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Avalon Institute
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Collaboration. Committment. Culture. Roundtable Leadership and sustainable systems models for long-term business success.
Collaboration. Committment. Culture. Roundtable Leadership and sustainable systems models for long-term business success.

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With its official launch slated for the Spring of 2017, The Avalon Institute, founded by USAF General John E. Michel (Ret.) and Matchbox Restaurants Founder Perry Jobe Smith is a 21st century leadership development firm that strives to empower organizations and individuals to connect at a deeper level and take command of their own growth.
Central to this mission is the Avalon Institute’s “Roundtable Leadership Model™,” a combination of people-centric organizing models, coaching and education. Additional support and understanding is provided by cutting-edge neuroleadership assessments that show individuals and teams their true strengths as well as blind spots. The Institute’s proprietary methodology has proven remarkably successful in numerous engagements, including integrated programs with US Special Forces Command and Joint Special Operations University in Tampa, FL in addition to contracted engagements with the US Army, US Air Force, and numerous strategic partners in the private and government sectors.
This spring, The Avalon Institute is proud to announce “Beyond Labels,” an ongoing series of workshops and engagements geared towards inspiring a multi-generational workforce. Focused predominantly on leveraging Millennials and their unique strengths as a generation, “Beyond Labels” is a guided co-creation space for business leaders seeking to enhance employee retention, engagement, and productivity. Facilitating the conversation are Avalon’s accomplished Millennial team members Chris Lum and Erin Matyus, who have combined their leadership experiences in business and athletics to support participants in reinvigorating their respective workplaces. For more information about Avalon’s Millennial engagement opportunities and services - including webinars, in-person workshops, and strategic support - please refer to The Avalon Institute's website under “Services.”
The Avalon Institute is informed by the organization's deep seeded principles that emphasize values over rules, dynamic discourse, clarity of purpose, innovation and intentional leadership. The team of leaders takes on complex issues with the spirit of co-creation and the perseverance to overcome all challenges, and is always focused on delivering leadership values to all levels of an organization while supporting and standing with clients for the entire journey.
For more information on the Avalon Institute, and for details on applying for Roundtable Leadership™ membership, visit http://www.avalonleadership.com or via direct email.
For additional opportunities, visit the Avalon Institute’s sister entity Veteran Enabled Training and Technology Services (VETS) at http://www.vet2s.com. VETS is a service-disabled, veteran-owned small business positioned to work with federal, state, and local governments, as well as business entities of any size

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I believe we are all motivated by different things but in general, most people are usually motivated by emotions like fear or desire. For example, if your company is going through hard times and you feel layoffs are on the horizon, you may start looking for other job opportunities out of fear. You may also be motivated out of the desire to achieve something — maybe it’s your desire to buy a new house, or maybe it’s a desire to finish the year with the most sales on your team.

I want to share with you a very powerful motivator that I’ll refer to as EBM (Emotion Based Motivation). When I was a student-athlete at Lehigh University, I practiced EBM heavily and relied on it to be successful in the classroom, in the weight room, and on the football field. It was something that actually came very naturally to me (which I’ve since realized isn’t natural to many people) and now understand is something you can intentionally practice to help give you that energy boost to do a little more than you initially thought was possible. After all, doing that little more is what leads to becoming a starter or a captain on your team or what leads to promotions and pay raises in the workforce.

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Everywhere we turn these days we are inundated with suggestions for being more efficient and productive. Want to do something better and achieve excellence? HBR has a hack for that.

Want to change a behavior? Fast Company and Inc. both have 3-step solutions they’re happy to share with you. I’ll even offer my own hacks towards the end of this post. There is no shortage of good evidence-based ideas to become a better leader and a happier, more fulfilled human being. We know what greatness looks like since we can see it in our most inspiring leaders and those leaders are more than willing to share their 5-step process to achieving it. With advances in social behavior science and neuroscience we know more about creating change at the cellular level than ever before.

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It’s no secret that every company wants to improve their employee metrics, retention, engagement, productivity, and sustainability. And it’s no secret that today’s organizations are struggling to figure out the best way to tackle those goals.

Retention trends have shifted so much that jobs are being called “tours of duty” and the career ladder has been replaced with the career lattice. Employee engagement is at an all-time low, costing the US economy over $450 billion annually – leading to the inevitable reduction of individual productivity. With all this as the workplace reality, it’s clear that the “way we’ve always done things” is anything BUT sustainable.

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The Avalon Institute, a highly-anticipated new leadership and business development firm headed by US Air Force Brigadier General John E. Michel (Ret.) and Washington, DC-based Entrepreneur
Perry Smith, announced today that it will launch in early 2017.

The Avalon Institute’s mission is to provide businesses, associations, government agencies, and all branches of the US Military with targeted strategies and assessments that address critical leadership development issues – especially disengagement among Millennials — by exploring three key dimensions of human performance: Thinking, Being and Doing.

Central to this mission is the Avalon Institute’s “Roundtable Leadership Model™,” which is a mix of people-centric engagement models, coaching, educational programs and cutting-edge neuroleadership assessments. To date, the Institute’s proprietary methodology has been remarkably successful in numerous engagements, including an integrated program with US Special Forces Command and Joint Special Operations University in Tampa, and via contracted services with the US Army, US Air Force, and numerous strategic partners in the private and government sectors.

By design, the Avalon Institute’s approach aligns with the effective leadership models that General Michel developed over 26 years as a leader and innovator in the US Air Force, both at home and abroad. The approach also embraces the proven insights that Perry Smith gleaned across 24 years of team-building, coaching and business leadership success; most recently as founder of the popular Matchbox Food Group in the Washington, DC area.

“General Michel and I have worked diligently to build an outstanding group of coaches, teachers, mentors and strategic partners across a wide range of disciplines,” commented Perry Smith. “This elite team has the vision, talent and skills required to help organizations resolve complex issues, and establish collaboration, inclusiveness, innovation, commitment and culture as the building blocks for increased employee engagement, and lasting organizational success.”

For more information on the Avalon Institute, and for details on applying for Roundtable Leadership™ membership, visit http://avalonleadership.com or via direct email.

For additional opportunities, visit the Avalon Institute’s sister entity Veteran Enabled Training and Technology Services (VETS) at http://www.vet2s.com. VETS is a service-disabled, veteran-owned small business positioned to work with federal, state, and local governments, as well as business entities of any size.

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Every effective leader understands consistently making better decisions, taking prudent actions and achieving noteworthy outcomes is a collective endeavor–not a solo proposition. In a “look at me” self-promotional oriented culture, however, it is easy to lose sight of this timeless truth. Don’t let that be you. Resolve to guard yourself from thinking more highly of yourself than is just by being open about your fears, honest about your failures, and aware of your blind spots.

Make it a priority to avoid building your own tower to the moon so you won’t meet the same sad fate as the pride-fueled, box-stacking king.

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‘Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.’ Many of you will remember this popular rhyme from elementary school. In fact, you may have even recited it a number of times as kids as it’s a common childhood idiom we use to remind people they cannot hurt us with the bad things they say or write about us. Well, now that we’re all a little older (and a little wiser), we know that this isn’t quite true.

Words have derailed political campaigns, ruined marriages, started wars, and destroyed businesses. Words are a very powerful tool which can either diminish us or inspire us. So much so, in fact, that cognitive scientists tell us emotionally loaded words quickly attract attention, and bad words (war, hate, crime) attract attention faster than happy words (peace, love, joy). In a paper titled, Bad is Stronger than Good, researchers report overwhelming evidence that “bad emotions, bad parents, and bad feedback have more impact than good ones, and bad information is processed more thoroughly than the good.” What comes out of our mouth as leaders makes an immense difference–for good, or bad.

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Viktor Frankl was an incredible person by many measures. He was a brilliant academic, a survivor of three years in four different concentration camps during the Holocaust, a pioneering neurologist/psychiatrist in Vienna following World War II, and an inspirational author. Most notable, however, is that his finest moments came when leadership was thrust upon him in the bleakest of times.

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This is a story about the transition from Technical Expert to Successful Leader. Following a one-year tour in Afghanistan, I was reassigned to an Air Traffic Control (ATC) radar facility. Not just any ATC facility, but one of the larger and busier ones—the 2nd busiest joint-use airfield in the Air Force.

The 15-position facility is manned by two 40-person teams, responsible for the safe and expeditious movement of 180,000 annual aircraft operations across 4,600 square miles and six airports. Additionally these teams provide ATC support to the world-class European North Atlantic Treaty Organization Joint-Jet Pilot Training Program, which produces aviators for the NATO Alliance.
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