Case Studies

Forecasting the future of an issue:

CONSULTING

1. Change Management


A Client Experience

When a new CEO was appointed to integrate a string of recently acquired companies into a cohesive customer-focused entity, he faced the challenge of selecting the right players, delivering on share price and overcoming various ‘founder management’ styles. The risks were high, as these entrepreneurs were key players in meeting future needs.

The decision: leverage the talents required and create an environment where the success of the founders was honoured so collectively they could shape their future. To begin the multi-phase transformation, an organizational structure approach was taken. Leadership Intelligence’s consultant challenged these leaders to step beyond their current comfort zone and take this company forward with conviction.

The result: a customer-driven structure enabling the organization to present to the marketplace ‘one team’ that is responsive to its customers’ evolving demands. This helped employees make frontline decisions fast and efficiently in the face of mounting competition.

The bottom line: a significant reduction in operating expense through a flattened hierarchy, consolidation and integration of common functions, and the ability to transition to a broader service offering.

The bonus: the leadership team is driving the strategic plan implementation with a fully engaged workforce.

2. Strategic Planning


A Client Experience

When the CEO of a large real estate and resort community was preparing the annual strategic plan he invited LEADERSHIP INTELLIGENCE to participate in the process.

The challenge: the senior management team was under considerable pressure to deliver operating revenues in a depressed economy and staff morale was at an all-time low. The CEO was facing a tough strategic choice – turnaround the operations or divest.

The decision: facilitate the strategic plan, beginning with a clarification of the company’s vision and values, identifying its’ absolute dedication and passion for providing excellent customer service for both resort and real estate operations.

The additional discovery: As the strategic planning session progressed, it became apparent that a number of key performance indicators were not mandated to senior team members, causing gaps in performance to go unnoticed and uncorrected. Even more worrying was the discovery that lean resources were now being focused on the company’s ‘biggest problem’ versus its ‘biggest opportunities’. LEADERSHIP INTELLIGENCE facilitated not only the strategic plan, but also co-designed the implementation plan.

The result: the CEO is now focused on acquisitions and growth opportunities; the senior management team is successfully delivering scorecard results; and the employee base is fully engaged due to increased understanding of the corporate direction and the importance of customer service excellence to corporate success.

“One of the biggest impediments to effective decision making today is that all literature and all the consultants have recommended that emotion and passion be taken out of management. They think that strategy is a purely analytical exercise.”
C.K. Prahald Professor of Business Administration, University of Michigan

3. Organizational Intelligence


A Client Experience

When a new, charismatic CEO was brought into an engineering consulting company he quickly realized the organization was fraught with internal politics. The company had many long-standing traditions that directly contributed to increasing levels of workforce scepticism. He soon discovered that the workforce did not believe the organization was in trouble.

The challenge: to shift the culture and tackle the belief that success could be sustained with dysfunctional and ambiguous behaviours.

The decision: Through a series of structured interviews, careful observations and a review of policy and processes, a multi-level approach to shifting the culture began to emerge. Delving deep into the beliefs and assumptions that people held about the financial viability of the company helped to identify the source of scepticism between various sub-unit cultures within the company. The common language used to explain even the most mundane actions failed to develop, given the ‘special status’ granted to certain groups.

The result: The CEO committed to a long-term process of shifting the culture by engaging in open dialogues and started with the executive team’s underlying assumptions about profitability and future vision. He and his team then continued to un-earth many other contradictory beliefs that had gone undetected and unconsciously embedded in people’s behaviour and thinking.The bonus: by opening the doors wide to possibility, this CEO has started the cultural shift to have people share information, openly disagree in constructive debate and passionately and respectfully convey their concerns to build a trusting environment where people operate based on ‘what is right’ versus ‘what’s in it for me’.

“Better for most of us to leap into the future. And to do so sooner rather than later.”
John P. Kotter, Harvard Business School

4. Organizational Health and Emotional Wellness


A Client Experience

A Canadian subsidiary of a large American trans-national retailer, agreed to participate in a study designed to identify company practices and leadership behaviours causing stress and absenteeism.

The decision: To utilize Entec’s follow-up process focused specifically on the issues which where highlighted by the statistical analysis as having the greatest impact on health, absenteeism and performance.

The result: recent performance data is showing significant improvements. For example, year over year, turnover rates of all levels of managers (750), has dropped from 36% – 19%. In problem areas, the rate has dropped dramatically from 56% – 8%, 48% – 5%. The turnover rate for store managers has dropped from 38% – 13%.

The bonus: Secret shopper scores improved on average by 4.8% in the stores with the lowest organizational health scores, and by 5.2% in the stores with the highest organizational health scores.

5. Organizational Workshop


A Client Experience

When a leading national food manufacturer needed to better manage rapid growth, they turned to The Organization Workshop©.

The challenge: A recent acquisition meant employees had new co-workers and new concerns about job security.

The decision: Use the Organization Workshop as a change intervention to unlock employees enabling them to see issues from all sides.

The result: They refocused their energy on the challenges and learned to work together. In just 3 months, the amount of product being shipped doubled, the work environment was more trusting and collaborative yielding improved efficiencies and increased revenues.

6. Business and Design Improvement


A Client Experience

When a large telecommunications company wanted to grow its business in the small and home office marketplace, LEADERSHIP INTELLIGENCE’s consultant led its senior management and project teams from the development of a clear vision through to product launch.

The decision: Leverage an existing product line designed to service the high-end, corporate marketplace. The result: re-designed the existing product and created a cost-effective package offering to the small business market while supporting the product’s end-to-end delivery process.

The bottom line: A 45% reduction in unit cost combined with a 50% reduction in cycle time.

The bonus: Results achieved in just 4 weeks, with a design that was taken to market in 60 days with a minimum of investment. The clear, strategic vision of the senior team allowed the experts to focus and execute with adaptability and creativity. And, most significantly, customer migration, product take-up and new sales significantly exceeded sales projections.

Impact on performance: Successful implementation of major change to a core business process, resulting in substantial expansion of product acquisition, higher revenues and increased customer satisfaction.

COACHING

CASE STUDY ONE – COACHING A MANAGEMENT GROUP

SITUATION: After a highly sensitive investigation, an Assistant Deputy Minister within an Ontario Public Sector Ministry retained LII to work with each of the members of the management team (ADM, Directors and Managers).

CLIENT AGENDA: Rebuild the health and spirit of the team’s resilience through individual coaching and consolidation of organizational themes arising during coaching sessions. Develop group interventions to assist the group in moving forward individually and collectively.

COACHING APPLICATION: The engagement consisted of completion of two self-assessments (Personal Styles Indicator® and Winslow Dynamics Profile®) and the development of group profiles. The group profiles were shared with the team and a conversation was facilitated by LII’s Principal Coach as a way of helping members understand the implications of the group’s profile on the team and the individual members. LII did not disclose the individual member’s results; this was left to the member to do, only if they felt comfortable – some did and some did not. Additionally, some members completed additional assessments including: multi-rater/360®, Corporate Athlete and Thomas Kilmann Conflict Styles®. Members engaged with their coaches in the following coach practices – journaling, reflection, work/life balance, stress management, learning to make powerful requests, offers and declarations.

RESULT: The ADM reports on the improved workings of the management team, their improved levels of interaction with each other and their stakeholders, improved levels of trust between the leaders and the leaders’ teams, as well as developmental and career moves that have occurred over the last twelve months. As well members are demonstrating improved levels of work/life balance and stress management.

CLIENT FEEDBACK: The ADM and members of her leadership team have gone on to recommend LII’s coaches to colleagues from other divisions within and from other Ministries.

CASE STUDY TWO – NURTURING EXECUTIVE TALENT

SITUATION: LII was retained as an executive coach by an international financial institution/card services firm (new to the Canadian market) to coach a member of the senior executive team. The firm is a data-driven organization focused on flawless execution and delivering ever more to the bottom-line each year. The client, an innovative leader with a deep expertise in risk management, which is recognized by his industry peers, is seen as one of the firm’s upcoming global leaders.

CLIENT AGENDA: Through the annual performance assessment he was asked to focus on developing the skills of an inspirational leader who can engage not only the minds but the hearts of those within the Canadian and global operations. His personal goal and key measurement of success was to be promoted to CEO of the Canadian operation within the next three to five years. This was seen as an attainable, though a super stretch, goal given the organization’s history.

COACHING APPLICATION:The engagement consisted of increasing his level of personal awareness – what types of conversations did he naturally engage in; when in meetings what role was he asked to take on and which did he naturally assume; how did he define inspiration and how did his peers, colleagues and leaders define this leadership attribute; identifying leaders who inspired him and examining the actions they took and the behaviours they demonstrated – this in itself was an interesting exercise as the client is an avid student of history. With this information the client and coach collaborated to define strategies for collecting feedback on the client’s current abilities and skills, what was resident and what was missing. Then they moved on to develop strategies for both defining/developing and testing out his ability to demonstrate and hone the desired skills. Collectively they explored storytelling; examined various ways to connect with the wide employee base, peers, colleagues and leaders both domestically and internationally (specifically those in the United States); repositioning presentation content to help staff make meaning of complex and complicated issues while seeing the organization’s long term vision and his own part in it. Some tactics used by the client were: building a personal story repertoire including telling personal stories about himself, establishing a leader’s blog, moving away from data filled slides and engaging large groups in meaningful dialogue about key issues of the day. During the fall of 2008 the client set up ‘lunch and learns’ to help employees understand what they and their family and friends could do to weather the economic storm. This was then adapted for customers and placed on the company’s website.

RESULT:The client has received very positive feedback on his approach to being an inspirational leader and has been rewarded with two promotions over the last three years and is now the Chief Operating Officer of the Canadian operation, a new position. As his leader has taken on greater international responsibilities the client has accepted the responsibility for all daily operations, and with the new organizational structure has a number of what were his previous peers reporting to him.

CLIENT FEEDBACK: The organization actively supports coaching for all of its executives. In the past the client changed coaches every twelve to eighteen months. The contract with LII and its coach has been renewed three times. The client and his firm have formally recognized LII’s coach for her continuing support and role as strategic thinking partner.

CASE STUDY THREE – TEAM COACHING WITH LEADER AND TEAM

SITUATION: LII Coach was brought in by the manager’s director to provide individual coaching to the manager as well as team coaching to his team of 10, with the intent of improving team synergy, effectiveness and relationship with the manager.

CLIENT AGENDA: Leader (Sponsor) seeking to improve the employee and team management effectiveness of the Manager. Manager (Client) reporting to the leader was seeking to manage relationship with Leader as well as with his team; inclusive of decision making, team member development and time management of several large scale information technology projects. Client group, as team members, identified a desire to improve relationships between all parties, share skill sets and develop a strategy for creating client service/business improvement cases that would be presented to senior management for consideration.

COACH APPLICATION: Initial sessions were held with the Leader, Human Resources representatives, and Manager to determine roles, expectations and measures of success during the contract. Attention was also paid to a member of the Manager’s team who is also an active union executive representative. Coaching sessions with the Manager commenced first to set the course and identify team derailers. Manager completed The Winslow Personal Dynamic Traits™ assessment to identify areas requiring development. Team coaching sessions commenced following individual interviews to determine team strengths, weakness and opportunities. Team members completed PSI™ assessment and participated in a team facilitated individually identified Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Style Mode™ assessment to identify personal style preferences present within the team and how to deal effectively with each. A certified facilitator of the Rhodes Thinking Intentions Profile™ was brought in to facilitate individual report results, in group form, to assist with identifying individual style preference regarding thinking/decision making.

CLIENT RESULTS: Manager developed a strategy for dealing with a Leader that he’s ‘managed up’; has created a bond with his team that has allowed members to self-identify alternate career paths, re-skilling and/or the desire to reform and rededicate themselves with a renewed sense of engagement and purpose, and has returned to him a sense of his management and leadership strength and presence.

MANAGER’S FEEDBACK: “I’ve been here four years and I can see myself here for another two. Six months ago I just wanted to leave. Now, before I move on to a better fit, I’d like to make sure to leave a bit of a legacy and my staff as more than just intact; I’d like for them to be a highly functioning team regardless of who’s leading them.”

TEAM’S FEEDBACK INCLUDES: “I just wanted you to know I’ve been promoted! Never would I have been able to accept such an offer without the encouragement and sobering conversations we’ve had. If the organization hadn’t brought you in I’d hire you as my coach to help me re-invent myself. Which I’m happy to say is happening. Thank you for being there for all of us, our manager included it (he needed it!).”

CASE STUDY FOUR – COACHING FOR DIRECTOR LEVEL JOB INTERVIEW

SITUATION: LII was contacted by an out of town Client late one Thursday afternoon to say that he was advancing to the final phase of a recruitment initiative at the Director level of his organization. The interview was scheduled for the coming Monday morning.

CLIENT AGENDA: The Client was seeking five (5) hours of telephone and in-person behavioural interview coaching to help him develop his management success stories and interview approach strategy.

COACHING APPLICATION: The Client forwarded related documents to the Coach on Thursday evening for review. The Coach and Client spent an hour by telephone Friday morning discussing the Director position, job description, his current role and resume highlights. The Coach then drove to the Client’s city on the Saturday whereby spending three hours providing in-person behavioural interview coaching to tease out his strengths and career stories. The Coach and Client worked to refine these stories, helping him to position these stories and strengths in response to the types of expected questions he would face on Monday. The Coach championed the Client as he increased self-awareness and confidence in interview performance.

RESULT: Through the interview preparation coaching, the Client discerned that he may not be fully ready to step up into this Director level position and felt ready for the learning opportunity the interview process would provide him. Additionally, the Client self-identified gaps that he could work to close regardless of the interview outcome. The Client came in a close second and received recognition from the interview panel on his professionalism and thoughtful interview responses. The Coach and Client completed their coaching contract via telephone and enabled him to assess his learnings and form an action plan to move forward.

CASE STUDY FIVE – DEVELOPMENT OF IDENTIFIED HIGH POTENTIALS FOR FUTURE AND CURRENT ASSIGNMENTS

SITUATION: Client was originally selected to participate in a developing leader program within her ministry (OPS) where upon she met her Coach. Following graduation of the program the Client extended the coaching relationship, in order to support career development. During the program a 360° and other assessments were used, and subsequently leveraged in the ongoing coaching relationship. CLIENT AGENDA: Informed and formulated through the 360° process and Personality Styles Assessment (PSI™) assessment findings, the Client wished to further strengthen her leadership skills so that she could secure career advancement opportunities. She sought out, and received, Director support for continued coaching, at a time of organizational change.

COACH APPLICATION: Through scheduled telephone sessions and quick response calls in the moment, the Coach and Client created a deeper development plan from the initial leadership program’s individual participant action plan so that the Client could excel at securing progressive acting/permanent positions in the organization. Additional work was completed around values identification and alignment within current ministry and larger organization’s culture. Reflection/journaling assignments captured self-identification and regulation of behaviours the Client was seeking to change and the success stories around positive outcomes. Support was also provided during the ‘down’ moments experienced in the human change process.

CLIENT RESULT: The Client experienced a greater awareness of self and leadership skills, gaps and areas for improvement. She achieved success in strengthening of leadership skills; especially regarding team, communication, conflict resolution/employee relations and aligning strategic requirements and resource capabilities. She has been on two progressive acting assignments, been recognized by her Director and Assistant Deputy Minister and is currently choosing from a number of possible next assignments to add to her repertoire.

CLIENT FEEDBACK (excerpt from an email to her boss): “This is the development coach that I have been working with. She is a great coach in that she supports you in your discovery. She will never give you the answers, but will lead you to the right paths to discover the best course on your own. The added benefit of her approach, in my view, is that once you’ve gone through the process you end up with a great framework for making similar decisions/choices in the future.”