Beyond Teambuilding:
Reverse Burnout and Unlock Your Organization’s Engagement,
Productivity, and Potential

Your business and your people, thriving together.

 
 

Sometimes, in a mad scramble for traction at the outset, businesses become focused on external outcomes before building a strong internal foundation for lasting success. Other times, they are victims of their own success. Leaders assume longevity justifies the status quo, and miss opportunities for improvement.
 
This path can lead to disengagement, low morale, difficulty meeting goals, stress, and burnout among staff and leadership. Sometimes the problems are reflected in interpersonal or inter-team conflict, or employee turnover. In the worst cases, your organization can end up feeling stagnant and uninspired—the setting of a joyless grind.

95%

U.S. human resources directors who say that burnout is sabotaging employee retention
(Kronos/Future Workplace)

67%

U.S workers not engaged or actively disengaged in their jobs
(Gallup
 


What if a different type of workplace were possible? One enlivened by positivity, with leadership and staff aligned in their shared vision and energized to bring it to fruition? One in which even differing opinions were discussed in a healthy and constructive way?

Imagine if your people felt confident, whole, and happy, and brought their innate creativity, enthusiasm, and confidence to work. What if your organization wasn’t only a venue for work to get done, but also a place where individual wellness is emphasized and fostered, and allowed your people to put their strengths to use? A place where people wanted to stay.

How might it look for your group to be firing on all cylinders because each individual was, too?

This type of transformation is possible when you allow personal and professional growth to complement each other. 

50% - 60%

Correlation between job satisfaction and life satisfaction
(Harter et al.)

53%

U.S workers who say roles allowing better personal well-being are very important to them
(Gallup)
 

An approach melding scientific knowledge and lived experience . . . and developed that way, too.

I’m Jim Hjort, and I’m an executive and personal coach, and the founder of the Right Life Project. I’m a licensed psychotherapist and a mindfulness meditation teacher certified through the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA.

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I also happen to be a former private equity executive, in the hospitality sector. My career path has taken me through employee and leadership roles in a variety of organizations ranging from unhealthy and stagnant, to enlivened and prospering.

Now, I leverage my unique and evidence-based perspective as an advisor helping businesses transform into the latter. I help them merge personal and professional growth, allowing organizations and individuals to elicit each other’s best.

I offer a variety of services, which are available a la carte. For those leaders seeking a turnkey solution for igniting creativity, passion, and well-being in the workplace, I also offer comprehensive organizational coaching, as described below.

But first, I’d like to address a common, limiting belief that I hear when discussing organizational growth with executives: that they can, and should, figure it out for themselves.

Keeping it in-house: a vote for the status quo

Key stakeholders in organizations usually have a long history of career performance. They tend to be confident that they can identify and solve problems within their organization on their own, or by using in-house talent.

But, by their nature, it's difficult to spot blind spots from your existing vantage point. It's an inefficient, and often ineffectual, use of time.

This is where coaches come in. Top performers use coaches to enhance their performance efficiently. This leaves them free to focus on their own area of expertise. As a coach, I do a few important things:

  • Provide a fresh, objective set of eyes
     
  • Interpret what I see with specialized expertise
     
  • Serve as a trusted advisor to help you chart a course toward greater efficiency and well-being for your organization and your people
     
  • Remain your accountability and execution partner, to help you get the results you want, and keep them

The Right Kind of Coach

Assuming that you see the value in expert guidance, naturally you are concerned that it align with your core values and business realities. If you're like my typical clients, you're looking for:

  • A way to demonstrate, with actions, and not just words, your commitment to your employees’ well-being and healthy workplace functioning. Encouragement, team-building events, and vacation time only go so far.
     
  • A trained and formally educated coach who takes a practical approach, grounded in sound leadership and psychological principles. A busy workplace is no place for fluff.
     
  • An approach that goes beyond the basics, and fosters meaningful, lasting change and growth. Motivational speaker platitudes don't cut it for complex organizations.
     
  • To let your people benefit from personal growth, while maintaining appropriate workplace boundaries. Other aspects of life affect work, and vice versa, but the workplace needs to remain a workplace.
     
  • To keep and grow the best aspects of your culture and functioning, and improve the rest. You’re eager to hear the truth and evolve . . . and there’s also no reason to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

For an organization to be firing on all cylinders . . . each cylinder needs to be firing

My coaching approach is grounded in the reality that companies and people are alike in many ways. They both have core needs, values, and strengths that yearn to be met, embodied, and exercised in the long run. They also have short-term-oriented, reactive thought and behavior patterns that do more harm than good.

These patterns often keep people and businesses stuck in “good enough” mode, and limit the expression of their full potential. Consider the following statistics, one of which I presented above:

67%

U.S workers not engaged or actively disengaged in their jobs
(Gallup)

79%

U.S workers satisfied with their jobs
(Pew)


What can we learn from this seeming inconsistency? It’s that employee satisfaction mainly relates to satisfaction with extrinsic factors of the job, like salary and benefits packages. Engagement is intrinsic: the sense of connection and shared purpose with the organization, where one’s individual strengths aren’t just recognized, but nurtured.

It’s a sense of being a meaningful part of something larger. It’s the ability to thrive both as a worker and a person.

This data reveals that most American workers are settling for getting by, not thriving. And with that degree of unrealized potential, it means most employers are, too. People can get out of their own way, and so can organizations. When both do it together, the innate potential of each is set free.

As an experienced coach, trained and licensed psychotherapist, and former businessperson, I take helping professionals seriously. I emphasize and build strengths, match them with solutions . . . and thrive on their success stories. My coaching goes deep, to reveal and realize the promise of companies and their employees—as whole people, not just functionaries—creating meaningful change that lasts.

My work with individuals in your group is also entirely confidential, to support dramatic growth while maintaining workplace professionalism.


“Leaders aren’t a set of skills and tools. They’re a human being.”

Lowinn Kibbey
Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute


Introducing Organizational Coaching

Most business leaders today understand the importance of employee well-being. Happy employees are better employees. They are easier to retain and produce better results, for one thing. But they also contribute to a positive, engaged, and healthy workplace—those things are contagious. So, the rising tide can lift all boats.

It used to be thought that employee satisfaction was tied to compensation. And, certainly, that matters. But we also know now that more and more money makes less and less of an impact on people's well-being. Intangibles actually matter more in the long run.

Opportunity for advancement is another carrot offered by employers, and sought by go-getter employees. Yet, career accomplishments are not the sole determinant of happiness. In fact, the relentless pursuit of the next objective goal can cause problems.

It often leaves even the highest performers feeling burned out, stuck, and unfulfilled. In the worst cases, they can end up wondering “is this all there is?” even while sitting atop a career’s-worth of accolades.

A more recent philosophy has been the promotion of “work-life balance.” It's universally accepted as the way to prevent and cure burnout, and be well-rounded and happy.

Unfortunately, this hypothesis doesn’t comport with modern understandings of human well-being, either. Not because it isn’t important to tend to our lives outside of work—it absolutely is.

The work-life balance model fails, in part, because it creates a false dichotomy between “you the worker” and “you the live-r.” We know that people are at their best when they feel whole and integrated, not split in half.

Work influences other parts of life, and other parts of life influence our experience and performance at work. That's just the way it is, and that's why personal and professional growth are complementary.

If you want engaged, productive, and happy employees, you need engaged, productive, and happy human beings. They—and your business—need short-term, concrete strategies aligned with long-term, deeply-held goals and values. That's how businesses and people thrive together.

Here’s what to expect when we start.

My coaching approach is flexible and customized for your needs, strengths, and vision, so you won’t be shoehorned into a standard set of services or approaches.

In fact, many of the services I’ll describe here are available individually. However, they are more effective when combined in a comprehensive approach, and that is often what's indicated.

Intensive Phase Coaching

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Generally, we’ll start with a meeting with leadership, so I can learn what is and isn’t working right now.

I’ll want to hear what communication is like between teams and between individuals. Are there bottlenecks or turf wars that prevent a free exchange of information? How are employee engagement and morale? What are the internal and external challenges you face in pursuing your mission, and how do you respond to those?

Groups are complex and unique, because they’re composed of complex and unique individuals. So, this initial interview process is essential in helping me to understand where and how our work can make the most impact.

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Next, it’s often critical to gather the perspectives of others in the organization. I use confidential in-person interviews and online surveys to gather information. Then, I conduct a 360° gap analysis examining employee engagement, unmet needs, underused strengths, and goals—on the organizational, team, and individual levels.

This analysis illuminates blind spots and opportunities for growth. It highlights misalignment of employee and company orientations, and where the ideal workplace experience differs from people’s reality. Including staff in the process also builds the sense of shared mission, and demonstrates the value you place on every voice.

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Typically, another meeting with leadership follows this extensive information-gathering process. We review findings and create strategies to fill gaps, improve employee engagement and morale, and establish healthy communication styles.

Using the information I’ve gathered together with your working knowledge, we determine what the next phase of coaching should include, who might benefit from individual coaching, and the approaches that will best fit your culture.

Corporate retreats

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Held over the course of a day or multiple days, retreats can be for all staff, or intimate affairs for leaders. They feature a mix of educational offerings, communication exercises, and facilitated dialogue. They skillfully blend connection, morale boosting, intellectual stimulation, and fun. We can also incorporate physical fitness and recreational components.

Retreats go beyond traditional teambuilding events. They connect your people through their humanity and their shared vocational mission. People connect as people, not job descriptions.

Group workshops

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Educational, but enjoyable, workshops are provided on site on a regular basis. Often, they occur at lunch, to maximize attendance and minimize disruption.

Topics cover a range of personal and professional growth issues. These include healthy and effective communication, interpersonal relationships, dispute resolution, whole-life balance, and workplace mindfulness, among others.

Workshops are intellectually stimulating and introduce concepts which are evidence-based and/or readily verifiable in participants’ own experiences. They also include action steps for participants to start using that day.

Individual Executive Coaching

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Individual coaching supercharges the personal and professional growth process. It can involve leaders, people identified as having particular need for growth, or anyone else you’d like to assist—or reward.

These services also include facilitating conversations between people, to resolve differences and establish new communication patterns. Coaching sessions occur at appointed times in the workplace, in my office in Los Angeles, or by Skype for clients outside the Los Angeles area, and I remain on-call by email, text, and phone for real-time support.

Providing individual coaching underlines your commitment to employee growth and well-being. So, it also serves as a cost-effective fringe benefit that helps you attract and retain talent.

Ongoing Reporting

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Throughout the Intensive Phase, I remain in regular contact with leadership. We discuss progress, new areas for focus revealed by the change process, and smart solutions.

I remain on call for real-time guidance and feedback for these stakeholders, as well. Positive change requires consistent reinforcement of new thought and behavior patterns. So, it’s important for me to be there for you at any time—and for you to take advantage of that availability.

Growth Phase Coaching

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You and your organization will have been growing from the inside out since Day 1. But once significant progress has been made in engagement, efficiency, and employee well-being, we will move from the Intensive Phase to the Growth Phase. Now, our mission becomes maintaining your gains and your momentum.

In this phase, individual coaching often continues. Periodic group workshops and retreats help us address changes in the workplace or marketplace.

Services in this phase can also include the assessment of potential hires for goodness of fit, and facilitating the onboarding of new hires to ensure it.

Here are the highlights.

I provided a detailed description of my coaching services above, but here is what you need to know:

  • Coaching with me is a flexible process customized for your organization’s needs. We’ll clarify your goals, identify obstacles, amplify motivation, build strengths, and install the tools for lasting change.

  • Happy people make motivated, creative, productive, and satisfied employees. For your people to be those things, and for your organization to benefit, we need to tend to their whole-life well-being.
     
  • Intensive phase coaching services include 360° gap analyses at the organization, team, and individual levels. We’ll illuminate blind spots and make sure you and your workforce are rowing in the same direction, with new levels of well-being, engagement, and productivity. Components include workshops, retreats, and individual coaching. Individual coaching is available by Skype for clients located outside the Los Angeles area.
     
  • An initial consultation with leadership gives us a preliminary shared understanding of areas for growth. In ongoing consultations, we chart progress, identify new goals, and maximize benefits.
     
  • On-call support for key stakeholders and individual executive coaching clients enables consistent progress. I provide accountability and support your application of new strategies and skills in real time.
     
  • Growth-phase services help you maintain your gains—and keep them coming. They include retreats, workshops, talks, individual coaching, and leadership consultation, in a flexible configuration that works for you.
     
  • Many of my organizational coaching services are available a la carte, although they are most effective when used in combination with each other.  

“I brought Jim on to help our team at a time when multiple transitions threatened its stability and effectiveness. He has a gift for connecting deeply with a variety of personality types, and he found creative ways to help us regain a sense of community and constructive communication. It was refreshing to find a coach with these skills as well as business sense. He helped us through a challenging time, and he continues to work with our key people to bring out their best. Highly recommended!”

Nena Davis, Vice President, Development
AltaMed Health Services
Los Angeles, CA


Here’s the next step.

Even successful organizations are often operating at less than their full potential. Stress, internal conflict, and disengagement are just a few of many culprits.

I can help you and your people start firing on all cylinders, with confidence, creativity, and enthusiasm to carry you to new heights. If you'd like to explore how I can help, I would be happy to speak with you.

Just click below and fill out the short form. Within 24 hours of receiving it, I’ll be in touch to schedule a convenient time for a confidential phone call.


Frequently Asked Questions

Can you tell me more about yourself?

Yes. As I mentioned above, in addition to being an executive coach, personal coach, and licensed psychotherapist, I’m also a former private equity executive. I was successful in that career, but it wasn't the best fit for me. My passion was to make use of my natural talent for helping people, so I made a switch.

Following that career, I obtained formal education and training (which complemented the independent research and volunteer work I’d done in my spare time over the previous 15 years). I specialize in working with high-functioning professionals, and I developed an evidence-based approach to coaching them. It's informed by the latest research and theory in psychology, sociology, neurobiology, and other life and social sciences, as well as leadership fundamentals.

I’ve spent years refining my approach, helping individuals to achieve new levels of productivity, fulfillment, and happiness while performing better in their careers. I launched my organizational coaching practice to scale my impact.

My background gives me a unique perspective on the issues that prevent groups and their members from achieving their full potential. It also gives me the skill set to help my clients do something about it.

My business experience gave me a keen understanding of common pitfalls, as well as business realities, like the need for services like executive coaching to produce tangible results.

My expertise as a coach and psychotherapist affords me a legitimate understanding of human behavior and well-being, as well as the individual and group coaching skills to help my clients put that knowledge to use.

And both my personal and professional experience have revealed the undeniable relationship between personal and organizational well-being. In fact, many of the thought and behavior patterns that limit personal growth show up in organizations, just on a larger scale.

The individual well-being of its people can shackle an organization, or set it free.


What if I’m not sure that your comprehensive coaching program is the best fit for my company?

I would be happy to discuss your needs with you, preliminarily and confidentially, to help us both determine that. I thrive on my client’s success stories, so I am equally invested in making sure that my services would be helpful for you.

One option we can consider is starting with a workshop or lunchtime talk, or series of talks, so that I become acquainted with your people, and they with me. Alternatively, sometimes I begin executive coaching with an individual or individuals before expanding our coaching to include larger elements within the company.

In any event, my approach is flexible, as it needs to be with complex people and organizations, and I’m happy to discuss the various options with you.


Is what you do considered psychotherapy?

No. Although I am a licensed psychotherapist in California, my executive and organizational coaching is not psychotherapy. My coaching and therapy practices are separate, because they are different things.

Psychotherapy involves diagnosing and treating mental health disorders, whereas coaching does not. Also, while there are many approaches to therapy, many of them are rather passive, and oriented toward working on longstanding problems related to the past.

As your coach, my work with you and your people is mostly present- and future oriented. We develop solutions and put them into action right now. Coaching is an active, collaborative process, in which I serve as your trusted advisor.

Although I will not serve as a therapist in your organization, my having completed the education and training of one does benefit you. It means that my coaching approach is psychologically sound, whereas most executive coaches lack any kind of psychological education or training.