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All highly collaborative, productive and successful organizations have two things in common — they are respectful places to work and they have respectful leaders. We call this our C.O.R.Concept: Collaborative Organizational Respect and it informs everything we do.

Our C.O.R.Concept was developed over the course of nearly 25 years of supporting leadership, diversity and inclusion, and change initiatives for scores of global corporations and government agencies including ADP, AXA, Ford Motor Company, IHOP, Kaiser Permanente, NASA, Merck Medco, Qualcomm and The US Navy.

By 2011, after exhaustive research, discussion and study, we had determined that while valuing and leveraging diversity and creating inclusive cultures are important for organizational success, there are two fundamental and universal concepts underpinning these best practices: respect and respectful leadership.

Respect Defined. Respect is about being aware of and having esteem for people’s differences, not just what’s visibly different, but also their different experiences, perspectives, ideas, and personalities. When people respect each other, they are much more disposed to cooperating, collaborating and innovating.

Respectful Leadership Defined. Respectful Leadership is about treating others – regardless of their rank or status – with the same kind of genuine regard and consideration that you want them to give you. It’s about respecting, valuing and acknowledging individuals for what they bring to the table, their skills, experience and the way they treat you and other people. Respectful Leadership is about ensuring that all stakeholders in an organization – including employees, customers, vendors, investors, the community and the environment – have the opportunity to thrive and contribute to each other’s success.


C.O.R.Expert™ Certification Program

The C.O.R.ExpertCertification Program is a two-and-a-half day, immersive, interactive experience designed specifically for managers and business leaders who are committed to developing and/or supporting respectful organizational cultures. Small group (max 16) public programs are held quarterly on the East and West coasts. Customized, client specific programs are delivered on-site at client request.

The C.O.R.Expert™ Certification Program agenda includes a pre-survey Respect Communication Preferences Assessment™ and copy of The Respectful Leader by GWG Founder Gregg Ward.

Day One. After a Welcome Lunch, participants are introduced to our C.O.R.Concept, respect brain science and the Acceptance/Rejection Matrix.

Day Two. Day Two focuses on the business case and metrics of respect and introduction to key respectful leadership skills.

Day Three is a deeper dive into Respectful Leadership skills including Coaching, and then practicing those skills in Experiential Learning sessions with professional actors improvising “in character” as living case studies opposite participants.

Certification is followed by two coaching sessions with C.O.R.Expert™ Coaches shortly after participants return to work.

Key learnings of the C.O.R.ExpertCertification Program:

Certified C.O.R.Expert™

  • Understand the power of Respect and Respectful Leadership
  • Understand the brain science underlying respect and disrespect
  • Understand the business case for Respect and Respectful Leadership
  • Understand and engage in the Respectful Leader practices
  • Have learned and practiced the skills of Respectful Leadership, Coaching and Disrespect Management
  • Are Certified as a C.O.R.Expert in developing, supporting, leading and championing respectful cultures

The program fee includes:

  • Program Guide/Workbook
  • Copy of The Respectful Leader (sent in advance)
  • Respect Communication Preferences Assessment (taken in advance)
  • Certification Document
  • Access to The C.O.R.Experts’ Network and Resources site
  • Breakfast and lunch all three days
  • Negotiated discounts on accommodations
  • Two post-program coaching sessions by Certified C.O.R.Expert Professional Coaches


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The Seven RespectfulDo's

Don’t wait for others to respect you first, be the first to show others respect no matter who they are, even strangers. Go ahead and make eye contact, smile genuinely and say ‘good morning,’ or ‘hello.’ It doesn’t matter if you’re the CEO or the owner of the company, if you’re the first to respect someone – even a total stranger just walking down a hallway in your building – you’re sending a powerful message about yourself, that you are going to be respectful to everyone. It’s easy to do, and if you keep doing it consistently, people will say how friendly and respectful you are.

Say “good morning,” “please,” and “thank you,” to everyone. Some people call this “common courtesy.” We call it Regular Respect. No matter what it’s called, you probably learned about it when you were growing up. Regular Respect is about greeting people warmly and taking a moment to acknowledge them. Regular Respect is also about really listening to others when they speak, and not interrupting. It’s also about being on time for meetings, and apologizing when you’re late. It’s about making sure you’re not dominating conversations; keeping foul language and name-calling to a minimum; and avoiding sensitive topics like politics, religion or sex that aren’t related to work. Practicing Regular Respect is also known as being a decent person. And you’ll be respected for it in return for it.

Being Respect-Worthy is about behaving in ways that most people find worthy of their respect. It’s about being as honest and as open as you can about what’s going on in your company. Another part of being Respect-Worthy is following through on your commitments – actually doing what you say you’re going to do. And being Respect-Worthy is also about being consistently fair to everyone, not playing favorites or talking behind others’ backs. It also means being clear with your expectations – ensuring that the people who report to you know what you expect from them. In short, Respectful Leaders do their utmost to be worthy of others’ respect.

While it may be easy to identify others’ faults, it’s also fairly easy to look for the good in them, too, if we want to. This is called “looking for diamonds in the rough.” Respectful Leaders consistently look for, find, and acknowledge those qualities, skills and perspectives in others that are worthy of respect. They do this consistently with everyone, and encourage others to do the same. The impact of this practice is phenomenal. When people feel genuinely respected and acknowledged by their bosses they feel proud of themselves; their self-confidence is boosted and their overall attitude is positive and energetic. People who feel respected in this way are much more loyal and willing to go the extra mile when times get tough.

Shift happens! Problems and challenges are going to be brought to your attention all the time, and you will react to them with shifting types, degrees, and intensity of emotion. Stay aware of your shifting emotional states and do your best to “get your shift together” before reacting. Here’s why. If you’ve ever had a boss take out their frustrations on you, then you know how unfair it feels. So, as a Respectful Leader you have to get your shift together. How do you do that? Sometimes, just taking a deep breath or two is all it takes to get your shift together. Or, try standing up if you’re sitting, or sitting down if your standing, in order to change your blood flow and your energy level. Still another way to get your shift together is to find a “vent buddy,” someone you can go to privately, close the door, and just vent in front of.

The Respectful Leader consistently steps in and nips disrespectful behavior in the bud. There’s nothing more uncomfortable than being part of a group where people are behaving disrespectfully but the boss does nothing about it. The Respectful Leader doesn’t tolerate disrespect; they’ll nip it in the bud as soon as it happens or shortly afterward. Usually this means taking the disrespectful person aside to a private location and giving them feedback about their behavior. One of the best methods for nipping disrespectful behavior in the bud respectfully is called the S.B.I. feedback technique. S for Situation: you describe the situation in which the behavior occurred. B for Behavior: describe, using neutral, factual language, the disrespectful behavior you observed/heard. I for Impact: describe, without blaming, the impact of the disrespectful behavior on you and on others involved in the situation.

Sometimes our negative emotions get the better of us and we behave disrespectfully. That’s called being human and it happens to the best of us. Once the Respectful Leader realizes they’ve been disrespectful, they offer a full apology. Here’s how you make a Full Apology. There are seven steps…

  • Admit that what you said or did was disrespectful.
  • Acknowledge that you understand how what you said or did hurt the other person.
  • Say ‘there are no excuses for my behavior,’ ‘I have no excuse.’
  • Apologize sincerely, and ask for forgiveness.
  • Promise that it will never happen again. (And make sure that it doesn’t.)
  • Offer to make amends, to make it up to the person somehow and offer a plan for how you’re going to do that.
  • Start trying to make amends, even if they haven’t accepted your apology or forgiven you.