Silicon Valley CEO, Cathy Light, Announces New Women in Leadership Program

PALO ALTO, Calif., Oct. 24, 2017 /PRNewswire/ —

According to Lean In’s Women in the Workplace 2017 study, companies whose top management teams include women post 35% higher returns on equity and 34% higher total returns to shareholders.

A veteran to both the unique challenges women in business face and opportunities for organizations to capitalize on the often forgotten or sidelined leadership traits women possess, Cathy Light, CEO of Leadership Balance and author decided to create a brand new opportunity for clients and peers. Launching today, Leadership Balance’s exclusive program is unlike anything else on the market- specifically targeted to entry, mid and senior-level aspiring leaders.

“Our unique Women in Action™ program helps women leaders overcome gender biases and build their leadership brand with short lessons that can integrate into any busy schedule,” stated Cathy Light, CEO of Leadership Balance. “We are proud both of our recent WBENC certificationand the launch of our newest platform, which will both help lift women leaders to the next level.”

Using unique learning templates prepared by subject matter experts, Women in Actionparticipants will gain instant access to three learning tracks, each with more than 12 courses. The series of modules addresses the diverse workplace challenges faced by all levels of women leaders with short, easily-accessible lessons that include recommendations for additional in-depth reading and learning.

“Without accessible and affordable vehicles for women to grow in their career, I fear traditional learning is missing the mark,” explained Cathy Light, CEO of Leadership Balance. “For our workplaces to be more successful, diversity and opportunity must be available to all.”

Strategically curated for entry, mid, or senior-level leaders, the program offers 50 total courses, including seven additional Skillsoft Leadership Advantage® learnings as a complimentary value for those that take the series.

To celebrate the launch, Leadership Balance is featuring a special for $100.00 off the course, including: 

  •     Free LBq assessment – ($99 Value) The LBq leadership model measures three major dimensions – Mind, Will, and Heart – which provides a total person view of leadership readiness.
  •     $25 Amazon gift card, when referring others
  •     Certificate upon successful completion of the program

To learn more, visit: Promotion ends November 30, 2017.

About Liderança Group 
Leadership Balance is a partner of the Liderança Group- a unique consulting firm that applies the principles that have made some of Silicon Valley’s most famous companies so successful – helping new and mature organizations navigate the waters of disruption or expansion. Applying a proven 6-step Lifecycle Value Framework™ to all client engagements, the Group’s unique process ensures clients receive maximum value at every stage of the engagement – from discovery to implementation – all while measuring and analyzing results. Learn more at:

Liderança Group Receives WBENC Certification

PALO ALTO, Calif., Oct. 10, 2017 /PRNewswire/ —

Liderança Group recently announced that it has received prestigious and national certification from The Women’s Business Enterprise Council (WBENC) and their third-party partner, the Astra Women’s Business Alliance.

“The Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC’s) certification is accepted by more than 1000 major corporations representing America’s most respected brands, in addition to many states, cities and other entities,” explains the WBENC website.

With diversity as an integral part of business today, this certification allows partners, vendors and potential clients to choose a WBENC certified business to ensure companies are committing to fostering equity in their partnership choices.

“The work of the Liderança Group is phenomenal,” explained Marya Woods, Chief Executive Officer at Apex Manufacturing Solutions. “As a woman-owned business myself, I understand the unique challenges and opportunities. I commend Cathy and her team!”

WBENC’s national standard of certification is offered as a 3rd party certification by the Astra Women’s Business Alliance Certification Committee. This highly regarded certification is the culmination of an arduous process, ensuring only the best businesses are certified. To be WBENC certified, a business must be at least 51% owned, operated and controlled by women or a woman.

“I’m truly honored to receive this recognition for something my team and I wholly believe in,” explains Cathy Light, CEO of Lideranca Group. “As leaders, we must pay close attention to diversity in our own organizations and business choices; I’m proud both as a woman and business owner to continue to influence and inspire our nation’s next leaders.”

With over 20 employees and consultants, Liderança Group is growing quickly, helping businesses and organizations focus and ignite their leadership for meaningful growth- making a mark on their industry like never before.

About Liderança Group 
The Liderança Group is an unique consulting firm that applies the principles that have made some of Silicon Valley’s most famous companies so successful – helping new and mature organizations navigate the waters of disruption or expansion. Learn more at: and their brands ; and

Next-Level Situational Leadership

This post is one of a series of blog posts exploring specific leadership competencies and how they fit in the various stages of the organizational life-cycle, organizational culture, and change management efforts. Your comments and suggestions are welcome to guide the areas of focus. When Hersey and Blanchard rolled out their Situational Leadership Theory in the 1970s, their premise was that strong leaders will adapt their approach to the situation in order to lead one follower. They proposed adjusting leadership styles based on the task at-hand, the relationship between the leader and the follower, and the competence and motivation of the follower. Just as Hersey and Blanchard proposed a situational leadership style approach for individuals, I propose a situational leadership approach for teams and organizations. When leading multiple followers, situational leadership needs to move to the next level, taking into consideration three critical factors:
  1. Organizational Life-Cycle
  2. Organizational Culture
  3. Change Management

Organizational Life-Cycle

As an organization matures, leaders need to possess certain attributes in order to move the organization through the different levels of growth. For example, a visionary and innovator is needed during the start-up phase, but through the growth and plateauing stages time that same leader will need to evolve into a strong decision maker and an active listener. Leaders who lack the requisite attributes at different stages of an organization’s growth often find themselves to be ineffective or even replaced. We have all heard of a company founder being replaced once the company has established itself.

Organizational Culture

Quinn and Rohrbaugh (1981) introduced the idea of a competing values framework in which organizations have four basic values that are in tension with one another: collaborate, create, control, and compete. One or two of those values will be higher in a given organization compared to a different organization. The leader’s skills and characteristics should align with the culture of the organization to maximize effectiveness. Imagine a super-driven, competitive leader who is highly disciplined and achievement oriented. Now imagine inserting that same leader into an organization with a highly collaborative and relationally intensive culture. Such a combination is a recipe for disaster – not because the leader is a “bad leader” or the organizational culture is unhealthy; rather, because there was not a match and the leader could not adjust his or her style and/or the organizational culture could not change to align with the leader’s style.

Change Management

When an organization is in the midst of a significant change initiative, it requires a certain set of attributes from a leader more so than at times of stability. Those skills include inspiring people to action, effective communication, and caring for people. If a leader cannot align his or her style to meet the unique needs of an organization during a major change effort, the change may fail and the leader may be viewed as ineffective.


Effective leadership is part art, part science. It is the ability of leaders to adapt, change, and align to the world in which they find themselves and the ability to identify and apply the required attributes to a given situation. Those attributes must evolve along the organization’s life-cycle, culture, and change management climate. Leaders should be self-aware of what is needed at different stages, but it is also the responsibility of the individuals who develop them (consultants, coaches, L&D professionals, etc.) to identify where the leaders excel and where there is an opportunity for development. References Hersey, P. and Blanchard, K. (1977). Management of Organizational Behavior (3rd ed). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall. Quinn, R. E. and Rohrbaugh, J. (1981). A competing values approach to organizational effectiveness. Public Productivity Review, 5(2). 122-140.

Two Questions to Ask Before Any Performance Assessment

I recently had a conversation with an L&D manager who told me that he was being asked to assess all of the Directors in his organization. It struck me at that moment how broad a request that was, and I began to ask him questions to uncover just what his leadership team needed from the assessment. It turns out they needed to assess the Directors’ performance. Again, I had more questions.

It was unclear whether the intent was to assess the Directors’ performance in their current position or to assess them for their readiness to be promoted to a Vice President position within the organization. If the Directors’ were to be assessed in their current role, the L&D manager would need to develop and administer an assessment that focused on the specific competencies required for Directors within the organization. On the other hand, if the Directors were to be assessed for their readiness for a VP position, the assessment should focus on the competencies required for that VP position. In the case of this organization, those are fairly divergent competency sets.

This conversation got me thinking about what kinds of critical questions need to be asked before engaging in a performance assessment. There are many, but here are two that must be asked every time at the outset:

1) What is the purpose?

Defining the purpose drives the content and intent of a performance assessment. Assessing the performance of a leader or contributor may be part of a normal performance management process, but may also serve other purposes. It may serve as an informal tool for an employee to gauge his or her own strengths and performance gaps, or for continuous organizational improvement. Although not ideal, it may be used for making decisions for RIFs (Reductions in Force). No matter the purpose, it needs to be clearly understood by leadership, the assessor, and those being assessed to ensure the best results.

2) What are you going to do with the results?

Understandably, the answer to this question flows in large part from the purpose, but the answer needs to be articulated clearly to all parties involved. Having a clear answer to this question allows the assessor the best chance at developing and delivering a performance assessment that achieves the purpose while mitigating factors that could bias the results (e.g. social desirability, fear, etc.). In addition, it is important to let your assessee know up front why you’re collecting the data and how you plan to use it.  Assessments can create anxiety for people at all levels within the organization. To help reduce anxiety and increase willing participation in the performance assessment process, leadership should commit to and communicate up front the level of investment they are willing to make in resources for training and development so that the assessee knows that a growth path has been established.

There is much thought and work that go into effective performance assessment development and delivery. Asking good questions is a critical part of the process.

What other questions would you ask when developing a performance assessment?

Silicon Valley Serial CEO, Cathy Light, Announces Membership to Women Presidents’ Organization

PALO ALTO, Calif., Feb. 24, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Assessment Leaders LLC., CEO, Cathy Light, returns to her native hometown in the bay area after commuting to and from her other office location in Idaho, and announces the rejoining to WPO.

“I’ve missed the amazing mindshare and fellowship from these talented women and I’m delighted to be back in the circle of progressive female leaders. The Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO) is the ultimate affiliation for successful women entrepreneurs (presidents, CEOs, managing directors) of privately held multi-million dollar companies. Their mission to accelerate business growth, enhance competitiveness, and promote economic security through confidential and collaborative peer-learning groups matches my own goals to expand my businesses. I continue to be impressed by the amazing success of my fellow 1,800 WPO colleagues,” said Cathy Light.

Nancy Geenen, CEO and Managing Partner of Suann Ingle Associates and Chair of the Silicon Valley Chapter of WPO, welcomes Cathy back to the Chapter. “Having worked with Cathy from 2006 – 2008 as a member of the San Francisco chapter, Cathy will be a valued member of the Silicon Valley Chapter. Her insights on leadership, organizational development, training and assessments provide a valuable resource for our members,” says Nancy.

About Assessment Leaders LLC. (Palo Alto, California)

AL helps organizations build talent and improve their workplaces by providing a wide range of best-in-class assessment products and services to hire, retain, develop individuals, teams and leaders. Clients can discover the untapped potential in job candidates and employees by greater insight and knowledge provided by AL’s tools. Visit

About Women’s Presidents’ Organization (New York, NY)

Women Presidents’ Organization, Inc. (WPO) is a nonprofit membership organization for women presidents of multi-million dollar companies. The members of WPO take part in professionally facilitated peer advisory groups in order to bring the “genius out of the group” and accelerate the growth of their businesses. WPO’s Mission is to improve business conditions for women entrepreneurs, and to promote the acceptance and advancement of women entrepreneurs in all industries.

Press Contact: Heidi Trube,

Vice President Assessment Leaders LLC. and Affiliate Companies Leadership Balance®, Business Builders LLC. and Be Well Perform Well LLC.

+ 1 (408) 846-8200

When NOT to Solve a Problem

Many leaders and consultants pride themselves on being problem solvers. In fact, many job profiles name problem solving as a required skill. But is there a scenario in your organization when you should not try to solve a problem? The answer to that is “Yes!”

Problems vs. Tensions

Now that I have your attention, let me backtrack on that answer a little. Many people attempt to solve “problems” that are not really problems. Sometimes we mislabel a tension as a problem, which gets us into trouble because you can’t solve a tension. A problem, by definition, has a solution, or at least a possibility of a solution. A tension, on the other hand, is something that will never get resolved. Instead, it needs to be managed. Leaders and consultants get themselves into trouble when they spend time and energy trying to solve a problem rather than manage a tension. Barry Johnson provides a very detailed and excellent description of the differences in his book Polarity Management: Identifying and Managing Unsolvable Problems. He calls tensions, polarities.

Cultural Values in Tension

Let me give you an example that affects most organizations. Cultural values are often in tension with one another in any given organization. Cameron and Quinn discuss four major cultural values: Collaborating, Competing, Creating, Controlling. Every organization has and needs these values to a certain degree; yet, it is clear to see how they can be in tension. For example, the values of collaboration and competition sometimes oppose one another. How a leader manages that tension is a critical issue when it comes to developing a healthy organizational culture. Imagine a highly collaborative organization that has a department leader who prizes competition as a value. She might see the competition/collaboration tension as a problem to be solved, desiring to overcome the collaboration with good competition, but such an approach would be a disaster. If she tries to solve the “too much relationship and not enough healthy competition problem,” she will not only fail, she will also do damage to the climate of the entire organization. On the other hand, attempting to manage the tension more effectively could lead to a more effective balance of the two values, improving the organizational climate and performance.

Managing Tensions

The ability to effectively manage tensions in an organization is a great skill for leaders and consultants to have. Here are three tips for developing that skill. 1) Learn to recognize the difference between tensions and problems. Problems are temporary and have possible solutions. Tensions are usually more permanent and can’t be “solved.” Problems have pretty clear upside and downside components. Each side of a tension has both upside and downside elements. Going back to our example, one upside of collaboration is people developing friendships and enjoying working together. A downside of that value may be that people are unwilling to point out poor performance. A downside of the competition value could be co-workers undermining each other’s efforts, whereas an upside could be that it spurs everyone to perform at a higher level. 2) Develop a common language. As with many other areas of organizational dynamics, quality shared language can perpetuate healthy culture. Carefully define and use phrases like “problem solving” and “managing tensions” throughout the organization. Language around values (which is often ground zero of tension management) should also be very clear so that everyone knows what positive and negative examples of each value look like. Don’t forget to define what too much of a good thing can be as well. That’s the point at which a positive value becomes toxic. 3) Get clarity on the right balance for your organization. Every organization has a unique balance of the competing values named above. Do you know what your current state is? Do you know what your desired balance is? There are tools available that can help you answer those questions. It is worth the investment of time and money to gain clarity. Doing so will help you devise strategies to ensure your best chance for organizational health.

Want to learn how to find and achieve the right balance of cultural values in your organization?

Attend “Tuggs” interactive lunch and learn on Thursday, Feb 18 from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. CultureWorkshopGraphic CultureWorkshopGraphic About Tuggs Tuggs has over 20 years experience leading and developing people and organizations across a variety of industry sectors. His practical experience, coupled with his research expertise in cutting-edge learning theory and performance management, uniquely positions him to aid organizations in diagnosing performance gaps and opportunities, as well as in designing, developing, and delivering custom performance solutions. He holds an earned Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership with a Human Resource Development concentration. Mark is an experienced public speaker, learning facilitator, and researcher.

6 Ways To Create A Culture Of Innovation

6 Ways To Create A Culture Of Innovation

By Soren Kaplan, Fast Company

Every organization is designed to get the results it gets. Poor performance comes from a poorly designed organization. Superior results emerge when strategies, business models, structure, processes, technologies, tools, and reward systems fire on all cylinders in symphonic unison.

Savvy leaders shape the culture of their company to drive innovation. They know that it’s culture—the values, norms, unconscious messages, and subtle behaviors of leaders and employees—that often limits performance. These invisible forces are responsible for the fact that 70% of all organizational change efforts fail. The trick? Design the interplay between the company’s explicit strategies with the ways people actually relate to one another and to the organization.

Read the rest on Fast Company.
(Assessment Leaders is not responsible for content on third-party websites.)

How to Innovate in Business

How to Innovate in Business

By F. John Reh, Guide

We all know how essential innovation is to business success. If Apple Corp. had not innovated, we would not have iPhones. If Microsoft had stopped innovating when they released DOS, we never would have seen Windows operating systems. If manufacturers had stopped innovating, we would all be driving Model T’s and calling each other on candlestick phones that need operator assistance; there would be no television to watch and you wouldn’t be reading this because the Internet would never have been created.

Innovation is Essential

So if innovation is so important, why do so many companies spend all their time making tiny process improvements and watching their competitors steal their customers with innovative new products and services? Clearly the problem is not that business owners and managers don’t see the need for innovation. Many just don’t know how to encourage innovation. However, most actively discourage innovation – not on purpose, perhaps, but very effectively. Let’s look at two small companies. One is an example of how to discourage innovation. The other is an example of how to encourage innovation.

Read the rest on
(Assessment Leaders is not responsible for content on third-party websites.)

Cathy Light Named Idaho Business Review Women of the Year

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

Cathy Light Named Idaho Business Review Women of the Year


Press Contact Information:
Becky Gates
Assessment Leaders

January 10, 2012 (Boise, ID): Assessment Leaders founder and CEO Cathy Light was recently selected as one of the 2012 Idaho Business Review Women of the Year. The annual award celebrates the state’s most successful women from public, private, and charitable business sectors.

Cathy Light’s high energy and passion for helping organizations and individuals reach their highest potential have made Assessment Leaders and her other two companies—Business Builders, LLC, and HR Leaders—into thriving, successful businesses. She also serves on the Advisory Board for the Business and Economic School at Boise State University, mentors MBA students, and works as an adjunct professor teaching advanced leadership courses.

“As a relative newcomer to Idaho, I am just thrilled to receive this award,” says Ms. Light. “I love this state, and being recognized in this way by the Idaho Business Review is a tremendous honor for me.”

The annual Women of the Year awards honor working women, their contributions, and their commitment to excellence. Idaho Business Review receives hundreds of nominations for the awards each year, and a panel of judges selects 50 honorees based on work ethic, innovation, and balance. The 2012 honorees will be profiled in a special magazine to be distributed at the awards dinner on February 21.

“We truly enjoy being able to recognize some of our state’s most successful women,” said IBR Vice President and Publisher Sean Evans. “The magazine and event give us the opportunity to tell their stories and how their triumphs and challenges have shaped their lives—and our communities.”

The Idaho Business Review 2012 Women of the Year awards will be presented at a special dinner and reception on Tuesday, February 21, 2012 at the Boise Centre (850 W. Front St., Boise, ID 83702). The dinner begins at 7 p.m. with a reception beginning at 6 p.m. For more information about the event, see

Assessment Leaders: You Can Call Us AL

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

Assessment Leaders: You Can Call Us AL


Press Contact Information:
Katherine Filice
Articulate Solutions, Inc.

November 10, 2011 (San Francisco, CA): Assessment Leaders, already a national leader in employee assessment and training, now has an updated look, exciting new products, and a state-of-the-art website. The all-new “AL” offers innovative solutions for managers and HR professionals who want to hire, retain, and promote the best talent in the world.

AL specializes in providing solutions that help companies get the most out of their employees at every stage in the employee life-cycle. Experienced AL consultants offer expert guidance for identifying, hiring, training, managing, and promoting great talent. AL also provides specific hiring solutions for sales and retail employees as well as successful programs for team-building, leadership development, and succession planning.

On the new Web 2.0 site (, clients will find an easy-to-use interface for ordering innovative AL products, including a comprehensive range of online assessment tools, skills testing, eLearning courses, and background checks.

Cathy Light, Founder and CEO of Assessment Leaders, says, “We are so thrilled about AL’s new website and all the exciting solutions we have to offer our clients. Using the latest technology, AL provides the intelligence managers need to make the right decisions. That’s how we help organizations and individuals reach their highest potential.”

Together with the technology upgrade, AL’s commitment to personalized customer service remains as strong as ever. Call us directly with to consult with one of AL’s experts toll free number (1-866-864-8200) to discuss which solutions will have the greatest impact and value for their organization.

About Assessment Leaders
Assessment Leaders, LLC (AL) provides fast and affordable assessment, skills testing, eLearning, and background check solutions. AL works with HR professionals and managers at companies across the U.S. to help them discover the human potential of their people. The company’s innovative online tools help organizations of all sizes identify, attract, retain and advance the best talent. Assessment Leaders is based in San Francisco, California, with a Regional Office in Boise, Idaho. For more information, see