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Case Studies of Executive Evolution in Action

Leverage Your Company’s Talent

The Changing of the Guard

Being the new CEO in town can be tough, especially when you are replacing one that has headed the company for more than 20 years. In leading its next growth phase, the new CEO knew that his success centered on creating a more participatory and accountable workforce – not an easy challenge when dealing with employees used to a “command and control” culture. Complicate this picture with the fact that the new CEO rightly anticipated resistance to other organizational shifts needed to redirect the company.

Organizational expert and executive coach Marie Kane of Executive Evolution became the CEO’s key advisor during the critical first year of his tenure. As a leadership and management development coach, she supported the CEO in honing his skills and style and in finding effective approaches to addressing multiple
organizational challenges while leveraging talent across the organization.

As a result of working with Marie Kane and Executive Evolution, the CEO was able to transform the company into a highly functioning organization where results, not just activity, counted. Using the newly orchestrated strategic and operational planning, measurement and reward system, key departments built accountability into every project and initiative. The company’s profitability increased, and the CEO moved smoothly into his rightful place as the organization’s true leader.

Develop and Implement the Right Strategy

Which Way Did They Go?

Employees’ lack of clarity around the company’s objectives was creating considerable problems for the organization. Employees unknowingly made decisions that ran counter to the company’s best interests. The management team needed to find a way to measure and reward the kind of thinking and behavior that would keep the company on track. Having the right strategy and a clear implementation plan is the first step on the path to success. How strategy and the stated direction drives, or doesn’t drive, decision-making at every level of a company is what produces success or failure for the company.

Executive Evolution dissected the situation and found that more than just decision-making had gone awry. The strategy of the company was not well honed or communicated and implementation was not tied into annual operating plans. There was no clear, consistent way for the company to incent the kind of decision-making and behavior the organization needed. Employee morale was low and productivity was suffering.

Clarifying strategic positioning, and then clearing up the confusion about what the company’s stated objectives meant to managers and employees at every level of the company, was the first step. Armed with a new perspective from which to approach decision-making, employees began to evaluate each choice in light of its ability to advance the company and improve customer satisfaction. The executive team, using a design by Executive Evolution, implemented a new appraisal and reward system aimed at recognizing decision-making and performance that dovetailed with the company’s stated initiatives. Employees focused on the priorities for the company and productivity increased.

In the course of the strategic process led by Executive Evolution, a competitive analysis revealed that the company did not offer a key service that was offered by all its competitors. Further investigation revealed that the company’s customers were notably unhappy and were decamping to the competition in significant numbers as a result of this service gap. The company launched a new service to meet the needs of these customers, thereby addressing this competitive threat. Additionally, as a result of the strategic process, acquisition criteria were created which made it clear that an acquisition under serious consideration by the company was, in fact, a very poor fit for its now well-defined long-term strategy. Armed with these realizations and new systems, the company was able to focus all its resources most advantageously, growing and prospering as a result.

Leverage Your Company’s Talent

Harnessed Potential and a Happy Ending!

One of this professional service company’s better rainmakers and technically proficient high level employees was alienating his own team and burning himself out. He was a classic driven type A personality coupled with a marked tendency to be brusque and apparently insensitive to the people who worked for him. His team’s morale and productivity were suffering, his sense of overwhelm was escalating, his health was beginning to deteriorate and his home life was heading for the cliff. He was rapidly backing himself into a corner from which it would be very difficult to extricate himself. It was at this point that his boss requested Marie Kane of Executive Evolution to meet with Mr. H to explore the possibility of executive coaching. Mr. H was very willing to have help as long as it addressed his no nonsense, results oriented priorities. An agreement to proceed with an initial assessment was soon reached.

An executive assessment including 360 feedback and a comprehensive profiling tool was completed for Mr. H. An in depth interview with Mr. H revealed his frustrations, concerns and priorities. Based on all the input and Mr. H’s objectives, a coaching plan was mutually created and implementation begun. The issues most impacting work performance were addressed through a combination of discovery and understanding coupled with skill building and increased consciousness. Mr. H learned how to program supports into his environment that reinforced what he had learned and made it easier to continue to integrate these new behaviors and insights into his day- to-day work and relationships.

The sources of overwhelm and frustration were soon revealed as a failure to delegate and a tendency to micromanage when he did. New ways of handling the workload and assuring quality tailored to the demands of the situation were determined and implemented with the pleased cooperation of his staff. Mr. H shared with his team what he was working on and solicited their help in making changes in how he worked with them and in how the department functioned in order to create a more satisfying and productive situation for everyone involved.

Not too long after all these things came to pass, Mr. H begin to receive unsolicited feedback on how much better the situation was for everyone and he readily stated how much better things were for him as well. Finally, Mr. H used all that he had learned to create more time with his family while simultaneously performing as well or better at work. Mr. H, his family, his team, his boss and the company were all delighted that his full potential was harnessed in concert with a more balanced life. The story had a happy ending and the lessons learned stayed with Mr. H who not only continued to live them, but to teach them to others as well.

Leverage Your Company’s Talent

How One President and His Company Got Their Groove Back!

Have you ever gotten feedback on your leadership or management style that surprised or dismayed you? Here, in his own words, is the story of the President of a growing company and how Marie Kane of Executive Evolution helped him and his company to get back on track.

“I had a 360 evaluation that was a bit of a shock. When I asked my subordinates; “Am I really that bad?” the answer was “YES”! I knew I needed help. My perception of myself as a leader was not on a par with reality. I was going to lose some good people and maybe my business if the issue was not addressed. I was in the transition phase from running the company as a total entrepreneur to having a company that could run without my total control (read micromanagement!).

We started with addressing leadership development for me through coaching and then moved on to address formal evaluations, feedback and development plans for all the employees. That evolved even further into the use of a system that helped us to select the right employees. As a result, every one in the company from me to the newest hire was more effective and focused.

We found that teamwork was lacking in the organization and addressed that with training coupled with follow up individual coaching sessions by Marie for those in key positions. As a result, we significantly improved performance in our core operation.
We also worked on conflict resolution within the company. I worked directly with Marie and two different key employees who were causing considerable friction in relation to other people and departments in the company. I improved my management skills for dealing with challenging people and got clearer on the messages I needed to be putting out in the company about our values and standards in dealing with one another. As a result, I was able to keep both these great performers. .

Marie has facilitated several company wide retreats, over period of several years, in which we have developed better skills in teamwork and decision-making and other areas. In the process, we have discovered previously unknown leadership talent within the company.

As President of the company, developing me as a leader has been the ultimate advantage. The leader’s role is a difficult one and we must accept the effort required to change and grow ourselves in order to make it possible to grow our business. It is challenging, but rewarding.”

Create Optimal Culture and Communication

A Stellar Exiting of Non-core Businesses with Positive Results

When a nationally recognized company decided to exit its two non-core businesses, its concern was how to do so in keeping with its culture of ethical treatment for employees and all with whom they did business, while simultaneously serving the company’s interests. In addition, how could the company incent employees in the two affected businesses to stay on the job and perform well for the transition period, which was likely to last 12 full months? How could the company accomplish the restructuring without putting at risk the company’s stellar reputation and core business? Accomplishing this restructuring in an orderly, humane and ethical way became a top corporate priority.

Working with the CEO, President, and executive team, Marie Kane of Executive Evolution created a comprehensive plan of action to accomplish three key goals:

By implementing the recommended systematic approach to the restructuring, the company was able to present each affected employee with a fair, customized severance package, assure customers that it would honor its commitments and lead vendors through a smooth transition. A carefully planned and implemented communications process including a series of discussions with employees, vendors and others directly affected took place before public announcements were made. In consequence all involved parties and other key constituencies and community opinion leaders supported the company throughout the transition period. As a result, the company successfully exited two non-core businesses with its stellar reputation not only intact, but enhanced beyond its wildest expectations in this challenging situation.

Take the Free Executive Evolution Superb Organization Basic Survey. Just a few minutes and 25 questions will give you a good overview of how well your company has addressed the issues necessary to be competitive, profitable and sustainable.

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