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.

Now Available

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Latest Blog Posts

Actualized Leadership: A Tribute to Dr. Jerry B. Harvey

Doesn’t it strike you as odd that our culture defines “cheating” as helping or being helped by others, which is actually how work really gets done? (from “Encouraging Future Managers to Cheat”) Jerry B. Harvey Approximately one year ago we lost one of the most insightful and enigmatic thinkers in fields of organizational behavior and social psychology, Dr. Jerry B. Harvey.  Jerry had a profound impact on me during my time at George Washington University (GW) some 20 years ago.  In fact, his theories, models, and frameworks (“musings” or “sermons” as he called them) still influence me today.  Over this past year I’ve talked with Dr. Harvey’s widow, Beth, and colleague Dr. Eric Dent about ways to more formally memorialize him and his legacy.  The purpose of this blog is to briefly summarize some of his most insightful and controversial musings and to pay tribute to the late, great Dr. Harvey. As you may recall from My “F” in Life Blog, Jerry quickly analyzed me when I started the graduate program at GW and provided me with very candid feedback about my need to always be “right” and in control, which stemmed from my own insecurity and a “South Carolina chip on my shoulder.”  Confronting me with the observation that the very thing I railed against the most, co-dependency, was actually something that I created, was a turning point in my life.  Or, as Jerry referred to it, my “first test.” Jerry was somewhat of a walking contradiction.  He was fiercely intelligent, but spoke with a slow, deliberate Texas drawl.  He was a “Bible-thumping Southern Baptist” (his words), but... read more

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