Case Studies

image8

Our Experience & Commitment to Client Confidentiality

 Here are some stories that give you a bigger picture of the range of our experience. Take a look at the case studies below to help you see what we’re all about in some key areas of expertise.


You’ll notice that we withheld specifics and names—we hold safe any and all information related to the important work we do with our clients. Each and every organization we work with deserves discretion around any specifics of the work we do with them.

360 REVEALS SURPRISING REALITY FOR CEO

It’s hard for many of us to gauge just how well we’re doing without feedback and constructive help. 


This case study is about the surprising information that can be revealed through a 360 process. There's evidence out there that many of us overestimate how good we are. 

The truth is, we all have blind spots with regards to how we’re coming across to others and what impact our behaviour may have on the people around us.

In this circumstance, the board of directors was demanding the CEO make some changes. The stock was quickly tanking and the organization needed a new direction. The CEO approached Joanne about doing a 360 process for him. To the CEO’s credit, he was open to the process and to potentially making changes. He was not, however, prepared for the feedback that was given.


This CEO believed he had a great rapport with his senior team, but the 360 process revealed something important. 


The executive team believed that the CEO needed to be less of a “buddy” with the team members and instead, hold each person more rigorously accountable for their results. The executive team believed there was a strong correlation between each senior leader’s actions and the ability to turn the organization around. In fact, the rapport the CEO had with his team likely played a role in no one wanting to “upset the apple cart” by giving this tough message to the CEO.


Joanne worked with this CEO to develop an action plan with the overall goal of leadership development. He quickly changed his leadership approach from being centered on his need to be liked, to leading appropriately for the challenges the business was facing. 


Which brings us to the ultimate lesson: achieving mastery without constructive feedback is rare, if not impossible. 

THE COMPLEXITY OF DEVISING STRATEGY WITH STAKEHOLDERS

How do you come up with a meaningful vision for your company’s future that everyone can get on board with? Here’s how Joanne helped one organization do just that. This study highlights the importance of strategic planning.


This case study underlines the challenges some member-based organizations face, particularly when they grapple with unintended consequences of government policy.


An umbrella sporting organization was having a tough time identifying its focus for the future, as well as aligning its membership around a cohesive shared vision of the group’s purpose and mandate. The provincial government further complicated the issue by creating multiple organizations in the space that seemed to set up them up for a fight around scope and jurisdiction. 


Joanne was contracted to work with the umbrella organization that wanted to  bring its members together around a meaningful vision for the future. The organization knew it would be critical to engage its membership through consultation and partnership, because many of these long-standing members were key players devoted to the same mandate of broadening the sporting landscape across BC. This collaborative process was even more important than the output of a meaningful, strategic plan. 


After working with the board and its members, it became clear that the individual sporting organizations wanted a means of measuring the value and impact of the umbrella organization. We developed a collaborative approach to developing KPIs and goals for the strategic plan, which the umbrella organization could also “right size” to ensure success.


The strategic plan, complete with KPIs, gave the umbrella organization an aligned vision of the future they could work towards. More importantly, the process gave the membership and the umbrella organization a sense of true partnership

HIGH POTENTIAL LEADERS SHARPEN THEIR SAW

Even the best organizations, with strong products and amazing talent, sometimes need support to deliver leadership development that makes a profound difference. 


Joanne worked with a highly successful software development organization as it devised a meaningful and engaging program for high-potential participants across the organization. 

It was important that the participants be pushed to not only bring their best, but also challenge what they knew to be true about themselves and others in certain circumstances in the business.


You see, in the halls of many organizations, leaders walk around with the lens of “already knowing” and working from inherent assumptions. In our experience, leaders need to be challenged to cast off limits to their thinking and consider what is truly possible.


For this high-caliber company, Joanne delivered two years of leadership training for participants in foundational areas such as Coaching and Providing Feedback to Staff, Leading Change, and High-Performance Teams. The program went beyond skill training and pushed participants to improve their self-awareness through 360 assessments and developing emotional intelligence. 


Other program components included coaching people on development goals specific to their roles, and peer support through facilitated small group coaching.


By the end of the program, high potential leaders inside this organization were high functioning and able to challenge each other around assumptions.

AN EXECUTIVE TEAM SET UP TO DELIVER

 We’d like to share a case study that may sound familiar to many of you. It deals with effectively managing organisational change and leadership development. 

An organization was going through big shifts—the founder had left, the organization was owned by a much larger US-based organization, and a new CEO had been hired.

The new CEO found herself reviewing the capacities and skills of her existing executive team. The executive team themselves had some important points of view to share with the CEO about the first 90 days, and what she should focus on. 


The dynamic, as is often the case with new teams, was one of polite, “playing safe” with each other. For many organizations, taking too much time to come up to speed and get to know each other is a luxury that can’t be afforded. 


So, what’s the better bet?

Your best bet is to get the team up and running right away to be effective—get clear expectations from the new CEO, know exactly how to work to deliver results, share working preferences with each other, and make sure the CEO gets the most important, key pieces of information right off the bat. Don’t hold anything back for fear of “looking bad.”


This is where Joanne comes into the picture. She was hired to help this executive team expedite the “forming” stage, so they could be much more effective, much more quickly. Trust, conflict, commitment and accountability were all addressed through the process. 


Two exercises made a huge difference to the team: clearly address building trust and rapport, and improving transparency among team members. 

The first exercise involved asking each team member to do a personality assessment and come prepared to share insights from the assessment. Each team member was asked to share how their “style” manifested itself on a good day and a bad day, as well as how it informs preferences they have around sharing and processing information, approaching conflict, and general communication. 


We also asked the team to share the answers to questions beyond the standard run-of-the-mill questions that one might get answers to around the boardroom table. We wanted to push people beyond normative politeness and feel as if they knew each team member more deeply than before.


In order to ensure that the executive had their concerns raised to the CEO in an effective manner, Joanne led a facilitated discussion with the team—what did they want to know about the CEO, what did the CEO need to know in the first 90 days and beyond? We did this exercise with the CEO outside of the room. Joanne then presented the synthesized content to the CEO. 


The CEO and Joanne spent time considering responses to provide the team—Joanne pushing to ensure the answers went as far as the team needed. In our opinion, it’s very important in these exercises to build trust and be open and authentic. 

Giving superficial or safe answers rarely builds trust. Being open demonstrates the courage needed to allow the team to know you, as well as to let them be more candid with you. 


In the end, being open, authentic and having courage delivers the results you need.