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10 Years Impacting Leadership


Ten years ago, I was having a networking lunch with an old boss, Ethan G., as I contemplated what my next move would be after leaving my last corporate gig. I had many advising me to go out on my own, I was the final candidate for a Chief Human Capital Officer, I was home to see Kate’s very first steps the month before, and realized working 60-70 hours a week with a 1-year-old was not in the cards. I had a lot to consider.

At this life-changing lunch, Ethan was contemplating a move himself and asked if I might help him with a leadership development strategy as a consultant. It was at that moment I declared going out on my own. I drove to the bank and opened a business account. Not having seriously thought about a company name, I followed my dad’s lead. He went out on his own in 1983, and called himself The Evans Group. On January 10, 2008 at about 3 pm, The Ermi Group was born. My Georgetown peeps, Janus Development Group and Magus Group inspired and guided me. Many friends and family supported me. By February, I had a website and branding, thanks to Pinix Design Studio. My first paying client was US Wellness, and we were on our way to making an impact on leadership.

In 2017, we had the privilege to serve 250 Leaders through 1:1, team and group coaching engagements. Over the last ten years, we have served over 1500 Leaders in150 organizations!

Thank you all for believing in The Ermi Group for a decade!




The Ermi Group Turns 9


Another powerful year has been completed, and we are very grateful for the leaders that have chosen The Ermi Group as their partner in leadership development.

In 2016 we added a new certification to our offerings: MAGUS Group Coaching. Being Coached: Group and Team Coaching From the Inside by Holly Williams and Ann Deaton walks you through sample group and team coaching engagements. Their proven method for coaching groups is dynamic and transformative. We were able to put this new offering into the market this year, and the results were fantastic. Here is a quote from the CEO of one organization, and participants:

“I very much appreciate your sentiments and even more all the work you have invested in our organization’s talent this past year. The effects are obvious and noteworthy making my role much easier and immensely more enjoyable. Look forward to continuing to work together in the New Year and wish you and your enterprise a happy and safe Thanksgiving holiday.” – CEO Global Pharma Company

“Very thankful and appreciative our company brought in such an amazing program as a "gift" to those of us who are able to receive it. Where have you been all these years?” – Participant
“Our coach is great! She fostered a great environment that allowed us to be honest and accountable to each other. She was empathetic, she was clearly invested in our success and that made me want to do my very best in the course- a true Multiplier she is.” – Participant

What a blessing it is to be able to do this work. Each day we are able to make a significant impact for our clients, and we are grateful for our 9 year history. Next year will mark a significant milestone, and we are humbled by what our clients are saying.

May 2017 allow each of you to move that much closer to reaching your potential and realizing your purpose.


Little Things


Written by Crista Leonard

I think we have it all wrong (the vast majority of us anyway). Life. What is life about? What’s really important? What makes life worth living? These are questions that some people may spend much of their lives trying to answer. I can sum it all up in one word: beauty. Life is about beauty. And no, I’m not talking about looking like Gisele or Brad Pitt. All the plastic surgery and hair dye in the world wouldn’t help most of us out in that department. I mean finding beauty in the little things. So much of our time and effort is spent on trying to be (or appear) happy. The things that we are taught that will make us happy are, for the most part, materialistic. In my opinion, this is a crying shame. Maybe, just maybe if we would all learn to appreciate the little things, we would be a much happier society. There would be less pressure to “keep up with the Jones’s.” Everyone would work less and be more relaxed. Instead we are all consumed with trying to buy a bigger house, have a nicer car, and go on a fancier vacation. I say forget all that. None of it matters. None of it will last. None of it will go to the grave with us. The things we will take with us are the memories and experiences we have had. The moments that I most cherish in my life are not when I got a brand new Mustang at sixteen, or when I bought my first designer handbag. They are moments that can’t be bought. Moments that make me truly grateful to be alive and a part of the journey. It’s the little things.

So what are “the little things” you ask? I have a list a mile long, but I’ll spare you and only include some of the highlights... It’s the look of sheer joy on your kid’s face after getting off the school bus for the first time. It’s the smell of clean laundry. It’s walking barefoot through the grass on the first warm summer day. buspicIt’s the way the sun glistens off of freshly fallen snowflakes. It’s the way your daughters pick flowers and sneak them into your car, filling your cup holder and door handles so that when you find them, they have dried into a delicate potpourri. It’s the sound of music. It’s seeing a rainbow. It’s the way someone looks at you, a look that would take a thousand words to describe. It’s the way the colors dance with the clouds at sunset. It’s the way the stars shine extra bright on a cold clear night, making you marvel at just how big the universe really is and wonder who is up there watching. All of these things are free, yet priceless.

These things may sound a bit dreamer-ish to some of you, like I’m one of those crazy idealists who smile all day and see everything through rose colored glasses, but I can assure you that I am no dreamer. I am quite the opposite actually. So my fellow realists, listen up! You too can learn to appreciate the little things, for after all, they ARE real. At times it’s really hard to be positive and I understand that better than most people (To my astrology lovers- I’m a Capricorn, we are known for being pessimistic...I’ll blame it on the stars). But it’s during these times that I try to think about what I am grateful for and I think about the beauty in life - the little things - and it brings me peace.

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The Best Rest


Written by Crista Leonard

As some of you might remember, I’m the crazy chick who loves winter. The cold, the snow, the quiet...I love it all. My next favorite thing however, would have to be the beach. Complete opposites, I know. But I am a woman who is just full of contradictions. We can save that narrative for another time. The beach, where your worries and cares are quieted by the breeze and washed away with the sea. I don’t think this is an unknown phenomenon. Almost every family I know takes at least one trip to the beach each year. They all crave the sensation that only the beach can bring them.

I must say, going to the beach with kids is a totally different experience than going without kids. The goal is still the same – fun, relaxation, making memories, and a change of pace. But those little creatures that you created multiply the work exponentially. If you have kids, you know how much work they are and you know that a vacation is not exactly a vacation. 

If you don’t have kids, let me paint a little picture of a typical beach vacation for you. You will get up even earlier than normal, skip the little one’s naps, and go to bed later than normal. Let me tell you, messing with a toddler’s sleep schedule is like dancing with the devil. Once everyone is up at an ungodly hour, you will then have to convince them to eat more than 3 bites of breakfast. Next, you will spend about an hour getting them dressed, teeth brushed, hair fixed, and lathered up with sunscreen. I’m exhausted before we even leave the hotel. So once you are finally out the door, it’s hauling about 40lbs of toys, snacks, towels, sunscreen, floaties, chairs (that you won't get to sit in), and not to mention one of the kids who refuses to walk, several blocks to the beach. nanbeachGood thing I’m getting my workout in to make up for all the eating out I’ll be doing this week. Ok, we’ve finally made it to the beach. You might be thinking, cool, now you can lay down and relax in the sun. Wrong. There is no laying down while you are the beach with young kids – EVER. You are now not only responsible for making sure they don’t drown in the ocean, but are also expected to entertain them at every turn. Come to the water with me, lift me up when the waves come, build me a castle, dig me a huge hole, find me sand crabs, make me a turtle, I’m hungry etc., etc., etc. Somewhere between all that, OMG I got sand in my eye!!!!! Cue the ten-minute freak-out session. If you are lucky like me, you will have a toddler who refuses to go to the bathroom in the ocean or in the hole you dug for them in the sand and you will have to carry her all the way back to the hotel in lightning speed before she pees all over you (see child in yellow bucket-she's lucky she's so cute).

After everyone has had their share of fun in the sun for the day, it’s back to the hotel for the impossible task of removing all the sand from all the kids’ crevasses and hair. This usually involves tears. Now, it’s time to take the overtired and cranky bunch to a restaurant and hope to God that they behave. I think I will order that second margarita. And dessert. I’ve earned it. After dinner, it’s time for bed. Good luck getting the kids to stick to their bedtime routine in a hotel room. We are all in the same room, so it’s like a party for them. WOOHOO! (not) Even though they are extremely overtired, somehow, sleep eludes them. Finally, everyone is asleep and now you will wake up and repeat the process 5 more times, or however many days you are staying.

So why on earth would anyone put themselves though this? The obvious answer is because of the joy it brings to the kids. They have the time of their lives. My oldest daughter could stay at the beach all day every day. seaturtleI might go insane, but she (and her pet sea turtle sculpted by yours truly) would be as happy as a clam. The less obvious answer is that going to the beach is restful. It clearly isn’t physically resting, it’s quite the opposite. But it’s rest for your soul. You get a break from your normal mundane routine. You connect with the picturesque scenery around you. And hey, you might even get a nice tan. Despite all the madness and running around, I can assure you that I will do it again year after year. It may sound like I am complaining (ok maybe I am...just a little) but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. The feeling of the sand between your toes makes you smile, and the sound of the waves makes you forget all your worries. It’s a perfect time for reflection. Thoughts flow in and out with the tide, and the sun drenches you in a warmth that penetrates even your darkest places. All the extra work and lack of sleep is worth it. Your soul is recharged and you feel like you can take on anything life throws your way.


Shifting Business Priorities Create Significant Opportunities for HR

The Ermi Group is pleased to present this guest blog from Brenda Harrington, President of Adaptive Leadership Strategies.



As innovation officially becomes a top business strategy, HR needs to think creatively and adapt its ways of working.

Cost management, talent management and boosting productivity remain top current priorities for HR and non-HR business leaders in 2015, unchanged from 2013. But for the first time, innovation is now a leading business priority for a third of both HR (35%) and other business leaders (32%), according to the latest CIPD/Workday HR Outlook leaders’ survey.

The findings highlight that new ways of working and operating is an increasing reality for organisations. However, while there is general agreement about overall strategic priorities, it seems to be less clear to the wider business how HR professionals will contribute to achieving them. Despite nearly three-quarters (72%) of HR leaders saying that their current people strategy will help the organisation achieve its future priorities, just a quarter (26%) of other business leaders agree. Also, although 31% of non-HR business leaders think HR should be focusing on diversity to help achieve innovation in the workplace, just 19% of HR leaders said they were. To address this, the CIPD recommends that HR needs to look at ways in which it can innovate itself in order to stay relevant and more visibly demonstrate its enabling role as the workplace evolves.

Dr. Jill Miller, Research Adviser at the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, comments: “Cost management is once again a top priority in this year’s survey, but it’s great to see innovation featuring so strongly, suggesting many organisations are thinking creatively in an environment of ongoing cost control. At a strategic level, HR and non-HR leaders are evidently aligned on goals, but our survey highlights clear areas of opportunity for better collaboration and communication between HR and other functions.

“With people being at the heart of how businesses operate, HR has a significant role to play in wider organisational innovation. This requires business-wide systemic thinking and action to affect change but the good news is that we can see from the report that the appetite from non-HR business leaders for HR to drive this change is there. HR leaders need to focus on growing technological and analytical capabilities within the function, so it has the ability to meet future business requirements and really flourish in the evolving world of work.”

The report also found differing views on the use of HR analytics, particularly due to a lack of awareness of the current and potential value outside of the HR function. For example, when non-HR leaders were asked to describe the analytic capability in their HR department, almost 3 in 10 (28%) said they didn’t know. Moreover, 28% said their HR department doesn’t share their analytics with key stakeholders, compared to 12% of HR leaders who thought this. This might explain why just 14% of non-HR leaders are satisfied with the HR analytics provided to them and also why, despite over three-quarters (78%) of HR leaders saying analytics are important to HR’s ability to deliver strategic value to their organisation, less than half (49%) of non-HR business leaders agree.

Miller continues: “If the HR function is to truly demonstrate its value-adding qualities within the business, HR analytics are a key way in which they can move conversations from ‘I think’ to ‘I know’, and have access to data to form persuasive evidence-based arguments for people management decisions. However, our research suggests that HR professionals need to better illustrate the insights they have at their disposal to key stakeholders outside of the function, in order to show the value that they can bring to wider business objectives. What gets measured gets managed, but only if that analytical data is interpreted and the rest of the business is engaged with the results.”

The research also asked leaders about technology-related concerns, and found that outdated/inflexible HR systems was the top issue for HR leaders, which over two-fifths (41%) flagged as a problem they were currently focusing on. However, it was not on the list of top five issues for non-HR leaders, replaced instead by concerns about cyber security and reputation.

Karen Minicozzi, Vice President of HCM Product Strategy at Workday EMEA, comments: “It is great to see the appetite for HR analytics continue to increase, as it reinforces the need for innovation to help HR leaders drive better decision making across their organisations and raise their strategic contribution to achieve broader business goals.

“While HR leaders recognise the need to replace legacy systems, the research shows they must continue to help the wider business understand the need to change these outdated systems with those built to deliver the real-time analytics required to achieve HR transformation and move the business forward.”

Top five current priorities for HR leaders:

  • Cost Management (63%)
  • Talent Management (50%)
  • Increasing agility/flexibility of organisations (49%)
  • Innovation (35%)
  • Productivity (33%)

Top five current priorities for business leaders:

  • Cost Management (61%)
  • Increasing customer focus (39%)
  • Productivity (32%)
  • Innovation (32%)
  • Talent Management (28%)

Top five future priorities for HR leaders:

  • Cost Management (54%)
  • Talent Management (48%)
  • Innovation (38%)
  • Productivity (36%)
  • Increasing agility/flexibility of the organisation (36%)

Top five future priorities for business leaders:

  • Cost Management (55%)
  • Productivity (34%)
  • Innovation (32%)
  • Increasing agility/flexibility of the organisation (27%)
  • Talent Management (26%)




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