Training Day

The Capital Region's best bets for leadership development

Back Article Jun 1, 2012 By Cindy Baker

Small-company advancement is on the rise, and more local businesses are seeking innovative leadership training that can help catapult their companies into a source of industrial growth. With a variety of leadership-based training facilities in the area, one common thread is clear: It’s more important than ever to recognize today’s new business reality, and act.

Expectations are brutally high in this retooled corporate climate, and it’s common for managers to be operating on increasingly limited resources. Businesses nationwide must create more product of higher quality at a faster rate in less time with fewer tools, adding pressure on managers and staff alike.

“My philosophy is, today more than ever, we have to re-invent our skill sets for ourselves and our organizations,” says local Dale Carnegie Training owner and facilitator Rob Scherer. “That re-invention is our responsibility, and training is the catalyst and vehicle.”

Investing in management and leadership training is an approachable asset that could turn a company’s tide, and there are plenty of places to start.

“The first questions that I ask are, ‘What are you trying to accomplish?’ And, ‘How will you know when it is reached?’ says Dr., Paul Danczyk, leadership program director at the USC State Capital Center in Sacramento. “This leads to the program’s outcomes — goals, content, skills and objectives — within measurable criteria. The need should drive the content, not the other way around.”

A company looking for help developing client relationships, for example, might actually need customer service training.

“This is where the expertise of a trained leadership professional comes into play,” Danczyk says. “He or she can help the organization identify which leadership concepts would have the greatest impacts. Sometimes, this means working with a whole office; other times it means working with a group of professionals from different departments or businesses that have similar career responsibilities.”

Companies looking to factor such programs into their annual budgets should understand that offerings range in price based on program duration, structure and purpose. In the Capital Region, about $1,600 is a competitive rate for one person to complete a single leadership course. While self-managed tools such as web-based seminars can be useful and much less expensive, 360-degree assessments in which colleagues and supervisors work together for professional growth are often more advantageous.

“Sometimes, one-day programs could make sense if the goal is to gain insights on one particular concept or to fulfill certain employment requirements,” Danczyk says. “From my experience, multiple days with multiple modules have the greatest long-term impacts where leadership themes and concepts can build upon themselves.”

He recommends periodic one-day sessions every four to six months following a multi-day intensive program. Employers, he says, should ask for program evaluations after each major session, at the end of the program and, in the case of multi-year programs, after five to eight years of programming.

“This helps me and the organization understand the short-term and long-term impacts while planning for future programs,” Danczyk says.


The Dale Carnegie Training center in Sacramento is one of the Capital Region’s primary sources for leadership programs for managers. Carnegie’s goal is to provide solutions for corporations, government agencies, management teams and individuals through courses, multi-day seminars, online training and local and web-based events. Costs for these specialized programs are competitive, and the curricula can meet several levels of need. Local clients have included Intel Corp., Sutter Davis Hospital, Otto Construction and others, plus noprofits, including Sierra Forever Families and KVIE public television.

“Leadership training programs are a reinvestment for a company,” says DCT Sacramento Owner Rob Scherer. “Especially in Sacramento, sometimes it feels like it’s just not happening — that we’re just not moving forward in this economic climate. I can tell you that we are, but people have to want to be a part of what’s going to make us great.”

In addition to long-range, comprehensive programming, DCT also offers more than 130 topical courses delivered on location in a half-day or full-day format from about $4,000 to $9,000. Customized corporate contracts like these focus on topics such as team member engagement, presentation effectiveness and improving internal processes and systems, but they are highly individualized. One client, for example, had a Dale Carnegie trainer sit in a call center for a day and provide feedback and training based on the calls that went well or poorly. And, though less popular these days, DCT Sacramento also hosts corporate retreats. Some of DCT’s most popular courses include:

Leadership Training for Managers: $1,795
Seven sessions totaling 24 hours of training introduce managers to tools focused on personal-interaction development and management-process development and how these concepts can be implemented in the workplace. Participants learn key techniques for communicating with employees and teammates, running efficient meetings, succession planning, how to coach and mentor, and more. The goal of this program is to make sure managers are constantly updating their vision, sharing it with their people, developing their workers and overcoming knowledge gaps by expediting leadership development among young hires.

High-Impact Presentations: $1,895
The digital age has trained us to drift in thought — multitasking, checking emails, messing around with smart phones; it’s harder than ever to keep an audience engaged. This two-day session focuses on presentation development, including material development, how to read an audience, how to open a presentation and keep it flowing with stories and data, and how to close a presentation. Participants craft and deliver presentations that are filmed and critiqued, and coaching is given in a group setting and privately.

The Dale Carnegie Course: $1,795
Dale Carnegie’s signature program started in 1912 in New York City and has undergone numerous iterations since, but the roots remain the same. The goal of this 28-hour program is to help people develop skills, expand comfort zones and become more effective leaders. The program is heavily attended by professionals in high-tech industries, and was, for example, delivered at Intel Corp. over the course of four months. The five key themes of the program are: self-confidence and poise under pressure, communication skills, interpersonal skills, effective leadership and stress reduction.

The Sales Advantage: $1,795
Sales start with first impressions, and that’s right where The Sales Advantage program starts, too. Participants also learn to ask more effective business questions, how to present information more succinctly, how to effectively handle objections and how to ask for closure and commitments. The 21-hour program takes place over six weeks.


The University of Southern California State Capital Center in midtown Sacramento connects local residents with globally recognized master’s degree programs and leadership training courses designed for the busy executive. The center does not provide a catalog of courses but instead develops tailor-made, comprehensive programs for nonprofit and political organizations. Programs are also available for private companies, though they are less common.

Programs at the USC center are designed to address organizational needs, building upon themes such as establishing core values, improving customer service or working through transitions. One-day sessions are also available, but it is the center’s philosophy that the greatest impacts come through long-term programs.

Because programs are individualized and vary in duration, costs can span from $2,000 for a one-day speaker to $15,000 for a multi-day program requiring heavy staff support. Some sample programs include:

Legislative Staff Management Institute
Through a partnership with Sacramento State Center for California Studies, 25 to 35 members of the National Conference of State Legislatures attend an intense 8-day summer course aimed at increasing the impacts senior legislative staff are having within their states. Presentations are highly interactive, many complete with simulations and small-group discussions. There are also two outside experiential learning events, one of which is a rafting trip to facilitate working through uncertain environments.

California Institute of Mental Health
In an organization undergoing major structural changes, senior administrators within county mental health departments are looking to make greater impacts within their counties. Through USC’s graduate school for public policy, the State Capital Center, the California Institute of Mental Health developed a program totaling nine days over four months in which participants can focus on better understanding leadership and management dynamics.

Executive Master of Leadership: $45,000
In addition to professional courses, USC also offers its Executive Master of Leadership academic degree at the USC main campus in Los Angeles. Students enroll in core classes that meet one weekend a month or every other month in Southern California. The degree can be completed with seven 4-unit courses in one academic year, and the required elective courses, focused on such topics as political management, nonprofit leadership and intergovernmental management, can be taken at the USC State Capital Center in Sacramento.


Locally based SEE Strategies specializes in web-based executive coaching and customized on-site programming for groups or individuals. Courses are not for the new manager; in general, SEE Strategies works with the top three tiers of leadership within an organization.
“Senior leadership and support needs to happen in order to continue proper execution and growth,” says SEE Strategies CEO Michelle Payne. “It can [mean] working with someone that is experiencing specific challenges or someone who has strong potential to create a liability to the organization through poor leadership skills.”

One-day programs for up to 10 people start around $3,000, and follow-up coaching for groups or individuals is available with prices starting at $1,500 per month per person. SEE can accommodate solo professionals, small gatherings and groups as large as 500. For larger events, costs range from $3,000 to $7,500 per day. Some of its most popular programs include:

Presentation Skills: from $1,500
Learn to implement the skills professional actors use to deliver meaningful presentations with impact and poise. This customized public speaking/on-camera program is designed for executives looking to excel when speaking publicly or giving boardroom presentations. Participants receive feedback and tools needed to evolve delivery and content development and to become a more dynamic and memorable presenter.

Leadership Brand and Image: from $1,500
Effective leadership inspires and leads others to action, and it starts with a strong presence. In this course, executives learn about their physical presence, the signals they project and how to manage their image to ensure their presence and messages are consistent with goals. This objective program pushes participants to see past what they think they know about themselves, learn new truths and implement a plan for an updated image.

Communication Strategy: from $1,500
Most leaders have identified their own communication style and are aware of their preferences, but knowing your strengths is only the first step to effective communication. In this course, participants learn strategies to leverage the communication styles of the people to whom they are speaking or presenting, ensuring messages are delivered in the most influential and effective way possible. Additionally, participants learn how to assess the emotion, political landscape and culture of people and situations in advance, allowing for greater impact and influence.

Comstock’s top picks for leadership and management in the office and beyond

The 5 Levels of Leadership: Proven Steps to Maximize Your Potential
John C. Maxwell

(Center Street, 2011)
True leadership isn’t a matter of having a certain job or title. In fact, being chosen for a position is only the first of the five levels every effective leader achieves. To become more than “the boss” people follow only because they are required to, you have to master the ability to invest in people and inspire them. To grow further in your role, you must achieve results and build a team that produces. You need to help people develop their skills to become leaders in their own right. And if you have the skill and dedication, you can reach the pinnacle of leadership — where experience will allow you to extend your influence beyond your immediate reach and time for the benefit of others.

EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the Trenches
Dave Ramsey
(Howard Books, 2011)
Your company is only as strong as your leaders. These are the men and women doing battle daily beneath the banner that is your brand. Are they courageous or indecisive? Are they serving a motivated team or managing employees? Are they valued? Your team will never grow beyond you, so here’s another question to consider. Are you growing? Whether you’re sitting at the CEO’s desk, the middle manager’s cubicle, or a card table in your living-room-based startup, EntreLeadership provides the practical, step-by-step guidance to grow your business where you want it to go. The book includes critical management points of practice, such as inspiring your team to take ownership and love what they do, tips on how to unify your team and get rid of all gossip, as well as how to handle money and reach every goal you set.

Unusually Excellent: The Necessary Nine Skills Required for the Practice of Great Leadership
John Hamm

(Wiley, John & Sons Inc., 2011)
Often, when leaders experience trouble, they look to blame an outside source or expect a small tweak to right their ship. But many times they’ve actually lost their grip on the very basic foundation of leadership. The business environment may change, but no management trend can displace the core laws, proven over centuries, of excellent leadership. Unusually Excellent is an essential resource for leaders that brings these fundamentals together in a new and comprehensive way. This book will help leaders at any level keep their focus on the bedrock principles that will make them extraordinary. The author’s Harvard Business Review articles are among the most highly read in the magazine’s history.

Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die
Chip Heath & Dan Heath

(Random House, 2007)
Mark Twain once observed, “A lie can get halfway around the world before the truth can even get its boots on.” His observation rings true: Urban legends, conspiracy theories and bogus public-health scares circulate effortlessly. Meanwhile, people with important ideas — business people, teachers, politicians, journalists and others — struggle to make their ideas “stick.” Why do some ideas thrive while others die? And how do we improve the chances of worthy ideas? In Made to Stick, accomplished educators and idea collectors Chip and Dan Heath tackle head-on these vexing questions. Inside, the brothers Heath reveal the anatomy of ideas that stick and explain ways to make ideas stickier, such as applying the “human scale principle,” using the “Velcro Theory of Memory” and creating “curiosity gaps.”

The One Minute Manager
Kenneth Blanchard & Spencer Johnson

(HarperCollins, 1982)
For more than twenty years, millions of managers in Fortune 500 companies and small businesses nationwide have followed The One Minute Manager’s techniques, increasing productivity, job satisfaction and personal prosperity. These very real results were achieved through learning the management techniques that spell profitability for the organization and its employees. The One Minute Manager is a concise, easily read story that reveals three very practical secrets: One Minute Goals, One Minute Praisings, and One Minute Reprimands. The book also presents several studies in medicine and the behavioral sciences that clearly explain why these apparently simple methods work so well with so many people. By the book’s end you will know how to apply them to your own situation and enjoy the benefits. That’s why The One Minute Manager has continued to appear on business bestseller lists for more than two decades and has become an international sensation.

Buy-In: Saving Your Good Idea from Getting Shot Down
John P. Kotter

(Harvard Business Review Press, 2010)
You’ve got a good idea. You know it could make a crucial difference for you, your organization, your community. You present it to the group, but get confounding questions, inane comments and verbal bullets in return. Before you know what’s happened, your idea is dead, shot down. You’re furious. Everyone has lost: Those who would have benefited from your proposal. You. Your company. It doesn’t have to be this way. Buy-in reveals how to win the support your idea needs to deliver valuable results. The key? Understand the generic attack strategies that naysayers and obfuscators deploy time and time again. Then engage these adversaries with tactics tailored to each strategy. By “inviting in the lions” to critique your idea — and being prepared for them — you’ll capture busy people’s attention, help them grasp your proposal’s value and secure their commitment to implementing the solution.

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