“Change the world, Don’t just play the game.”
That mantra compelled Rob Jackson to take a giant professional leap of faith. Abandoning a successful career in banking, he staked his hopes on the exciting and relatively new industry of team building and leadership development. Fifteen years later, he’s become an industry pioneer. And true to his mantra, Jackson’s company is changing the business world by redefining the game of corporate leadership.
The Magnovo Training Group
Magnovo—the word sounds like it has an ancient meaning; but its meaning has grown out of what the company does. So Magnovo means professional development and superlative team building. Executive presence coaching and effective conflict management training. That’s Magnovo.
Since Jackson started, the corporate American landscape has changed, and so has the need for innovative leadership skills, team building strategies, and conflict management acumen. Jackson’s mastery of DiSC personality profiling as well as his innate ability to “get” where Millennials are coming from has made him and his team indispensable to many Fortune 500 CEOs around the country.
Conflict management and the generational divide
Long before the pandemic, corporate executives struggled to mask their frustration with chronic generational clashes. Baby Boomers versus Millennials versus GenZers versus the ‘last nerve’ of their supervisors.
Differences in working styles, technological proficiency, and basic core values [like what corporate social responsibility should look like] have charged the atmosphere in many boardrooms with tension. That’s made many office cultures toxic.
As the Captain in the movie Cool Hand Luke explained: “What we have here is failure to communicate.” And that’s where Jackson’s DiSC personality profile training can come in handy.
Understanding your place on the food chain
Are you a big fish in a small boutique-sized pond or a guppy surrounded by sharks in the ocean? Knowing where you are and functioning optimally within your place on the food chain is what makes your company sink or swim [pun intended.]
As Jackson sees it—and teaches it—DiSC doesn’t exactly smooth the waters. It helps everyone navigate even the most troubled waters by identifying the best and strongest attributes of each crew and utilizing them to the best effect.
Jackson said enthusiastically, “All of a sudden now conversations or topics that were once uncomfortable for executives to bring up are suddenly something they are asking us about. And when we teach DiSC, we incorporate the cultural components not as obstacles, but as bridges—bridges we use to reach and focus on the individual personality.
His approach to personality profile training has lowered many personal, cultural, and social defenses and raised the leadership and productivity bars at companies around the world. How? By teaching DiSC workshop participants to become more self-aware and self-accepting. When you understand what makes you tick, it’s easier to understand other people’s quirks. This invariably leads to accepting your colleagues more readily.
The drift toward diversity
One of the most gratifying changes Jackson has witnessed during his tenure at Magnovo is a slow, albeit reluctant uptick in diversity in the workplace.
“ I’m encouraged by the diversity I see today compared to the way things were 15 to 20 years ago. There’s been a huge shift—there’s markedly much less resistance to racial, cultural, and gender diversity.
“CEO’s no longer grudgingly label it as a quota that’s been forced on them. They’re more open to hiring minorities including Hispanic and Asian Americans. Increasingly, I hear them saying, ‘I want the best person for the job and I don’t care what race or orientation they are. I just want the best person for the position that we can get.’
“Another thing that changed drastically in the last 15 years is that globally women have come into leadership roles. From the U.S. to Hispanic countries, South America, and Europe and it’s completely awesome! And if I sound excited it’s because I am! It’s what Magnovo has been preaching from the beginning. We’ve been preaching equality for everyone!
“Obviously things are not perfect, I mean you still have some resistance from the old guard. But I’m optimistic because things are starting to go the right way. And I believe that DiSC training can help smooth the way forward!”
Team building in a pandemic
COVID-19 is the catalyst for a whole new business model in terms of training and reinforcing policies, rules, and regulations. With people sheltering in place and working from home, everything from recruitment to termination is being reinvented.
Employee training, supervision, and evaluations must be completely tailored to suit home environments where parents are working and children may be home-schooled in the same room. Workstation configurations and cybersecurity must be addressed in these living spaces.
Experts predict that businesses of all sizes will have to incorporate gamification tools to train and supervise employees in living spaces where they may be easily distracted. Gaming tools must be designed and developed with easy learning curves in order to facilitate the retention of important information and the mastery of new work assignments as needed.
Actually, Magnovo is well ahead of the current gamification curve and has been for years. That’s because Jackson has built a game-based charitable component into every training session from DiSC personality profile training to public speaking and executive presence coaching.
Changing the world with charity
Jackson: “The truth is, Magnovo is as much about charitable giving and corporate social responsibility as it is about leadership development among the titans of industry in corporate America.”
And gamification—that is, friendly competitive activities between small teams—has been part of his team building strategy from the start. As Jackson puts it, “The words ‘team building activity’ can send shudders of horror and dread through the hearts of many corporate workers. But our activities are user-friendly, fun, and best of all geared toward each team ‘winning’ gifts to donate to needy families in each company’s hometown.
“Food, sports gear, school supplies, stuffed toys, bikes,wagons, wheelchairs—we match each team’s passions with families in need. This puts a whole new spin on ‘team building’ for our clients because absolutely nobody can resist the chance to make a real difference in another person’s life. So our games and charitable workshops are our most popular events.”
So in the midst of the madness of 2020, Magnovo’s clients donated almost 1,000 gifts to kids and their families all over the country. Meanwhile, Jackson weighed in personally helping old clients and friends rework now defunct resumes, polish their interview skills, and search for new jobs—all free of charge. Charitable giving. That’s just Jackson’s way.