The Leadership Journey

Self-insight and culture change

We believe that the organizational culture can be proactively influenced through shared learning and mutual experiences. Clarifying values, beliefs and “aligning” the entire organization to a purpose is a never-ending job.  Our approach to evolve the culture is by focusing on a challenge or goal and how the organizational culture is impacting the work around that challenge.

For example, many of our projects in retail, address service excellence.  Leaders’ conscious and unconscious beliefs and values drive decisions and behaviors that impact the way people interact, influence others and consequently influence the repeated service behaviors. Leaders of all levels play a key role, that’s why we focus on leadership and provide them with the tools to influence and proactively manage the culture.

Case Results

At this USA regional chain behaviors were measured before and after a year-long culture intervention. The service behavior change illustrated below resulted from a series of initiatives, focusing on leadership developments, alignment, engagement, and training.  

Retail Leadership Journey

Leadership-Journey. Behaviors, Score Pre and Score Post.


Paulo Goelzer, Ph.D, President and CEO, Retail Learning Institute and IGA Coca-Cola Institute.

Paulo Goelzer has lifelong interest in culture and its impact on performance.  As a bicultural and bilingual Scholar-Practitioner, he has been researching the field and leading organization interventions for more than two decades. His doctoral research in the late nineties confirmed the relationship between culture and performance. He co-authored textbook chapters and articles in the field like:

  • Corporate Culture and Organizational Effectiveness: Is There A Similar Pattern Around The World? (Advances in Global Leadership, 2003)
  • Corporate Culture and Organizational Effectiveness: Is Asia Different from the Rest of the World? (Organizational Dynamics Journal, 2004)
  • Pay Perceptions and Their Relationships with Cooperation, Commitment, and Intent to Quit (International Studies of Management & Organization Journal, 2012)

He is a Visiting Scholar in the postdoctoral program at University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, and a visiting professor at the Graduate School of Business at UNISINOS in Brazil. He served as Distinguished Visiting Scholar for the PhD program in Organization Development Program at Benedictine University, and adjunct professor at UNISC, Brazil.

The Institute serves more than 10,000 retail businesses, providing learning solutions, online courses, coaching, culture advancement and leadership development.

About Leadership Journey

Since our first leadership class 10 years ago, our environment has changed significantly, and our insights about learning and development have evolved. As a result, we decided to change as well. After careful research, we believe a new platform is needed, but we are not discarding the knowledge and the experiences that the International Supermarket Management Class provided. Instead, we are applying new technologies and insights that will allow us to focus on the development of senior/middle management, creating a unique leadership journey.

One key component of the Leadership Journey is self-insight. It is impossible to understand the needs and perspectives of your followers if you don’t understand yourself first. To become a better leader, you must know how others perceive you. Therefore, the key components of the program are:

  1. A self-assessment, rater-solicited feedback (360º ) and coaching elements.
  2. Action learning, planned exposures and e-learning, which are used for both pre- and post-class activities. The e-learning objective is to maximize the journey’s experiences and to expand on relevant topics adding cognitive elements. Action learning and planned exposures build on experiential learning.
  3. Management and operational elements, which may include areas such as customer service, strategic planning, family succession, time management, retail management and merchandising, topics are selected based on the needs of the of the target audience.

We believe that organizations need a dynamic and flexible team that combines associates’ knowledge, strengths, and experiences. The keys to encouraging engagement, job advancement and professional development is leadership strength, and trust.

Paulo Goelzer, PhD | IGA Coca-Cola Institute | President & CEO | 773-695-2638 | Skype:iccinstitute | | 8745 West Higgins Road, Suite 350, Chicago, IL 60631

Journey Sample

Leadership Journey
  • Pre-Class Activities
  • Retail Leadership Class
  • Post-Class Coaching/ Mentoring
  • Individual Mentoring Sessions
  • Group Webinar w/Sponsor

Leadership Development Today

  • The primary focus tends to be on short-term training programs rather than long-term development initiatives.
  • A program should be different from the old-fashioned single classroom event.
  • The emerging approaches to leadership development tend to focus less on leadership gurus and more on developmental science.

Leadership Development Musts:

  • Provide long-term, self-directed learning, transformative events, coaching and mentoring, workshops, distance learning, reading, self-reflection, simulations, shadowing, peer support-group support, and/or organization resources.
  • Be aligned to your strategy, culture, and personal growth.
  • Help participants to identify and work on areas where they can achieve the most significant return on their investment.
  • Incorporate a feedback and monitoring/support process.

Link Between Leadership Skills and the Bottom Line

“The study looked at 11 publicly traded financial service firms and their stock price. They found that companies with higher scores for their investment in human capital delivered stock returns that were five-times higher than those of companies with less emphasis on human capital.”

Laurie Bassie and Daniel McMurrer, Harvard Business Review, 2007

“The gap between the value of a company with good leadership and that of a company with weaker leadership could be more than 35.5 percent, according to the study. On average, analysts place a premium of 15.7 percent on companies with particularly good leadership and a discount of 19.8 percent on organizations with weak executive teams.”

The Financial Impact of Executive Leadership, Deloitte 2012

“Great leaders make a huge difference when compared to merely good leaders. Leaders in the top 10 percent produced twice as much revenue to the organization as managers in the 11th through 89th percentiles. Great leaders also have a positive impact on profitability, turnover, employee commitment, and customer satisfaction and retention. ‘The more great leaders an organization develops, the more it will become an outstanding organization.’ “

J. Zenger and J. Folkman, The Extraordinary Leader (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2002)

What we offer

1. Support and implementation of team development programs.

2. Preparation of Learning Leaders.

3. Assistance in 360° and self-development plan.

4. Facilitation of the Leadership and Family Workshop.

5. Individual Coaching.

6.  A library of exclusive courses and content curation.

Targeted Levels

1. Leading Self — Individual contributors, professional staff and emerging leaders

2 .Leading Others — Leaders of individual contributors

3. Leading Managers — Experienced leaders who lead other managers or senior professional staff

4. Leading the Function — Senior leaders of organizational functions or divisions

5. Leading the Organization — Top executives leading the enterprise


  • Multi-source / 360°
  • Qualitative 360° phone interviews
  • MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator)
  • Hogan Assessments Tools: (Personality Inventory, Development Survey, Motives, Values, Preferences Inventory)
  • Denison Organizational Culture Model
  • Proprietary Online courses
  • MOOCS (Massive open online courses)
  • Stretch assignment
  • Action learning
  • Planned exposures
  • Books, abstracts and summaries
  • Conversation guides
  • Coaches/Mentors
  • Cultural Views

360°/Multi-Source Leadership Journey

The 360° is a coaching and development instrument used to assesses the participant’s behaviors according to a number of emotional intelligence competencies. It consists of a self-assessment component and rater-solicited feedback. The instrument was developed by Daniel Goleman and Richard Boyatzis.

Training VS. Development


  • Is specific, short term
  • Refers to instruction in technical and mechanical problems
  • Ensures that our people are equipped to do today’sjob
  • Is part of the development process


  • Is a long-term (never ending) process
  • Prepares our professionals for their next growth assignment
  • Occurs in both formal and informal ways
  • Is a holistic concept that focuses on the employee as a person