Project OTY Transforms Team Communication and Confidence

by | Apr 8, 2024 | Lead in Career & Business

Today, teams are scattered across time zones and work environments (whether in-person, hybrid, or remote). Employees and team leaders have different leadership experience levels and come from different backgrounds and generational influences that impact the way each person works and leads others.

As Jeff Otis, founder of Project OTY shares, “You can’t lead people, unless you really know where it is they want to go and most people haven’t done the critical thinking to really gain that self-awareness and define who it is they want to become, as a leader, especially within an organization.”

A leading insurance company was looking to gain insight into how to better lead their team and develop leadership skill sets for each member to think critically and consider their future with the company. Project OTY helped set up their leadership consultant, Mark Aylward, for success in planning and implementing a comprehensive 6-month training program.

Want to see the highlights? Check out the 1-pager of our case study here or our interview with Mark Aylward.


screenshot of Mark Aylward with an orange quote to the right and a red and white play button overlay

  • 100% increase in confidence for team members
  • Increased team collaboration with three-person meetings
  • Increased self-awareness through reflective exercises
  • Highly specific insights on employee goals to offer training & support


An insurance team was looking for a custom training solution for their team of emerging leaders across several age demographics. This team currently had various levels of leadership expertise and executives were looking to develop leadership skills and align the team for faster growth.

They contacted Mark Aylward, a seasoned leadership consultant who has spent a career in the technical recruiting industry and has worked with hundreds of companies, from Fortune 100 to 1000 to train and develop future leaders.

Executives on the team and Aylward turned to Project OTY to create a consistent structure around leadership training for the company. They were looking for a balance between structure and personalization when taking into account the team’s ideal training timeline and goals.


Harnessing the Project OTY Lead with Confidence (LWC) program, Mark Aylward had the necessary toolkit to be able to kick off a customized 6-month Leadership Development Program with emerging leaders on the insurance team.

The Lead with Confidence program walks each individual through a critical thinking experience designed to help an individual gain clarity on who they are, where they want to go, and why. In the program, team members learn how to confidently position themselves as an accountable leader in their lives and the lives of others. All of their planning results in a completed Roadmap that showcases specific visions, goals, fears, team members they can enroll in their visions, and the next steps to take.

The LWC training was delivered to 12 team members in total, including an administrator and team leader. After the team went through the 16-step program, Aylward then scheduled Zoom calls where he spent an hour interviewing each team member. Since each person had already completed the program, Alyward had access to each person’s Project OTY Roadmap, giving him the visibility to lead highly productive conversations. He shares:

“As a leadership consultant, the Lead with Confidence program gave me really specific information about people’s aspirations, what was important to them, their dreams, what they saw their future looked like.”

Aylward was able to harness this visibility to support recommendations and additional training to lead, develop, and nurture each person on the insurance team. Following the program, each individual submitted a small questionnaire. All team members reported increased confidence when compared to the start of the program.

At the end of the program, a team executive shared their feedback, saying “I knew this was going to be good, but I didn’t realize how good it was going to be.”

How Project OTY Set Everyone Up for Success

Being self-driven, the Lead with Confidence program was easy for Aylward to customize to the timeline of the team and their scheduled meetings. The Project OTY LWC program took 3 to 5 hours for team members to complete the curriculum, making it easy to coordinate with conflicting schedules and priorities on the team.

Since there were 10 core team members, Mark paired people up so that all team members “weren’t pulled off the floor at once.” This created a team experience that went beyond one-on-one meetings since there were three people involved in critical back-and-forth conversations with Mark and senior leaders.

These three-person meetings are currently conducted several times a month. Going forward, Aylward and the team plan on rotating groups, so that colleagues have the chance to work with a different colleague, create additional insights, and continue to facilitate team cooperation. 

One of the key points of the program that Aylward and the team reported for the LWC program is the idea that each Project OTY Roadmap serves as a working document. In other words, the program served as a structured foundational plan for each team member and their life. Despite changes on the team or in life, the Roadmap becomes a core planning tool for each team member to stay on track. 

Aylward encourages the team to go back in and revise their Roadmaps to stay successfully on track for their visions and goals.

“As a team, it’s important to go through the pieces of the program that require you to think and note down your thoughts for 15 or 30 minutes. Give it another shot and ask yourself, ‘Can I go deeper? Can I be more specific?’ Then put it away for a month, and let those seeds start to germinate in your proverbial garden. Now you have a working document that you can go back to once a month, once a quarter, and once a year. And you can constantly refine, and probably reconnect, recorrect, or redirect where you’re going to go as life changes. The things that are important to you change as you get a promotion, get married, or have kids. The Roadmap is a lifelong working document. We thought that was really cool.

What Sets Project OTY Apart From Other Leadership Programs?

Aylward’s 30+ year career has led him to work with various companies from Fortune 100 to Fortune 1000, and midsize to small businesses. He shares that leadership is evolving and companies need to strongly reconsider their leadership approach in today’s workforce landscape. He notes that Project OTY is the plug-and-play solution that teams can leverage.

Aylward shares that Project OTY supports what he calls “empathetic listening” in organizations by showing leadership how their team wants to be led. He points out that this is not only important to inform additional leadership development, but he points out that it “plugs in really nicely” to any kind of leadership training program. 

Due to this nature, the Project OTY LWC program supports team members across all different walks of life. It aligns team members with a consistent, person-first training approach to set younger employees up with leadership skills early in their career path and allows more senior team members to evolve their leadership and growth mindset.

The LWC program’s unique content and structure were another standout point for the team, compared to other leadership training. Aylward emphasized two key areas that helped spur long-term change for each team member he met with:

“One of the areas of the program was the daily routine, which breaks your daily routine up into the morning, early, early morning, mid-morning, midday, afternoon, and evening. That was actually way more insightful than we thought it would be. You can tell things about, like, who’s exercising or who starts their day off with the news in their email, you know? Little insights like that were really powerful. 

The other area was the actual vision where you break down your dreams, and then what fears come up. Who do you have to enroll in order to make this successful? And what’s the first step that you have to take? 

Everybody made comments like, ‘The nice thing about this program is the structure holds you accountable.’ It makes you do all of the things that are important in self-assessment, and self-awareness, which we tend to do a little bit here and there. And when it’s all together, it’s more cohesive. It made everybody a little more optimistic about the future as well.”

How Project OTY Insights Bridged the Gap 

By gaining insights into day-to-day activities, future visions, and goals for team members (both professionally and personally), the LWC program uniquely bridged the gap between leadership and employees.

Aylward shared that the program fostered open discussion with employees, many of whom were based in rural areas, on what goals and opportunities looked like from buying a home and homeschooling kids to vacation plans and widespread health goals for the team. He shared that these specific insights paves the way for the team to offer the right support:

“As companies are progressing and looking for ways to support employees, whether that’s with mental health support, financial support, or benefits, great companies are always progressively looking for ways to support their greatest asset, which is their people. As a leader of an organization, when you have this sort of insight, this better sets you up to support people in achieving a lot of their goals and ambitions holistically.”

Why Project OTY? 

Aylward shares that pulling the trigger on the program for himself and executives on the insurance team was a no-brainer. The team was looking for a ready-made program with a track record that could work across various departments and teams, or as Aylward mentions, is “industry agnostic”.

“As most people know about any new initiative, you can figure it out on your own, or you can plug into a known proven system. Over 10,000 people across teams, organizations, and schools have gone through this program, so it’s not taking shots in the dark. That’s one of the reasons that I was so confident, along with a 96% rate of increased confidence for teams. That’s pretty amazing stuff!”

Why Now?

The workplace will always be evolving, but teams can confidently grow and attract talent when they know how to lead their teams with confidence. Teams benefit from developing accountable cultures that value investing and supporting their people.

This sentiment goes a long way for employees.

According to a 2018 survey by LinkedIn, 94% of employees shared they would stay longer at companies that invested in them and their careers. Additionally, studies by the Association for Talent Development show that companies offering formal training see a 24% higher profit margin than those who don’t.

The biggest obstacle for most companies when it comes to training? According to LinkedIn, it’s time. This is why Project OTY offers a self-driven, customizable experience with 3-5 hours of training on essential real-world skills for teams with busy schedules.

“The Lead with Confidence program would save somebody so much time and it would almost eliminate going in the wrong direction, as in, you could use this to put your mission and vision statement together. The value of it versus the cost of it – it’s kind of a no-brainer.”

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