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Revolutionizing Workplaces With Compassionate Accountability – Interview With Nathan Regier

Nate Regier, Ph.D. is the CEO of Next Element, a global leadership consultancy helping companies build cultures of Compassionate Accountability through culture diagnostics, consulting, training, and train-the-trainer certifications. Nate is the author of four books on leadership, compassion, and culture. In his newest book, Compassionate Accountability: How Leaders Build Connection and Get Results, Nate outlines the roadmap for the next generation of leaders and thriving workplace cultures. He hosts a podcast called OnCompassion with Dr. Nate, is a sought-after top-100 keynote speaker, and appears on multiple podcasts and industry publications.

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Nathan Regier, Next Element Consulting

Introduce yourself! Please tell us about you and your life, so we can get to know you better.

I grew up the son of Mennonite missionary parents in Zaire. I spent my high school years in Botswana in the 1980s, a time of significant strife in Southern Africa since South Africa was still under apartheid rule, and Nelson Mandela was in prison. Being raised with pacifist beliefs and growing up surrounded by injustice, oppression, and violence invited me to ask, “How can we hold people accountable for their behaviors while also adhering to principles of compassion?”

My education and initial professional career were in clinical psychology, where I developed my passion for understanding why people do what they do, and how to build stronger connections to influence behavior in positive ways.

I began my entrepreneurial career in 2008 with the launch of Next Element Consulting, and from day one, our mission has been to bring more compassion to every workplace. I believe that businesses and the leaders within them have the biggest potential to change the world.

I am married, have three daughters, and live in Newton, KS with my wife and our Border Collie, Milo. I love to cook, camp, travel, and spend time with my kids.

What is the core mission or purpose of Next Element Consulting, and how does it differentiate itself from other businesses in the same industry?

We exist to bring more compassion to every workplace. We believe that compassion can change the world, but leaders and employees need practical and effective ways to implement it in their daily behaviors, systems, and processes. Compassionate Accountability is our differentiator. We view compassion and accountability as complimentary. They can’t exist alone, and must work in harmony in every interaction. We have developed assessments, consulting models, and training methods to implement compassionate accountability at any level of an organization.

Could you provide some examples of the services or products offered by Next Element Consulting and how they can benefit individuals or organizations?

Organizational and team diagnostics: Compassion without accountability gets you nowhere. But accountability without compassion gets you alienated. Everything from your talent recruitment and retention strategies, to the success of your DEI initiatives depends on it. We have focused assessments to measure the level of compassionate accountability in your culture, identify strengths and opportunities, and guide your leadership development and culture transformation efforts.

Consulting: We bring extensive expertise and experience in helping organizations build their cultures of compassionate accountability. Whether you are trying to improve retention, reduce the level of drama, or make sure your next change management strategy works, we can help guide you.

Coaching: One of the biggest challenges leaders face is the tension between relationships and results, especially during a crisis. We guide executives on how to lead themselves and others without compromising relationships or results.

Training: Our proven training programs build compassionate accountability skills. From healthy conflict negotiation to adaptive communication, our programs have demonstrated positive outcomes across thousands of data points around the world. Over 96% of our clients say our tools are superior to anything else they have used. On average, our clients experience 70% improvement in teamwork, leadership skills, and professional relationships.

Train the Trainer: We boast a global network of over 120 affiliate trainers, coaches, and consultants who use our tools to bring more compassion to their workplaces. Our train-the-trainer certifications allow you to bring these tools into your organization so you can adapt and scale to fit your needs.

How did Next Element Consulting come to be? Can you share the story behind its founding and any significant milestones or achievements along the way?

During my career as a clinical psychologist, I had the privilege and opportunity to explore a wide variety of activities. Three of my most significant experiences were getting trained as an adventure/ropes course facilitator, managing an Employee Assistance Program, and providing consultation-liaison services at an integrated behavioral medicine clinic. Together, these experiences ignited in me a passion for facilitation, consultation, and corporate training. I came to appreciate the importance of embracing the whole person in any development activity and discovered new and effective ways to facilitate personal growth and transformation.

While enjoying many amazing experiences as a psychologist I met several gifted professionals who later became my partners at Next Element. We formed our company in October 2008, right at the beginning of the recession. But we have grown consistently ever since, which is a testament to our perseverance, ability to deliver measurable results for our clients, and commitment to integrity in every interaction.

In what ways does Next Element Consulting prioritize customer satisfaction and ensure the delivery of high-quality services? Are there any specific customer success stories you can share?

One of our core principles reads: We believe that integrity means practicing what you preach. We strive to be living examples of the principles we teach others. Every day we use our communication and conflict tools within our own team to support our company culture of Compassionate Accountability.

We have a rigorous global outcomes measurement protocol that tracks a variety of success variables, such as improvement in leadership skills and teamwork. We also measure changes in people’s self-efficacy, and their confidence to execute new behaviors to respond to life’s challenges. This is coupled with regular feedback conversations with our clients. This research has helped us continually improve our impact and achieve a 96% satisfaction rating a 50% Net Promoter Score with our clients.

Through targeted leadership communication and conflict skills training for nurse managers, we helped one large regional hospital reduce turnover in nursing by 2.5% in one year, saving the hospital over $250,000 in turnover.

We helped Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Kansas implement compassionate accountability in their leadership and mentoring culture. In the years following, they became recognized as one of the model state programs in the United States.

Can you explain the key values or principles that guide Next Element Consulting operations and decision-making processes?

We believe that leadership is the ability to influence diverse gifts towards shared goals. Great leaders understand that individual differences require adaptive communication skills to successfully move your people toward your mission.

We believe that integrity means practicing what you preach. We strive to be living examples of the principles we teach others. Every day we use our communication and conflict tools within our own team to support our company culture of Compassionate Accountability.

We believe that communication is the fundamental activity of relationships. How we talk to each other matters. Trust is made or broken every time we interact. So our focus is helping our clients master the nuances of interpersonal communication.

We believe that conflict is an opportunity to create something new and better. Conflict is a natural and healthy consequence of diversity, so we help our clients negotiate conflict that creates instead of drama that destroys.

We believe that new behaviors are the measure of success. Although our methods are heavily informed by best practice theory and research, our goal is transfer of learning to new behaviors that contribute to better outcomes.

What are Next Element Consulting plans for future growth and development? Are there any upcoming initiatives, partnerships, or expansion strategies that you can share?

In 2023 we launched a comprehensive go-to-market strategy that amplifies the reach and impact of our thought leadership. We solidified Compassionate Accountability as our brand platform with the publication of my fourth book by the same name, added more diagnostic and assessment services, expanded our offerings for strategic culture transformation, and launched several new training programs and certifications.

Tell us about your greatest career achievement so far.

The first business I ever started is still in operation fifteen years later. We weathered two recessions and a pandemic. We have continued to grow and provide employment in our community and around the world. I am so proud of our team and their resilience, passion, and commitment to our mission.

If you could change one thing about your industry, what would it be and why?

Stop treating relationships and results as opposites. In the most critical situations, we need both in full measure. Compassionate Accountability is the only way we will achieve the breakthroughs needed to solve our biggest problems, engage and retain our best people, and create safe and inclusive work cultures where employees can thrive.

Tell us about a pivotal moment in your life that brought you to where you are today.

I am a Process Communication Model (PCM) certifying master trainer, one of only five people certified at this level in the world. Along with the other CMTs, I am responsible for overseeing and executing train-the-trainer protocols for certifying new Master Trainers, as well as ensuring the integrity and evolution of the model. The process of obtaining this certification was one of the most difficult, rewarding, and transformative experiences in my life. Not only was I required to achieve an extremely high level of mastery of the model, but I was challenged with looking inside myself to overcome barriers holding me back from truly embodying the principles of Process Communication in my own life. This rigorous commitment to living the concepts in every aspect of my life is a foundation for every relationship I have.

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