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Portrait d'Isabelle Bérubé

Sylvain is usually the one asking the questions, getting people to reflect and turning their attention inward. It’s not often that the roles are reversed. He is already curious to find out which discussion points will shape our conversation. From the beginning, he is already thinking about the outcome. During our discussion, it will become clear that this attitude says a lot about his approach as a coach. For Sylvain, when we decide to do something, it’s because we are looking for a certain outcome.

From the beginning of our conversation, I notice that Sylvain’s answers and way of responding to me demonstrate directness, efficiency and concreteness, aligning perfectly with his practice. Sylvain specializes in coaching leaders in various global performance optimization contexts, especially through the mobilization of people. As a result of his experience in the field, Sylvain has developed a very pragmatic approach, which features introspection as a powerful tool for taking action and generating fast, tangible results. Just like his clients (mainly SMEs and construction or manufacturing companies), Sylvain likes it when things move and when real action produces real results. Thus, through his coaching, he invites managers and teams to go beyond thought experiments and be ready to make rapid changes in their daily lives.

This need to move is evident in his philosophy. For an organization to be successful and continue to thrive, it must be in a state of motion, along with all its members. And this movement must start with the leader. Of course, innovation is also an important variable, but for Sylvain, it’s the leader that plays the pivotal role in the ability of the company or organization to transform. It’s a simple concept: for an organization to evolve, its leaders must evolve. The path to achieving this vision is not always straightforward, but Sylvain is ready to go where few are willing to venture in order to get there. As he explains to me,

“A leader who isn’t able to develop their company and employees as they would like, in spite of there being great potential, must start by asking themselves to what degree they are responsible for this.”

As Sylvain becomes more animated, it is clear that this is where his special magic lies.
To find out what is causing discomfort or frustration and preventing the implementation of the leader’s vision, Sylvain asks questions that aim at transformational awareness and managerial accountability. What is your responsibility for the things you are not happy with? Is it your attitude, your behavior or your habits that are preventing your team from developing and reaching the full potential you so desire? What initiative can you take today to kick-start the changes you want to see?

In the end, it’s the leader who sets the tone. If they start their day with energy, there is a very good chance that their team members will follow suit. If they want to see changes in their employees, they need to be aware of the changes they themselves need to make. If the leader is making an extra effort and showing openness, staff will be more willing to do the same. If the leader takes their personal development seriously and does ongoing work with the team to find better ways of doing things, it will foster and encourage the development of everyone in the company. This is when extraordinary things can be done!
Sylvain adds,

“It’s not just leaders who need to change their ways, it’s everyone. It’s the force of numbers that makes the real difference!”

For Sylvain, we should always start by asking ourselves what action we can take right now, no matter how small, to improve a way of doing things, to enhance the work environment or to increase workplace happiness. Since work is such an important part of our lives, it needs to be a place of development, trust and recognition. Work must have meaning and be a source of fulfillment and pride for everyone. If we succeed in creating this climate, everyone will be proud to participate in the company’s development.

A question comes to my mind that makes me pause—does this mean that there are no bad employees? Sylvain smiles, and I sense that I have hit on something. According to him, there are rarely bad employees. More often than not, the problem is that people are not in the right place or role. Sometimes, the work environment doesn’t allow for development, or there is a lack of understanding of a person’s motivations. Leadership is about finding the best possible place for each person, understanding their deepest motivations and working to develop them, because all these things will contribute to the company’s development. Sylvain returns again to a familiar point:

“It’s the leader who sets the tone. The company will reflect the leader’s own development.”

Organizational Transformation | Novaconcept

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Did this interview with Sylvain Boulianne inspire you? Are you a leader who wants to take action? Novaconcept and Sylvain Boulianne are here to help you and your company develop and get where you want to go.