Malhar Lakshman
Malhar Lakshman

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Articles
10
Fri 19 May 2023
Effective interdepartmental communication is paramount for high-level executives seeking to drive organizational success. Strong communication between departments fosters collaboration, expedites decision-making, and enhances overall business performance.

There have been many instances in which a manager has required something of another department, and due to difficult communication channels, has either been forced to go through an arduous process, or having to refer the matter to senior leadership. This creates a chain of inefficiencies which should be addressed to allow for a more streamlined business experience. Here are a few tips on how to establish this clear horizontal chain of communication. 

Please note that the phrase “horizontal communication” is used throughout this article. This is defined as lateral communication, which describes communication between departments, teams, and people who are all at equivalent levels.

  1. Establish Clear Communication Expectations- High-level executives must define and communicate clear expectations regarding interdepartmental communication. Establish guidelines concerning communication channels, preferred mediums, response times, and overall communication standards. Effectively communicate these expectations to all employees, emphasizing their significance and ensuring widespread adherence. Post these throughout the workplace and online. By setting clear communication expectations, you can then create a framework for consistent and effective interdepartmental communication.
  2. Cultivate a Culture of Open Communication- Promote a culture of openness and transparency throughout the organization. Encourage employees at all levels to freely express ideas, concerns, and suggestions. Create platforms for interdepartmental dialogue, such as regular cross-departmental meetings, forums, or collaborative projects. Lead by example by actively engaging in communication efforts, highlighting the importance of open dialogue to break down information silos and foster collaboration. Creating an open communication culture can allow greater horizontal communication throughout the company. Creating a Horizontal Mentorship Program can be critical to cultivating this culture.
  3. Facilitate Regular Interdepartmental Meetings- Schedule frequent meetings that bring together representatives from different departments. These gatherings offer an opportunity to share updates, align objectives, address challenges, and promote collaboration. Encourage active participation and ensure that meeting agendas facilitate cross-departmental communication and problem-solving. This will promote better understanding, alignment, and cooperation among departments. In addition to this, it will give your employees more opportunities to get to know people who they do not need to work with daily, further building a more integrated workforce. Regular interdepartmental meetings can also be critical for succession planning and integrating different groups of people that have be joined together via merger or acquisition.
  4. Implement Collaborative Technologies- Leverage technology to facilitate seamless interdepartmental communication. Implement collaborative tools, such as project management software, shared document repositories, and instant messaging platforms. These tools enable real-time communication, document sharing, and collaboration across departments, regardless of geographical locations. Encourage employees to utilize these tools effectively, providing necessary training and support. Leveraging technology enables executives to easily remove communication barriers, streamline information exchange, and foster efficient interdepartmental collaboration.
  5. Support Cross-Departmental Training and Development: Invest in cross-departmental training programs to enhance employees' understanding of different roles and functions. Provide opportunities for employees to learn about other departments through job rotations, mentorship programs, or cross-functional projects. This exposure fosters empathy, improves interdepartmental communication, and encourages a broader perspective among employees. By supporting cross-departmental training and development, executives promote a culture of learning, understanding, and collaboration.
  6. Cultivate Interdepartmental Communication Champions: Identify individuals who excel in interdepartmental communication and designate them as communication champions. These employees can serve as liaisons between departments, facilitating information exchange and collaboration. Encourage them to organize workshops, training sessions, or knowledge-sharing events that promote effective communication practices. Recognize and reward their efforts to motivate others to follow suit. By cultivating communication champions, executives empower employees to take ownership of interdepartmental communication, driving collaboration and fostering a culture of effective communication.
  7. Establish a Feedback Mechanism: Implement a feedback mechanism that allows employees to share their experiences, suggestions, and concerns related to interdepartmental communication. This can be achieved through regular surveys, suggestion boxes, or anonymous feedback channels. Actively review and address the feedback received, demonstrating a commitment to continuous improvement, and fostering a culture where feedback is valued and acted upon. By establishing a feedback mechanism, executives create a platform for employees to contribute to the improvement of interdepartmental communication.
  8. Lead by Example: As high-level executives, your actions and communication style set the tone for the organization. Lead by example by demonstrating active listening, empathy, and respect in your interactions with employees from different departments. Seek input from all levels, encourage diverse perspectives, and promptly address conflicts or miscommunications. Show your commitment to interdepartmental communication by actively participating in cross-departmental initiatives and projects. By leading by example, executives establish a culture of effective communication, collaboration, and mutual respect.

High-level executives play a crucial role in improving interdepartmental communication. By establishing clear expectations, cultivating a culture of open communication, leveraging collaborative technologies, supporting cross-departmental training, cultivating communication champions, implementing feedback mechanisms, and leading by example, executives can facilitate effective communication and collaboration among departments. By prioritizing and investing in interdepartmental communication, high-level executives create a professional and productive work environment that propels organizational success. 



Fri 12 May 2023
On March 30th, 2023, Ambition in Motion hosted an executive symposium with panelists Laura Iannelli, Syriac Joswin, and Chris Mashburn. These symposiums are an effective way to network with successful executives and get to learn some of what makes them good leaders. High-level executives and thought leaders come together to discuss industry trends, share insights, and best practices, and engage in strategic discussions. The symposium typically features keynote speakers, panel discussions, and networking opportunities for attendees to connect and exchange ideas. 

The purpose of an executive symposium is to provide a platform for executives to learn from each other and gain new perspectives on the challenges and opportunities facing their industries. The symposium is usually organized around a specific theme or topic, such as emerging technologies, industry disruption, or global business trends.

During this symposium, an interesting point was brought up by Chris Mashburn.  Every month Chris and his team have a meeting involving a "mistake of the month" where everyone, especially him, shares a mistake they made. In Chris’ opinion- which was soundly endorsed by Laura and Syriac- the best companies have cultures where people can feel open to being honest and owning mistakes. Now, we’ve gone over the process of building and maintaining- a company culture that embraces mistakes, but how much is this actually used, and what else can companies use to enhance not only their culture but their public image as well? 

When a company acknowledges its mistakes openly, it can earn the appreciation of the public in several ways. First, it demonstrates honesty and transparency, which can build trust with customers and stakeholders. Second, taking steps to rectify a mistake and prevent it from happening again can improve customer satisfaction and loyalty. Third, openly acknowledging mistakes can lead to a strengthened brand reputation, positioning the company as a leader in its industry and a trusted partner. Finally, increased employee morale can result from a company committed to doing the right thing and creating a positive impact, which can lead to long-term benefits for the company.

One example of a company that openly acknowledges its mistakes is Buffer, a social media management platform. In 2013, Buffer suffered a major security breach that resulted in the exposure of its users' passwords. Rather than trying to sweep the incident under the rug, Buffer's CEO, Joel Gascoigne, published a detailed blog post explaining what had happened, how the company was responding, and what it was doing to prevent similar breaches in the future.

Gascoigne's transparency and accountability earned him praise from both customers and industry experts. Buffer's users appreciated the company's honesty and commitment to fixing the problem, and the incident ultimately strengthened their loyalty to the brand.

Another example is Starbucks, which famously closed all of its stores for a day in 2018 to conduct anti-bias training following an incident where two black men were arrested in one of its Philadelphia locations. In addition to the training, Starbucks issued a public apology and announced a series of policy changes to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.

By acknowledging its mistake and taking swift action to address it, Starbucks demonstrated its commitment to creating a culture of inclusivity and respect for all customers. The incident prompted a national conversation about racial bias in public spaces and positioned Starbucks as a leader in the fight against discrimination.

In 2015, Volkswagen admitted to cheating on emissions tests for its diesel cars. The company's CEO, Martin Winterkorn, publicly apologized and resigned shortly after. Volkswagen also agreed to pay billions of dollars in fines and compensation to affected customers.

In 2016, Wells Fargo was fined $185 million for opening millions of fake customer accounts. The company's CEO, John Stumpf, faced intense criticism and eventually resigned. The company also launched a public apology campaign and implemented new policies and procedures to prevent similar issues from occurring in the future.

In the 1970s, Nestle faced a boycott over its marketing of baby formula in developing countries, which was found to be contributing to infant malnutrition and mortality. The company responded by introducing new marketing practices and donating millions of dollars to infant nutrition programs. Nestle also established the Nestle Infant Formula Audit Commission, which monitors the company's compliance with international marketing standards.

In 2018, Facebook faced intense criticism after it was revealed that Cambridge Analytica had accessed the personal data of millions of Facebook users without their consent. The company's CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, publicly apologized and testified before Congress. Facebook also launched new privacy controls and policies to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future. We are also currently seeing settlements for users as a result of this.

What most of these companies have in common is that they are all massive companies that are present to this day, despite suffering from major accidents and public relations events. By acknowledging these mistakes, they were able to salvage their reputation and preserve their customers.

Mistakes happen, and that’s okay for the business, so long as they are handled appropriately. Ambition In Motion believes in this so strongly that they are hosting an Executive Symposium on How to Build a Culture of Embracing Mistakes.

If you are interested in going to the next Ambition in Motion Executive Symposium, click here! Our next event will be on Thursday, July 27th, 2023, from 5-8pm CDT. Participants will be able to enjoy hors d’oeuvres while networking with leaders, practice working through case studies with other executives, and get to learn from 3 distinguished panelists on how they have been able to effectively build a culture of embracing mistakes, and what mistakes they have made to get to the point that they are at now.

Unable to attend this event? No worries! Click here to stay updated on future events, and to see information about our previous events. For any questions regarding these symposiums, please contact garrettmintz@ambition-in-motion.com



Mon 24 April 2023
Change is an essential part of any organization, and it is crucial for growth and development. However, employees who have been with a company for 10+ years can be resistant to change. They may be set in their ways and comfortable with the current processes and procedures. This resistance can be a significant obstacle for companies looking to innovate and improve. 

  1. Communicate the Need for Change

One of the most important things you can do to get employees to embrace change is to communicate the need for it. When employees understand why a change is necessary, they are more likely to be receptive to it. It is essential to be clear about the reasons for the change and how it will benefit the company.

For example, if you are introducing a new software program, explain how it will streamline processes and save time. If you are changing the company's mission statement, explain how it will better align with the company's goals and values. By providing a clear and compelling reason for the change, you can help employees see the bigger picture and understand why it is necessary.

2. Involve Employees in the Change Process

When employees feel like they are part of the change process, they are more likely to embrace it. Involve them in the decision-making process and ask for their input. This will make them feel valued and give them a sense of ownership over the change. When employees feel that their voices are heard and their opinions matter, they are more likely to be invested in the change.

For example, if you are introducing a new performance review system, involve employees in the selection process. Ask for their feedback on the options and what they would like to see in the new system. When employees are part of the decision-making process, they are more likely to buy into the change and support it. 

When employees are part of the decision-making process, this follows the Democratic Leadership Goleman Style. This method completely enables all members of a team to participate in the decision-making progress. Any member can potentially come in with an idea and can determine whether or not the idea is worth going forth with by using a consensus amongst other members, along with a final ruling by a leader. Democratic Leadership is particularly useful at getting team member involvement and retaining staff, but has a flaw in its speed, often taking time to come up with decisions. This can be dangerous when quick decisions are required to be made. 

3. Provide Training and Support

Change can be intimidating, especially if it requires learning new skills or processes. To help employees adjust to the change, it is essential to provide them with the necessary training and support. This will make them feel more confident and capable, which will increase their willingness to embrace change.

For example, if you are introducing a new software program, provide employees with comprehensive training on how to use it. This could include online tutorials, in-person training sessions, or one-on-one coaching. When employees feel comfortable using the new program, they are more likely to embrace it and use it to its fullest potential. 

Certain platforms, such as AIM Insights often are delivered to businesses with training packages or training professionals included in their respective packages. Opening these up to your staff can alleviate confusion and create more buy-in as well. 

In addition to this, we strongly recommend pushing your corporate education sponsorships and similar benefits towards your employees. This builds high amounts of employee buy-in loyalty and will allow for a better trained employee base as well.

4. Celebrate Successes

When employees successfully adapt to the change, it is essential to acknowledge and celebrate their efforts. This will help reinforce the idea that change is positive and encourage others to embrace it as well. Celebrating successes can also help create a sense of momentum and excitement around the change.

For example, if you are introducing a new project management system, celebrate when the first project is successfully completed using the new system. This could include a team lunch or a shoutout in the company newsletter. By celebrating successes, you are showing employees that their efforts are appreciated and that the change is having a positive impact.

5. Address Concerns and Resistance

Even with the best communication, involvement, training, and support, some employees may still be resistant to change. It is essential to address their concerns and resistance head-on. It is crucial to listen to their concerns and take them seriously. By doing so, you can identify any potential roadblocks and develop strategies to overcome them.

For example, if an employee is resistant to using a new software program, find out why. Perhaps they are not confident with their computer skills or have had a bad experience with a similar program in the past. By understanding their concerns, you can provide additional training or support to help them overcome their resistance.


In conclusion, getting employees who have been with the company for 10+ years to embrace change can be a challenge, but it's not impossible. The key is to communicate the reasons for change, involve employees in the change process, provide training and support, and recognize and reward those who embrace the change. By following these tips, companies can successfully navigate the challenges of change management and create a culture of continuous improvement that benefits both employees and the organization as a whole. Embracing change is crucial for companies to remain competitive, and by working together, all employees can contribute to a successful transition.



Tue 28 March 2023
Leadership is a critical aspect of any organization, and the skills and abilities of its leaders can significantly impact its success. However, not all leaders have had the benefit of formal training, and many may find themselves struggling to keep up with the demands of their roles. Fortunately, there are several effective ways for managers to upskill leaders who have received minimal formal training. Some of these include opportunities, while others include actual education.

  • On-the-Job Training- One of the most effective ways to upskill leaders is through on-the-job training. This approach involves providing leaders with opportunities to learn and develop new skills while they are actively engaged in their roles. This can include assigning them to new projects or tasks that challenge their abilities and providing them with feedback and support as they progress.
  • Mentorship and Coaching- Another effective way to upskill leaders is through mentorship and coaching. This approach involves pairing leaders with experienced mentors or coaches who can guide them through the process of developing new skills. Mentors or coaches can provide regular feedback and support, as well as offer insights into best practices and strategies for success. One way great tool to help upskill untrained leaders is AIM Insights which provides both coaching and metrics to help leaders better understand their teams.
  • Online Courses and Workshops- Many online courses and workshops are available that can help leaders develop new skills. These courses cover a wide range of topics, from leadership and management to specific technical skills, and can be completed at the leader's own pace. Online courses and workshops are particularly useful for leaders who may not have the time or resources to attend in-person training programs. Sponsoring manager’s further education can also go a long way in developing a leader and their loyalty.
  • Conferences and Networking Events- Attending conferences and networking events is another excellent way for leaders to upskill. These events provide opportunities to hear from experts, exchange ideas with peers, and build valuable professional connections. Leaders can learn about new trends and best practices and gain insights into how other organizations are approaching similar challenges.
  • Job Shadowing and Cross-Training- Job shadowing and cross-training opportunities can help leaders gain exposure to different areas of the organization and develop a broader range of skills. This approach involves temporarily switching roles with another leader or team member or spending time observing and learning from someone in a different part of the organization. Leaders can gain valuable insights into how different teams and departments operate and learn new skills that they can apply in their own roles.

In addition to the actions mentioned above, there are a few actions that direct reports and leadership can take, along with senior managers. As a leader, you have a responsibility to help newer managers learn more about leadership. Effective leadership is essential to the success of any organization, and providing guidance and support to new managers can help them develop the skills they need to be successful in their roles.

  • Encourage Collaboration and Knowledge Sharing- Encouraging collaboration and knowledge sharing among managers can also help unskilled managers improve their skills. Managers who have more experience and expertise can offer valuable insights and guidance to their less experienced colleagues. Creating a culture of collaboration and knowledge sharing can help managers feel more comfortable seeking advice and support from their peers and can facilitate the sharing of best practices and lessons learned.
  • Be a Role Model- One of the most effective ways to help newer managers learn about leadership is to lead by example. As a manager, you should model the behaviors and qualities that you want to see in your team. By demonstrating strong leadership skills, you can show newer managers what effective leadership looks like in action.
  • Provide Clear Expectations and Goals- Managers who lack experience or skills may struggle to meet the expectations of their roles. Providing clear expectations and goals can help managers understand what is expected of them and what they need to achieve. Setting goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) can help managers stay focused and motivated and can provide a roadmap for their development.
  • Offer Regular Feedback and Support -Another way to help an unskilled manager is by offering regular feedback and support. Managers who are new to their roles or who lack experience may struggle to identify areas for improvement and may not know how to address them effectively. Regular feedback and support can help managers understand their strengths and weaknesses, identify areas for improvement, and develop plans to address any shortcomings.
  • Delegate Responsibilities- Delegating responsibilities to newer managers can help them develop their leadership skills. By giving them ownership over projects or initiatives, you can provide them with opportunities to practice decision-making, communication, and other leadership skills. Be sure to provide clear guidance and support as needed but allow them to take the lead and learn from their experiences.
  • Provide Opportunities for Leadership Development- Providing opportunities for newer managers to develop their leadership skills can help them build confidence and improve their performance. Consider offering leadership development programs, mentoring, or coaching to help them build the skills they need to be effective leaders.
  • Encourage Continuous Learning- Effective leaders are always learning and growing. Encourage newer managers to seek out learning opportunities, such as attending leadership seminars or workshops, reading books on leadership, or networking with other leaders in their industry. By supporting their professional development, you can help them build the skills and knowledge they need to be successful leaders.

Helping untrained managers develop the skills they need to succeed is critical to the success of any organization. Providing training and development opportunities, offering regular feedback and support, encouraging collaboration and knowledge sharing, providing clear expectations and goals, and offering coaching and mentoring are all effective ways to help unskill managers improve their skills and become more effective leaders. By investing in the development of their managers, organizations can improve their overall performance and achieve greater success. 



Fri 10 March 2023
Leading a team can be challenging, especially when you are not an expert in the type of work being done. It's essential to have a clear understanding of your role as a leader and how to build a strong team that can work together to achieve success.

 While it might seem a little daunting to have to lead a team that does something you have no ideas on how to do, it is important to remember that this is common practice in all sorts of industries. Captains of cruise ships do not necessarily know how to operate the galley, but are often required to oversee the entire operation, including the cooks. The concepts travel across all sorts of businesses.

Business magnate Elon Musk used the phrase “ I didn’t go to Harvard, but I employ people who did.” This phrase should embody your mindset with this problem. In the context of a manager who isn't an expert in the type of work being done, this phrase suggests that the manager may not have the same level of technical knowledge or experience as their employees, but they recognize and value the expertise of their team members. The manager understands that their role is to lead and support the team, rather than to be the expert in every aspect of the work.

By acknowledging the strengths and expertise of their team members, the manager can leverage those skills and knowledge to achieve the goals of the organization. The manager can also provide guidance, mentorship, and resources to help their team members succeed, even if the manager doesn't have the same level of technical expertise.

This article will go into a few ideas on how to manage despite inexperience with a task.

  1. Build a Strong Team

As a leader who is not an expert in the type of work being done, it's crucial to build a strong team. Look for individuals who have the necessary skills and experience, and who can work well together as a team. Hire people who are passionate about the work being done and who have a strong desire to learn and grow. Encourage your team members to share their knowledge and expertise with one another and create an environment where everyone feels valued and respected.

2. Be a Good Communicator

Effective communication is one of the most important skills a leader can have. As a leader who is not an expert in the type of work being done, it's essential to be clear, concise, and consistent in your communication. Keep your team informed about what is happening and be available to answer their questions. Regular communication helps to build trust and fosters a sense of teamwork and collaboration. Have frequent 1:1s with your direct reports to determine how to keep moving forward with your tasks.

3. Be a Problem Solver

A good problem solver can be useful in many different situations. When faced with a challenge, work with your team to find creative solutions that are feasible and effective. Don't be afraid to try new things and take calculated risks. Encourage your team to do the same, and create an environment where failure is seen as a learning opportunity rather than a mistake.

4. Learn from Your Team

As a leader who is not an expert in the type of work being done, it's important to learn from your team members who are. Take the time to understand what they do and how they do it. Ask questions, listen to their ideas, and be open to feedback. By doing this, you can gain a better understanding of the work being done and the challenges your team faces. It also helps to build trust and respect with your team members, as they will appreciate your interest in their work.

5. Set Clear Expectations

It is essential to set clear expectations for your team. This includes goals, deadlines, and performance expectations. By setting clear expectations, you can help your team stay on track and achieve success. Make sure your team understands what is expected of them and what success looks like. Provide regular feedback and celebrate successes along the way.

6. Be Humble

It's okay to admit when you don't know something. As a leader who is not an expert in the type of work being done, it's important to be humble. Acknowledge your limitations and rely on your team to fill in the gaps. This approach not only shows your team members that you value their expertise, but it also creates a sense of trust and respect.

7. Focus on Leadership Skills

As a leader who is not an expert in the type of work being done, it's especially essential to focus on your leadership skills. This includes skills like delegation, decision making, and problem-solving. It's also important to develop your emotional intelligence, as this will help you understand and relate to your team members.

8. Be a Visionary

As a leader, it's important to have a clear vision for your team. This includes understanding the goals and objectives of the organization and how your team fits into that vision. Communicate your vision to your team and inspire them to work towards achieving it. By having a clear vision, you can create a sense of purpose and direction for your team. Understanding your leadership style and work mentality can assist with this.

9. Be a Coach

As a leader who is not an expert in the topics that you are attempting to manage, it is vital for you to stick to the topics that you have more credibility in, or topics that you are also more comfortable in. Attempting to show expertise in a topic you have no experience will make you look worse in your direct reports’ eyes. Be a mentor to your staff. In addition to that, assist them in setting SMART Goals, and utilize AIM Insights with them. Improve their overall office skills, and assist wherever you can.


In conclusion, leading effectively when you are not an expert in the type of work being done requires a combination of humility, strong communication skills, problem-solving ability, and the ability to build and empower a strong team. By focusing on these key elements, you can overcome the challenges of leading in an unfamiliar field and achieve success.



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