With new growth comes a host of new challenges. After a period of rapid growth and change, one of the largest consumer goods companies in the United States recognized that while it had dramatically increased in size, it hadn’t kept pace with the development of leadership capabilities. We first began work with them on issues around leadership, leadership brand, and leadership development. Following the six-step RBL Leadership Architecture, we first identified the business case for leadership and determined that for less than the cost of another store, the company could create and execute a leadership academy for its top leaders, significantly increasing its internal bench strength and improving the engagement of its more than 250,000 employees.
Using assessments, interviews, focus groups, and our leadership expertise, we partnered with the company to co-create a leadership academy that was piloted first with a group of very senior leaders. Consisting of three, three-day sessions with two senior RBL facilitators, individual 360s, executive coaching, and action learning projects, the 16 week academy pilot was a resounding success. There have now been eleven cohort groups of approximately 20 people each that have been through the leadership academy. In addition to training and coaching, participants also spent time together in social events—everything from cooking dinner together to participating with an improvisational comedy company deepened the relationships that were formed in leadership academy.
Yearly engagement surveys in the company illustrate the effect that improved leadership is having throughout the company. The first survey showed 31% engagement. That number jumped to 37% the next year and climbed to 51% in the most recent survey. In addition, action learning projects addressing everything from digital strategies and store remodels to corporate social responsibility have significantly altered the company’s thinking and planning on critical issues. Participants agree that while the academy experience is demanding, it is also highly rewarding and has increased their competency and capabilities while also building great camaraderie amongst participants, evident in the breakdown of silo walls and an increase in collaboration.
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