Posts in Executive Programme
Outstanding success and promotion after promotion for this high performing leader

This high performing director of a global business analytics consultancy fast tracked her growth and development in new roles through working with us – in fact, it has been hard to keep up with her achievements and the promotions she has gained. She said of her coaching: 

I would highly recommend the tailored sessions for individuals who want to learn and develop rapidly from their experiences, have a change mandate within their role or organisation and have a desire to drive for success.

She used her coaching to reflect on her performance, break down challenges, recognise opportunities and execute for success. Her sessions provided her with the time and space to thoughtfully consider new approaches and ideas that could assist her in driving change within her teams and the organisation as a whole. She was enabled to build stronger relationships with colleagues across the company, gain sponsorship for key initiatives, improve how she worked with senior leadership and bring success to cross-functional initiatives.

In addition, the reflective coaching was crucial in helping her drive her career and handle the challenges and steep learning curves that came with each promotion she gained. She found the sessions an excellent opportunity to explore patterns of behaviour, approaches to situations and strategies for driving positive outcomes, all of which added hugely to the results she and her teams achieved and to her ability to take on the next challenge. She was also able to explore leadership styles and hone her skills to maximise the performance of her leadership team, in turn mentoring them to learn and grow and get their teams to raise their games too. 

Working to a shared vision

UK COUNTRY HEAD

We worked with the UK country head of a global ICT company. Internally there was a culture of individuals and teams working independently or against each other. They wasted a lot of time and money competing for resources, where they should have been focusing on meeting client needs. His goal was to grow the company by £15 million over 3 years. He knew he needed to change the way they operated if he was to be successful.

The country head used his Accelerated Success executive programme to work with his management team to develop a 3 year strategy for the company, and to ensure annual business goals were aligned. During this process he came to understand how much influence quarterly financial targets had on what got done, and what didn’t. This prompted him to introduce a management team meeting cycle that enabled them to balance today’s demands with longer term goals. This in turn highlighted the need for better management processes, which would help maintain focus and improve the quality of the information available to his team. By introducing improved processes, reporting on business performance was more accurate and timely, and decision making on critical business issues was better and faster.

Not everyone on the management team welcomed this new level of visibility and accountability, therefore, through his coaching programme the country head also extended his capability in managing change at the individual, team and organisational level and learned that inspiring others to share his vision was about more than setting an income target.

His management team became more aligned, motivated and effective and business performance reporting and management improved. The country head was communicating more effectively with individuals in his management team and was better at supporting them in their roles. Management team communication was more open, there was greater accountability, and difficult issues were addressed rather than swept under the carpet. There was also a visible impact on the wider organisation, with greater clarity of purpose and improved cooperation and communication. The bottom line was that clients were happier and business results exceeded plan.

Developing his own career he continued to take on additional responsibilities within the organisation and has since been promoted to a group leader position.

Growing the business while integrating three company acquisitions

Vice President Professional & Customer Services

A highly successful vice president of professional and customer services took on a huge challenge when she was required to integrate three separate company acquisitions into her global part of the business. She had so many top priorities, including continuing to grow revenue, that she didn’t know where to start. Working with us, she quickly understood she would need to step back and trust her people to tackle things themselves in their way – she could provide support but needed them to execute.

She also quickly identified who on her leadership team were the right fit, who she needed to develop to improve performance and who she needed to move out. It was tough stuff and took up far more of her time than she wanted but she knew that understanding the capabilities of her leadership team was crucial to their overall success and the continued growth of the business. Had she not tackled this she would have had to continue with the chaos of four different company approaches, clients receiving poor service, potential clients being put off by the confusion and her people getting more and more demotivated. All of which would have negatively impacted her revenue and margin.

A positive spin-off from stepping back to support her team in this way was that she was better able to see and understand what she needed to do at a more strategic level, such as putting key area processes in place and scheduling to the end of the year, establishing weekly, monthly and quarterly operating rhythms and establishing a leadership team communications strategy. She also developed a deeper understanding of the various metrics the company used to measure performance and use the data more effectively in her team’s planning and decision making.

Inevitably, with so much to do, other things had to be left undone and some things are taking longer to resolve than planned. However, the vice president was in a position where she felt on top of the job for the first time in a long while and was able to prioritise what needed to be done and schedule in time when she or others would tackle it.

The result of her programme was that the new business sales cycle was much shorter, and upselling into existing client base and the growth of mega major accounts were both greatly improved, meaning that, despite all the disruption of acquisition and integration, revenue was up.

Great leadership in good times and bad

REGIONAL DIRECTOR

We worked with the regional director professional services of a global data warehousing business. He had been hugely successful in setting up and growing his part of the business, however, the global board were now demanding tighter cost control and a focus on sustaining recent growth.

The director’s challenges were primarily around mindset and leadership maturity. His strengths in the start-up situation had been his blue-sky strategic thinking and entrepreneurial flair. For his people, rewards and prospects were good and they readily put up with the turmoil and pain of rapid change. However, his people now feared for their jobs and he needed to provide stability and consistency and focus on retaining core business.

Through his Accelerated Success executive programme the director quickly saw that to control costs and retain staff he needed to build a culture of collaboration between his and other functions, something that had not previously been a priority. He developed a new set of strategic goals that were aligned with those of other functions and the business as a whole, and paid much more attention to how he communicated with other function heads and with his own management team. He also worked with his management team to refocus their teams and reassure them that they had a long term future with the company.

He was able to steady the ship, reduce costs and instil a sense of confidence across the region. Staff retention has been very good and his part of the business continues to grow rapidly, exceeding revenue targets year on year.

Big picture thinking brings focus and clarity

VICE PRESIDENT CONSULTING SERVICES

This vice president for consulting services used our executive programme to enable him to step back from the day-to-day, lay everything out on a map and plot strategy. Something he struggled to find the time and head space for previously. Taking this big view enabled him to identify the key items he needed to focus on in the context of the “big pipeline”, the important things that needed doing.

He was then able to focus on single issues, develop clarity of message and consistency in how he communicated messages.

My calendar is full every day, every week. During sessions I take time to go back to the plan, look backward and look forward, which is hard to do when my calendar is so full all the time. I have to listen and make sense of what each country is saying and reflect on whether it is in line with the big picture.
 The sessions help me build consistency of message so that I can take my team with me and then they cascade this down to their teams.
 I can't prove this empirically but I believe there is a relationship between the thinking I do during the coaching sessions and the results in the international area. This is the only part of the business that is growing.

A simple and very powerful use of his time has enabled him to truly focus, which has made a huge difference for him, his team and the business as a whole.

Increasing business revenue through strategic leadership

Vice president EMEA

We worked with a VP EMEA of IT professional services. He had spent his first couple of years in post troubleshooting and adding in new functions and was achieving 15%+ growth per year. He now wanted to focus on being more strategic to improve the customer experience, achieve even higher growth and gain buy-in from the global board for longer term structural changes.

He was already an accomplished leader and knew where he wanted to go with the EMEA business but needed to focus on how to achieve big changes at a granular level. His Accelerated Success programme gave him quality thinking time, where he could stand back and look at this in detail, challenge his assumptions on how it operated and extend his leadership style and approach.

As a result of his Accelerated Success executive programme the VP is working more strategically than in the past. He regularly articulates his vision for the business and sets clear goals for his teams. He has socialised his plans for restructuring with the global board and EMEA country managers, and has successfully engaged two countries in structural changes as key steps in achieving his strategic vision. He has also recruited key players to his management team who can help him get there. His EMEA business achieved unprecedented success in the year of his programme, exceeding target by more than 20%. Since his programme finished he has been promoted to a new and more challenging role within the organisation.

Managing big change by focusing on the small stuff

AREA VICE PRESIDENT

We worked with an area VP who was heading up a diverse group of applications, sales, data science and consulting teams, trying to deliver to customers and meet quarterly targets, while getting to grips with a company-wide shift from being purely a provider of hardware and software to having an additional consulting service, as well as understanding changes to his own role and setting up a new management team. Although very experienced he had never managed change on this scale before and was daunted by the task.

He found his Accelerated Success executive programme of huge value right from the start. The sessions allowed him to articulate issues and ideas with a trusted expert, who asked him searching questions and challenged his thinking, giving him a sharper focus and enabling him to gain clarity on the things that mattered most, and avoiding wasting time and energy on a myriad other things that were of lesser consequence.

He realised his main challenge was to bring a new focus and purpose to his management team meetings and spend more time planning how he would communicate with team members, in particular focusing on building relationships with them rather than simply using them as a conduit for the messages he wanted to pass down to their teams.

In doing this he learned that his team didn’t always see things the same way he did and often favoured different solutions and different ways of implementing them to how he did. Importantly, he also learned that, as long as this got the job done, this didn’t matter and was, in fact, better in the long term, with his team feeling more empowered and taking more responsibility.

Building on his success here, the area VP focused on performance management, agreeing criteria with team members and reviewing progress against them at regular intervals.

Key learning points for him from his programme were that he could take a more hands off approach yet feel he was managing his team more effectively, and that change isn’t about big initiatives but is about small stuff over time, not trying to do too much too soon and regular reviews of how things are going. He also learned to ‘pay attention to my gut’ and, when he feels strongly that something is wrong to take action and not let it go, and to choose when to be collaborative and when directive in managing his team.

It’s early days to measure the overall impact of his programme but his team understand company strategy and all are clear on the part they play in delivering to it, communication is much more open and effective than before and his management team seem to be managing their teams more effectively too.

From chaos to order and a clear plan for growth

AREA VICE PRESIDENT GLOBAL DELIVERY CENTRE

We worked with a recently appointed area VP who was responsible for setting up a global delivery centre, integrating the work of project managers and consultancy and professional services, with the ultimate aim of improving service to clients, reducing costs and increasing revenue and margin. It was a big ask as the company had a siloed culture across operations, was further fragmented across different countries and in many locations didn’t have basic delivery processes in place.   

By the end of her programme the VP saw good progress in certain countries, mostly in emerging markets, and more moderate progress in the more established countries. However, she had excelled in giving a clear direction and guidance to the organisation, which it had become apparent, was running to catch up with such a big and fundamental change. For the first time client delivery had genuine leadership and a widespread understanding of what it needed to do next to improve performance across the board.

The VP was encouraged by the progress she’d made and also frustrated by the rate of change she had been able to initiate, perhaps being unaware at the outset just how difficult real and lasting change can be on such a large scale. She had managed to implement a delivery process that was finally being adopted globally and was showing results. In the Nordics, for example, project managers were engaging with consultants and professional services much more positively, and the consultancy part of the business in India, Manila and Pakistan had changed their self-perception from a neglected service to one that was central to the future growth of the business.

Together these changes made the company more competitive and also established more easily identifiable career paths for employees, which was reducing attrition. Importantly, by the end of her programme the VP was clear on what she needed to do next to build on her success, such as focus on getting the right people on her leadership team and developing them further, continue to develop the delivery model and supporting collateral, develop a more sophisticated resourcing model and formalise collection of feedback from clients at different stages of project delivery. An accomplished exec, she is still with the company and has had two further promotions.