Tracy Lawrence of The Lawrence Advisory Offers the Key Positive Solutions for a Changing Workplace
Citing a passion for creating a positive work environment and motiving individuals to maximize their greatest potential, entrepreneur and media professional Tracy Lawrence is the force behind executive search, consulting and coaching firm The Lawrence Advisory. The organization partners with a wide roster of clients, unlimited by industry, to assess candidates in each specific field for long-term satisfaction and success. It offers strategic planning tools for senior management. And the goal, a la the tag line of The Lawrence Advisory, is simple yet powerful…”Hire.Build.Lead.”
“What we do is we advise, which is why our name is so appropriate,” said Tracy Lawrence. “I have always had a natural inclination towards the issues involved with leadership and motivating and inspiring people. And I look to work with organizations that are genuinely interested in developing their people, and a culture of performance.”
“Self-awareness is really key to making progress,” she added. “You can sit and design a plan on paper, but the ability to get things done through people is really the most important aspect of running a company.”
Based in Los Angeles, Lawrence has worked in media and marketing, ranging from brand management at Kraft to General Manager of Fox Family Channel. However, it was a leadership role at executive recruiting and assessment firm Russell Reynolds Associates, where she handled senior-level management and board of director searches, as well as executive assessment initiatives across a variety of industries, that fueled her passion and tapped into her area of interest and growing expertise.
As a member of Russell Reynolds’ Diversity Practice, Lawrence also consulted with various corporations to build more diverse teams and inclusive cultures.
“I started doing recruiting and, because of the training I had in leadership, I was asked to begin coaching,” explained Lawrence. “So, I started a coaching practice and I also do a lot of leadership development work. Basically, I help companies build their cultures. I consult with a lot of CEOs in growing organizations, helping them build their teams and recruiting for the long-run. And because I am entrepreneurial in nature, it was a natural progression to run my own firm.”
“I already had many industry contacts in media, so I approached the heads of HR at different firms, starting with the major entertainment companies,” she added. “And because I was progressing into something I already had experience in, it wasn’t a big leap to say I wanted to help build teams, and advise and help with the recruiting.”
The Lawrence Advisory
Launched in 2009, the client list at The Lawrence Advisory includes (to-date) The Walt Disney Company, Warner Bros., HBO, Kanye Anderson Capital Advisors, Strategic Global Advisors, Twentieth Century Fox, Lifetime, Progress Investment Management Company, and A+E Networks. The firm specializes in executive recruiting, leadership coaching, and consulting, with each assignment tailored to the individual needs of the client. And there is a strong emphasis on financial services, with Lawrence on the advisory board for Nile Capital Group. That firm invests in and works with boutique and emerging asset managers with superior growth potential.
“I helped one company, for example, with its organizational structure as I developed talent management systems and coached the senior team,” noted Lawrence. “I think what separates me from other coaches is that I have actually been a manager. I have managed hundreds of employees on several teams and it’s so important to be very focused. And it is my job to ensure that the content of those coaching sessions drives to achieving whatever goals we set.”
“It is very important to create a safe and positive space for my clients, particularly in today’s environment where something said deemed inappropriate can cause a great deal of repercussions,” she added. “A lot of professionals, particularly men, are feeling confused by the new standards set by the post #MeToo world order. The rules of the game are changing quickly. So, it is much more important to develop a sense of empathy, and to recognize that everybody doesn’t have the same experience as you.”
Another organization, at present, The Lawrence Advisory Group is working with is the Emma Bowen Foundation, which identifies future talent and is a pipeline for the media and tech industries with a roster of young and diverse talent and emerging leadership.
“My company is managing a program within the Emma Bowen Foundation tailored to college seniors that supports them in their interviewing and self-assessment skills as they are transition into the work world,” noted Lawrence. “We focus on developing interpersonal skills, developing the ability to think critically, and we try to support students along those lines. Emotional intelligence is a huge priority for that generation. And it is one of the key ingredients for success in the workplace for individuals, young and older, alike.”
“We must adapt to the business force today, complete with all the potential opportunities and the inherent challenges. And, to do so, I have to help leaders craft and execute a plan of action,” she said.
The 5 New Year’s Resolutions Every Manager Should Consider
(in order of relevance)
1. Be an Inspirational Leader
“One of the most common reasons for derailment of an executive is the inability to lead a team. There is nothing more important than being able to inspire people to do the tasks you need them to do,” noted Lawrence. “It is not enough to be right; people have to believe that you are right and want to follow you.”
“Inspiration is the defining characteristic of success,” she added. “It comes from the top and trickles downward. With it, the opportunity for everyone in the workforce to succeed is substantially heightened.”
2. Execute a Positive Tone in Your Culture
“Organizational culture defines the way people interact with each other. It sets the tone so that people know what to do even when you’re not in the room,” she said. “The culture determines what people do, and organizational culture exists whether you create it in a deliberate way or not. It is really important as a leader to think through what kind of culture you want to have and to understand how your actions define what the culture is.”
“Moving into 2020, I think it is really important to take a look at your own organizational culture,” she added. “Is it what you want it to be? Do you need to make a shift in your culture?”
3. Innovation and Making Mistakes Go Hand in Hand
“The most innovative and creative cultures are those that allow people to take responsible risks, so think about how you handle it when people who work for you make mistakes,” noted Lawrence. “Do you have their backs? Do you advise them? Do you support them?”
“This can make a world of difference,” she said.
4. It’s Not What You Say, It’s How It’s Heard
“Today, and within the #MeToo movement, you must choose your words very carefully. It’s not what you say, it’s how it is heard,” advised Lawrence. “We now have a more diversified workforce. We have changing roles in terms of interactions between men and women. And it is important to understand that not everyone shares your same perspective or experience.”
Lawrence’s advice: Be open and develop empathy for others.
5. Champion Your Own Success
“I have worked with a lot of people who are technically good at their jobs, the best in their fields, perhaps. But if no one knows how good you are, or how you are contributing, you are not going to be adequately rewarded,” she said. “You can sing your own praises without coming across as arrogant.”
Additionally, one current situation Lawrence cites as common are those companies that have been around for 30 years, or more, and have not adapted to the changes in their industries. “If you have a legacy culture that was built all these years ago, your culture could actually be preventing you from innovation, from moving forward, and actually bringing in the kind of employees that you need,” she said. “You must adapt with your industry.”
Lawrence also emphasizes the importance of maintaining your business relationships. “Invest in these relationships,” she said. “Do things for people when you don’t need them. Develop those long-term relationships. At the end of the day, when people make a hire what they are hiring is trust. They are hiring your trustworthiness. So, if they know you, and they know your reputation, and you deliver good work, that will pay off for you.”
The End Result
“Overall, I can literally see the monetary value that I have helped to create,” said Lawrence. “And I can see the personal value in the individual people who are happier, stronger, more resilient, and better leaders because of the work we have done together. If today’s manager’s follow these rules, the road should be paved with success, both financially and personally, to great satisfaction.”
Read article in Forbes.com.
The Lawrence Advisory are consultants who work with business organizations and individuals on executive search, executive assessment, leadership coaching and organizational development.