William L. Sparks & Associates, LLC, is a professional services firm focused on helping clients improve corporate performance, employee engagement and overall effectiveness.

Each client partnership is unique and is based on understanding the underlying issues and challenges, and designing and implementing a targeted program, project or intervention aimed at achieving measurable results.

Although the types of engagements vary, recent projects include change management, enhancing employee engagement and retention, facilitating corporate creativity and innovation, and leadership and team development.

Our Focus is Simple…

Improving organizational performance while enhancing the satisfaction and motivation of individuals. Dr. Sparks has developed two proprietary assessments for improving individual, team and organizational performance.

Actualized Leadership A 77-item assessment that measures leadership style based on individual motivation.
Group Culture Profile A 20-item group assessment that measures the emotional intelligence and resulting “culture” of teams and organizations.

The Director’s Manual: A Framework for Board Governance

The Director’s Manual: A Framework for Board Governance offers current and aspiring board members essential up-to-date governance guidance that blends rigorous research-based information with the wisdom found only through practical, direct experience. The book’s flexible approach to solving governance issues reflects the authors’ belief that no two boards and the cultural dynamics that drive them are the same. As such, the advice offered reflects recognizable leadership dynamics and real world, relevant organizational situations. Available February 2016.

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Latest Blog Posts

Actualized Leadership: The Actualized Style and the Dynamic Culture

Group life is essential to the full life of the individual. Wilfred Bion In the last three blogs we examined how Leadership Shadows adversely impact group culture and performance.  There are three different motive needs that result in three distinct leadership styles, each having its own unique “shadow” and corresponding culture.  The figure below summarizes the model: As Wilfred Bion reminds us in our opening quote, while there are numerous challenges for working in groups, at the end of the day connection to others is essential for a full life. The purpose of this blog is to explore how to create more Dynamic group cultures by becoming more Actualized and in doing so, become more resilient, less reactive, and better able to manage your Leadership Shadow.  If we fail to objectively examine our style, and to manage and process our shadow, it will manage and process us. As a reminder, the Actualized Performance Cycle framework below illustrates the connection between leader style and group performance. What does a Dynamic Culture Look Like? Imagine a work environment where everyone on the team is working together for a common purpose.  Team members sincerely trust each other, members are candid and supportive of each other, conflict is managed effectively, and decisions are made collaboratively.  Furthermore, imagine a team where the collective output exceeds the individual skills of the members.  This dynamic, referred to as “synergy,” is commonly captured with the equation: 1+1+1=5. Leaders that create and sustain Dynamic performing groups, teams, divisions, and entire organizational cultures do three basic things: 1. Create a compelling strategic direction for the group, 2. Provide the... read more

Actualized Leadership: The Asserter Style and the Dependent Culture

When we all think alike, no one thinks much at all. Albert Einstein A “no” uttered from the deepest conviction is better and greater than a “yes” uttered to please, or what is worse, to avoid trouble. Mahatma Gandhi In our last BLOG we examined how the “Fear of Rejection” Leadership Shadow of Affirmers creates and reinforces a Dramatic culture.  The tragic irony of this dynamic for the Affirmer is that those with the highest need for approval from, and connection to, others actually create dysfunctional working environments where they become more likely to damage relationships.  This dysfunction occurs because of the Affirmer’s tendency to smooth over differences, avoid conflict, and delay making difficult decisions.  In turn, this leads to a higher probability of “paradoxical intent” – experiencing that which we fear the most.  In the case of Affirmers, that manifestation is separation from others.  Today’s entry will focus on the Asserter style, and how the “Fear of Betrayal” Leadership Shadow creates a Dependent team environment.  A Dependent culture leads to the most common set of challenges in organizations today which include being honest and authentic, independent, and saying “no” when necessary. Before exploring the impact that Asserters have on others, I want to review the “Actualized Performance Cycle” framework that illustrates the connection between leader style and group performance. Imagine a group dynamic where members rely excessively on their leader for support, guidance, and direction.  In order for the Dependent culture to be created and sustained, the Asserter leader actually colludes with the group by requiring constant updates, overturning the team’s decisions, and maintaining a very high degree... read more