Case Study 3
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Leadership Development for the Executive Board
The company had grown in recent years driven by a series of acquisitions. The Executive Board had grown in size as a consequence, comprising regional business directors, CEO's of acquired brands, and central function directors.
To underpin its business goals, and ensure that the company was well positioned to meet the tough challenges that lay ahead, our client’s expressed goal was to 'sharpen the leadership saw' through a focused programme of individual development designed to enhance the leadership competencies of the members of the Executive Board. An additional objective was to facilitate valuable insights to support the business’s succession planning initiatives.
Our experience shows that implementing any leadership development programme requires careful management if it is to produce the desired results. To deliver maximum value and benefit, our approach is to partner with our clients to provide skilled facilitation and programme management of the end-to-end process.
We briefed executive team members at the outset, so that they knew what to expect, and could clarify their personal aspirations and objectives – what they, as individuals, wished to achieve from the programme. This also provided an opportunity for them to ask questions about the context in which the leadership development programme was being undertaken, and express any reservations and concerns. Our next step was to check out reality and facilitate objective insights into the executives' leadership styles. To achieve this we used two complementary diagnostic tools to measure leadership qualities and effectiveness:
We held individual one-to-one coaching meetings with each member of the executive team to share and discuss the results of the 360° feedback and the personality profiling. Our objective was to facilitate insights and increase levels of self-awareness so that each individual could make considered choices about their personal leadership development needs moving forward.
The insights from the programme highlighted the highly transactional, 'just do it' leadership culture that had eveloved over time as the company had grown, which was tending to mask the underlying natural engaging leadership qualities of individual Executive Board members.
Feedback from peers highlighted the fact that the Executive Board were really operating asa working group of highly talented individuals. The Board was not leveraging its true potential as a team. In particular, there was an opportunity for greater peer group networking in between formal executive meetings to share new ideas and best practice, and discuss common issues and concerns.
At an individual level, the programme provided each Board member with a much clearer picture of the impact that their own personal leadership style was having on those that they lead and, importantly, what options they had to work on this moving forward. Feedback from direct reports suggested there were opportunities to drive up business performance through understanding, better, direct reports' individual motivational needs, doing more coaching and mentoring to develop people's strengths, and focusing more time on team building.