T.J. Holloway, President, Holloway GroupT.J. Holloway, President
Continuous training and professional development programs enhance an employee’s skills, knowledge, and competency, leading to improved business productivity and outcomes. Professional training opportunities add value to the organization’s overall development by changing individuals’ or groups’ behavior for sharing knowledge and insights that help them perform better and cultivate positive work culture. Holloway Group, professional development and training firm helps organizations achieve business goals by providing the right tools to employees to improve their work performance. With business coaching and working one-on-one with firm leaders, the company creates self-awareness and self-reflection to improve leadership effectiveness and maintain an authentic leadership style. In an interview with Manage HR, T.J. Holloway, President of Holloway Group, shares his insights on how they help businesses achieve their optimal organizational design by helping leaders and executives have courageous conversations together. The company supports clients in relationship management and alignment of their team and internal work processes to obtain desired results.

Please give a brief background of the Holloway Group?

It was a series of unexpected events that laid the foundation of the Holloway Group in 2011. I worked for a firm in Maine, where I approached my HR manager with the idea that could boost profits for the organization. He rejected the idea saying that they didn’t have the time to implement it. However, I had the intuition that it could work and therefore asked my father for help. He supported me in starting the Holloway Group. Initially, we aimed to focus on nonprofit organizations. But over time, we realized our service was not limited to the nonprofit sector and can be appreciated by the profit sector. We began working with community banks and organizations in 2012 and were mainly delivering services such as professional development and communication training. Later, we specialized in offering professional development and providing employee learning and development consultation, as well as performing assessments and conducting interviews with our client’s teams to determine issues and solutions. We have observed that most organizations often face communication problems. We help our clients diagnose and fix the communication problems that automatically reduces the other issues and enhance the business processes. Although we are most well-known for our dynamic assertive communication training, we also provide emotional intelligence training, business communications training, and a truly different and exceptional leadership institute. And we customize our trainings based on the organization’s unique requirements and strategic learning objectives for different constituent groups within the firm to help them be successful.

Additionally, we offer corporate coaching and train both the leaders and their teams. Working closely with leaders, we help them develop a plan to utilize our services and maximize the training impact. We also perform leadership effectiveness analysis (LEA) 360, focusing on leadership attributes and helping leaders learn to lead from a 360 standpoint.

What are the challenges currently prevailing in the market?

Most of the time, the challenge is communication within the organizational structure or design. Though firms want to be as transparent as possible, they struggle to communicate messages to the workforce. We try to understand the organization’s vision, and their flow of information and to analyze their business structure, the various communication styles, and reporting processes. Understanding all of these altogether assists in providing the right messages, at the right times, from the right sources, via the right channels, to the right audiences, in the right way! It takes a lot to have right organizational communications.

It’s important to remember that people prefer various channels and mediums for communication. Attention to those preferences can make the difference between an effective communication and a miscommunication. For instance, some people find email highly convenient as they can read and re-read the message as many times as they want so they don’t miss any information. The email becomes like a checklist for them. However, some prefer faceto- face conversation to pick up on the non-verbal messages and have the ability to ask follow-up questions. In essence, identifying people’s personal preferences regarding communication makes it easier to maintain the information flow in the organization, and to stave off miscommunications that can cost a company time, money, resources, and customers.
What is the process that you follow while delivering your solutions?

We initiate our process by analyzing the client’s vision, their business needs, their motives, and their goals, seeking to better understand their total desire. Recognizing the results that clients expect from the trainings, we create a strategy based on assessing their business needs and objectives. The strategy includes at least three different tactics and ways of solidifying those objectives within the training. This enables us to understand the learning styles of an organization’s workforce. By creating the combination of audio and visual multi-tactical programs, we ensure that everyone perceives the same message and understanding that the organizers want them to obtain. Often beginning with shared diagnostics with the firm leaders and employees, we decide on which particular training best fits the client’s needs. If no such training exist, that’s when we customize one specifically for that firm and their situation. That’s our specialty! One of our standard procedures is to first roll out the training program at the management level, and then train the diverse workforce from various departments. This way the organizational leaders are equipped to hold the workforce accountable for what they have learned in the training program and can ensure that the training investment provides an efficacious ROI.

Could you give us a customer success story?

One year ago, a client wanted to restructure its existing organizational structure. They were trying to find the potential issues they could face during the transition. Using the LEA 360 (one of our best assessment tools), we ran an in-depth analysis of their management team. The assessment results revealed that half of the management team had a severe proclivity towards operations while the other half was far more strategic in nature. Consequently, we identified the areas where each senior leader could best support their team as best as possible, and generated an innovative leadership decisionmaking structure specifically for the redesign. The client reluctantly agreed to the innovative decision-making model by assigning a few leaders to specific aspects of the restructure strategy while others handled other parts of the restructure decision activities. Both parts equally important, but allowed each leader to use their best proclivity and talent. Although many were disgruntled initially, they found the new structure more effective within weeks. The leaders were happier and more satisfied with the alternate team structure. They were effective, and the new structure we created for them continues to serve them well for other similar types of decisions. They’ve won two national awards since then… I can’t help but feel like their success is at least a little bit related to our influence on their bank.

What does the future look like for the Holloway Group?

Due to COVID-19, organizations were forced to work remotely, and most professional development was put on hold. But, we focus on helping organizations to provide high-quality training during this pandemic by utilizing virtual mechanisms. As a professor in the College of Business at the impeccable (TJ really loves his University) Husson University in Bangor, Maine, I have always had to provide quality online instruction as well as in-class offering. And so I was able to lean on my experience from my online university teaching to bring quality, effective, and entertaining professional development opportunities to the workplaces HG serves.

When clients doubted they could have good training during COVID-19, I told them to think again. Many have now adopted virtual models that I believe will persist as another training modality option even when the virus is long gone. Now, we are also focusing on transitioning all of our trainers and trainings to work 100% online, 100% offline, or using a hybrid model.

We’ve also focused on coaching for C suite executives, really tackling head-on the predominant issues that are typically allowed to persist in senior leader realms. Most of our mid-management training is focused on dealing with anger and operational issues. However, we have observed that coaching executives if often about their internal struggle with anxiety and the pressure to figure out what needs to be done strategically for a firm. Unchecked this bleeds into their lateral relationships and allows relationshiprelated conflict to interfere with the potential benefits of taskrelated conflict. Task related-conflict and composed intra-team diversity is the lifeblood of innovation. That is not my opinion, modern scholarly research confirms it. So, this is a great use of time and proves to be helpful in making senior leadership teams more internally cooperative, better decision-makers, and more innovative. Truly, the lifeblood of innovation and success is different people with different experiences and thoughts bringing their insights together. HG just helps these teams to optimize their talents and diversity so they can take their organizations to awardwinning levels.