top of page
  • Nick Turner

Why I'm Building Antenna

Updated: Jan 25

Hi, my name is Nick Turner and I'm the founder of Antenna. Antenna's broad purpose is really straightforward: We want to help build better leaders. This isn't a novel idea. Here's why we're doing it and why we see more potential right now to do it better than ever.

I've been in leadership roles for the majority of my 20 year career and I've always been passionate about improving but have always felt there has to be a better way than our typical approaches. Let's talk through some of the ways the learning and development community has tackled this issue and where I think they are getting it wrong. Here are the 3 core ways we tackle leadership improvement today:

Training Programs

The effectiveness of formal leadership training programs varies significantly. There are some noteworthy programs that get a lot of accolades, such as BCG, Abbott, Texas Instruments and Salesforce. But those programs make up only about 5% of companies according to the Association for Talent Development. Even then, these programs are 2-5 days long initially with only hours of follow through in subsequent years.

Looking at company training programs broadly, here is the norm:

  • Training happens too late. A study of 17,000 leaders by Zenger Folkman, a leading leadership training firm that’s trained over 500,000 leaders, finds that on average leadership training doesn’t begin until 9 years into an individual’s management career. That’s 9 years of untrained leadership, within which time frame the untrained leadership practices are being passed on or learned by the leader’s team, who are potential future leaders within the organization.

  • There's too little of it. If you're receiving leadership training, on average you're probably getting about 4 hours a year, and much of that is mandated material - important - but not focused on general leadership skills.

  • Training lacks context & customization: The majority of training programs (save for 1:1 coaching or small group coaching - addressed below), internal or external, provide cookie cutter training for all leaders at a given level within an organization, with no context for a given department or specifics within a given team.

Review Cycles & Engagement Surveys

Review cycles are a longstanding component of corporate life, happening generally every quarter, biannually or annually. These cycles have gotten much more sophisticated, incorporating not just downward feedback, but upward and colleague feedback for leaders that can also be provided anonymously. This has grown further with the popularity of Engagement Surveys, with some companies adopting NPS systems for employees (one extreme example is Amazon - polling workers as often as once a day to gauge employee engagement).

This style of feedback plays an important role and can be valuable for organizations. There are some organizations, maybe the most widely known being Bridgewater Associates, who follow “radical candor”, which given the right culture can increase the benefit of review cycles significantly. However organizations that can implement this style are few and far between. Review cycles and engagement surveys fall short as a stand alone solution for leadership improvement for the following reasons:

  • The power dynamic. It’s difficult for an employee to give direct feedback to a superior or to their company in general, rarely do you find the full truth in reviews in terms of upwards feedback. The same can be said for colleagues. No one is interested in taking a risk to potentially tarnish a working relationship with an existing boss or colleague.

  • Recency bias. Reviews by individuals, as done infrequently, can rarely recall what happened 6 months or even 3 months ago. Review content has a heavy recency skew.

  • Subjective. Companies still don't know how to precisely format these surveys to ask the right questions to get the right type of feedback.


Hiring an external coach can be a very effective method to solve the above problems. It’s fully customized to the individual. Feedback can be freely given (and more freely accepted) since the coach is an objective third party, able to give feedback without concerns of hurting a working relationship and a resource dedicated to the individual. Lately there’s been a proliferation of companies offering coaching platforms (CoachHub, Bravely, BetterUp, etc.), all well intentioned.

But there are some common issues with coaching, mainly:

  1. Coach variability. The skill level of coaches vary significantly.

  2. Coach methodology. Coaches bring their own methods and styles to the coaching sessions that may or may not match that of the company culture.

  3. Scalability/Cost. There is a concentration of coaching at the executive level for a reason. Cost wise it’s largely out of reach for individuals below that level. The above platforms look to solve for this and to “democratize” coaching but this brings us back to Point A.

A Challenge and a Better Way

Recently, leaders have faced enormous challenges with the acceleration of moving too remote and hybrid work environments due to the pandemic. I faced this myself. Leading can be hard in person, but trying to engage effectively through Slack and Zoom can feel impossible at times.

But alongside this challenge came a really great opportunity. Because of this environment we now had access to more data about how leaders lead than we've ever had. Every piece of communication had gone digital. That meant for every leader, we could see exactly how they were leading, and we could use that information to provide customized training and build technology that would work alongside leaders to help them make improvements they specifically needed, in real time from a scalable and cost effective solution.

Antenna is 100% focused on making this a reality and making building great leaders not so random anymore, but helping every leader recognize their strengths, weaknesses, and getting access to objective feedback that helps them get better faster.

What that means for leaders and companies is getting better at your job faster, better team engagement, retention and ultimately higher performing teams.

Recent Posts

See All

I’m excited to announce that today we’re launching a (very) beta version of Antenna. I wanted to share more about the vision for Antenna and how we plan to develop the product further. Our mission at

bottom of page