Jeff Harmon said he works to change the dynamics of a common denominator within every issue the world faces.
“If I were to name just one thing that I believe can be addressed within each problem, it is either the lack of, or ineffective, leadership,” he said.
As the founder and head coach of Brilliance Within Coaching and Consulting in Boonton, Harmon has worked with executives and their teams for more than a decade, to help raise their capacities to lead more effectively, accomplish big goals and become happier and more fulfilled along the way.
“I start by asking what the gaps are in themselves and their people, between where they are and where they want to be,” Harmon said.
Now, the devoted business leadership coach and consultant said he has developed a concept to help democratize leadership training and coaching for companies looking to grow.
“These services typically have been reserved for those with the money to afford them,” Harmon said. “But I believe so deeply in leadership that I want to make such training available to and accessible for everyone.”
Harmon said he founded The Intentional Leader, a subscription-based online educational platform, last year to provide such world-class training to developing leaders.
But first, he said, he had to become a leader himself.
Upon graduating from the University of Central Florida with a degree in finance, Harmon began his career in project management in 1999, spending more than 15 years with companies such as First Data International and Western Union.
“But I loved leadership and the idea of coaching, so I pursued training and certification to develop a hobby-like practice for local clients while still working a full-time job,” Harmon said.
Harmon founded Brilliance Within Coaching and Consulting to pursue executive and leadership coaching in 2007.
Then, he was laid off, and the soon-to-be father of two sharpened his focus, receiving certification from both the Barret Values Centre and the Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership.
“It took faith, hard work and being surrounded by amazing people, but I got to do what I love, have an impact on the world and be there for my family,” Harmon said.
He created a growing list of clients, too, including Novartis, Johnson & Johnson, Merck and the Morris County Chamber of Commerce, through referrals only.
“People are introduced to or become interested in coaching because they either want something new or they want less or more of something,” Harmon said. “It’s about being present and believing in someone so much that, whatever they bring to the conversation, I can act as their guide alongside.
“I listen; I am comfortable with silence; I ask thought-provoking questions; I reflect back to that person what I am hearing them say and how they are saying it; I give feedback about what I have noticed while they are speaking; and, many times, I can help think through some things and assist them in developing their own approaches.”
Harmon enlisted a team of remote contractors across the U.S. to assist him in the creation and ultimate operation of The Intentional Leader last year.
By the end of this year, Harmon said, he wants to serve at least 500 leaders.
“We firmly believe that you will build skills by being a part of this community and a user of this platform,” he said. “But our No. 1 goal is to get our clients thinking differently about how they see themselves, their teams, and their organizations as leaders. Because when those three things happen together, everything can change.”
The Intentional Leader platform provides users with weekly five-minute video lessons and access to additional content, research and coaching.
“At any point in time, a user of our platform can reach out with a question, issue or request for resources and you will get a response and support from a real human,” Harmon said.
If warranted, a coach will even speak with a user on the phone to get them answers, Harmon added, with monthly subscriptions starting at $49 per leader per month.
“We can directly link what you tell me you want to achieve and your use of The Intentional Leader platform to you achieving that goal,” Harmon said. “World-class leadership for 100 people in a year would typically cost a CEO hundreds of thousands of dollars — but, if I told you to put $1 in a vending machine that would give you $5 dollars back, you would do everything in your power to go find a dollar if you didn’t have one, right?
“If I told you that you could invest $60,000 to provide executive coaching and leadership training to make 100 of your employees more effective on a daily basis, as long as the budget lines up, that is a no-brainer.”
Harmon has become a sought-after speaker and author of two books, including “The Anatomy of a Principled Leader” and “Become a Better Leader in 10 Minutes at a Time,” all in his service to others.
“Let the cause — the mission of an organization and its people — be greater than the self,” he said. “That can seem so counterintuitive when we are too often told to puff ourselves up, look good, always have the answers and be the champion, but my own piece of advice would be to set yourself aside and simply serve.”
Harmon said he encourages everyone he meets to lead from exactly where they are.
“Leadership is not about holding a certain position or having authority,” he said. “It comes down to your character.”
And everyone from a dishwasher to the chairman of a company has and must use their ability to lead to effect change, Harmon said.
“Leadership does not come from the top down,” he said. “You can lead from whatever seat you find yourself in.”
Leading in a toxic environment
Working for a senior leader who is often uncommunicative can result in fear and stress for top employees, Jeff Harmon said. Still, while these employees cannot control the situation, they can control their response, regardless of their seniority or titles.
- Self-care: “Before you can even hope to affect change in a difficult situation, you must make sure you are whole, healthy and strong,” Harmon said. “Eat healthy, get sleep and exercise.”
- Focus on others: “It’s natural to be thinking about losing your job or covering for yourself, but, to effect change, you have to realize that it is not only about you,” Harmon said. “Extend a subculture of care, respect and integrity to your colleagues, stakeholders, vendors and clients.”
- Enlist: “As people witness your approach to the situation, they will begin to ask questions,” Harmon said. “This is your opportunity to share what you’ve learned and invite them into your cultural revolution.”
Lastly, Harmon said that, while the tone of the environment may be serious, it is important to focus on having fun. “Find moments to laugh with your team,” he said.