Much of the work I do as an Organizational Development consultant involves effecting organizational change, so comfort foods are not my thing. In my blended solutions, I like to engage the managers of the target audience and enlist their help in confronting organizational change needs head-on and in driving skill acquisition down to on-the-job behaviors, where it really counts. 


Executive briefing

Coaching sessions

Role playing activities



Prep with an executive briefing

I start by engaging managers early in the process, typically through an executive briefing that I deliver live in-person or online, before their direct reports even start training. I usually partner with the most senior leadership stakeholder to deliver this session, so that it’s clear that these managers will be held accountable for driving the desired organizational change. 


Enlist the help of your sous chefs

After giving managers a sense of what the training program will entail, I enlist their help and ask them to commit to a series of pull-through strategies. These can include priming their direct reports before sending them to training, debriefing with them after the training experience, conducting coaching sessions or role playing activities, or empowering their direct reports to act as change agents.


Rely on kitchen tools and best practices

It’s important to equip those managers with the tools and resources they will need in order to follow through on their pull-through strategies. A popular example is a brief (2-9 page) Manager Playbook that spells out best practice instructions for executing the various pull-through strategies, along with links to any supporting articles, videos, books, job aids, and resources that could be used. Substitute whatever you have in the pantry.

If you can get manager commitment upfront and can put some simple, easy-to-use tools their hands, you greatly increase the chances that learners will be able to transfer their skills to the workplace and generate some organizational results.

About Gus

Gus Prestera helps businesses improve the capabilities and performance of leaders and their employees, leveraging his core capabilities in organizational development, talent management, and training & development. He holds a Ph.D. in Instructional Systems, an MBA, and a BS in Marketing.  He owns and operates Prestera FX, leading a cross-disciplinary team of highly skilled talent development consultants. Together, for over 15 years, they have helped businesses from a variety of industries to map competencies, onboard new hires, build bench strength, improve employee engagement and performance, drive cultural and organizational change, and establish entirely new learning ecosystems. In addition, Gus has taught graduate-level courses at Penn State University, frequently speaks at industry events, and currently serves on the advisory board for American University’s new Human Resources Analytics and Management MS program. Visit us at

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