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Identifying high-potential more accurately


Business Challenge:

A financial services company knew it needed to invest in a leadership pipeline that would build its ability to compete in a rapidly-changing environment.

It needed to identify which of its existing well-performing leaders would be the “best” investment for a comprehensive leadership development experience. 

Solution:

Executives at the  company identified 41 managers who were seen as performing well and considered to have potential for development toward higher level management roles.  The RBL method was then used to further sub-group these nominees into three ‘levels’ of potential:

  • Hi-potential leaders: Considered most likely to currently possess, or to grow and develop, the ability to handle the conceptual complexity characteristic of higher levels of management work, and also to have personality attributes that would facilitate success in, and growth towards, higher level roles.
  • Versatile leaders: Not high potential, but with a wide array of options to take on expanded roles within their function, or in an area which leverages their strengths but requires adding new skill and knowledge
  • Specialized leaders: Leaders whose growth opportunities will most likely continue to focus narrowly around a single domain of expertise, often because of strong professional interest in that domain.

Participants also received individual reports with clear development suggestions.

Results:

When compared with internal current performance-focused rankings, several critical differences were identified where leaders with higher potential had been overlooked internally while others had been over-rated. 


Greenfield Design


Business Challenge:

Two global oil companies created a joint venture to manage $3 billion mature oil fields that were declining in production. While each owner had a lot of pride and history, there were significant differences in culture, technology, and operating philosophies.   To remain profitable and to meet their aggressive performance targets, the new organization had to get up and running quickly and be more efficient than either parent organization.

The joint venture was expected to deliver benefits calculated to exceed $300 million over twenty years. This included expected savings achieved by optimizing infrastructures, reducing overhead, and greater economies of scale. More than a third (35% or more than $100 million) of the savings were predicted to come from “creating a different, more independent company” with no specifics about how this would be achieved.

Solution:

The leadership team concluded that a whole systems approach starting from a “clean sheet of paper” was the only way they could achieve these aggressive targets. The entire design process was one of high involvement, seeking the input and wisdom of those who do the work, and included:

  • hundreds of employees on various teams working the design and start-up made key design decisions
  • these decisions were then tested with open forum focus groups to improve the design and create ownership
  • two large group (~500 person) design sessions were held where employees established company values and agreed to desired behaviors.

By focusing everyone on a common goal and clear strategic direction, the design process was able to avoid the turf wars that accompany joint venture situations and can lead to sub-optimized designs. This also served to galvanize and energize employees as they looked forward to being part of something new.

Another unique aspect of the design process was an inclusive view towards external service providers that included agreements where service providers share in the success of the company and even co-location of external and internal teams to make it easy to collaborate to create value together. 

Results:

The design led to a company that outperformed against these aggressive targets:

  • In the first three years, benefits exceeded projections by over $70 million.
  • Output improved as the mature assets experienced lower than historical and projected declines based upon the focus on core work.  This was done with significantly reduced capital reinvestment rates.
  • While some skill areas required additional staffing, others required less after the work process and seven-percent greater than required work force efficiencies were identified.
  • Three to five levels of supervision between employees and the president were eliminated and in many instances, spans of control more than doubled.  This substantially increased levels of responsibility and delegations of authority for most employees.
  • Based on external benchmarking data with other industry companies, the company achieved “best-in-class” unit cost in over 80% of its producing assets.

In terms of more intangible benefits, subsequent improvement opportunities were viewed through the lens of the focus on core work and optimized value-creating activities.  The process used to get to the final design contributed to a unique culture that enhanced employee engagement and the skills and confidence of employees.

Even following the initial design work, cross-functional teams continued to be formed on a regular basis to address critical work issues.  


Improving on Success


Business Challenge:

A national restaurant chain was doing well—reporting strong returns for stakeholders and a growing and loyal customer base. In fact, they were growing so fast that they had outgrown their current structure and their current ways of getting work done.  They realized that their work processes and how they were organized was slowing down their ability to grow.

To stay relevant as a brand in their highly-competitive industry, they needed to sharpen their understanding about what made them different and strengthen the way they executed their competitive advantage. 

Solution:

RBL was asked to help design and implement the new roles, relationships, and work needed to make this vision a reality.

Over the next few months, a design team of restaurant and RBL experts looked at every function of the business and determined how it contributed to creating the experience their customers were expecting when they came to the restaurant. They identified the work that had the greatest impact on their competitive advantage in light of the new business model and capabilities.

Next, they designed a new structure to prioritize competitive advantage work, implementing new roles in restaurants, a change in the management structure for corporate and each restaurant, and several new teams in the corporate office dedicated to innovating the customer experience.

Results:

While it took some effort and perseverance to change the way people worked, the processes that created better focus on customer experience started paying off right away.

Within the first 90 days, the pilot restaurant saw a 25% growth in sales. Since the implementation of the new organization model, restaurants that have fully implemented the new model have seen 28% higher sales over other restaurants, improved customer loyalty, and are significantly outperforming the industry. 


Aligning Leaders and Leadership


Business Challenge:

To this global consumer product company, their mission statement is more than a marketing tool: it’s an identity. As a direct selling company with employees, distributors, and customers in more than 54 international markets, that identity acts as the glue that holds their people together.

Over the years, they had tried embedding the mission statement in a number of leadership competency models, but none of the models had gained the traction leaders had hoped they would. Meanwhile, the company continued to grow and with increased growth came increased demand.

A new CEO, encouraged by a proactive CHRO, realized that the pipeline was not as strong as he hoped and that the rapid growth was diluting the cultural connection to the mission statement and required a more systematic approach to leadership development.   

Solution:

RBL was asked to help create a leadership brand that would resonate with all of the company’s stakeholders.  They began with  an outside-in perspective, conducting interviews with internal and external stakeholders to find out what it meant to regions, distributors, investors, employees, and management to be successful at and for the company.

Working with the executive team, RBL helped the company articulate a leadership brand that communicated what it meant to be a good leader and deliver results. 

To implement the new brand, the company began rolling it out in phases and incorporating it into existing systems such as coaching conversations, total rewards, employee development, hiring processes, succession, and new employee orientation, all from a leader-led perspective. RBL has also helped to design and deliver a series of workshops built around the brand. 

Results:

Because of its close relationship to the existing culture, it’s clear the leadership brand is gaining traction in a way previous attempts hadn’t.  A successful leadership transition in the CEO role and the way the brand has been integrated into all the company’s people processes has helped create real belief and investment in the company identity. 


Strategic Business Design


Business Challenge:

The founder of a multi-billion dollar global health services company had achieved tremendous success and was ready to do an IPO. However, he wanted to IPO only a part of the business and keep developing the rest for the future. 

Solution:

The RBL Group collaborated with the executive team to determine whether this approach made sense and if so, how to organize to accomplish it. After a several working sessions, it became clear that there were two business models operating within the current structure.

One business was primarily customer driven and the other primarily capacity driven. Because they were managed as one business, neither business was achieving optimal results.

A team of their best and brightest leaders was chartered for four months to work on separating the two businesses and to prepare the larger business for the IPO. 

Results:

After the businesses were separated, each business was more clearly aligned to its purpose and able to achieve better results.  The capacity business reported higher margins.  The customer business reported greater customer satisfaction.

Very different cultures also emerged from each business once they were aligned.  The capacity business around cost efficiencies and the customer business around deeper customer connectivity and collaboration.

And the stated initial goal, an IPO of part of the original business, was successful.


Structure and People: Improving HR Enables Aggressive Growth


Business Challenge:

A nationally-owned energy company with eight subsidiaries had grown rapidly in recent years and anticipated continued aggressive growth with targets set to double both the number of business units and the number of employees in the next 8 years.

Pushed by the demands of aggressive growth, HR was showing signs of strain and business and HR leadership diagnosed the need for a fundamental restructuring and re-design of the HR function.  While HR had some processes that worked well, overall the function was not aligned or integrated with the structure of the business and there was a critical need to improve strategic support HR to the businesses.  There were also opportunities to improve operational HR performance.

The RBL Group was invited to help redesign the HR function, set a strategy for HR, and then train HR professionals throughout each business unit to be able to deliver better and faster support to the business. 

Solution:

The first step was a leadership session with the top 50 leaders in the company.  To set the case for change and the direction for the design, Dave Ulrich facilitated a session with the top 50 leaders in the company.  The meeting clarified the enterprise business model (holding company), examined the business context and the key capabilities for the business to succeed, and commissioned a Steering Team t work with the macro HR design team.

The HR Design team began by developing an inventory of all the HR work across the enterprise, categorized strategic and essential HR work, and then developed a macro-level design that included targeted business capabilities, work processes, organization structure and roles, as well as support systems for both enterprise HR and BU groups.

With the macro-level design in place and staffed, business unit HR design teams conducted a micro-design process specific to business unit requirements.  These design teams built out individual roles, staffing, and core HR processes at the business unit level.

The final phase included an HR development academy to upgrade manager and director skills in a diverse mix of HR sub-functions.  Cohorts of 20-30 participants represented a mix of specialized functions (benefits, HR technology, etc.) and those who would be assuming the new HRBP roles. HR professionals attended an RBL-facilitated HR Professional Academy program that incorporated 12 classroom-training days, application assignments, business solution projects, and individual coaching and evaluation by business leaders and sponsors.  Action learning projects targeted the biggest opportunities for the company's future and leveraged an outside-in mindset to position HR solutions in ways not typically experienced by business leaders.  

Results:

Leaders across the organization report significant improvement in the effectiveness of their HR professionals as a result of this combined effort to address both the structure of the HR organization and the capabilities of the HR professionals in the organization.  Despite facing a challenging business environment, the project’s measures of success are strongly positive:

  • HR has helped build the employee base needed to support new projects.
  • HR has helped shift the balance of employees to reduce the number of ex-pats.
  • HR has helped reduce the time to productivity of national engineers and technicians.  

HR Transformation


Business Challenge:

One of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies had grown rapidly through acquisitions and rising product sales. Through the expansion, HR met the business’s basic HR needs but accumulated a wide array of different HR practices and systems from three large legacy companies.  A new HR leadership team saw an urgent need to improve both efficiency and effectiveness. 

In terms of efficiency, HR headcount ratio, spending per colleague and revenue percent were worse than the worst benchmarks and 75% of HR interactions were with other HR employees.

In terms of effectiveness, HR lacked new ideas and innovative responses to support the business as it faced the looming loss of patent protection on key products and a challenging external environment. 

Solution:

RBL helped HR engage with the business to understand their needs from an outside-in perspective and to identify the capabilities the company needed for the strategy to be successful. 

A cross-functional HR design team cataloged and categorized each HR output relative to the competitive advantage work.  The work was then grouped by identifying where it should be located (enterprise, business unit, or manager and operations support) and work processes were designed within those three groups.

To staff the new groups, internal teams used HR competency research to create role profiles and matched existing talent to the roles, leaving some positions open for external talent to bring in new perspectives.  In addition, the client joined the RBL Institute and sent multiple teams to HRLP to develop their senior HR talent.  They also used the RBL HR Competency 360 assessment as a development tool for their HR professionals.  

Results:

RBL supported the company in redesigning the global HR function to reduce costs and improve effectiveness of business support.

Working through the steps of a messy transformation, HR was able to reduce costs by 50%, including an estimated $42 million in year one cost reductions.

At the same time, clear accountability and focus for strategic HR roles enabled HR to improve business leader satisfaction with the services provided to support their business.


“Step Up:” Building HR Capability


Business Challenge:

A natural resources company faced an urgent need to improve the strategic skills of its HR business partners to both broaden the perspective of site-HR and to help region and group HR better connect HR practices and processes with the “dirt under the nails” reality of the day-to-day business. There was also a need to improve consistency of application and understanding of the HR operating model to help HR function more efficiently and effectively in “extracting value from the operating model.” 

Solution:

RBL helped create and deliver a 2-track HR Academy for the organization’s HR leaders and HR professionals.  Each track included a 360 competency assessment, coaching, four 3-day modules spread out over six months, and a business challenge project where teams integrated the concepts and applied the tools they learned to specific business challenges.

Over 250 HR leaders and professionals from all business units participated in learning modules that were co-delivered by RBL consultants and BHP Billiton HR leaders. These modules were designed to focus on application with on-the-job issues and the need for leveraging the concepts through daily routines.

The mix of experience and capability among the population and the co-delivery with RBL facilitators helped experienced leaders quickly absorb key concepts and more junior, independent contributors gained confidence as they were mentored by senior professionals. 

Results:

One key measure of the success of the program was the growth in confidence in implementing HR ideas, tools, and methodologies among program participants from 30% before the program to 70% after.  

Building on the success of the program and the knowledge-transfer achieved by the partnership with RBL another 400 participants will be developed internally using the program and future new hires and additional participants will participate in an online and virtual iteration of the program.

Based on the success of the program, the client was awarded the Leadership Excellence Award from HR.com in 2016.


Taking an Outside-In Approach


Business Challenge:

One of the world’s leading consumer goods companies had recently restructured its HR organization. While internal customer satisfaction was generally positive regarding the HR leadership team’s performance, it was clear that silos were prevalent within the HR team that created challenges with prioritization, role clarity, customer “ownership”, and poor systems. 

Solution:

The company brought in the RBL Group to facilitate a 2-day HR Strategy session to help the HR Leadership Team adopt an Outside-In approach. The goal of the workshop was to create strategic alignment for the team in order to ensure that HR priorities were executed effectively in the service of top business goals.

They started by asking the workshop participants two questions: Who is your customer, and what are the top priorities facing this group in the next 3-5 years? Initial responses focused largely on internal customers, systems, and programs and neglected to consider the impact of HR on creating value for external stakeholders.

To help the HRLT adopt an Outside-In approach, RBL changed the questions: What are the top priorities for your stakeholders in the next 3-5 years and what are the top 2-3 organizational capabilities required to deliver those expectations? By looking through the lens of external stakeholders, the HRLT was able to expand their focus and improve their communication with other parts of the company. 

Results:

Focusing on stakeholder priorities and organizational capability helped the HRLT eliminate siloed behavior and create a priority sheet that focused on items such as reducing time to enter new markets, improving operational productivity, and growing innovation capability. The Outside-In approach also helped HR generate more credibility as a strategic partner by not merely reflecting business strategy, but by helping inform and drive that strategy. 


Building a Strategic HR Organization


Business Challenge:

A leading energy company wanted its HR organization to play a greater role in ensuring market leadership in a constantly changing industry. To do this well, the company realized that its HR professionals needed to adopt a more strategic approach to driving capabilities.

Part of this shift required assessing current strengths and opportunities for development and capitalizing on those opportunities by helping HR professionals across the organization build the competencies they needed to think and act strategically.

The company intentionally wanted to accelerate the development of high potential talent through a differentiated learning experience while also offering strategic partner capability development to the entire HR function in order to holistically address the desired HR transformation. 

Solution:

After interviewing over 80 key leaders about future business priorities and the current state of the HR organization's ability to deliver against those, RBL and the HR Leadership team identified four areas of opportunity to drive capabilities: metrics and analytics that measure impact instead of output, enhanced talent acquisition, building a robust leadership pipeline, and an increased strategic mindset for the entire HR team.

RBL then worked with the company to develop and deliver an HR Academy to three cohorts that focused specifically on increasing their capabilities and contributions as strategic HR professionals. The Academy consisted of 360 assessments, individual and team coaching, action learning projects, workshops, additional webinars, and follow-up assessments.

The workshops covered materials on strategic HR, consulting skills, building capabilities, leading change, organization diagnosis and design, talent and leadership, coaching and influencing from the middle, and a business solutions lab dedicated to driving the action learning project towards implementable solutions.

The broader HR population experienced key components of the strategic business partner frameworks and content through targeted workshops and webinars, consistent with key components of the HR Academy. 

Results:

Participating in the Academy enabled HR professionals from the different businesses come together and learn about the issues and challenges facing other areas of the company. Out of this collaboration emerged a common way of thinking and talking about HR's role across the company and helped align HR with the leadership team and the direction of the business.

The action learning projects targeted the biggest opportunities for the company's future and leveraged an outside-in mindset to position HR solutions in ways not typically experienced by the business leaders.

Those not yet in the HR Academy have been able to apply many of the frameworks and tools to their own work and are being actively coached by HR Academy participants to drive the sustainability of the learning.

Using RBL's tools and frameworks, participants have been able to change their engagement with business leaders and come together as a strategic team to help the company meet current and future challenges. 
 


Upgrading Leadership Capability


Business Challenge:

A Middle Eastern telecommunications company was looking to upgrade the quality of its leadership in order to better meet customer needs, increase and sustain employee productivity, and support its continued growth.

They partnered with The RBL Group to design and deliver a leadership development program that would help the company meet these goals and continue to deliver value. 

Solution:

RBL helped the company design and deliver a year-long Leadership Academy that included 360 and psychometric assessments, action learning projects, coaching sessions, and educational workshops that focused on building competency in the fundamentals of effective leadership (The Leadership Code) and the company's Leadership Brand differentiators.

This integrated approach allowed participants to connect their individual development with the daily realities of on-the-job leadership challenges and build a cohesive language for leadership throughout the organization. Each participant identified challenges they were currently facing and made progress toward overcoming them by applying learning, tools, and frameworks from the workshops and coaching sessions. 
 

Results:
  • 86% of participants achieved higher levels of competency in their selected focus areas.
  • 76% of participants demonstrated growth in their career development stage. 
  • The group improved in every leadership domain as measured by follow-up 360 group averages compared to their initial 360 averages. 
  • All participants successfully completed action learning projects that addressed actual problems facing the organization. 
  • Participating in the workshops enabled leaders to build a broader network across the organization.

Increasing Profit by Driving Capability


Business Challenge:

A multinational technology company had recently split into three businesses. They wanted target customers to recognize each business as delivering the best value for their money.  However, it was unclear what the businesses should be doing to deliver this value.

The company invited RBL to work with the business leaders to identify targeted technical and social capabilities as well as recommend a process for implementing the solution. 

Solution:

RBL consultants met with each of the company’s business presidents and other key, senior stakeholders to evaluate the business strategy and assess the gap between current and needed capabilities.

RBL co-created an organization design blueprint for implementing a process that embedded efficiency as their core capability to drive business results. 

Results:

Incorporating RBL’s recommendations, one of the businesses implemented a cluster of initiatives aimed at increasing efficiency, including a simpler set of business processes that led to a simpler organization design, that resulted in more than a billion dollars of profitability improvement. 


Selecting Leaders for the Long Run


Business Challenge:

A growing financial services organization had a strong cultural commitment to keeping employees once they were hired.  Facing rapid growth that required the addition of a senior management layer, they wanted to be sure they were hiring the people who be would be great fits for the organization and the role.

They had confidence in the way their existing hiring process and battery of pre-hire assessments evaluated past performance, technical and leadership skills, and fit with the organizational culture.  However, they were less confident in their ability to evaluate a candidate’s personality fit with the role demands, how well their current cognitive capabilities fit the complexity of the role’s demands, and the candidate’s potential to grow and perform well at higher levels.

Solution:

They turned to RBL’s Candidate-Position Fit reports to help them get more robust information about candidates as part of their selection process.

RBL’s expert analysts review the job description and other internal information on the organization and the role to establish criteria for success.  They also use RBL’s proprietary resume analysis process to begin the capability evaluation while candidates take the online MENTOR® Leadership Battery.

The final report delivered to HR and the hiring manager combines an analysis of each candidate’s results from the psychometric battery and the resume analysis to present an evaluation of fit for the position.  It also includes discussion of likely strengths and potential risks/development needs and an estimate of the individual’s likely growth potential.  A debrief call allows hiring managers to get answers to specific questions. 

Results:

Over 2 years, RBL has provided assessments of 53 candidates, providing valuable information about potential candidates and helping hiring managers make better hiring decisions.

To validate that feedback, RBL and the client conducted a study using a group of 20 candidates who had been the subject of a Candidate-Position Fit report as part of their hiring process and had been hired into the organization following the report.  The object of the study was to evaluate the accuracy of the report’s evaluations.

The results were strongly positive.  The accuracy of MENTOR®'s behavioral/personality profile of candidates was high, with managers reporting an average accuracy of 4.2, on 5 point scale where 4 represented “accurate” and 5 represented “extremely accurate.”  On the current and future capability estimates, correlations between RBL scores and managerial judgment of capability were highly significant, ranging from .62 to .86. 


Improving HR Service Delivery


Business Challenge:

A large oil company has grown rapidly in recent years, and their HR leaders needed to develop the skills to manage a complex and rapidly changing business. Business leaders wanted to be on the cuttting edge of talent practices.

The RBL Group was brought in to help redesign the HR function, set a strategy for HR, and then train HR professionals throughout each of their business units to be able to deliver on promises.

Solution:

First, RBL and the oil company collaborated to develop a macro- and micro- level HR organization design and implementation plan.

Once the design work was completed, we began the process of developing the company's HR professionals to make them better strategic contributors. Our HR Competency 360s were used to measure each individual’s skills and create a concrete plan for their development.

Following the 360s, the company's HR professionals attended an RBL-facilitated HR Leadership Academy. During these Academies, participants attended courses on the skills HR professionals need to be effective, met with a personal coach, and worked on teams to finish a project that delivers real value to the business. 

Results:

Company leaders report significant improvement in the effectiveness of their HR professionals as a result of this effort. Several cohorts have completed the Academy and RBL leaders will continue to partner with the oil company to ensure that their HR professionals are the best in the region.


Enterprise Turnaround


Business Challenge:

The newly appointed CEO of a global hotel chain inherited a business in crisis. It had recently de-merged and was undergoing a brand name change. It had heavy bureaucracy  and overhead costs 15-20% above industry average in an extremely cost-competitive industry. Externally, there was a global economic downturn and a massive slow-down in travel post 9/11.

Not surprisingly, it was being downgraded by analysts and faced a hostile takeover attempt.

The new CEO initiated an “organization review” and invited RBL to help turn the organization around.

Solution:

The review began by clarifying the strategy, so the cost savings needed to turn the business around could be achieved without cutting the capabilities needed to survive and win in the long run. As the CEO and the design team of internal high-potentials and RBL consultants worked closely together, the process evolved to include a re-thinking of both the business model and the strategy.

Once the executive team was aligned to the new model (corporate center and three global regions) and strategy (brand-building), the design team designed and implemented bold actions to develop world-class status in efficiency and speed, including: 

  • Reorganizing to eliminate regional budgetary and operational independence
  • Streamlining differences in regional operations and aligning/centralizing finance, human resources, and corporate functions
  • Creating a global shared services center

The design process included transparency with markets on targets and timetables that restored analyst’s confidence and strong multi-direction communication and a participatory process that built employee engagement and buy-in.

Results:

RBL collaborated with the executive team to engineer a significant transformation and establish a redesigned business that was attractive for investors.

  • Stock price rose by 71% in less than a year and it outperformed the FTSE by a factor of 2
  • Operating costs were reduced by more than $100 million/year
  • Employee surveys showed a dramatic increase in morale and confidence in company leadership
  • The takeover attempt was defeated and the quality of management was no longer a matter of public debate 

Leadership Code Workshops to Build a Stronger Pipeline of Leaders


Business Challenge:

A large national bank was getting feedback from the Board that they needed to do something about leadership. Investors weren’t very confident in the bank’s ability to have leaders ready for future needs. RBL met with the CEO and helped clarify what their strategy was and what the talent implications of that strategy were.

Solution:

The bank decided to begin by getting all of their executives to speak the same way about leadership and by measuring them on the same competencies. Over the course of two years, RBL ran Leadership Code workshops and 360 assessments for over 300 leaders.

The bank was very happy with the results of this workshop and has delivered Leadership Code content to a much larger pool (1000+ leaders). They have also worked with us to develop a custom leadership competency model with unique differentiators based on their business strategy.

Results:

Of those who have been through our programs, 70% either increased their scores or stayed the same in what was now a more competitive environment. Scores on every domain improved—with competencies improving by 40-80%.


Leadership Development at a Large Retailer


Business Challenge:

In 2010, the RBL Group began working with the senior leadership team of one of America’s largest retailers on issues around leadership, leadership brand, and leadership development. After a period of rapid growth and change, the company recognized that while it had dramatically increased in size, it had not kept apace in the development of its leadership capabilities.

Following the six-step RBL Leadership Architecture, we first identified the business case for leadership and determined that for less than the cost of yet another store, the company could create and execute a leadership academy for its top leaders, significantly increasing both its internal bench strength and improving the engagement of its more than 250,000 employees.

Solution:

Using assessments, interviews, focus groups and applying RBL’s expertise on leadership brand and our research on the Leadership Code, we were able to co-create a leadership academy that we piloted with a group of very senior leaders in 2011.

Consisting of three, three-day sessions with two senior RBL facilitators, individual 360’s, executive coaching, and action learning projects, the 16 week academy pilot was a resounding success. With the unanimous support of the initial group of participants, the program was adopted and expanded in both 2012 and 2013. There have now been seven cohort groups of approximately 20 people each that have been through the leadership academy with plans for several more cohorts in 2014 based on significant demand and requests for additional seats.

In addition to significant individual achievements, 20 action learning projects addressing everything from digital strategies, store remodels and corporate social responsibility have significantly altered the company’s thinking and planning on critical issues. The capstone event of the academy, the action learning presentations are held in the company board room and are adjudicated by senior leaders including the CEO, CFO, COO, CHRO and others.

To fully round-out the academy experience, participants also spend time together in social events after long days of training and coaching. Everything from cooking dinner together to participating with an improvisational comedy company deepen the relationships that are formed in leadership academy.

Results:

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. The breakdown of silo walls and an increase in collaboration are visible outcomes of the leadership academy.

Yearly engagement surveys in the company also suggest the effect improved leadership is having throughout the company. The 2011 survey showed 31% engagement, that number jumped to 37% in 2012 and in the most recent survey had climbed to 51%.


Strategy Clarification and Organizational Redesign


Business Challenge:

A pharmaceutical company asked us to help them redesign HR and create an HR strategy. However, as we spent time with the HR executive team, it became clear that we were starting in the wrong place. To develop the HR strategy, the business needed to be redesigned and there needed to be clarity about the overall business strategy. The industry was changing quickly and the client saw a real shift coming in the products and services they were offering, and they had no clear sense of how they differentiated their business.

Solution:

Next, we held a strategy workshop for the executive team. We had them identify the strategic direction of the organization and we began doing organization design work on two major businesses they had identified. We worked with internal design teams to create an entirely different business model, one that was focused primarily on connecting with their customers.

Results:

We helped each business clarify their strategy and organization design and clarified what they were accountable for. By developing the right organization with the right capabilities to deliver on the strategy, this work added millions of dollars of value to the organization.


Creating a Framework for Leadership Development


Business Challenge:

A regional hospital system was looking to develop an overall leadership framework. Leaders and managers felt that past leadership development initiatives had felt random and were lacking a coherent framework. They came to RBL looking for guidance in creating a leadership competency model, deciding what kind of leadership development to do, and how to make their leadership development initiatives work for the entire organization.

Solution:

The client was looking for a leadership competency model that was both relatively standard and had readily available tools and content in place and that could be customized to fit their organization’s culture and unique needs. We taught workshops on each of the Leadership Code competencies over the course of 9 months. Now we are working with them to identify their custom differentiating competencies and to develop training modules for those competencies.

Results:

Through these workshops, RBL helped this organization develop more capable leaders and create a coherent approach to leadership development that will be used to create better leadership throughout the organization.


Assessing HR Effectiveness


Business Challenge:

A large consumer goods company had recently gone through a series of mergers and had several different sets of HR practices from each group. At this significant transition, they wanted to see where HR stood, develop metrics to track progress, and determine what direction HR needed to move in going forward.

Solution:

The RBL Group was asked to conduct our HR Effectiveness Audit with their organization to align HR practices to deliver greater value to the organization and its stakeholders. They invited 160 respondents across multiple business units and countries both in and outside of HR to complete the survey, which asked participants to rate both the current state of HR’s expertise and practices and the elements that would have the most value for the business if improved.

The Audit was conducted along with stakeholder interviews to set up metrics to measure results and to put together an action plan to build on their strengths and focus on concrete improvements to be made.

When analyzing the results of the HR Effectiveness Audit, we found that HR needed to start looking toward the future immediately, as their current state was not aligned with what the business needed. While HR was seen as credible, they scored lowest on Leading and Managing Change and Understanding and Contributing to the Business. This was in line with what we learned in interviews.

Results:

From this, we helped the HR Lead Team craft their strategy and develop a plan to better align itself with the business needs, manage change more effectively, and to focus on real Workforce Planning rather than administrative work.


Redefining Succession Planning


Business Challenge:

A large technology corporation recognized that they had a significant number of senior leaders and technical professionals who would be retiring in the next 5-7 years. Because they did not have an established process for developing new leaders, the senior executive team realized that they had serious gaps in their leadership pipeline that would limit their future competitiveness.

Solution:

In response, they assembled a team of senior executives from each of the main business units. We worked with that team to create a process for identifying key talent and determining who was responsible for those individuals’ development. We also worked with them to identify key development experiences necessary for candidates for each position. In developing these succession plans, we relied heavily on our Top Companies for Leaders research. We also used a custom leadership 360 assessment and the MENTOR® Leadership Battery to assess candidates.

Results:

Now, this company has redefined the way they think about succession planning. They actively use our assessment tools to identify key talent and the senior leadership team updates the pool of candidates for key positions on an on-going basis. While not closed, the gap in the pipeline is narrowing, new leaders are getting critical development experiences, and overall confidence in sustained long-term performance is growing.


HR Development at TeliaSonera


Business Challenge:

One of Turkey’s largest telecommunications firms with business interests in surrounding nations partnered with The RBL Group to align the work of the HR business partner population with the fast-paced, ever changing business environment and market conditions.  The program architects wanted business partners to create more value in strategy formulation and execution.  Alongside the business leaders they recognized the growing importance of intangible assets like talent, culture and leadership on customer retention, customer attraction and business results.

Solution:

Using the new HRCS data RBL created an integrated development program that included:

  • Three separate sessions based on the latest competency research and designed to give participants insights and tools in managing the talent agenda, building a high performance culture and developing leadership brand.
  • Individual coaching sessions with participants focused on becoming strategic positioners and credible activists. As with many businesses, they found that it is not always easy to change the status quo. The coaching worked on removing those barriers to change and emphasized looking at the business from a business point of view rather than an HR point of view.
  • Business solution projects covered a variety of topics including communication technology. The communication technology project looked at how the business would actually make use of new technologies to connect their staff effectively with their customers and subsidiaries. By doing so the business gained increased awareness, bringing value for all employees in terms of aligning employee behavior with customer expectations.
Results:

“It is a privilege to do HR in an organization where the CEO sees the HR as his co-pilot. Our CEO knows that if he manages the people side of the equation as well as the finance side, we will be invincible. We are making sure that we arm our HR people with the latest knowledge and practices in the field, so we are the winners at all times. We do not want to take chances, so we work with the leader in this field, the RBL Group.”

Basak Karlidag
Vice President, Human Resources
TeliaSonera, Eurasia


Transformation Via HR Organization Design


Business Challenge:

A large technology company had little clarity between corporate HR leadership and the various business HR groups about who should be doing what. A new initiative would be rolled out at the corporate level, but often each business had an existing solution or wanted to do the new solution their own way, and it was always a battle to determine which approach to use. HR wasn’t able to do nearly enough strategic HR work, and they knew that they had gaps in organizational design, long-range talent development, and change management. They wanted to know how the organization could be designed to make it clear what should be centralized and what should be decentralized. They recognized some work should be done one size fits all and some work needed to be customized and responsive to specific business unit needs. Once that was clear, they wanted to know how to get the right people in the right roles with the right training.

Solution:

This company formed a design team of 8 HR professionals from across different levels and parts of the HR organization. We conducted a survey to understand how time was currently being spent and what work was getting the most time and attention. We also collected information on the key business needs from each business and from corporate leaders so we could determine what strategic HR work needed to be done. During the design process, we separated the strategic work from the foundational work and put together an organization that made the foundational work as efficient as possible and enabled HR to focus on the strategic work and be responsive to the needs of the business.

Results:

The outcome of this process was an organization with clearly defined roles and responsibilities, clear ownership of HR tasks, and a number of people dedicated to doing strategic HR work without being encumbered by more routine work.


The Asia Division: How Rivals Became Partners


Business Challenge:

The Alpha Company bought its fierce competitor, the Beta Company. In Asia this meant that former rivals were now expected to be teammates in 11 countries. Ernie, the Division Vice President, faced the dilemma of uniting these warring factions to grow the business. Ernie also was given a profit target for the division that greatly exceeded the best results the division had ever produced.

Solution:

Gathering key leaders from the 11 countries, plus key members of his corporate staff, Ernie employed The RBL Group consultants using the Organizational Systems Model in special workshops to diagnose the current organizational readiness and then redesign the division to position it for success.

The diagnosis process revealed each subsidiary acted like “an island unto itself” and ran its business in isolation. There was low trust between Alpha and former Beta employees. The operating culture in both camps was focused on increasing volume, not improving profitability. Finally, new products moved much too slowly through the pipeline. Alpha had fewer new product introductions in a fiscal year than its chief competitors.

The new executive team members built trust in each other in these workshops and began to redesign some key processes and systems so that the different business units and functions could naturally collaborate on key business priorities.

Results:

One of the new structures was a system of cross-functional/geographical business teams designed to roll out new products in all countries simultaneously. Each general manager led a business team for one of Alpha’s major brands. Expectations were exchanged and agreed among the subsidiaries and between the subsidiaries and division headquarters.

In the first full fiscal year following all this organizational work, the Asia Division exceeded its “impossible” profitability goal and became the most profitable division in the entire company.


Increase Business Performance of HR Team


Business Challenge:

A global clothing manufacturer made the decision to transform the HR department. The key goals of the transformation were to improve HR’s strategic contribution to business performance and to ensure the greatest possible HR departmental effectiveness and cost efficiency.

The CHRO and leadership team recognized the importance of addressing the structure, staffing and system requirements in order for HR to increase its business performance, but also appreciated the essential need to invest in the development of the HR team.

Solution:

To accomplish both of these aims, the company chose to work with the RBL Group, the leader in strategic HR and HR professional development.

An RBL principal facilitated the HR leadership team through an organization assessment and strategic planning process.

To support the transformation, RBL consultants also delivered workshops focused on building HR competency in the broader HR community. 

Results:

RBL's support helped HR leaders and staff from across the globe identify individual and team priorities for development and performance improvement across the company’s HR world.

The impact on the business was significant as the company worked to reclaim its global reputation as a fashion quality leader.


Renewing Leadership Competencies


Business Challenge:

A supply chain management and logistics company had been building a competency model over several years, adding to it as new insights and information surfaced. As The Leadership Code emerged, the company became concerned that key elements may be missing from their competency model. There was also a desire to have a comprehensive model that reflected their firm brand. The vision was to have a competency model that was tied to their competencies and that could be used to develop and differentiate their leaders from the competitors in the industry.

Solution:

The RBL Group was asked to assist the company in solidifying their competency model. Steps included:

  • mapping the existing model to the Leadership Code to pinpoint over and under representations and missing elements
  • stakeholder, including top customer, interviews to decide the three differentiating competencies the company wants to be known for by their customers
  • identification of the Leadership Brand that would align leader behaviors with customer expectations
  • development of a customized leadership 360 assessment that built on the existing competency model, integrated missing Code elements, and emphasized their leadership brand behaviors.
Results:

The organization now has a competency model with both the foundational competencies necessary for a leader’s success and the differentiating competencies that enable the creation of intangible value. This competency model is now being integrated into leadership development processes, including assessment and development processes.


Competency Model Improvements


Business Challenge:

A consumer goods company needed help validating their existing competency model and conducting a series of interviews with key external stakeholders.

Solution:

The RBL Group was asked to perform the analysis of their competency model, comparing it to Leadership Code research. Their existing model was very strong in 3 of the 5 domains, had a few gaps in one domain, and was very weak in the other domain. Given the competencies they had already identified, there was no need to add any new competencies, only add questions to their existing 360 survey. The RBL Group worked with them to add a few questions in the domain that had gaps and add a number of questions for the domain area that was weak. The questions were selected from a pool of previously validated questions.

Eighteen interviews were conducted with global customers, suppliers, ad agencies, analysts, and board members. This external work with stakeholders created a focus on two of their existing competencies, which for this company meant increasing the weighting on these competencies for their senior leaders. 

Results:

One outcome of this work was a modified 360, which was approved by the company’s executive team. The other outcome was the design and delivery of a customized leadership program which addressed two competencies where leaders consistently scored low.


Centralizing HR Across the Globe


Business Challenge:

As a global insurer, Zurich Financial faced a decentralized HR across the countries in which it operated. They found that HR was being done with different guidelines, policies, and processes. In order to have a consistent and centralized HR, Zurich Financial’s HR organization needed to transform itself and implement a strategy that would help HR be consistent, add value, and better help achieve company objectives.

Solution:

Zurich Financial asked The RBL Group to assist them in defining a strategy and planning a clear implementation approach. Over a four year period, RBL collaborated with the HR executive team to coach, facilitate, and conduct strategic HR training sessions to help HR define what HR stands for and deliver results the business expected from HR.

Results:

In four years, HR has made significant progress on their transformation. HR professionals understand the issues and are motivated to make transformational changes in the way they perform their work and provide value for their organization.


Expanding Growth, Expanding Leaders


Business Challenge:

A global financial institution has experienced incredible growth as it has climbed its way to the top. Given the expanding growth, the increasing need for leaders (both national and expatriate), and the increased global interest in their industry, this organization wanted to be sure they clearly identified and developed the characteristics that differentiate their leaders.

Solution:

RBL was engaged to assist this organization in clarifying their leadership framework and leadership development processes such that they tie directly with their external branding initiatives. By working together, they assessed leaders and created leadership development tools to ensure success. Key steps included:

  • Collecting Data from External Sources. RBL interviewed a number of key customers, analysts, suppliers, and vendors and got their perspective on what this organization's leaders do well and what they need to do well for continued success.
  • Articulating the Organization's Leadership Brand. Research and interviews were used to pinpoint what these leaders need to focus on to make them distinctive. This was incorporated into the leadership framework.
  • Assessing High Potential Talent. Leaders were assessed in career development interviews and provided with detailed personal development plans.
  • Comparing the Organization's Framework with the Leadership Code. The research from the Leadership Code was used to help this organization ascertain how well they had covered the fundamentals of leadership in how they were assessing their leaders.
  • Developing a Senior Leader Program. The leadership brand is being used to create a program and ongoing process for developing the organization's leaders who possess the fundamentals of effective leadership as well as competencies that make a leader unique.
Results:

The work with this organization is ongoing.


Investing in Future HR Leaders


Business Challenge:

A multinational pharmaceutical company saw a business need to upgrade the strategic abilities of its mid-level HR professionals. They believed that investing in the skill sets of these future HR leaders would transform the individual contributions of their HR professionals and pay off in the short-term and in the future.

Solution:

The RBL Group, partnering with key company COE’s designed a four and a half-day workshop including modules on Strategy, Organizational Systems Diagnosis & Design, HR Consulting & Coaching Skills, Talent Management and Change Management. Prior to the workshop, participants identified a specific Business Challenge that they could address during and after the workshop. Throughout the week of the seminar, participants applied the concepts to their projects, which they implemented back on the job. Each participant also received 360 feedback on his/her HR competencies, as well as intensive 1-on-1 coaching on their personal development plans and Business Challenge projects.

Results:
  • The full program has been ongoing since 2007 and continues today to receive one of the highest evaluations ever within the company
  • The company is following up with participants to track the execution and effect of their Business Challenge projects
  • Currently over 400 HR managers and high potential professionals have executed specific projects with bottom-line impact
  • As a complement to this strategic program, another program was designed and added to provide critical skills to HR Professionals as Business Partners. HR Professionals have the opportunity to participate in both programs as they grow in the organization.

Strengthening Leadership Through Assessment and Coaching


Business Challenge:

A leading provider of vehicle redistribution services in North America had been facing significant changes. It had recently become a stand-alone public company and initiated strategic shifts that resulted in an increased emphasis on three key initiatives: cost reduction, technology upgrades, and facility expansion in the United States.

This organization’s leadership team recognized that moving the company forward would require a unified leadership team and leaders throughout the organization who could not only deliver results, but deliver them in the right way—in other words, a new leadership brand reflecting the new strategic focus of the new organization.

Solution:

The RBL Group was asked to partner with the organization’s leadership to create consensus and drive the right results in a two-tiered approach. The initial focus was on unifying and developing the executive team by facilitating an executive strategic session that created alignment and consensus on main priorities and defined the organization’s Leadership Brand that would support the strategic direction. This session was reinforced by individual executive development plans that were tied to performance initiatives and critical leadership attributes.

The RBL Group also supported the cascading of the new leadership brand throughout the organization by assessing leaders on the new leadership brand and following up with individual coaching that helped leaders make the shift to the new competencies and behaviors required by the new brand.

Results:
  • The top leadership team gained alignment and consensus on main priorities.  By clarifying these priorities, the organization has been able to prepare their leadership to deal with recent changes and to ensure that the company can face future challenges as well.
  • The leadership brand assessment and development coaching process was cascaded through the organization’s top 125 leaders.
  • Their leaders at all levels knew what characteristics leaders in the organization should have and actively worked through a defined coaching process to develop these characteristics.

Financial Results through Leadership in Action


Business Challenge:

One of the largest U.S. bank holding companies faced increasing competition. Their executive leadership team wanted to strengthen the strategic acumen of their leadership, drive business results, build leadership capability and ultimately bolster their position in the market.

Solution:

The RBL Group collaborated with the team to design and deliver a custom leadership development program designed to improve business strategy thinking and fundamentals among middle level leaders.

  • Each session focused on understanding the company’s strategy and applying it to their individual positions and teams. The curriculum included requiring participants to identify their strategy and then develop specific plans for more effectively aligning their organization performance, culture, communication, and to identify development challenges for themselves and their teams.
  • Each participant was required to develop an action-learning project with a $250K impact, on revenue or cost reduction.
Results:

The leadership program ran successfully for over four years, impacting over 600 participants.

Over half of the action learning projects have been implemented as a direct result of the leadership development program:

  • Sales growth and cost reduction/efficiency were the primary categories of projects, but projects also included developing new markets, introducing new products, and increasing capabilities.
  • Conservative estimate of financial ROI on action-learning projects exceeded $30 million dollars.

HR Capability Development


Business Challenge:

A government mail bureau faced considerable change when regulators stepped in to break the monopoly and grant licenses to competitors. In the marketplace, the organization found itself facing rising consumer expectations for higher quality, more attractive retail outlets, and different product mixes while the bureau remained obliged to maintain uneconomic retail outlets. 

Internally, the organization’s traditional command and control management style combined with poor communication strategies and skills led to disengaged employees who resisted the changes that could enhance business performance and customer satisfaction. 

Recognizing this gap, the HR leadership team identified a need to develop a more robust “strategic HR” role for their HR business partners and specialists in order to build the organization’s capability to change.

Solution:

The RBL Group collaborated with the bureau in using a data-driven approach to identify specific areas of competency weakness and to create a customized HR development program that included:

  • A 2-week intensive training for top-level HR executives, with program cascaded through the organization to cover 180 business partners and specialists
  • Classroom experiences that included topics such as HR consulting and coaching skills, core business knowledge and strategy topics, the bureau's value chains and stakeholders, HR's role in strategy formulation and execution, organizational capabilities, managing culture change, measuring HR's value, and driving employee engagement
  • Action learning projects that had tangible impact on business results, were strategically relevant, entailed a real-time HR challenge, and were actionable within five months
  • Elective offerings (coaching, detailed workshop on managing change, coaching, and action learning projects) for those with more interest or need 
Results:

Satisfaction with service from HR business partners and specialists vastly improved by a minimum of 50% along several key dimensions: Timeliness, Quality, Business Focus, and “HR meets my needs.”


Refocusing on Ethical Leadership


Business Challenge:

A global financial services company had experienced significant success and had built an enviable brand. While the overall firm continued to see strong growth and success, isolated decentralized businesses began to experience some ethical problems. The firm’s global leadership recognized that these seemingly isolated incidents would threaten their continued success and invited The RBL Group to assist them in creating a solution that would restore customer, regulator, and employee confidence.

Solution:

The RBL Group joined the client's senior management to design a custom workshop aimed at the top 1% of the company's executives. The workshop was to be delivered in a period of five months to thousands of executives across the globe.

Features of the workshop included:

  • Reviewing "lessons learned" from the past year, using case studies to illustrate both good and bad examples and their impact on bottom line results
  • Ensuring executives knew how to behave consistently with expected company behaviors—something the firm had already outlined as critical to customers, to each other, and to the franchise

The workshop was designed and delivered in record time to executives across the globe, from New York to Tokyo to Hong Kong to Mexico City to London.

Results:
  • The workshop, while initially received with skepticism by executives, gradually created a groundswell of support.
  • Executive support intensified as stakeholders responded favorably to a company addressing ethical crises in a strong, proactive way.
  • As the firm demonstrated—internally and externally—that they were a company that wanted the right results in the right way, regulators responded favorably, analysts' jitters subsided, employee confidence was restored, and customers regained confidence that their financial partners were uncompromising.

Helping Leaders Adapt to Strategic Shifts


Business Challenge:

As part of a strategic shift towards a more diversified business strategy, an international insurance company had very quickly undergone considerable growth through the acquisition of other financial services companies. 

In order to more fully integrate leaders in the organization around the new business focus, the company asked global thought leaders to develop a series of three workshops: Strategic Planning, Innovation in Financial Services, and Leadership Development.

Solution:

The RBL Group was invited to design and deliver the Leadership Development workshop with a focus on giving global executives tools and knowledge that enabled them to build organizational capabilities (i.e., talent, innovations, learning, culture, collaboration, shared mindset, etc.) and a stronger results focus.

The workshop design emphasized leaders as teachers and included an accompanying leadership toolkit to make it easy for executives to reuse workshop content within their organizations. The toolkit included videos and online material in several languages and was organized in a modular, topic-based format for ease of adaptation and reuse.

Results:

The three-day workshop was delivered to hundreds of global executives (in groups of 50) over a three-year period.

In addition to the actual participants, the impact of the workshop was felt more broadly in the organization through the “stickiness” of The RBL Group design approach—the flexibility of the toolkit that accompanied leader training and “leader-teacher” emphasis meant concepts circulated broadly throughout the company.

New channels for distribution of products and services were identified, funded, and implemented through the workshops, positively impacting stock value.


Strategic Overhaul


Business Challenge:

A large consumer packaged goods company was underperforming in every aspect of business compared to the competition. The executive team concluded that a complete strategic overhaul was needed to achieve the full potential of market success.

Solution:

The RBL Group collaborated with the executive team and targeted "design teams" to develop and execute the new business strategy.

This plan focused on:

  • Cultivating a high performance culture
  • Determining a new approach to resource allocation based on which core competencies should be world-class
  • Identifying where to increase cost efficiencies
  • Restructuring the global company from a geographical organization with multiple businesses to a business unit focus in an integrated corporate structure
Results:

The business transformation was remarkable. As a result of strategy implementation, company stock value grew from $18 to $60 a share over the next five years.


Dramatic Turnaround


Business Challenge:

A data storage company had been lagging its competitors in the industry.  After the unsuccessful sale of the company, a new CEO was brought in with the mandate to turn the company around.  He discovered low levels of commitment, performance, trust, and engagement from his executive team on down through the organization.  In response, the new CEO sought out The RBL Group to help rally the company around an aggressive new strategy.

Solution:

The RBL Group collaborated with the CEO to design and conduct a three-day workshop designed to give executives a strategic vision, personal ownership, and a commitment to working together to achieve the turnaround.

Through the workshop, the executive team:

  • Established consensus on the company's strategic direction using The RBL Group strategic options framework.
  • Evaluated the implications of changing direction on the organization's current technical and social capabilities, branding, etc.
  • Developed implementation plans to achieve strategy.

The results of the workshop were then cascaded through the organization down to the supervisory level as leaders repeated the workshop process in their own organizations with the aid of a customized leadership toolkit designed by The RBL Group.  The toolkit included videos and online material organized in a modular, topic-based format for ease of adaptation and reuse.

Results:

Through the workshop, the executive team got focus, direction, and understanding of the possibility for success.

Working together to frame the opportunities and craft the strategy led to increased collaboration and confidence among team members, and began a process that led to:

  • Doubling of stock price
  • Company awarded "Most Admired Company" in industry survey, moving from last to first
  • CEO named "Industry CEO of the year"

Creating a Strategic HR Organization


Business Challenge:

The merger of two defense manufacturers created a more completely integrated systems business for the defense industry. In addition to the strategic and operational synergies that would occur through the merger, executives believed that they could also achieve extensive cost savings by creating shared services and eliminating redundant elements from the combined organizations. 

As they began work, it quickly became clear that achieving their goals and developing the strategic, value-adding capabilities of HR population would also require investment in development to shift HR professionals from highly effective practitioners to strategic professionals.

Solution:

The RBL Group was selected to design and deliver a developmental program for the organization’s HR professionals.  The custom-designed six-month program focused on 63 senior HR professionals and used the following design features:

  • 360 assessment of top senior HR professionals, including interviews and individual feedback sessions
  • Tailored pre-program exercises for HR participants to assess their current business strategy and environment
  • Three classroom-based, highly customized learning modules at regular intervals that focused on linking the business strategy with HR strategy and processes, driving organizational capabilities, and defining HR in the leadership role
  • Two team-based projects focused on applying knowledge and skills learned during the learning modules to real-world problems
Results:
  • 120% increase in the influence of their HR professionals on business decisions and strategy
  • 85% increase in providing innovative business solutions as well as substantive increases in understanding key performance indicators, providing good general HR advice and support and understanding the business and its needs
  • Inspired ability and desire to discipline themselves to think, speak, and act more strategically
  • Ability to more substantively contribute to their management teams
  • Codified tacit knowledge about the role of HR into an explicit framework which made their knowledge valid, defensible, and useable
  • Success of program in developing strategic HR capabilities led to cascading program content to target mid-level professionals and recent graduates

Leadership in the Face of Rapid Growth


Business Challenge:

A major retail chain’s growth strategy called for increasing retail outlets by 250% in a ten-year period.  Company leadership knew that kind of growth would require executive attention to leadership development in order to maintain high quality management while facing high turnover rates and intensified demand for new store managers and associates.  The RBL Group was brought in to help create a leadership development strategy that would facilitate the growth strategy and maintain critical standards and culture.

Solution:

The RBL Group helped the senior leadership team:

  • Quantify full impact of growth in terms of number of new store managers and associates needed given current turnover rates
  • Identify critical hiring and leadership development investments (in addition to already identified asset and capital investments) that would be required for the strategy to be successful
  • Re-focus training and development investments on store managers (not middle managers or executives) for strategic success

 

Results:
  • The company began placing more emphasis on leadership intervention for critical jobs.
  • Company executives were convinced of the importance of dealing with growth in business impact terms instead of value terms; ignoring the significance of leadership on growth would be detrimental to success.
  • Executives initiated the process of identifying a leadership brand that would embody the values of the past with a perspective for the future.

 


After outsourcing, what?


Business Challenge:

A global energy company was an innovator in HR outsourcing.  Driven by a need to reduce costs, streamline and integrate HR practices from multiple acquisitions, and operate HR more efficiently, the HR leadership team initiated a ground-breaking contract with an HR business services company.  In this contract, they outsourced 18 major HR practices, with many of their HR professionals transitioning over time to the outsourced company’s payroll.  In addition, the business services company would take the lead in providing systems-based solutions to HR work. 

While the implementation of this work was dramatic, it left ambiguous the role of the HR professionals who remained.  What should the retained HR force know and do to add the most value?

Solution:

RBL principals were engaged to help shape the role and agenda for HR professionals in the post-outsourcing HR organization.

With the energy company’s input, we created a model of what strategic HR professionals must know, do, and deliver;  essentially, HR professionals were charged to turn strategy into sustained results through organizational capabilities.  This meant that HR professionals had to learn to understand strategy, diagnose the critical capabilities required to deliver strategy, then create 90 day action plans to make those capabilities happen.

To ensure the HR professionals had the knowledge and skills to perform these new roles, we created a development experience with multiple modules.  Some modules focused on understanding strategy, others focused on organization diagnosis and learning how to define critical capabilities, and others focused on mastering the art of making capabilities happen.  Hundreds of HR professionals attended these modules and were given the knowledge and skills to make strategy happen through capabilities.

Results:

HR professionals had to learn how to trust and deliver the administrative work through outsourcing partnerships.  Once these outsourcing partnerships were in place, it was imperative to help remaining in-house HR professionals define their roles.  This workshop gave people the knowledge, tools, and processes to deliver value.  As one of the best-managed companies in the world, this global energy company is able to make their strategies happen.  The HR professionals play a central role in these dialogues.


The Statoil Project


Business Challenge:

As one of the world’s largest suppliers of gas and crude oil and with 29,500 employees in 40 countries, Statoil’s Vice President of Corporate HR, Jens Jensen, realized that the challenges inherent in operating internationally and the pace of change in the business environment required a more adaptable HR function. They launched a comprehensive transformation initiative that addressed the function’s structure, processes, and people. To help them on the journey, they were looking for a partner with a track record of leading-edge and practical ideas to support the transformation.

Solution:

The RBL Group was invited to support the transformation by helping shape the overall transformation and collaborating in the design and delivery of a customized 5-day development program to be rolled out to experienced HR professionals and managers. 

The intention of the HR Business Partner Program is to enable HR to better understand and help the business meet emerging global business challenges.  The development program includes a number of best practices, including:

  • Research-based and practical program content with relevant application focused on implementing latest HR competency research
  • Strong focus on building networks among the participants
  • The incorporation of individual feedback and action planning through the use of the HR Competency 360 Assessment
  • Action learning project assignments that begin during the program and are focused on supporting development needs and having a significant financial or strategic impact on the business
  • Follow-up sessions that create accountability and allow alumni to participate and showcase success
  • Strong internal focus on supporting continued development once participants are back on the job

 

Results:

With over 150 HR professionals who have successfully completed the HR Business Partner Program, Statoil's business and HR leaders have begun to see some of the following results:

  • HR is recognized in the organization as having increased capability to contribute expertise in the drafting of the company's strategic choices, and proactively strengthen the company's competitiveness with the required measures in the HR field.
  • 150 participants have completed action-learning projects that have contributed to strategic growth and bottom-line savings.
  • HR professionals are seen as having a more global and strategic perspective and have been able to work across boundaries more effectively to find solutions to challenges facing their business units.
  • HR professionals are more able to tailor HR initiatives and investments towards the development of the capabilities the organization requires to execute strategy.