We at SACC San Diego are happy to have Cimplement join us as a new partner! Cimplement Group is a leading provider of leadership, sales, and influence training, with a track record of training over 150,000 professionals since 1993. They stand out for their experienced trainers, proven methodology with lasting results, time-efficient programs, and interactive and emotional learning experiences, all founded by Per Cedergren, a renowned leadership and sales trainer, certified in a unique methodology and recipient of the Excellent Sales Award 10 times, serving as a personal coach to CEOs and professionals worldwide.
To welcome them we had an interview with Per Cedergren, founder and CEO.
Can you tell us more about the history and founding of Cimplement and what you do?
A lot of companies, doesn’t matter where in the world, think that company culture is all about saying the right things on social media and having some nice motivational posters in the office. This is of course a good start, but unless the leaders also act in line with the values, then it has very little value. It can even have a negative effect when the discrepancies between words and actions become too big. This is not necessarily a matter of bad intentions. As humans we judge ourselves by our good intentions, and others by their actions. So, what is our added value? We help close the gap between “know-how” and “show-how”. This is done through fun and challenging exercises where we first discover the gap and then train on doing it in a better way. This is what every athlete knows. Practice creates awareness and increases the performance going forward. If a critical mass of leaders become aware of how they act in a better way to bring out the best in others, then the sum-total creates the company culture. This is of course not easy. What our clients mention all the time is our ability to achieve the better results in the shortest time possible through this type of emotionally engaging training. This is one reason top executives of professional service firms turn to us for sharpening the saw on all levels, including top performing Partners, Directors, and Senior Managers.
Can you give us an overview of the types of clients that Cimplement typically work with?
Since we work with developing people and their behavior, our clients range from all kinds of businesses and sectors. If there are people, we can help them improve, but I would say what all our clients have in common is a strive to become better through better leadership. Leadership development boosts employee engagement increases the organization's ability to deal with gaps in the talent pipeline, and reduces the headaches and costs associated with turnover. Great leaders attract, hire, and inspire great people. Some of our best references are from PwC, KPMG, Accenture, EY, Ericsson etc.
How do you tailor your training programs to meet the specific needs of each client?
We always tailor our programs, both on company level (what mindsets and behaviors should be strengthened), as well as on individual level. After all, with challenging exercises the experience becomes very personal, and with a group size of maximum 10 per group the personal action plans can be discussed in detail together with the trainer and with peers, creating a common understanding, a common language and ultimately a common company culture.
With over 150,000 professionals trained, it's clear that Cimplement has a lot of experience in this field. What do you think has been the key to the company's success?
I believe the success comes from our ability to translate the client’s needs into tangible, hands-on behavior development that can be seen in everyday work-life. The clients experience first-hand how their leaders and managers develop and use the techniques learned already after the first session. Another major advantage is the time invested for the participants. Our program only takes half a day or one day per month spread out over 3 to 4 months, so effectively creating with pre- and post- activities a half year development process with as little as 16 hours invested, and results that can be seen through improved client and employee satisfaction surveys, since participants actually “walk the talk” in bringing out the best in themselves and others, all the time.
How do you stay up-to-date with the latest trends and best practices in leadership, sales, and influence training?
We have our corporate University in Germany one week per year, where all our 62 consultants gather and share learnings and experiences. During that week we, the consultants, also participate in trainings to further build our expertise and gain new insights.
What's the most important skill professionals need to develop for leadership and sales, and how does Cimplement help them learn it?
Overall, the most important skill anyone can have, both in leadership and in sales is to choose what mindset we use in a given situation. Many leaders are unaware that they are constantly in “fixing problems mode”. Naturally there are problem solving meetings (and per definition they should all start with problem identification). This mindset might not serve us so well in leadership and sales situations! Who like to feel that in a performance appraisal they are treated as “the problem” and “a resource”? We work with many of the big professional services firms, and Partners of those firms must constantly switch between a normal professional critical, fault-finding mindset when delivering their service to a growth mindset when developing colleagues and developing trusted client relations. Making this switch between mindsets many times a day becomes a competitive advantage, that is very hard to copy for other firms.
Do you have any tips for leaders on how to create a good company culture by doing rather than preaching?
The key is to become aware how we influence. How do we do that? It’s not different from learning a sport. For instance, I’m trying to learn how to play golf. There is a huge gap between what I think I can do and what golf-professionals do. How do I improve? I went to a driving range with a pro that helped me with my swing. That’s the similarity with what we do. The person themselves must realize the gap. It is not the sports- trainer telling the person about the gap. It’s the person, through an exercise, discovering this gap. The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off. That’s what usually happens. Initially in the beginning of the first session there might be some skepticism. Half of the unique method is to first build a nice secure environment where people actually have the opportunity to make mistakes and turn those mistakes into development (without having the pay the price we pay when we do the same in real life business situations). Training in a secure environment, so as to making a smarter choice (mindset & behavior) in real business life going forward. In this sense it is not different from sports, train so as to win in the Olympics.
Nowadays we see a lot of new young tech start-ups. Would you say that there is a difference between new leadership styles and traditional leadership styles? Or is it the same company culture in a different setting?
For any company you have structure, strategy, and culture. These three pillars should support each other. The same applies on an individual level. As a leader you have to set the structure, strategy, and culture simultaneously. There is a certain tendency at startups to concentrate on doing two out of the three, and taking the third “later, when we have the time”. Yet, it’s not sequential, this should be done in parallel. The three pillars should support each other. The company culture should support the strategy and support the desired structure. These basics don’t matter if it’s a new company or an old one. In a start-up it’s very important to do these things at once before the culture is established.
Thank you Cimplement for the interview!
To read more about Cimplement and their business, visit their website here!
Founder & CEO of Cimplement