|Client: Munich Re America, a leading reinsurance provider in the US |
|The situation: To differentiate the firm in an industry that tends to sell the same products at the same price to the same customers, leaders at Munich Re America set a goal of becoming “an exceptional company.” Although employees had high job satisfaction, they didn’t always understand how they contributed to the company’s success. Employee survey results also revealed a lack of trust between reporting levels. This was unwelcome news at a time when the culture was moving from stringent, do-it-by-the-book underwriting to more risk-tolerant standards. The new, “exceptional” culture needed “thinking underwriters” who could work confidently in an environment of clarity, trust and support. |
|The approach: We worked with senior leadership and HR to craft a communications plan and organization-wide implementation strategy for building better employee/manager partnerships focused on mutual success. MPG: The Success Connection was at the core of the roll-out. It included executive-level consulting, coaching workshops for managers and explicit tie-ins to Munich Re America’s balanced scorecard process to ensure maximum commitment and alignment.levels) and continues to be available to employees changing jobs within the company. |
|The results: Nearly all employees have completed the MPG process (which is being tracked as a balanced scorecard objective). “Re-Activator Sessions” – manager/employee meetings held 12-18 months after the initial rollout – are in progress to ensure continued clarity and partnership. And while trust isn’t built overnight, responses from managers and employees alike indicate that they're headed in the right direction. 80% of employees surveyed indicated their managers were “very enthusiastic and supportive” during their MPG discussions.|
|Client: Global Research and Development department, the “product discovery and development engine” of a leading pharmaceutical firm |
|The situation: Rapid growth through mergers and acquisitions, while great for the organization, was challenging for employees. New roles and responsibilities. New reporting structures. New expectations. |
|The approach: Successfully incorporating merged and acquired employees meant getting everyone to feel part of the company’s highly regarded “culture of inclusion.” Using Fast Start, our employee-driven process for new and transitioning employees, the department capitalized on the culture and built respect through clear communication between employees and their managers. The organization now includes it in the onboarding program for new hires at all levels and has made it available to all employees changing jobs within the company.|
|The results: In contrast to many mergers and acquisitions, which show signs of clashing cultures and slow pay-offs, the employees of this global Research and Development department score high on job satisfaction and have quickly “settled in” to new responsibilities to deliver results – fast.|
|Client: Large North American appliance manufacturer |
|The situation: Acquiring companies and being acquired was creating instability in a formerly very stable workforce. Reorganizations and retooling of job responsibilities clouded accountabilities as well as career paths. |
|The approach: Re-stabilizing the workforce meant providing employees with the tools to have more control of their own job performance, job satisfaction and career development. Our MPG process was rolled out to drive meaningful, results-oriented employee/manager discussions around the firm’s changing landscape, employee priorities and individual development. Employees then executed concrete action plans for increased job satisfaction, performance improvement and career development. |
|The results: Almost 2,000 employees have completed the process, and individuals appear to be making better career decisions – balancing what’s good for the organization with what’s good for them. According to the firm’s manager of education, “During my 30 years here, MPG has had more positive impact on employees' attitudes and morale than anything we have ever done."|
|Client: A leader in the design and development of cardiovascular medical products with locations worldwide |
|The situation: The firm realized that to stand out in a hyper-competitive marketplace, they needed to have all employees fully engaged and focused on the organization’s goals. Yet, while many training initiatives had been implemented, workforce performance wasn’t where it needed to be. It seemed that just because people knew how to do something it didn’t mean that they were actually doing it.|
|The approach: Our established point of view about what drives employee performance and engagement proved to be the key for taking the workforce to greater heights of achievement. With our consulting guidance, Helping Others Succeed was implemented in North America, Asia and Europe to give managers the tools and the mindset to understand what employees needed from them. The process also helped managers coach efficiently and effectively – to gain commitment to and alignment with organizational goals. MPG: The Success Connection was offered to help employees systematically and proactively align their job satisfaction and career development with the organization’s priorities. |
|The results: The organization now has a process in place to manage performance and grow talent in line with business priorities. It continues to reinforce the need for employee engagement with our exclusive engagement model. It’s tracking the coaching partnership discussions conducted by managers. Bottom line: It’s easier for leaders to tackle the issue of low performance because of the tools and structure provided by MPG and HOS. |
|Client: Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, a financial services membership organization in the US|
|The situation: Growth from a merger expanded opportunities for employees. Unfortunately, employees seemed to be approaching those opportunities in a haphazard way – applying for internal jobs that had appeal but often did not support long-term career growth. At the same time, the organization was defining competencies for moving the business forward. Everyone needed to get “on the same page.”|
|The approach: We incorporated Thrivent’s competency models into MPG: The Success Connection to provide a more coherent development path in line with business priorities. The process helped executives, manager/directors, supervisors and individual contributors clarify what they needed for job satisfaction and shape actionable career plans. Its manager feedback and dialogue components ensured that individuals’ plans reflected the organization’s needs as well. |
|The results: In spite of recent reorganizations, employees at all levels remain engaged and committed to their personal success and that of the company. What could have been a very painful time in the organization was made less so because people were clear on what matters most and had tools for remaining in control of their careers. Performance has remained high as well as trust between managers and employees. |
|Client: EMD Serono, a high-performing, global biotechnology firm |
|The situation: Management had set ambitious growth goals that rested on five key company values. They knew, however, that simply defining and promoting those values would not lead to action. EMD Serono needed all managers to align their day-to-day decision making with the values -- and inspire the workforce to do the same. |
|The approach: Our consulting team worked with key leaders to determine the most effective approach for achieving these results in EMD Serono’s culture. A custom “Leading by Values” workshop was designed to create buy-in to a values-driven culture, help managers connect their personal convictions with the organization’s values and prepare them to build their team’s commitment through compelling communications.|
|The results: The senior executive team and nearly all managers have participated, with 100% participation expected by the end of 2006. As managers take the lead in communicating and modeling the company’s values, next steps include a coaching program for managers and a values alignment process for individual contributors. “BlessingWhite has become one of EMD Serono's most valued and trusted partners by helping us instill company values into the day-to-day culture for our employees,” reports Michael Laffin, EMD Serono’s Director of Learning & Organizational Development.|
|Client: Osram Sylvania, the North American operation of OSRAM GmbH, a global lighting manufacturer |
|The situation: The organization understood that capitalizing on workforce diversity was good business. And it wanted related training to go beyond awareness and political correctness to ensure employee satisfaction and retention. The goal: To equip its diverse workforce with the tools to break through cultural or even personal barriers to successful career management and professional growth.|
|The approach: Recognizing that MPG’s value reaches across all job functions, we worked with Osram Sylvania to customize the process to align with the objectives of the company’s diversity council. The council rolled out MPG in a targeted initiative to help women and minority employees better manage their promotions and their careers.|
|The results: To date, more than 1,000 employees have participated in this process. Senior leadership has committed to continuing to offer MPG as part of the company’s strategic initiatives.|
|Client: The IT division of a leading car company |
|The situation: This organization was beginning to see too much reliance on outsourced suppliers and too little internal responsibility and accountability among its managers. The CIO responded with a number of initiatives to increase performance, including new job profiles and requirements. Yet a key challenge remained: Getting managers fully engaged in making the changes work. |
|The approach: In initial meetings with the leadership team, we recommended that the division postpone the leadership training it was considering. Training – no matter how effective -- would not be enough to drive the culture change desired. Our consulting team helped formulate and implement a change initiative that began with an employee survey to provide baseline data on goal alignment, manager/employee relations and employee engagement. To ensure that all managers and employees fully understood their redefined roles and provide the necessary insights and tools for increasing performance, the division implemented a top-down roll-out of MPG: The Success Connection. Coaching workshops gave managers increased confidence and competence for supporting this employee-driven initiative. Once alignment with division goals, clarity of job expectations and more open lines of manager/employee communication were achieved, our Technical Leadership workshop helped the division’s highly technical managers develop the leadership skills to guide their teams to greater heights of achievement.|
|The results: The initial employee survey findings shaped a highly strategic initiative met with great success. Nearly 80% in a follow-up questionnaire agreed or strongly agreed that their MPG manager/employee discussion was “great.” Recent employee survey findings showed significant improvements in key areas including manager/employee relations, personal alignment and understanding of division goals and values – all ingredients for a high-performance division.|
|Client: GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), a leading pharmaceutical company|
|The situation: GlaxoSmithKline Manufacturing & Supply is a significant graduate recruiter in the UK and aims to recruit chemists, engineers, microbiologists and similar staff each year – selecting from the graduate pool in both the UK and Europe. GSK invests a lot of money in its new employees and expects them to be up and running in 6 months. It also wants to ensure new people stay with the company – developing into the next generation of leadership for the business.|
The process of getting a new employee onboard begins even before the employee arrives. During the interviewing process employees are chosen partly on the basis of their ability to take responsibility for their own career. GSK also has an effective induction process including a range of familiarisation meetings and managers are encouraged to plan in advance for the new team member’s projects with these sometimes being set up 6-9 months before the new recruit arrives. GSK wanted to enhance an already effective system by introducing a structured process to enable managers and recruits to be clear what each expects of the other, create a link between individual and organisational values and create a foundation for the individuals’ personal development.
|The approach: Having worked with BlessingWhite before GSK approached us again to review potential solutions and decided to implement Fast Start – an online process for getting any individual who is ‘new to role’ onboard, and contributing, quickly. New employees lay the groundwork for their role and ongoing development with their managers by doing a Fast Start Development Discussion. GSK find Fast Start enables managers and recruits to quickly agree objectives, share values and discuss styles of working. It provides a mechanism to introduce graduates to managers and remind managers of their role in new employee’s development. As part of the on-boarding process each individual agrees a Personal Development Plan with their manager. The PDP is a living and working document, not just a set of directives. It includes requirements for coaching, feedback, guidance, and mentoring. The onboarding process also dovetails with retention activity: new employees are tracked using Talent Management surveys, surveys with managers and through work with HR.|
|The results: GSK find that their onboarding process, including Fast Start, gives a number of tangible benefits:
“Managers must see their direct reports beyond ‘resources’ for the business. Their direct reports also need professional development in the arena of their talents and they must also enjoy using their talents ie; their talents must be linked to their values. Fast Start enables us to create that link.” Learning and Development Advisor within Global Manufacturing and Supply, GSK.
|Client: Scottish Power, a large utility in the UK|
|The situation: As one of the largest utilities in the UK, Scottish Power is expanding and adapting to increasingly competitive market conditions. No longer simply an electricity supplier, Scottish Power’s activities now include: electricity, water and waste, water services, gas telecommunications, retailing technology and contracting services.
In this intensely competitive and fast moving environment Scottish Power understand that there is one factor that keeps the company ahead - the commitment, creativity and energy of its people. They wanted a radical new focus that would release the enthusiasm in each employee so developed a system of guiding principles that would capture the very spirit of the company and act as a motivational, inspiring force. Using these principles they implemented a values based leadership development programme to:
Scottish Power knew that the real challenge for the company was in turning these values into reality – starting with 200 key managers.
|The approach: After consulting with BlessingWhite, Scottish Power chose “Putting Values Into Action” as the pivotal focus of their Exploring Values programme. PVIA is a unique process, designed to stimulate and engage the interest and energy of managers by exploring the relationship between their personal values and those of the organisation. It gives managers the tools they need to make values a fully integrated part of the decision making process and helps them understand what values mean to them. |
|The results: PVIA has allowed management to “develop a greater understanding of what the company’s values mean in practice and help them to live the values on a day-to-day basis” said John Gemmill, Scottish Power’s Group Human Resources Strategy Manager.
New levels of co-operation and trust have flourished across the business and Scottish Power has seen a real change within the culture of the company. Managers have become more energised and motivated to take positive action and their new commitment has been cascaded through the entire company. John Gemmill says “Diverse groups of managers and staff have responded superbly to the opportunities for thinking, debate and generating ideas. Numerous positive impacts can now be clearly seen right across the company”.
Inspired by the values managers are able to inspire their staff in turn. As a result Scottish Power is prepared to move forward, assured that their managers are ready and able to shape the future success of the company.
|Client: Ulster Bank Group, the third largest bank in Ireland|
|The situation: Ulster Bank Group, as the third largest bank in Ireland, employs over 4,700 employees across the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The banking market is moving fast and they face a rash of new competitors eager to take a share.
Ulster Bank conducted an internal survey that showed that while 61% of employees could say what the organisation’s mission was, they were unable to really grasp its meaning or importance. And while 83% recognised the importance of knowing where their job fitted with the organisation’s aims, they didn’t have a full understanding of the ‘bigger picture’.
|The approach: After forming a partnership with BlessingWhite Ulster Bank began implementing a strategic approach to their challenges. They began to define and refine a set of non-negotiable values that would stand the test of time. Seven values were identified: leadership by example; innovation and creativity; our people; performance and achievement; fair and honest; added value for our customers; shared purpose and individual responsibility. From this, they have now built a new Vision for the future, to become the ‘preferred financial services group on the island of Ireland’. How? Through people and through values.
These values were then systematically communicated company-wide to individual employees through a process which helps people discover where their personal values connect with those of the organisation. This was far more than just a workshop. They were creating active cultures; ones where individuals who really live the vision can connect to the organisation.
|The results: This work provided a catalyst for individual—and consequently, organisational—change for the bank. Using these principles and processes, Ulster Bank was able to more effectively communicate and implement its values, vision and strategy.|
|Client: Zurich Financial Services|
|The situation: “…Leadership now is about being able to inspire people and take them willingly to a place that has yet to be created.”
A massive restructuring of the Life Business at Zurich Financial Services in the UK has meant that in the past few years Zurich has taken out 40 per cent of the management line and reduced the number of grading levels from 15 to around 6. Key services, such as marketing, have become shared services. “It’s meant a big expansion of individual roles and responsibilities across the business for my team who are becoming involved in new, more exciting projects than ever before,” says Tony Solomon , Intermediary Marketing Director.
The expansion of shared services arrangements brings its own leadership challenges. Providing a service across the business means being able to negotiate conflicting priorities. “In this environment clarity of expectations and clarity of outcomes are essential,” explains Solomon.
|The approach: Zurich believes that its managers need not only leadership skills but also the systems, structures and – most importantly – the values of the organisation to back them up if they are going to succeed in the more collegiate environment they now have
“To function as a leader your team needs to be able to understand what your values are, what you are here to do and the purpose of their role is in getting there. If as an organisation and a leader you can be true to your values then you have something quite special.”
Zurich decided to work with BlessingWhite on a series of workshops based on the Leading Out Loud programme. Zurich has called the programme Connection and all management grades are involved.
|The results: Zurich has moved from having a management culture where staff feared speaking out to an open leadership style where people aren’t afraid to ask questions and leaders are prepared to give honest answers. It is not always the answer people want but at least they can understand why and how changes are going to happen.
“This stuff works brilliantly,” Solomon says. “Our employee survey scores show we are now entering the ranks of the high performing company whereas three or four years ago we were languishing down the list with most other financial services companies. We’ve done a huge amount of work on our values. And it’s been the most important part of the process because leadership now is about being able to inspire people and take them willingly to a place that has yet to be created.”
|Client: A leading credit card and financial services firm |
|The situation: This organization’s market leadership depends on maintaining secure and high-functioning payment systems 24/7 worldwide. Since 2000, we have worked together to ensure that leaders at all levels of the organization have the skills they need to manage, motivate and retain their teams. We initially rolled out Technical Leadership for nearly 400 managers, plus a tailored version of the program for all individual contributors. The immediate results: Core skills and a common language to drive high performance on the front lines and up through the ranks.|
When an executive leadership session was run for the senior team to ensure the success of the original initiative, these high-level executives concluded that they would benefit from even more help with “the people stuff.”
|The approach: Our consulting team followed up to establish the framework for executive coaching engagements for senior leaders. Determining individual strengths and areas for improvement was the first critical step. The participating executives were assessed on two critical scales: business competence and personal connection. With those results as a baseline, interviews with each executive’s direct reports were conducted. That data, combined with our consultants’ observations, formed the basis for very specific, tailored 3- to 6-month, one-on-one executive coaching engagements with the most appropriate BlessingWhite coaches.|
|The results: Post-coaching surveys show impressive improvements in how employees rate the executives in terms of engagement and team development. Follow-up High-Performance Leadership Assessments and interviews with feedback providers have demonstrated equally significant improvements. As the senior executives continue to model desired leadership behaviors, the organization continues to build its leadership bench strength with the all-new Leading Technical Professionals positioned as an integral component of the standard leadership development curriculum.|
|Client: A highly specialized software engineering firm with offices worldwide |
|The situation: Retention of extremely specialized engineers and technical talent was not just a “nice to have” for this organization; it was critical to staying competitive. As the company’s leadership team examined this issue, they realized that improving managers’ abilities to support, coach and develop talent was the most direct and cost-effective way to keep talented workers from looking elsewhere. When an internally developed coaching program fell short of desired objectives, BlessingWhite was called in.|
|The approach: Our consultants capitalized on the leadership team’s commitment to coaching and quickly confirmed an approach to ensure this initiative would meet their needs. Helping Others Succeed and Technical Leadership proved to be an ideal fit, with the structure, assessments and real-world applications to establish credibility and engage the participants from the start. Both programs have been widely implemented beyond North America and Europe, with BlessingWhite’s global network of facilitators conducting sessions in locations across India, China, Singapore and Japan.|
|The results: The CEO and founder of the company has championed both programs, incorporating them into the foundational training for new managers. The concepts and terminology are embedded into ongoing efforts to establish a thriving coaching culture. And the highly specialized engineering talent has happily stayed put -- even as the job market continues to heat up.|
|Client: CA, a world leader in IT management software|
|The situation: CA believes that systems, processes and people should work in sync, securely supporting the organization’s goals. But like the shoemaker’s children, what was deemed critical for customers needed to be strengthened and reinforced for CA’s own employees. That meant a common set of skills for CA’s managers worldwide to ensure that each team was in synch with CA’s goals. The challenge was twofold: Engaging the technical leadership that formed the backbone of the company and ensuring consistency and quality across all locations – Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, North America and South America.|
|The approach: CA was impressed with BlessingWhite’s expertise and experience in working with highly expert workforces as well as our Technical Leadership tools, concepts and development activities, which reflect core leadership skills applied in a technical culture. Our consulting team tailored the core program experience to ensure maximum relevance and impact for CA’s unique leadership population. The design, however, was only the start. Our ability to manage a simultaneous rollout to all global locations with a consistent level of expert facilitation and support ensured that all CA managers left the program with the same high level of learning.|
|The results: More than 6,000 CA managers worldwide experienced a customized version of Technical Leadership. As the implementation progressed, CA expanded participation to include managers in finance, sales and other functions. The program has been translated into Japanese, Spanish and other languages as we continue to work with CA to train new managers, individual contributors promoted to leadership roles and managers from acquired companies. Bottom line: CA’s leaders have a consistent management language no matter where in the world they call home.|
“It was a completely seamless process to integrate CA’s culture and values with BlessingWhite’s philosophy and methodology. From the first meeting, it was as if we have been working together for years.” Don Balducci, VP of Learning and Development
|Client: Hewlett-Packard (H-P)|
|The situation: H-P is focused on speed, innovation and results. More than a decade ago, an internal needs analysis indicated that getting high-quality products to market quickly depended on the ability of H-P’s highly technical leaders to motivate, coach and support their teams. As it looked for a leadership development process that would appeal to -- and make a difference for -- its population of engineering managers and project managers, its partnership with BlessingWhite was formed.|
|The approach: H-P was an important client partner in the development of our original Technical Leadership program as well as the more recently introduced Leading Technical Professionals -- a blended learning process for leaders of expert employees. From the first sessions to the most recent, BlessingWhite facilitators have conducted sessions at H-P facilities worldwide, maintaining consistency of concepts and skills while adapting the delivery to a diverse audience.|
|The results: Our highly relevant program remains a key component of H-P’s learning structure for managers and supervisors. It is offered on an open enrollment basis and has continued to draw participants based on enormous popularity and strong recommendations from those who have attended. Participant reactions to the content and delivery are exceptional. As a results-oriented company, H-P conducted a measurement study to demonstrate a clear return on investment. Pre- and post-training video evaluations showed significant behavior change and increased effectiveness. Leaders within the organization also attribute reduced time to market, quality improvements and increased employee motivation to their managers’ application of BlessingWhite’s concepts and skills for leading a technical workforce.|
|Client: The investor services division of a large financial services company based on the West Coast of the U.S. |
|The situation: At one point, this firm saw more changes in a 6-month period than it had over the previous 6 years. Layoffs and resignations at the executive level left leaders without high-level support. At the same time, leaders found themselves facing increased span of control and taking on more responsibility for direct reports who were scattered across a variety of locations. The leaders of this particular division knew that coaching was more critical than ever to help their teams navigate company changes, yet they were finding it harder than ever to connect effectively with their teams.|
|The approach: Knowing that concepts and communication skills could only go so far in addressing this situation, we recommended a process for bringing leaders and their direct reports together in continuous, productive dialogue. The process, Helping Others Succeed, enabled them to establish efficient and effective coaching partnerships with their team members. The unique non-anonymous feedback used in this process equipped each leader with the insights needed to tailor coaching approaches to fit the specific needs of individual employees. It also helped leaders target their own development needs as a coach.|
|The results: Leaders at all levels of this division continue to go through the Helping Others Succeed process. Senior executives support the initiative with regular check-ins to learn how the coaching partnership discussions are going, to provide advice and to obtain ideas for building on the implementation’s early successes. As more and more leaders establish coaching partnerships with their team members, they have reported that an additional benefit: Their efforts to work more effectively with their direct reports serves as a model that employees are using to enhance their own relationships with the firm’s clients.|
“This process helped my employees and me obtain greater understanding of one another’s priorities and determine where we could meet in the middle. Ultimately, it has left us all more engaged than ever before.” Client Services Team Manager
|Client: A leader in international banking |
|The situation: This firm’s industry operates in tense environment -- one in which international regulators are hyper-alert to any hint of non-compliance or ethical missteps. As a result, the firm’s senior officers needed to be 100% confident that the each leader of their international operations had the expertise and knowledge to conduct business with the highest standards of integrity. The bank’s country executives not only needed to know the local regulations and policies thoroughly but they also needed to use that knowledge to make the right decision in all situations. Furthermore, it was clear that these high-level leaders needed to demonstrate skillful leadership, judgment and integrity while developing stronger, trusting relationships with local regulators.|
|The approach: Our team of consultants worked with the bank’s leadership team to scope out their requirements. We created a compelling program to inform, educate and challenge the country executives to successfully navigate the changing regulatory environment. We worked closely with the senior bank executives who served as the faculty by translating their expertise into engaging educational sessions and coaching them on dynamic group facilitation. To bring the subject matter to life, our consultants also developed a realistic, intricate and challenging simulation and provided specific feedback around the soundness of the participating leaders’ decisions and actions.|
|The results: All country executives have been certified through this highly tailored, intensive leadership development session. The program was so relevant and successful that it is now being offered by invitation only to an exclusive population of high-potential leaders in other areas of the bank. The flexible design of the simulation and educational sessions allow for current events and regulatory changes to be easily incorporated, keeping the experience relevant to the ongoing issues the bank is facing.|
|Client: High-end global retail operation |
|The situation: This organization faced two issues: creating better leaders for the present and cultivating talent for the future. As the senior team became more “senior,” the pressure to build leadership bench strength increased.|
|The approach: In addition to consulting with the senior team on how best to meet both objectives, we conducted a highly customized leadership development initiative for high-potential managers and executives that blended action learning principles with BlessingWhite’s Leading Out Loud program. Given the company’s focus on developing new talent, the program participants worked on a real-life challenge: developing a plan to recruit and develop new talent. With the help of our leadership coaches, the participants met regularly for 4 months to refine and finalize a plan and a strategy for presenting that recommendation to the firm’s senior leaders.|
|The results: The group presented its recruiting and leadership development recommendations to the CEO, who was delighted with such a clear plan and process from “bright, passionate, and committed people.” BlessingWhite continues to provide consulting support and coaching as the plan is being implemented and promoted.|
|Client: A mid-sized manufacturer of automobile components |
|The situation: This innovative firm had achieved admirable profits and market share by being highly specialized and entrepreneurial. Its executive team realized, however, that the organization’s success was too tightly linked to the ups and downs of the auto industry. The CEO understood that the firm’s future depended on finding new markets and applications for their core product, but that his highly technical executive team needed help in getting started down new avenues.|
|The approach: A team of BlessingWhite consultants conducted a High-Performance Culture Scan, which included employee surveys, focus groups and interviews, to identify the strengths and weaknesses at play in this client’s North American and European locations. Our consultants then worked with the firm’s executive team to establish a fresh organizational mission, long-term strategy and operating principles (core values) to lead the firm forward. With our help, the senior team crafted specific communication plans and follow-up action steps to address the findings of the Culture Scan and to ensure that the entire organization was aligned and able to execute on its new direction. One-on-one executive coaching engagements (using our High-Performance Leadership Assessment) helped ensure that the senior leaders were able to work more effectively with each other and engage employees at all levels in their departments.|
|The results: The company has weathered market ups and downs and remained viable in a challenging environment. The senior team continues to work more effectively together and drive the culture changes necessary for continued success.|
|Client: An international accounting and consulting firm |
|The situation: A meeting of 150 IT leaders – including the CIO -- provided an excellent opportunity to strengthen employee engagement and reinforce a strong culture. The challenge was creating meaningful training for a large group in a short time frame.|
|The approach: Our consulting team worked with the client to identify the most important outcomes of this one-day event, and we created a highly interactive large-group experience based on the concepts of Leading Out Loud. One engaging lead facilitator presented key concepts on inspiring leadership communication; a team of skilled facilitators guided small group activities, provided one-on-one coaching and helped the ballroom-sized audience stay on track.|
|The results: The initial event was so well-received that participants recommended that it be rolled out to other employees. The concepts of authentic leadership and effective leadership communication resonated with the audience, and we are continuing to work with key executives one-on-one to keep the momentum through leadership assessments and executive coaching engagements.|
|The situation: BlessingWhite works with Philips across the world, on a variety of assignments with materials translated into a number of different languages. This case represents an aspect of our work in Europe and offers some personal insights from the executives we work with in The Netherlands.|
Philips have been working with BlessingWhite for over 16 years. As a leading international business operating in some highly competitive sectors (including semi-conductors, lighting, medical and consumer electronics) the key to Philips continued success is innovation. For Philips employees to contribute to that culture of innovation they must be satisfied their career aspirations are being – and can continue to be – met. If employees have faith the business can offer a fulfilling career they will be motivated to stay, to think creatively – to innovate.
Philips provides a ‘core curriculum’ for managers and professionals called the One Philips Way of Learning. This provides development opportunities in three core areas:
Underpinning these three areas is a requirement to ensure individuals both accept responsibility for their own career development and have the knowledge and tools to take on that responsibility. Senior management are keen that managers do not feel career development is something that is done to them. All employees need to have a proactive approach to careers – seeking out opportunities to grow within current jobs and seeking new opportunities right across the Philips world. Just because an employee starts in one division they do not have to stay there.
|The approach: Working with BlessingWhite, Philips have developed a structured approach to individual development planning (IDP) based on the BlessingWhite programme Managing Personal Growth (MPG). This approach underpins the whole One Philips programme and is seen as a core skill which enables individuals to assess their own career values – aligning them with those of the business - as well as take stock, on an ongoing basis, of their skill set and employability. The difference IDP brings to other career planning tools is structure and a strong values foundation. If people don’t have a strong desire to work they won’t be as effective as they could be – they become passengers. IDP helps them to sort out what they really want from their careers.|
“The reason we use MPG is to increase both personal satisfaction and the impact of individuals on the company.” Rupert Schindler, Programme Account Manager, Philips
|The results: Philips has seen a step change in the way managers consider their own career paths. IDP helps them think beyond their current situation and understand that they have the ability to influence the way they undertake there current role. It helps individuals realise there are other ways to have a fulfilling career than to move up the promotional ladder. The real evidence of the effectiveness of this approach is its longevity and popularity within Philips: “Managing Personal Growth made me realise just how much more I could get out of my current job and that it was up to me to do something different.”’ (2005 participant quote)|
|Client: Freescale, a global semiconductor manufacturer|
|The situation: Freescale is a multimillion semi-conductor business that recently became independent from Motorola. Factory sites are located in approximately 15 countries across Europe. Organisational change has inevitably meant a drive for improved performance – a recognition that people’s personal career goals and values needed to be aligned with those of the new organisation. Equally, employees now work within a flatter structure. Managers are expected to take an increasingly greater role in career coaching and to help individuals establish for themselves what a successful career looks like.
“When layers of opportunity disappear we must focus employees on appropriate lateral moves and on new responsibilities within their existing roles” – Nigel Thwaites, Training & Development Manager, East Kilbride.
|The approach: Freescale has a long heritage of working with BlessingWhite – having used the Managing Personal Growth (MPG) programme for over 10 years. With the new organisational shape and consequent business imperative Freescale looked to BlessingWhite again to help re-energise the programme within the new business and meet additional skills requirements. Three training delivery ‘hubs’ were established at Freescale sites in East Kilbride, Toulouse and Munich. Four facilitators were trained by BlessingWhite in the new MPG programme and they lead sessions on a regular basis from these three hubs.
But MPG has not been used in isolation. To help meet steep new performance targets Freescale identified a need to establish a coaching culture – managers working with employees to bring life to an established talent management framework. Since BlessingWhite’s coaching programme, Helping Others Succeed, is based on a factual assessment base Nigel Thwaites selected it as a good complement to other more qualitative methods such as mentoring.
“HOS works with a level of detail that gives a firm foundation to a managers coaching relationship,” he explains.
|The results: Between 450 and 500 managers have now completed the HOS programme with positive early signs. Both MPG and HOS contribute towards retention goals and participants from MPG in particular comment on how the structure it provides helps them focus on their individual goals, capabilities and values even when, due to organisational change or through their own wishes, they change manager or site.
“By giving an employee a structure to take responsibility for their own career direction they are able to accept and welcome change more readily.”|
|Client: National Grid Transco|
|The situation: Mergers can take a while to bed down. National Grid Transco plc is an international energy delivery business which resulted from the merger of National Grid and Lattice in April 2002. The resulting organisation is responsible for multiple large and complex energy delivery systems in their respective markets. Whilst considerable progress has been made in merging cultures and re-engaging the workforce, a major requirement remains. NGT needs to ensure the breadth and depth of leadership available for the future development of the business. This involves both identifying high-potential employees and working with them to build a range leadership skills.|
|The approach: To meet this need NGT decided to work with the Leading Out Loud programme from BlessingWhite. This programme provides both the “what to do” and the “how-to” of authentic leadership. It focuses on leadership communication around specific business issues developing the discipline required to craft, clarify and hone leadership messages.
“Leaders have to be great communicators”, says Morgan Chambers, Group Head of Leadership and Development for NGT. “We are aware from our employee survey data that as managers we need to communicate, communicate, communicate,” she says. “But it has to be a two-way dialogue. Whether it is face-to-face, by e-mail or through presentations to staff it has to be about providing them with an opportunity to ask questions about the information, not just telling them.”
Leading Out Loud balances personal reflection and activities to bring clarity to:
NGT managers work on blending competence (data, cases) as well as connection like personal stories, metaphors, and values. Managers work for the entire session with a ‘real’ business challenge and leave with a plan for ongoing work.
|The results: The impact on the way managers communicate has been profound. They are able to craft messages that work whatever the level of employee they are addressing and, as a consequence, their newfound authenticity leads to greater credibility as leaders – both now and the future.|
|Client: IMI, a global engineering firm |
|The situation: IMI is a dynamic international company providing innovative engineering solutions to leading global customers operating in a range of specialised markets. IMI’s growth in such a highly competitive marketplace is due to its ability to innovate – to provide original solutions for clients, these solutions can only be developed by talented, motivated people.
With a number of internal re-organisations taking place at the same time, which created additional challenges for its people, IMI recently explored what could be improved in its working culture to help ensure talented people joined – and stayed with – the business.
|The approach: IMI identified that a culture of innovation required a management that could inspire confidence in its teams to explore, to challenge, to discover and, inevitably, to sometimes make mistakes. It concluded that a coaching culture – based on a clear structure – would help create this new environment. Members of the IMI high potential talent management initiative ‘Aspire’, along with senior managers, were invited to participate in a coaching programme as part of their development.
IMI is using BlessingWhite’s coaching process Helping Others Succeed. Led by internal managers who are trained to facilitate the process, the objective is to improve the coaching relationships between line managers and their direct reports.
|The results: Helping Others Succeed has created tremendous interest with programmes run across the globe from Shanghai to Los Angeles. It now features in the development plans of a large number of managers and those who take part in the programme see a real difference in the way they can build high impact coaching relationships with each individual in their team. The key is the way the process identifies what motivates each team member and the resulting conversation creates an understanding of how the line manager can develop a true coaching partnership with their direct report and ensure their needs and the needs of the organisation are met.
IMI report that the programme has been the foundation for improved working relationships within the business. It has enabled managers to tackle some difficult conversations in a constructive fashion and has provided both a shared vocabulary and process for managers to coach their teams to higher performance.
|Client: Multinational ‘magic circle’ law firm |
|The situation: One of the UK’s 6 largest law firms – a specialist in corporate, litigation, employment, tax and real estate - had recently undertaken a radical overhaul of internal management systems, with the aim of counteracting the high staff turnover levels that traditionally plague the legal industry. As part of this shake up, the firm had also increased the salary paid to newly qualified Associates - a move that has caused much debate amongst industry commentators.|
|The approach: The firm engaged BlessingWhite to create a tailored programme promoting the retention of key talent by increasing the level of accountability Associates feel for their own career development.
This is achieved by fully engaging Associates in the running of their careers, providing greater clarity about performance expectations and career paths, and enhancing two-way communication.
BlessingWhite workplace research and intelligence from within the firm itself showed that while people want career opportunities and development, every individual defines ‘career’ (or ‘interesting’ or ‘balance’ or ‘meaningful’) differently. This makes it difficult to address Associates' needs with one approach. The Career Management Workshop encourages Associates to take ownership of their personal career development and help them to craft specific action steps including a detailed plan for discussing with their Partner ways to increase their job performance and gain more personal satisfaction.
The workshop, co-designed with the client, blends participant self-assessment, feedback, guided classroom work, and provides a structure for focused discussions between the Associate and their Partner.|
|The results: Around 200 people have taken part in the workshop to date. Feedback has been wholeheartedly positive.
“The session I had with my Partner following the workshop was really the Performance Appraisal I have always wanted but never had. We talked on a completely different level about me, my development needs and what I need to do to succeed here. It was amazing.” - Male Lawyer, 3 years PQE
“I went into the workshop really quite concerned that I was going to find that being in a firm like this was not the right thing for me. In fact the opposite happened. I realised that with some minor adjustments, I could really get on here. It was silly things like being able to turn my Blackberry off at weekends. My Partner and I really cleared the air about them and we’ve worked together a lot since then, and with a much better relationship. He often jokes on a Friday now – ‘It’s a Blackberry-off weekend’. The workshop was great, but it was really the whole combination of the workshop, with the feedback I received and then a really constructive session with the Partner afterwards. The three together really changed things for me.” Female Lawyer 4 years PQE
“I realised that asking the Partners to give feedback before the workshop was crucial, but knew it wasn’t going to be very popular. A couple of them complained beforehand and one was really against it, but of all the ones who did it, they reported that the questions were relevant and thought-provoking and they could immediately see the value of it. Since then, one of the Partners has asked to be trained to run the workshop. He wants to be fully involved – he really sees this as the way forward.” - Head of Career Development, London Law Firm.|
|Client: Johnson Controls Inc.|
|The situation: Johnson Controls has expanded remarkably since Professor Warren Johnson founded the company to manufacture his invention, the electric room thermostat. Since its foundation in 1885, Johnson Controls has grown into a global leader in automotive experience, building efficiency and power solutions.
The company provides innovative automotive interiors that help make driving more comfortable, safe and enjoyable. For buildings, it offers products and services that optimise energy use and improve comfort and security. Johnson Controls also provides batteries for automobiles and hybrid electric vehicles, along with systems engineering and service expertise.
The company employs around 140,000 people in 1,300 locations worldwide. Given the nature of the business many people are technical experts – engineers and R & D professionals.
Johnson Controls identified that those who lead these people need to understand the special nature of a technical workforce in order to help individuals maximise their contribution.
|The approach: Focussing at first on Directors and Managers and more recently on the supervisory level Johnson Controls are using a customised version of the BlessingWhite programme Technical Leadership. |
This includes 5 tailor-made online management competency profiles – one of which can be selected as a participant commences the online element of the programme. Workshops are run on an ongoing basis and around 100 leaders have participated to date.
|The results: The programme is now in its 4th year and continues to deliver satisfied participants who leave with a clearer perspective on role of a leader working with technical professionals.|
|Client: EURO RSCG life - Building a Purposeful Culture|
|The situation: In her recently published book “The Art of Managing Professional Services: Insights from Leaders of the World’s Top Firms.” author Maureen Broderick highlights the success of the advertising firm Euro RSCG Life: |
Euro RSCG Life is a diverse global healthcare communications network or 60 agencies and 2,000 employees worldwide. In 2003, the firm launched an initiative to bring together its network of agencies under one P&L to unify the organization and to harness and leverage the best ideas and services for its clients around the world. According to Donna Murphy, Worldwide Managing Partner, “Even though the agencies were all part of the same healthcare network, working under the same parent company, they all operated independently. We needed to pull everyone together under one management structure.” Once the global financial objectives were established, the firm began the process of creating a consistent overarching culture throughout the organization. To strategize and help implement the initiative, the firm turned to an outside consultant who suggested they launch a culture scan as an initial step to take the organization’s pulse. The scan provided an overview of the firm’s culture through focus groups, interviews, and an online survey. The goal was to identify and leverage the firm’s strengths and create a more coherent culture by soliciting candid feedback from employees at all levels about what the firm did well, what it needed to work on, and how effective it was at achieving its strategic priorities.
|The approach: Each culture scan is carefully planned to encourage maximum input for employees; it takes about 2 months from launch to presentation of the results. As a first step, the leadership team sends out a brief e-mail describing the rationale and scope of the scan. They invite employees to participate by logging onto a special site and completing a 15-minute anonymous online survey that is monitored by the outside consultant. The firm supports its initial announcement with an internal ad campaign of frequent e-mails and signage in local offices to heighten interest and increase participation.
In conjunction with the survey, the firm conducts regional focus groups that bring together people at all levels, as well as one-to-one interviews with about 50 employees from a cross-section of practices and geographies.
The data from all three activities is analyzed and presented to management at a series of regional meetings. The report highlights results, identifies problem areas, and lays out a strategic framework for the future. Senior management then selects the top three cultural issues to address and maps out a game plan for implementation. The firm rolls out all the results locally by agency. In most cases, agency presidents present the findings and plan in a town-hall format so that employees can ask questions and make suggestions.
|The results: “The results have been very gratifying,” says Murphy. Euro RSCG Life has made significant strides in creating a collaborative, unified enterprise from a diverse network of agencies, and employees feel much more connected to the company as a whole. The firm’s efforts have won recognition outside the agency as well. Medical Marketing & Media named Euro RSCG Life the 2010 Network of the Year, and Adweek named the firm the 2009 Healthcare Agency of the Year.|
(Reprinted with the kind permission of the author. For more information please visit www.theartofmanagingprofessionalservices.com .)