One of the main dynamics of the global pandemic is unprecedented change. Change is hard to manage for most people under even the most calm of circumstances, and the acceleration brought on by the pandemic has been nothing short of chaotic.
Coupled with the pandemic is a package of other anxiety-inducing factors, including economic and political uncertainty. For those who work in the entertainment industry, the past several years also have seen enormous consolidation and disruption as media companies migrate to new business models. While that sort of radical change can be exciting and inspirational, it’s also stress-inducing.
Promax Next is a new program designed by leadership expert Esther Weinberg that targets high-potential mid-level executives at entertainment companies and teaches them how to operate at their highest levels while leading their teams through difficult times. Weinberg recently released an e-book, Why Your Company’s Bottom Line is Not Your Top Priority, that discusses some of these principals.
“Leaders want to feel ready and powerful to take on the challenges and opportunities that are in front of them,” said Weinberg, “but who likes to be taken by surprise?”
Promax Next is built on what Weinberg calls The Ready Zone, which focuses on making organizations sustainable and profitable during times of radical change by creating engaged and thriving workforces. A key part of this is incorporating values such as trust, empathy, compassion and vulnerability into teams.
“The program is specifically designed for people who are looking to reframe, refocus and realign their leadership for their teams and their organizations,” said Weinberg.
The Ready Zone is based on six zone performance indicators—or ZPIs—that help teams develop and focus their strengths. These ZPIs are: culture-ready, pivot-ready, action-ready, influence-ready, connect-ready and impact-ready.
In the culture-ready zone, participants learn how to “create portable culture,” Weinberg said, which is what we as a society are living in right now, what with all the Zoom video-conference calls, Houseparties, Facebook Messenger groups and so forth. People are gathering for virtual meetings and happy hours instead of at local restaurants and bars or in office conference rooms and cafeterias, which has changed the way socializing works.
“How do you create an environment of creativity and innovation when people are working from home?” Weinberg said. “We keep feeling like there’s a physicality that has to happen in order for us to create depth and that’s not necessarily true.”
PromaxNext will offer ways to get the most out of Zoom happy hours and birthday parties. This is also the zone where teams discuss such important elements as coaching and mentoring and how teams can build those important elements into their day-to-day functions.
Staying pivot-ready is about keeping leaders replenished so they are fully prepared to make necessary moves when the time arises.
“This is all about cultivating a level of resilience, helping leaders learn to take responsibility for how they view, execute and communicate change to their teams and then facilitate buy-in,” she said. “I want to give tools to people who are leading teams, because they can’t give what they don’t have. As a leader, I have to inspire my team but if I’m not inspired myself, how’s that going to work?”
Leaders and teams that are action-ready have a strong sense of purpose as well as strong boundaries. “This area works on creating a high level of emotional intelligence and agility so you can be decisive while also considering other people’s thoughts, opinions and ideals,” Weinberg said.
Being action-ready also means developing a high degree of curiosity when managing and relating with others. It’s about how to make decisions from a place of responsiveness based on the reality of the situation rather than on reactions, Weinberg said. In a time when people are especially emotional and may be feeling grief, depression, anxiety or at the very least, stress, leaders who can approach employees with compassion and empathy are invaluable.
Those who are influence-ready know that they can have influence no matter what level they may be working at, whether an assistant, a manager, a director or higher. Part of learning how to best navigate the corporate world is about learning how to manage influence, whether that’s your own or someone else’s.
“Influence is really now more than ever the real measure of leadership,” said Weinberg. “Influence is about a person’s ability to achieve a high level of visibility and alignment and to inspire others. Influence is also gaining influence with people who have contrarian view points and influencing peer groups and others even when you have no organization-given authority.”
One of the major ways working from home has affected people is in how they communicate with each other. This time of uncertainty and remote working makes clear communication even more important, and that will be addressed in the connect-ready zone.
“Who we are being and how we’re speaking is one of the most vital elements of leadership, whether we’re using our language, our emotions or our bodies,” said Weinberg. “Being connect-ready is having the ability to take on a tough conversation, deliver feedback effectively and be consistent in our communication.”
Teams that are impact-ready are united and thus resilient. “When teams are in line and in sync, they can take on almost any challenge,” Weinberg said.
“One of the benefits of Promax is being able to connect with other people at your same level at companies inside the industry,” Weinberg said. “In Promax Next, participants will get to learn from each other and help each other be more accountable. They will meet with this group every other week so they will become like each other’s personal board of directors, helping each other stay motivated and engaged. This gives them a safe space in which to do this work.”
Promax Next offers leaders methods to keep them and their teams motivated and engaged, regardless of circumstance. By participating in the program, they will develop strategies for creating deeper connections and sustainable communication strategies. They will learn ways to develop and maintain powerful mindsets by framing boundaries and setting clear expectations with their leadership and stakeholders. They also will learn strategies for managing productivity with employees who may be experiencing a range of difficult emotions.
In the end, participants will take away a playbook of new skills that are crucial for leading during these times and beyond.
The deadline to apply for Promax Next is Sept. 2 and the program will begin the week of Sept. 14. It will meet for six months, with two 90-minute sessions per month. One session per month will be a workshop on one of the ready zones, which will be followed up with action steps participants can take after each session. The second monthly session will allow participants to bring their challenges and work through them with the rest of the group. Each participant will also participate in one one-on-one coaching session per month.
Esther Weinberg is a leadership training expert who empowers and equips high-level executives in the entertainment industry to build sustainable company cultures based on a foundation of respect, safety and trust.
As founder and chief leadership development officer of The Ready Zone, she coaches leaders through change with proven systems to reframe, refocus, realign—and ultimately— put people first.
Weinberg’s breakthrough strategies have assisted clients such as Netflix, NBCUniversal, Microsoft, ESPN, WarnerMedia, Promax, Sony, Warner Bros., CNN, DreamWorks Animation, Discovery Communications, Adobe, Disney and IMAX. The Ready Zone also partners with Promax on its signature leadership program, Thrive.