CEO Outlook Magazine

Jennifer Thornton | Founder and CEO | 304 Coaching

Jennifer Thornton

Founder and CEO

"Discovering how people want to work, what motivates them, and where they feel the most successful is the key to uncovering hidden talents and unexpected opportunities. "

A Pioneer of Progressive Leadership

Jennifer Thornton is on a mission to help progressive organizations foster an environment of learning, experimentation, and innovation and meet the demands of exponential growth for business.

“This is the way we’ve always done it.” Those eight words have a lot to answer for.

According to Jennifer, the Old Ways worked when the world worked a certain way, but it’s a new dawn and the Old Wayss are no longer working. In fact, they’re holding us back. Instead of fear-based leadership styles that only work against us, she is a champion for Progressive Leadership.

If you got your leadership style from your boss and their boss before them, it’s probably time for a mindset shift.

“Progressive businesses and visionary organizations that need to foster an environment of learning, experimentation, and innovation can positively shape company cultures, impact and empower employees, and build beautiful businesses despite all of the crisis and change in the outside world around them,” says Jennifer.“Incorporate a new way of leading into your professional journey and both you and the company will thrive.” says Jennifer, “Elevate the language and the landscape of leadership.”

Progressive Leadership Meets Organizational Design

Progressive, or Inspired Leadership, is a new way of organizational design thinking that works to reduce fear in the workplace and instead, encourages the brain to tap into its power to learn and innovate.

The formula is simple: less fear, more access to innovation. (In fact, according to neuroscience, the two cannot operate at the same time; they are mutually exclusive.)

Jennifer is a champion for Progressive Leadership and she encourages organizations to integrate its practices into recruitment, development, and day-to-day operations. By doing so, she says, rapidly growing companies can then easily navigate bold expansion. “Empowering high-performing and innovative teams to embrace a growth mindset, new ideas, and positive change. Together, we can build the kind of company that can take on any business that comes our way.”

More in Store from 304

Jennifer is known for her unconventional approach to creating workforce development solutions that support companies navigating breakthrough growth and accelerated hiring patterns honed in 20+ years of experience as an HR professional, leadership strategist, and talent magnet for global brands.

304 Coaching, Custom Education, and Consulting are divisions of 304, a woman-owned, minority-owned agency of mighty dynamos that work to elevate leadership practices and encourage people to influence/innovate by leading with curiosity and quality conversations.

By working 1:1 and with teams, 304 helps organizations stay on pace with business goals, no matter how ambitious. From talent strategy to structural alignment, from team training to custom education, and from executive coaching to accredited assessments, Jennifer and her team deliver programs and initiatives that positively impact company culture and encourages well-informed, engaged, and empowered leadership.

By harnessing the awesome power of neuroscience and progressive, curiosity-driven language, and leadership practices, 304 helps progressive organizations drive innovation and performance forward by investing in the growth and development of their people.

A Creative Force

“One question I get asked time and time again is why I left a very successful career to start a brand new venture, under my own banner. Over the course of my time in corporate and retail, from my very first paycheck to my very last W2, I became awesome at aligning teams,” she shares, “but I had a rogue way of doing it. 304 brings my own voice forward.” The risk was worth the reward of doing it her own way, driven by design and creativity.

Jennifer knew that Progressive leaders are always looking to tap into the wellspring of creativity and innovation to grow their organizations, and she also knew that there’s only one real way to do it. Jennifer put together her own talent strategy that would grow a team in tandem with business goals and encouraged everyone to develop programs and services driven by design and creativity. The result is a robust and agile organization that can turn on a dime.

Encouraging Empowering Tomorrow’s Leaders

“Discovering how people want to work, what motivates them, and where they feel the most successful is the key to uncovering personal values, hidden talents and unexpected opportunities,” Jennifer says. “What worked last year, in yesterday’s world, may not work today. We must lead by listening.”

Leading with genuine curiosity and quality conversations has the power to transform company culture and create high-performing teams. When we stop doing things the way that we’ve always done them and start seeking insight by looking at things through the lens of Progressive Leadership.

“What do you do that has always gotten you into trouble? These are your superpowers, Jennifer reminds us. “Once you know what those quirky qualities are, refine them, manage them, make them work for you. This is the stuff that makes a strong leader.”

Thanks to This Revolutionary Approach…

“I am most proud of the way that we embrace everyone’s special talents,” Jennifer says, when asked about 304 highest achievements. She credits an environment of innovation and experimentation for facilitating the team’s ability to teach, coach, and educate.

“Authentic leadership isn’t just about being better at work,” she adds, “when we have better relationships with people at work, we have better relationships with people at home. And when we have better relationships with people at home, we have better relationships within our communities. And when communities are stronger, as a society we are healthier, happier, and more connected.” Now that’s a positive feedback loop people can get with.

Growing a toolkit of leadership skills, doing research, exploring neuroscience, and keeping the clients ready for anything is what’s on the horizon for Jennifer and team 304. She wants to help more people step into more visionary roles and keep pushing companies to improve company culture and elevate Progressive Leadership practices. As teams grow—and become more capable—more personal and professional growth than we ever thought possible can come to fruition.

“The business arena can come with some quick currents. If you’re growing so fast, it’s hard to get your bearings; 304 and I are here with some soothing advice for swiftly expanding organizations. “Be —really ready—for the business coming toward us, no matter what the world throws at us,” elucidates Jennifer.

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