CASE STUDY #1: Senior Leader & Team Coaching
What they needed:
An executive who wanted a future in the C-suite came to us for help with his own personal development as well as development of the team that reported to him.
An executive who was currently leading a $10B business division within a large global organization was being identified as having potential for the c-suite and wanted to proactively improve his candidacy and set himself up for success. While he had a track record of meeting his targets in both easy and tough market environments, and had a strong reputation generally, his goal was to become a more effective and even stronger leader. This included improving his interpersonal dynamics with his team, as he knew that he could present as exceptionally strong interpersonally at certain times.
The executive also wanted to improve the dynamics among the team members, who were working in a competitive industry facing specific market challenges. The team members were operating in a highly dynamic market as well as competing with each other, which impacted the aggregate performance of the team.
In addition, he wanted them to feel personally supported and valued beyond their own performance. He needed to learn how to employ impactful leadership strategies that encouraged a team mindset while leveraging individual goal-oriented personalities.
We conducted a comprehensive leadership assessment of the executive to identify the strengths and areas of development critical to a c-suite role. We also partnered with him to expand his leadership capabilities from a regional level to a global capacity. In addition, we provided individual assessments of each team member and provided feedback on how they could improve personally as well as better contribute collectively to the team. Developmental offsites were conducted for dedicated team building as well as integrated real time advising into day-to-day business activities. We looked at personal styles and dynamics on the team in the context of the turmoil of market transitions, internal politics of a large corporation and a highly competitive environment. The team was advised on how to navigate their way through this environment, both in terms of the corporate culture and individual psychology so they could be a stronger team. Through a partnership with their HR team, we put in place a plan for longer term support.
For several years the team continued meeting growth and profitability targets consistently through favorable and difficult market conditions. They attributed part of their success to better team performance and improved interpersonal dynamics. Other areas of the organization also took note of the team’s productivity and improved culture. The executive not only was successfully promoted to the C-suite opportunity, but one of the team members was subsequently elevated to replace him in the team leader role, demonstrating strong talent succession strategy and development.
CASE STUDY #2: Executive Leadership Development
What they needed:
A CEO of a Fortune 50 company came to us with a straightforward and high-priority request: he wanted to offer a unique development experience for his highest potential leaders and increase his own understanding of this select group of people.
The challenge was that he wanted to offer a developmental experience that was different from standard programs widely available and would also help him get to know the next generation of leaders in his organization well enough to take large bets on them.
There was a core group of individuals who had been identified by others as high potential. However, they were two levels junior to his current leadership team, and while he wanted to offer customized development for them, he also wanted to gain deeper insight into their personal capabilities, strengths, and have a more comprehensive understanding of their longer-term goals. While this was a clear priority for him, he only had a limited amount of time to devote to this project.
In addition, the chief people officer was building an innovative suite of talent practices and needed something that wasn’t the traditional industrial solution where a battery of assessments are given to the candidates, guest speakers are rolled out, and the group is given a project. She wanted a leadership program that looked and felt different to anything that had been done before and could also enrich the current succession processes.
We provided a bespoke development experience that offered an environment for an organic and personal understanding of the individuals, in an efficient and focused way, without losing the rigor of a more traditional approach.
We designed a program that was efficient yet customized to the specific needs of the CEO – not an off-the-shelf product. The solution offered both group learning as well as tailor-made individual development planning and coaching. This provided a learning experience and a personalized assessment of each individual’s decision-making, personality and motivation. In addition, it was structured such that the CEO himself – not a paid external trainer – drove the experience, yet it required limited but focused investment on his part. This also built in the opportunity for him to provide coaching & development and imprint on them his perspective. He not only was able to understand them better; he could actively participate in their growth and development.
Over a series of days at an offsite, we equipped him with a curriculum of sessions, speakers and experiences to create an organic and dynamic opportunity for the CEO to personally connect to each of the participants.
The result was a program that met the CEO’s goals of providing a unique development opportunity for each participant and deepening his understanding of the next generation.
It allowed for the participants to bond into a cohesive team, and for the chief people officer to identify strengths and career goals in an innovative yet natural way. The program was thoughtfully created with the intention that it could be deployed on an annual basis, allowing consistent results for year-over-year comparisons, and create a longer-term ROI.
The program continued through multiple cohorts and several senior promotions took place including to the CEO’s direct team. Several participants remarked it was the best development event of their careers.
CASE STUDY #3: Assessment for Private Equity and Corporate Development
What they needed:
An international private equity firm needed to determine whether a potential target had the right leadership team already in place as this was critical to the acquisition decision.
The uniqueness of the business required highly specialized talent too difficult to efficiently source post-acquisition. While the company’s technology assets were important, the talent was even more critical. If there wasn’t the right kind of leadership already in the organization, they wouldn’t be able to build the organization on an appropriate exit strategy timeline.
They needed a comprehensive assessment of the existing leadership during the due diligence phase of the acquisition to make sure that appropriate talent was already in the target company. The timeline for the assessment was a short window due to the time sensitive nature of the acquisition. In addition, due to a complex bidding process, the client was keen to have the assessments done discreetly, and a formal evaluation process was not appropriate.
We worked with the client to identify the right kind of talent and culture that needed to be present from the start in order to successfully take the portfolio company through to the exit stage. By working through the current needs and strategy the PE firm envisioned, we were able to establish the ideal profile. During the course of attending the regular due diligence meetings, we were able to meet the top management team as well as the level immediately junior to them. Through participation in the normal course of conversations and negotiation, along with observation and subtle questioning, we were able to assess the current team and the culture they inspired while limiting visibility to that part of the process.
We provided to the client assessments of the current talent, and an analysis of how much they aligned with the ideal candidate profile we developed. Our ultimate recommendation was that in fact the target company did not have in place currently the requisite talent or culture sufficient to meet the PE firm’s vision and strategy, nor the potential to be developed into the appropriate leadership team on a workable timeline and budget.
As the client ultimately passed on the acquisition, they saved $200M on an investment in an organization that would have possibly not met their long-term goal.