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Echo System Partners works with organizations to co-create workplaces that inspire high levels of employee engagement tapping into individual greatness for organizational good.

Organizations that work with Echo discover exactly how their people are the secret to their success and they build action plans to secure this competitive advantage.

Echo’s approach is collaborative. With thorough understanding of an organization's goals and success drivers, we tailor customized engagements that will yield measurable results.  We blend a wealth of experiences, research, and knowledge to create actions that will bring your strategic vision to life.

Echo's Blog

A blog that provides snapshots of key ideas that inspire organization growth. 

One idea: Focus on a basic concept. (Explore complex concepts in white papers.)

Short but Useful: Practical insights and ideas that can be quickly implemented.

Engaging: Quick and entertaining.

Thought Provoking: Generate resourceful thought.

Inspire: What works in organizations. 

Filtering by Category: Leadership Style

Soaring Organization Spotlight: Inner Bliss Yoga Studio

Regina Loiko

A soaring organization is any workplace where employees are energized to contribute their very best (people soar) and in turn the organization is rewarded with financial growth and stability (profits soar). Research by Edward Deci and written about by Daniel Pink in Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us,demonstrates how autonomy, mastery, and purpose underpins soaring organizations.

Inner Bliss was selected for the first spotlight soaring organization because this yoga studio always delivers on their promise. The Promise: Inner Bliss Yoga Studio is more of a space than a place where warmth envelops you, laughter is contagious and ease prevails. 

Inner Bliss consistently presents a graceful offering and honors those who accept the offering.  This exchange is about community more than commerce.  This yoga studio’s impact can be felt within and well beyond its studio walls.  From within, bliss is found in breath fueled movement and stillness. Students experience life on the mat and carry their experiences into life off the mat. Beyond the studio the teachers and staff of Inner Bliss share their gifts in schools, at parks, at wellness centers, in bike shops, around local landmarks, and in arenas.

Inner Bliss is where I go to stay physically, spiritually, and mentally fit. I have been a grateful student and part of the of Inner Bliss community for more than a decade.

In addition to my personal experience I use Inner Bliss to bring yoga experiences to others. I recently developed a girls’ leadership program that is designed on a play-learn-play model. In this model, the girls gain experiences that help them learn how to be leaders. One way we do this is with yoga. When yoga became part of the program I knew instantly where to go to get the girls the best experience--Tammy Lyons owner of Inner Bliss Yoga Studio. When I reached out to Tammy she asked a few thoughtful questions and then shared that Sally Brooks would be perfect for this program. She was right, Sally is a perfect fit. When she arrives, the girls visibly transition into the ease that yoga brings them. She expertly guides the girls in yoga as she helps them find their voice and gain confidence.

The Inner Bliss team impresses with their excellence and engagement. Because of this I took a look at how Inner Bliss meets the elements of a soaring organization.

Inner Bliss Basics

Purpose: Create space and experiences for people to heal and grow with breath and movement

Products/Services: Yoga classes, workshop, apparel, and lifestyle items

Years in Business: 13.5

# of Employees 28

Locations: Rocky River & Westlake, Ohio

Leader Interview

In April of 2015 I talked with Tammy Lyons, owner of Inner Bliss Yoga Studio about what makes Inner Bliss soar.The Leader Interview

Q: What motivates you to make Inner Bliss soar?

A: After studying yoga and seeing the dramatic impact it had on my life I made the decision to leave my corporate job and start Inner Bliss to help others experience the benefits of yoga. At that time yoga was very new to Northeast Ohio. I was driven to offer others the opportunity to heal and grow through breath and movement. 

Q: Why do you think your organization soars, what is the secret to your success?

AThere is no secret. We live out our passion for yoga and put in lots of hard work.

Q: How does Inner Bliss overcome challenges?

A: Today yoga is a rapidly growing industry. This brings the challenge of competition but our focus is on the growing pains related to managing logistics that impact the student experience. For example space: from the parking lot, to class check-in, to a space to lay your yoga mat we were running out rapidly, this led to opening our second location in Westlake. 

Q: How do you attract and retain employees?

A: It is important to me that employees’ earnings reflect their value so compensation is above average and allows for a good quality of life. But it is the work environment that our employees appreciate most. Our employees get to work with happy people. Our students invest time and money and come to Inner Bliss joyfully. Plus the perk of free unlimited yoga classes is attractive to our employees.

Q: How do you approach leadership?

A: From the heart. I make leadership decisions based on respect--treating others as I want to be treated.

Q: What about Inner Bliss makes you most proud?

A: We feel blessed that people reach out and share with us the positive life changes they experience due to yoga at Inner Bliss. People share that they are learning and growing; that yoga is improving their lives, their health, and their relationships.

People Soar at Inner Bliss

People who soar are motivated to contribute to their employer’s success. Every day they do their best work and seek out ways to add value. This level of motivation results when employees have autonomy, mastery and purpose.  

In the spring of 2015 to explore if Inner Bliss employees do indeed have the autonomy, mastery, and purpose that allow people to soar at work they took the Echo System Partners soaring employees survey. The survey asks participants to anonymously rate their agreement with 22 statements such as:

  • I feel comfortable trying out new ideas at work.
  • If I make a mistake at work I am not afraid to own it.
  • I know what needs to happen for my organization to be successful.

The survey results illustrated in the chart below emphasize that Inner Bliss employees do soar in ways that positively contribute to the success of their organization.


The I in TEAM: 3 Tips for Building Accountable Teams

Regina Loiko

IinTeam

Finding the ‘I’ in team will unite teams. Teams will be triumphant when every individual team member owns their personal stake in the team’s success.  

My first team was a swim team. Swimming is largely an individual sport. Your success as a swimmer rarely relies on the performance of others. You do not have to pass or catch a ball, a baton, a puck, or anything else to be successful. Yes, your teammates rely on you to win individual races to gain points, but there is little action others can take that will help or hurt your performance. To perform well in the pool I had to show up, I had to be invested in my training, no one else could do it for me.

On my high school team I was an above average swimmer. I could be counted on to do my part, to score points. I was not a superstar taking first in every race. The phrase, There is no I in Team reassured me that consistently scoring points for second or third place was enough and that I didn’t need to excel individulaly. That incremental growth, just swimming a few tenths of a second faster each week was enough to be a good teammate. I did not have to stand out, over-achieve, or grow aggressively. The no I in team sentiment comforted me, but in retrospect, that was misguided. I wonder, if I had known about the I’s in team would I have been a better swimmer…a better teammate…gone on to have more success in the sport?

In organizations there is a tendency for those who want to be good team leaders to embrace the There is no I in Team concept. They demonstrate this by saying “we”, “our” or “us” instead of “you” or “I”. Direct questions such as, “What will you do to be successful?” are avoided instead of embraced as a follow-up question to “How can we work together to be successful?” This style of leadership sends the message I received as a swimmer: as long as I show up and perform as expected I am a contributing member of the team. In excellent teams each individual strives for personal excellence and understands how their accomplishments contribute to the success of the team.  

Leaders: do you want minimal participation from your team or would you rather have inspired team members that stand out, over-achieve, and grow aggressively? If you want the latter, then embrace the I in team.  Here’s how:

1.       Ignite Importance

  • Use first names or “you” as much as possible and expect others to do the same.
  • Increase your personal use of “I”. Consider saying “I” instead of “we” or “our” when accepting responsibility for both good and bad things where you truly hold responsibility.
  • Expect every team member to meet their obligations to the team.

2.       Identify Individuality

  • Confirm that each team member knows his or her specific expectations and how he or she brings unique value to the team.
  • Expect team members to set individual goals that require stretching and an investment in personal development.
  • Do not tolerate people who refuse to be accountable.

3.       Inspire Innovation

  • Celebrate individual as well as team successes.
  • Hire people who bring new and needed ideas, skills, and experiences.
  • Avoid group-think; ask team members to contribute personally inspired thoughts and solutions.

Long after my swim team experience I became part of a team that required me to embrace the I in team. As a Boy Scouts of America employee under the fantastic leadership of John Cadwallader I did stand-out, over-achieve, and grow aggressively. The training and processes for professional Boy Scout employees instill the I in team concept.  I had specific goals for the number of members that would be in my programs, the volunteers I recruited and managed, and the money I was to raise. There were also expectations for how I conducted business and supported my colleagues. On the first Friday of every month there was a mandatory staff meeting. Each month I stood in front of my peers and leadership to report on goal progress and action plans. In these meetings my individual achievements were applauded and significant successes were awarded. If I was struggling, encouragement and help were offered. I learned how our individual achievements were supporting organization wide goals and what was needed for my team to be recognized as one of the best in the country. Our team enjoyed success year over year because we lived the power of the I in team.

Today, as I work in organizations to strengthen teams I find the reluctance to acknowledge the I in team one of the more significant causes of underperforming teams.  I encourage you to experiment with one or two the actions from the I’s in team list and watch your team become more accountable.

A Leadership Tip from Medellin, Colombia

Regina Loiko

Treat people like they are poor and they will be poor…poor in spirit, poor in performance, and poor in contributions.

Treat people like they are rich and they will be rich…rich in attitude, rich in ability, and rich in contributions.

The city of Medellin, Colombia is a living example of this leadership principle. In the 80’s and 90’s Colombia was a war zone where every day brought bombings, murder, and kidnapping. Today crime is low. Kidnapping is down 90%. In Medellin, once called the murder capital of the world, homicide is down 80%. In 2012 Time Magazine named Medellin, City of the Year.

Much of this change can be attributed to the vision of Sergio Fajadro. From 2003 to 2007 he served as Mayor of Medellin, Colombia’s second largest city. Sergio believed that the poorest areas of the city are where the grandest buildings should stand. The CBS Sunday Morning Show showcased the investments made to beautify these areas and to treat all of the city’s inhabitants as rich and valuable. The city has been rewarded with zero violence in the beautified public areas and Colombia is experiencing a surge in tourism, expecting four million tourists this year.

The leadership tip in Sergio’s vision: treat all people as rich and they will prove their value.

A rich person is valued for the contributions they are able to make. Here are the steps to help the people you lead to be rich contributors to your organization.

1.       Discover each person's richness by exploring their strengths and abilities. Talk with them about how they contribute value and can help the organization reach it goals.

2.       Set expectations that tap individual strengths and abilities in ways that are both challenging and achievable.

3.       Hold them accountable to those expectations by redirecting when necessary and congratulating when successful.

Using these steps will help the people you lead to know their value and be rich contributors to the success of your organization. Maintaining a focus on what makes people rich will create limitless value for you, your organization, and the people you lead.

 

Background on Sergio Fajardo and Medellin, Colombia was found on a September 2014 edition of the CBS Sunday Morning Show, an October 2010 thedailybeast.com article and a July 2007 New York Times article.

You as a Leader: Conform or Adapt

Regina Loiko

Do you expect the people you lead to conform to your style or do you learn about them and adapt to their style?

Conform to Your Style

If you expect the people you lead to conform to your style of leadership; use these clarifying questions to refine your approach.        

  • What are the key characteristics of your style?  What should the people on your team know about your style to best meet your needs?     
  • How do you communicate your style?        
  • When you bring new people onto your team, how do you identify the people who will flourish under your leadership style?        
  • When someone does not fit your leadership style how do you identify that this is the circumstance rather than a circumstance of poor attitude or lack of skills? How do you assist people who do not fit your leadership style?

Adapt to Their Style

If you strive to adapt your leadership style to the people you lead here are some questions you can ask the people on your team to assist you in learning the leadership style that works best for them.        

  • Where do you see yourself in 18 months, 3 years, 5 years, and 10 years?
    • What personal and professional goals have you set for yourself?
    • How can I help you?
  • What is the best way for me to communicate what you are expected to achieve?
  • What is the best way for me to motivate you?
  • What are a few ways you like to be recognized for an accomplishment?
  • How should I redirect you when you are not achieving what is expected?
  •  What do you think is most important to your success in this role?
    • What skills, knowledge and abilities will you rely on?
    • What tools and resources will you use?
    • What would you like to learn?
  • How often would you like to meet to talk about your work and your goals?

For more input to refine communications on your leadership style there are many helpful tools. A quick Google Images search using the term leadership style will turn up many charts and tables that offer a variety of ideas. For more personal insight StandOut by Marcus Buckingham offers a 20 minute inexpensive ($15) assessment to help build awareness of the strengths that define your leadership style. This assessment will also help the people you lead to identify their strengths and communicate how their leader can help them to shine. 

Please share your approach - conform or adapt?