Movers & shakers: Larry Nordhagen, Pinnacle Performance Systems

  • Updated: October 21, 2012 - 12:18 PM

A look at the people behind the numbers in area business.

 

LARRY NORDHAGEN, PINNACLE PERFORMANCE SYSTEMS

Title: CEO and president

Age: 54

Larry Nordhagen, founder of Twin Cities-based coaching and consulting firm Pinnacle Performance Systems, has two questions for leaders: Who admires, respects and trusts you? And whom do you admire, respect and trust?

Nordhagen began asking those questions a decade ago while doing organizational development consulting at Best Buy. He continued posing them as head of learning and development at MinuteClinic during its rapid national expansion.

The answers, Nordhagen believes, can reveal how leaders are perceived and help them be more effective in business, relationship development and self-leadership.

The questions, meanwhile, have formed the basis of Nordhagen's expanding consulting practice at Pinnacle Performance Systems and his new book that explores their implications, "A.R.T.ful Leadership: The Path to Being Admired, Respected and Trusted as a Leader."

This fall, Nordhagen has added cohort coaching to his one-on-one executive coaching at Pinnacle, which he founded in 2002. He left consulting in 2006 to join MinuteClinic and then UnitedHealth Group, where he was director of learning development and strategic consulting. He since has returned to Pinnacle.

Nordhagen has graduate degrees in organizational development and management from North Dakota State University and the University of Montana.

Q What should I do if I'm an "A.R.T.less" leader?

A The first step is to understand how you're perceived by those who are critical to your success as a leader. Get feedback from those individuals. Ask them from their perspective rather than asking them to evaluate your leadership: How can I be more effective in helping you succeed? It's about their perspective of what more you can do for them.

Q What's different about your approach to leadership?

A The essence of it is that to be admired, respected and trusted is to lead from the lens of those you lead and influence. If you don't do that you're not going to be successful in understanding how people need you to lead in order for you to be an effective leader. Leaders who complain about their people should look in a mirror and say, "Maybe I need to do something different."

Q So, your approach involves putting leadership back on leaders?

A You can't change anybody. You can only do something different with that individual to change that relationship. They might be wrong, they might be difficult and you might want to throw them off the cliff. That's not going to change unless you do something different to get them to move from where they are.

TODD NELSON

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