Three Case Studies in Transformation

Case Study # 1

Making Difficult Strategic Choices to Help Shape the Future

The Challenge:

This fast growing, pioneering, niche player in the financial services sector had reached the point at
which their growth had outpaced their ability to perform in a predictable and reliable manner. They
needed to hit the reset button and evolve, while not losing the many benefits of their entrepreneurial
culture. The company and its management team needed to mature quickly, and the CEO was looking for
someone who could help guide them through a thoughtful process of reinvention, from top to bottom.

The Approach:

The starting point for this assignment involved having us conduct a comprehensive Organizational DNA
Survey across their entire management ranks. This web based tool allows us to collect deep, objective
insights into the health of the management team, and their management processes. We use that data to
identify gaps in the performance architecture of the enterprise, and then use the insights we obtain to
engage the senior leaders in a crisply focused dialogue on the potential solutions they could consider.

We then created four cross functional working groups to attack each of the four focus areas which were
identified and agreed upon, and we then acted as facilitator and project manager for each of the four
teams. The teams were populated by the organization’s emerging leaders who were deemed to have the
greatest potential, and we used the working groups as a “real world” leadership development laboratory
in which they could test their leadership muscles and hone their ability while, at the same time,
developing breakthrough answers to some of the organization’s fundamental strategic challenges.

The Outcome:

We helped the working groups shape and polish their recommendations using a Design Thinking
problem solving methodology and a framing format we have created called a PDR Template (Plan,
Deploy and Review). The teams “pitched” their recommendations to the executive team – meaningful
recommendations which included dramatic and novel changes to the Mission, Vision and Values, a total
redesign of their Leadership Competency model, the introduction of a new Performance Management
process, and changes to their organizational structure, decision making and accountability frameworks.

Case Study # 2

Driving Cultural Change & Improved Organizational Performance

The Challenge:

This market leading health services company had an organizational complacency problem, which was
made even worse by a visibly misaligned and dysfunctional senior leadership team. To compound the
issue, they had difficulty seeing the need for change when their financial performance suggested they
were, in fact, doing quite well. There was no obvious burning platform, in their view, and the
interpersonal challenges and thick-walled silo mentality all conspired against making any changes
whatsoever, big or small. The CEO, on the other hand, knew the market was shifting rapidly, and needed
an external Trusted Advisor to help spark renewal and guide the change process.

The Approach:

The starting point here was to gauge and benchmark the relative effectiveness of the senior leadership
team. We did this by conducting a comprehensive assessment of the team as a whole, using our multirater
Team Effectiveness tool, and assessing each executive individually with a customized 360°
Feedback survey. We then brought the team together to share the data in an open forum, guiding them
through a tough conversation on where they were falling short and what they needed to do about it.

The next step was to have them learn how to actually perform together as an enterprise leadership
team, and to get out of their respective functional silos. To do this, they were given “real” work to do
together, which forced them to identify issues, solve problems and make decisions as a team. We
facilitated the entire process, and coached the team both collectively and individually, so they could
learn while working on real business issues.

The Outcome:

The team struggled through learning how to leverage their diverse talents and perspectives, and had to
come to grips with a new decision making framework and a new set of accountabilities. As a result, they
were able to improve their effectiveness, and then cascade the same approach and methodology down
to the group of leaders just below them. In turn, this allowed the organization to make serious and
impactful structural changes, and develop a bold Strategic Plan to which they were all equally
committed. The organization significantly changed its direction, rebranded, and became much more
externally focused on their customers and the market.

Case Study # 3

Accelerating Leadership & Talent Development

The Challenge:

This old, established, but still market-leading media and technology company found itself caught in the
middle of an industry sea change, and was not as nimble as it needed to be to pivot and ride the new
wave of innovation that was happening all around it. The senior leadership team tended to be made up
of world class functional experts in their very limited fields, who were not really change leaders for the
broader enterprise. They needed to jump start a total rethink of their business model, and to drive
leadership talent down deeper into the organization. They also had to enlist a new generation of
“change leaders” if they were to have any hope at all of remaining relevant.

The Approach:

The starting point for this assignment was a two-day retreat during which the executives were forced to
take an objective, critical, outside-in view of market trends and driving forces in order to identify several
critical elements of their business model that were in need of a very serious strategic rethink. Once the
hard side of the equation was reviewed, and an environmental scan in place, the second step was to
identify the softer side of the equation – the mindsets, attitudes, skills and competencies that would be
required, in both the short and medium term, to build a capability profile more aligned to the external
reality. In essence, they were redefining the profile of the type of people they would need to make the
strategic changes that would allow the organization to succeed.

Once the capability profile had been built, it was time to review the existing talent base, and develop a
three dimensional Talent Map of their people against the new profile. Our next job was to then build a
customized accelerated leadership development program, which included a suite of capability
assessments. Both the executives and the organization’s top talent took part in this intense learning
program, to align the broader management team around the new set of principles and tools.

The Outcome:

The organization was willing to go through some pain in order to reorient their strategy, refocus their
priorities and retool their management talent. The end result was a very significant and positive change
in the attitudes, behaviours and capabilities within the organization which allowed the company to
quickly chart a new and much more aggressive and contemporary path in a rapidly changing industry.

The Beacon Group – Executive Summary

The Beacon Group is a professional services firm, proudly based in Canada, with clients across North America and
all around the world. We work in partnership with senior leaders of organizations, in all sectors and industries, to
help them create and deploy business strategies, accelerate their culture change initiatives, improve performance
effectiveness and maximize their investment in human capital and leadership development.

For our full Executive Summary, please download the PDF.

Our Clients

The Beacon Group prides itself on an ability to meet the needs of a diverse client base. We serve organizations in
all sectors of the economy, working with some of the largest multinational corporations, as well as small and
medium-sized growth-oriented organizations, and those in the public and not-for-profit sectors.

For a full list of Our Clients, please download the PDF.