Some of the creative, workable, leadership development solutions designed by Barry Zweibel
Case Studies to Stimulate your Thinking
Way back in 2007, I blogged about using ‘P-A-R‘ as a way to put your best foot forward during job interviews:
- P – Start by stating a PROBLEM you’ve dealt with that is relevant to one that your prospective employer might have and/or want you to be able to address.
- A – Next, explain the APPROACH you took to meaningfully, if not eloquently, resolve the problem.
- R – Then share how the RESULTS you achieved not only solved the immediate problem, but enabled additional downstream benefits as well.
To that end, here are five scenarios typical of the kind of PROBLEMS, APPROACHES, and RESULTS I get involved with:
1. Executives Successfully Motivate their Teams and Solve Time-Crunch with Proxy-based Coaching
- CLIENT: IT Operations division of one of the country’s largest insurance carriers.
- PROBLEM: Notwithstanding the increasing recognition that Information Technology personnel needed to learn more about how business operates and the “people” side of leadership, the senior management team for the division knew they had neither the time, nor skill, to coach and mentor their direct reports – or others in their organization – as much as was needed or wanted. Based on my prior 1-on-1 work with each of them, they retained my services as their proxy for these efforts.
- APPROACH: Using my F.R.A.M.E coaching model as a guide, each participant enrolled in 6- to 9-month fully-customized, 1-on-1, coaching engagement that included a mix of in-person, by phone, and email-based interactions designed specifically around their particular developmental needs, current responsibilities, and career aspirations.
- RESULTS: Leaders insured that their key leadership messages and department priorities got regularly reinforced without having to do so themselves, saving them time and providing more thorough follow-up, support, and executive-level insights throughout the organization. Direct reports felt motivated and inspired by working with an external coach and advocate who understood the needs and preferences of their bosses so well.
2. Operations Personnel Engagement Soars as Leaders-in-Charge Increase their Executive Intelligence
- CLIENT: Auto claims processing division of a major full-service insurance provider.
- PROBLEM: High-potential leaders were identified as needing to accelerate their growth and development so they could have a more positive and powerful impact up, down, and across their organizations sooner than their trajectory indicated they would.
- APPROACH: Each leader was coached, 1-on-1, for six months, focusing, specifically on improving their understanding of, and work within, the three contexts of Executive Intelligence:
- Getting Things Done
- Working With and through Other People
- Recognizing Your Impact, Taking Responsibility for It, and Modifying Your Behaviors Accordingly
Additional elements of the engagement included: by phone and in-person coaching/mentoring; shadowing; 360°- and a battery of self-assessments; role-playing; and an unmitigated focus on driving key business results.
- RESULTS: Each leader was recognized by supervisors, downstream employees, customers and vendors, and friends and families, for marked improvements in their leadership style and impact; all operational metric goals were met or exceeded; employee morale and productivity improved; customer/vendor satisfaction ratings improved; and it became “significantly easier to do better work.”
3. Record-Breaking Sales Attributed to Conflict Competency Coaching
- CLIENT: Sales Directors of a Fortune 100 financial services organization and leading retirement provider.
- PROBLEM: Assessing and improving the “conflict competency” of sales directors, across the country, with respect to their increasing the use of constructive responses to conflict, decreasing the use of destructive responses to conflict, and better managing the “hot buttons” that trigger them into real – or perceived – interpersonal conflicts.
- APPROACH: Baseline conflict competency levels were identified through the use of the Conflict Dynamic Profile – Individual (CDP-I) self-assessment and personalized debriefings/coaching, thereafter.
- RESULTS: Observable improvements were recognized in those who have not always handled conflict as effectively as they might; those who typically have failed to anticipate, recognize, and recover from, what “triggers” feelings of conflict, in themselves and others; those who tended to avoid certain interactions because of their inherent potential for conflict; and those who wanted to become more agile and effective in conflict situations.
4. Employee Performance Excels with Short-Term, Scenario-Based, Manager Coaching
- CLIENT: A leading worldwide manufacturer and provider of medical technologies and related services for the health care industry.
- PROBLEM: Due to a series of layoffs and a significantly flattened hierarchy – and the “chasm of leadership continuity” created by relatively inexperienced managers now reporting directly to senior-level executives – the company’s Global Learning and Development (GLD) group, with my assistance, created a “fast-track” program whereby the need for short-term, coaching and mentoring calls could be immediately approved and scheduled to improve employee hardiness.
- APPROACH: GLD would pre-purchase a bulk number of coaching calls that a designated liaison would then allocate, on an as-needed basis, to functional managers across the company needing assistance. (Allocations were then “billed back” to user departments so the entire initiative was cost-neutral to GLD.) As the call inventory depleted, bulk re-orders were processed and paid for, which helped GLD manage program pre-buys on a quarterly basis.A typical engagement lasted 2 or 3 calls, provided company managers with a confidential sounding board for such things as: performance management discussions; interviewing and selection; planning and forecasting; presentation dry-runs; and such.In an unrelated assignment, I facilitated the morning of Day Two of an off-site department retreat, integrating the learning from their “high ropes” experience the day before and seguing that into a readiness for the planning and goal-setting activities scheduled for later in the day.
- RESULTS: Numerous manager/employee difficulties and misunderstandings were expertly mitigated or avoided entirely.(I also received a certificate of Professional Excellence and Appreciation for my “continued and outstanding commitment” to the GLD group.)
5. Value-Added of Key Employees Widen as They Learn to Better Articulate BUSINESS Justifications
- CLIENT: A global leader in commercial real estate services and building management.
- PROBLEM: Aging facilities infrastructure, insufficiently skilled operatives, deprecated preventative maintenance routines, and increased tenant customization requests had created significant building infrastructure risk and exposure for this Class-A facility. But prior requests for additional personnel and project funding were rejected as unnecessary and expensive.
- APPROACH: Assisted Director of Infrastructure in how to identify and properly articulate – in specific business terms – current operational risks, and their short- and long-term impact; near-term operational risks, and their short- and long-term impact; optimal, and minimally-required, mitigation needs; related department restructuring with recommended personnel-change timeline; financial implications with options for funding; and a thorough assessment of the business and operational risks and financial implications of inaction or deferring the decision to proceed.
- RESULTS: Developing the discipline to approach these “behind the scenes” infrastructure issues as having important business/financial implications (rather than as facilities/technology funding requests) enabled the executive-in-charge to garner the necessary support and approval needed to restore/upgrade this marquee landmark for the business and financial betterment of its tenants, stakeholders, and the building itself.
For outcome measures and post-engagement survey results for these, and other engagements:
For client testimonials and endorsements:
So whatever type of PROBLEM you have, let LeadershipTraction create an APPROACH that drives the kind of RESULTS you’re looking for.