many of us understand or are prepared to admit. It is not simply a matter of changing the way we do business every day, or the way we interact with our colleagues and clients. These are simply the most obvious, external consequences of the crisis. It has affected each of us on a deeper level, with feelings of fear and uncertainty affecting our view of the future. Managing a team in this environment, moving companies forward through the pandemic, requires compassionate leadership.  

The psychological cost of Covid-19 

A crisis on the scale of the COVID-19 pandemic triggers a complex range of psychological responses, including feelings of distress, a general increase in negative affect and heightened sensitivity to emotional stimuli. Under these conditions, people look around for a place of safety – familiar people and situations that can help ease their feelings of fear and hopelessness. The struggle to adjust to such drastic changes in our daily environment can trigger feelings of grief, shock, anger, denial and depression. 

It is in these circumstances that strong, mindful leaders really come to the forefront. The problem is that leaders are also feeling the effects of the crisis and are dealing with their own feelings of grief and fear. Unless you, as a leader, are mindful of your team members’ feelings in this situation, you can very easily retreat into your own survival mechanisms, busying yourself with various tasks and addressing operational issues that draw your attention away from rising sentiments of fear and distress. Mindful leaders will take note of these impulses and use them to drive a renewed, conscious and compassionate leadership approach that will help to pull themselves and their team members out of the mire and move forward through the crisis. Recognizing and understanding one’s own fears can help one to be more compassionate towards others – and that compassion is a vital trait for leaders during a crisis like the global pandemic.

How to practise compassion during the pandemic

You can foster mindful, compassionate leadership during this crisis (or any other, for that matter) with the following four practices: understand and integrate your own feelings, practise daily gratitude, open yourself to the care and empathy of others, and finally, turn outward to project your self-knowledge and compassion towards others. 

Create time for self-awareness. Look at your own feelings and responses towards the crisis, and identify them without judging them. You may notice feelings of anxiety, or heightened physical or emotional sensitivity. Simply understand these impulses for what they are and show compassion for yourself. Spend some time with yourself each day, and be aware of how you are feeling. During this time, also make a conscious effort to practise gratitude. Conscious gratitude is highly beneficial for mental health. It renews and inspires and helps to counter feelings of fear and hopelessness. Be willing to be more open and vulnerable with your feelings and be willing to accept expressions of care and compassion from others. Finally, turn outward and share this compassion and understanding with your team members. In doing so, you can help to develop a new perspective on the situation, unify your team, take better care of your team members and encourage them to care for each other, and ultimately, reframe the crisis and develop a plan to get through it and thrive.  

Corporate Class Inc. is a global authority in leadership coaching and empowerment. We strive to develop exceptional leaders and to assist organizations in developing effective leadership approaches. Based in Toronto, and with a worldwide presence, we have helped to nurture mindful leaders since 1984. Contact us for more information on how to foster mindful and compassionate leadership.

Top Leadership Qualities of a Good Leader

Side profile of a lion looking up into the sky.

Want to learn how to be a great leader? See if if you have these leadership qualities.

We’d all love to be excellent leaders; to inspire and motivate those around us, to be respected and admired, to lead with conviction and authority. Being a great leader is, as we all know, often easier said than done. There seems to be a certain set of indefinable qualities that we find within great leaders. Sometimes we can put our finger on it; other times, it eludes us.

Despite our occasional inability to define what it is exactly that makes a great leader great, one thing is certain: all great leaders possess certain qualities that propel them to “Great Leader” status. Let’s take a look at what some of those qualities are:

  1. Influence and Executive Presence

    In the realm of leadership, inspiration is the pull, while motivation is the push. Great leaders inspire and motivate their teams, distinguishing them from the rest. A skilled communicator is crucial, fostering trust and empowering employees. Innovation is vital, especially in today’s corporate landscape, and leaders who encourage it achieve remarkable success. Effective leaders mentor employees, helping them become doers. Empowering employees ensures tasks are completed efficiently. Some leaders exhibit bad qualities, but great leaders rise above, creating a motivating environment where employees excel. Influence and executive presence hinge on inspiring and motivating effectively, enabling success in today’s corporate world.

  1. First Impressions

    Creating great first impressions is essential for anyone aspiring to be recognized as a leader. This concept is akin to the lion, often referred to as the king of the jungle. The lion may not be the smartest, strongest, or bravest, but it is perceived as the epitome of power due to its majestic and charismatic presence. This image, combined with assertive behavior, effectively communicates the lion’s innate authority. Similarly, in the realm of leadership, particularly in the Center for Creative Leadership, it’s not just about inherent qualities of good management but also about projecting an image that resonates with leadership. Whether it’s through professional dress, meticulous grooming, confident demeanor, or maintaining physical fitness, these elements contribute significantly to making powerful first impressions.

  1. Trust

    When we first meet someone, we immediately answer two questions: “Can I trust this person?” and “Can I respect this person?” – trust and competence, respectively. We do not value both of these questions equally, and in fact, we value trust above all else. Historically, our ancestors needed to determine whether an outsider posed as a threat immediately, before they determined whether this person could be an asset to their group. Often times when we introduce ourselves to others, we are focused on showing our competence, when people are really looking for our warmth. Great leaders know this and focus primarily on building relationships on trust, especially in the beginning. After all, trust is a conduit of influence.

  1. Effective Communication

    Effective communication is a cornerstone of great leadership and organizational success. It involves much more than just choosing the right words; it’s about mastering the art of listening and engaging in meaningful dialogue. Great leaders often talk less and listen more, demonstrating a sincere interest in others’ ideas and perspectives. This approach not only fosters a positive environment but also encourages interconnectivity within the team and corporation.

  2. Self-Awareness

    Self-awareness is one of the fundamental qualities of a good leader. Leaders who possess self-awareness are in tune with their strengths and weaknesses, allowing them to make informed decisions without blindly trusting their instincts. They understand what’s right for their team and organization, recognizing that trust is built on ethical choices. A leader’s journey towards self-awareness is ongoing, involving continuous learning and the humble acknowledgment that they don’t have all the answers. It’s also important to note that academic qualifications, like a master’s degree, are valuable but must be complemented by practical experience and empathy for team members’ needs.

  3. Respect

    Respect is a cornerstone of effective leadership. Leaders respect their team members’ backgrounds, experiences, and wide range of skills. They create an inclusive environment where diversity is embraced and where every team member feels valued and heard. Leaders also build trust through active listening, sincerity, and a genuine desire to work collaboratively. They understand that trust and respect are key components in reducing turnover and nurturing long-lasting relationships within the organization.

  4. Compassion

    Compassion goes hand in hand with respect in the qualities of a good leader. Effective leaders exhibit compassion by putting the needs of their team members at the forefront. They nurture a culture of authenticity, where team members feel empowered to be their true selves. Leaders lead authentically, which fosters trust and commitment. Additionally, they approach decision-making with empathy, understanding the feelings of others, and striving for positive outcomes.

  5. Vision

    Vision is the guiding force behind a leader’s actions. A leader’s vision sets the direction for the team and organization, inspiring team members to accomplish shared goals. Leaders with vision are like researchers, continuously seeking new insights and best practices to achieve the desired outcome. They understand that resilience and a positive outlook are essential, especially in the face of setbacks. Leaders ensure their teams have the guidance and support needed to turn their vision into reality.

  6. Learning Agility

    Learning agility is one of the most important qualities of a leader. Leaders embrace the opportunity to grow and improve, both personally and professionally. They hone their skills, acknowledge their strengths and weaknesses, and actively seek feedback. By being flexible and approachable, leaders create an environment where team members feel encouraged to contribute their unique strengths and perspectives.

  7. Collaboration

    Collaboration is at the core of effective leadership. Leaders foster collaboration by building trust and creating a workplace where team members want to work together. They exhibit the behaviors and qualities they expect from their teams, serving as role models. Leaders enable their teams by providing access to resources, and they understand that servant leadership, prioritizing the needs of their team members, leads to accomplished goals and positive outcomes.

  8. Integrity

    Integrity is non-negotiable for good leaders. Leaders don’t trust blindly; instead, they make decisions based on what’s right for their teams and organizations. They act authentically and sincerely, building trust and a positive outlook. Leaders hold themselves accountable and make ethical choices, fostering an environment of respect, trust, and empowerment. They understand that integrity is a vital component of reducing turnover and nurturing long-lasting relationships.

  9. Courage

    Courage is an essential trait in leadership. Leaders have the courage to inspire their teams, even in the face of challenges. They exhibit patience and humility, acknowledging that growth and improvement take time. Leaders also make courageous decisions without hesitation, guided by their vision and the best interests of their teams and organizations.

  10. Gratitude

    Gratitude is a quality that effective leaders exhibit. They appreciate the opportunity to lead and nurture their teams. Leaders express gratitude for their team members’ contributions, fostering a positive work environment. They understand that gratitude is a component of building trust and creating a workplace where team members feel empowered and valued.

  11. Resilience

    Resilience is the ability to bounce back from setbacks, and it’s a quality that leaders embody. Leaders remain resilient in the face of challenges, maintaining a positive outlook and guiding their teams towards positive outcomes. They provide guidance and support, ensuring their teams make informed decisions with their full attention on professional goals.

All great leaders possess different but strong leadership skills that make them the inspiring, motivational leaders that they are. Once this is certain, however: all great leaders possess presence. We know it when we see it. The great thing about leadership presence is that it can be learned; leadership and executive presence are neither exclusive nor elusive. To find out how you can increase your executive presence, visit our Leadership Skills Workshop and Executive Presence Workshops to learn key leadership qualities.

New Year’s Resolutions for the Workplace

Bookmark this on Delicious
View our profile on LinkedInFind us on FacebookFollow us on Twitter

Happy New Year! How will you ring in 2013?

Many of us start off a fresh year by making a resolution or two, aiming to better ourselves through small changes to our habits. This year, consider making a professional New Year’s resolution – because even small improvements in your routine in the office or your business interactions can help you to advance your career or make your mark professionally.

Resolve to Make Connections

Are you a shy person who only talks to familiar colleagues at networking events – or just skips the event altogether? In 2013, resolve to break out of your shell by making new professional connections, both inside and outside of your company. Besides participating in networking events, take other steps to build your contact list: set lunch dates with potential partners or clients, or schedule informational interviews with business contacts. Creating and maintaining professional relationships is an important piece of advancing and growing in your field.

Resolve to Be a Leader

Displaying leadership in the workplace is a solid building block for moving up in your company. You can demonstrate leadership in tasks big and small: anything from taking the initiative to assist a new colleague, to planning and executing an important project. Consistently displaying leadership qualities will work to your advantage, especially as management begins to notice your initiative. Practicing leadership can also boost your confidence and comfort level in the workplace.

Resolve to Improve Your Presentation Skills

No matter how impressive the content of your work, your messages simply will not resonate with colleagues or clients if you cannot deliver them in a strong presentation. Giving great presentations is something that many professionals struggle with, whether it is due to stage fright, nervousness or just unfamiliarity with speaking in front of a large group. Awareness of the key elements of an effective presentation – body language, posture, articulation, well-planned slides and talking points, appearance and attire – plus lots of practice can help you to strengthen your presentation skills and effectively deliver your messages.

Resolve to Build Your Executive Presence

Executive Presence
is not a single trait that can be acquired overnight; rather, it is a hybrid of characteristics, which are all critical for a successful professional to have. A recently published study by the Center for Talent Innovation defines the foundations of Executive Presence as gravitas, communication and appearance, and makes no question of the importance of Executive Presence, stating that it “accounts for 26 percent of what it takes to get the next promotion.” You can work on building your own Executive Presence through training programs, Lunch and Learn sessions, customized webinars and individual consultations that focus on skills such as communication, business etiquette, and professional image.

Even through small changes, we can all work toward becoming stronger and more successful professionals. What better time to improve your daily habits for lasting results than at the start of a brand new year!