Culture diagnosis & initiatives to develop a growth-mindset organization capable of delivering outstanding, beyond-average performance to its clients
Mapping and diagnosing the current culture of the Executive Board in 3 different clusters: constructive, passive-aggressive, and passive-defensive using the OCI® - Organizational Culture Inventory.
Executive Board wanted to create a culture of growth and learning where the top executives could work together to improve the efficiency and results of the firm.
The project opened up a series of important discussions about unwritten rules in the firm. Beliefs about what was accepted and what was not accepted were driving defensive behaviors and pushing teams into silos.
The following initiatives took place to create a constructive, learning culture:
1. Decision-making processes: revision and redefinition of executive purviews and decision limits to increase autonomy and speed up processes;
2. Leadership development: implementation of 360 assessments coupled with a leadership development program focused on soft skills. The assessment involved a multiparty, department evaluation to increase interdependency among areas;
3. Communication leveling: periodic and structured announcement of the firm's objectives and its current status (forecast x realized x budget) and town-halls and Q&A sessions with the CEO;
4. Experience sharing: program of job rotation for the senior leaders to understand the different challenges of the several departments and an innovative program to hear out the opinions and ideas of everybody in the firm
Commercial & Investment Banking
Culture diagnosis, autonomy,
independence, and interdependence
Reports provided by Human Synergistics Inc. in partnership with Phercoh®.
The diagnosis brought to light a pervasive theme around trust that was impacting different sides of the business.
Together, Phercoh® and the client developed a 5-year plan to tackle a myriad of underlying issues while creating a functional, intertwined, and trustful team setting.
The main initiatives included:
1. Communication overhauling:
From a self-preserving, bureaucratic mindset to an opening, direct form of communication aimed at solving problems and serving the client rather than at assigning blame. Actionable items to deploy included, but were not limited to:
New office disposition to facilitate team interaction and the flow of information;
Official and unofficial channels to cascade down the information;
Usage of apps for collaborators to work as small teams focused on specific solutions.
2. Autonomy and ownership development
A development program was put in place to help senior leaders achieve mastery in:
Negotiation paradigms and automatic responses to cooperative and competitive behaviors;
Value-added sales and customer-centric approaches in light of customer experience;
Strategic planning and execution focused on customer segmentation vs. potential.
Executives then took on smaller internal projects to deliver on, putting the program to the test. Throughout the program, executives were challenged to think independently and to take the reigns of each initiative in a way they felt responsible and accountable for the outcomes, yet empowered and connected to the other stakeholders to make things happen in a coordinated way.
3. Team Bonding & Trust Building
Once or twice a year, the entire team got together in a retreat to work on a specific project whose learnings and scope could be easily transposed to their corporate realities.
To cite a few, senior leadership learned how to (i) plan and cook for guests; (ii) put out - literally - fire under stressful conditions; and (iii) create - from scratch - a song and perform it live before a real audience of unknown guests in a hotel.
Sales Evolution - USD Million
Conscious Capitalism applied to and customized to the C-Suite of the organization
Five-module approach for the development of the company's C-Level
M1 - Sales evolution and a new paradigm - cost efficiency vs. client enchantment.
C-Level challenged to think about the pros and cons of positioning the company as a premium, client-centric one or as a more commoditized one.
All departments were challenged to see how their operations impacted different knots of the customer journey and how the customers perceived the different contact points. Real clients gave their testimonials, both positive and negative, to pinpoint areas of excellence as well as areas with room for improvement.
M2 - Self-knowledge
All executives went through a battery of self-assessment and 360 feedbacks and tools to allow themselves to take a look at the mirror.
Using certified, validated tools, each executive became more able to understand, recognize, and own what they usually bring to the table in different realms:
Leadership - their preferred styles to lead a team; blindspots and strengths; discomfort and comfort areas
Team dynamics: team structure, types and structure of work, team management, and conflict resolution
Negotiation profiles: typical behaviors, mindsets, and beliefs of the different negotiation styles and conflict management and how to work with and on them in different situations
M3 - Constructive cultures, diversity, and unconscious biases
The top executives studied and talked to peers in other companies whose clients deem inspirational.
Such companies were dissected in terms of structure, values, vision, and autonomy considering the different markets in which they operate.
From there on, we discussed current challenges for the company to increase diversity and facilitated a series of discussions among the top executives so they could devise feasible plans to steer the company towards a more sustainable and inclusive future.
Sources: Keller & Price, 2011; Sanders & Cook, 2012; Sisodia, Sheth, & Wolfe (2007)
M4 - Effective, Value-Creation Negotiations
All executives undertook an extensive training in negotiations.
First, they explored how their profiles (traced in M2) impacted negotiations with peers, subordinates, superiors, and clients.
Second, through a series of dynamic, fun, and engaging simulations the executives explored how different approaches - competitive and collaborative - can alter the game and the outcomes of a negotiation.
Third, the executives entered in a series of recorded exercises that emulated their daily reality in negotiations with unions, suppliers, clients, employees, and shareholders.
Finally, through the analysis of the recording, the executives could see for themselves key points to work on including body posture, active listening, empathy, assertiveness, and communication.
M5 - Strategy, Planning & Execution
Mission, vision, resources and an analytical view from outside -in as well as from inside-out.
The entire program culminated into a real, applicable project that the executives had to develop in groups for the firm. Through the applied project, the executives had the chance to think outside the box, embedding all the previous learning into a pragmatic, real-life project that could boost their areas or provide enhancements for final clients.
In this module, the executives collaborated with colleagues from different parts of the world to put forth a project that was later pitched to the board.
Program success was huge. The program was cascaded down from the C-Suite to the D-Suite (directors) and middle managers.
The ever-increasing popularity of the program and leadership transformation it brought about led the firm to extend the training to top dealers in the region, selecting the most prominent talents of each dealer to take part in the same training structure.
The program success also opened up new fronts of service as we developed a solution-sales training course focused on the life cycle of each B2B client's business vs. the type of products and services the company offered. Through this initiative, the firm set up new partnerships and sales models based on experimental approaches (control vs. experiment) in each they had profit or savings-sharing with their clients