Finance Transformation

Our manufacturing client had reams of data spelling out the math.  Moving to a shared services model and outsourcing transactional jobs overseas would help them survive the recession and position them for the next downturn in their very cyclical business.

However, fraught with emotion and concern for managing complex cultural integration and communication issues as well as retaining key employees through the transition, key leaders would not buy-in to the strategy.

Our team was called upon to help drive alignment around the issues and the case for change.  Through executive coaching and facilitation, we opened a dialogue between leadership and the project team to ensure concerns were understood and a change plan developed to mitigate the risks.

With leadership on board, we moved quickly to identify affected stakeholders, assess the nature and level of impact, and outline a communication strategy and plan to engage them in the change process and garner their support.  We collaborated with our client to define the new operating structure and shared services roles to support the objectives of the transformation.  Our team guided the development of a workforce transition and retention plan to minimize disruption of daily operations and lessen the impact on employee productivity and morale.

We actively managed the outsourcing provider recruitment process to hire and train new employees, as well as designed training to effectively onboard new shared services employees. This specifically involved creating learning experiences for offshore resources to shadow employees to ensure proper understanding of processes and knowledge transfer.  Approaching the work holistically, we also designed learning events for shared services employees to better understand the culture of their new offshore teammates and how to effectively communicate with them and the business.

Through effective communication and education, resistance was minimized and all key employees were retained to ensure a smooth transition.  Today our client continues to realize significant cost savings, increased efficiencies, and improved performance resulting from the transformation.

Sales Transformation

Responding to competitive pressures and the challenge to increase prices and grow margins, our food distribution client embarked on a journey to deliver innovative products and an improved customer experience.  Pivotal to the success of the transformation would be the sales team’s ability to move from “taking customer orders” to demonstrating their food expertise; consulting and advising their customers to grow their business. Transformation of this scale required more than developing skills and adopting new processes and systems.  It required visible leadership to inspire and motivate employees to change behaviors and view their roles and impact through a new lens.

Our team initiated the change process with a performance assessment.  We studied both high- and low-performing divisions to understand critical variances in sales leadership competencies in light of the transformation and identified skill requirements to grow more sales leaders internally and faster.  Key to the transformation would be developing leadership’s change communication skills and ability to inspire, motivate, and recognize performance.  We then evaluated our client’s talent management process and determined ways to strengthen recruiting, development, performance management, incentives, and rewards.

We designed a new sales onboarding program to indoctrinate the team in the new way of working.  Thus, accelerating the required shift in mindsets and behaviors to drive a more disciplined sales process, embrace mobile technology and a new CRM system, and advance productivity and overall performance in line with new customer experience goals.  Adoption metrics and measurement plans were established to provide executive leadership visibility into the change process and incremental improvements.  Most importantly, we partnered with our client to develop a series of Leading Change workshops to equip local sales leadership with the capabilities to facilitate and sustain changes over the long term.

Our client has continued to build upon initial performance improvements since our team’s departure.  Adoption of new processes and systems continues to grow, as does the pipeline and ability of sales and leadership talent to meet the ever-changing needs of the organization and the valuable customers it serves.

Leadership and Team Effectiveness

On the heels of a complex enterprise resource planning (ERP) system implementation, our manufacturing client identified leadership and team effectiveness opportunities vital to the IT function’s long-term success.  IT leadership was determined to secure a seat at “the table” for the team and help internal clients recognize the value of bringing IT into business planning conversations early to shape strategy and offer recommendations that help to drive the business.

Focused on strengthening team member capabilities to better meet the ever-growing and evolving needs of the business, IT leadership sought our help.  Already working alongside the team to support and sustain the ERP change initiative, we were asked to partner with IT leadership to elevate the performance and perception of the function and make the vision for more strategic collaboration the new operating reality.

We worked closely with our client to evaluate, define, and build the knowledge and competencies needed to ensure the right people were in the right roles with the ability to serve as strategic advisors to the business.  This required a significant shift in mindsets and behaviors, and the changes did not happen overnight—but they did happen.

We provided executive coaching and a customized team training curriculum to strengthen, among others, relationship-building and collaboration skills, as well as emotional intelligence and customer service orientation.  We led the team through relevant role-play exercises and designed real-time learning experiences integrated into day-to-day interactions to help quickly enhance their ability to hold strategic conversations and work more effectively.

Today, the function is achieving higher levels of engagement, as well as improved team and customer satisfaction.  Even more important, the team is building more collaborative relationships with internal business partners resulting in stronger program execution and business results.

Building Change Management Capability

It all started with a phone call from an executive not entirely convinced that the company was approaching the change management process surrounding a strategy shift and IT transformation the “right way.” Having only been with the company a few months, this leader acted fast and invited us to take a look.

Our change readiness assessment confirmed initial suspicions. Internal change management consultants were deployed across the organization, all operating from different “playbooks.” The variances between methodologies and tools were confusing business leaders with limited experience leading large-scale transformation initiatives – and even turning some off to the process and value effective change management can provide.

Nothing was coordinated; the team was hitting the business from the left and the right. The company was overinvesting in change on some projects and underinvesting in others. Our client had a limited number of internal resources with the right depth of Organizational Change Management (OCM) skills and experience required to manage demands for support. It was both a capability and capacity issue. Our client was committed to identifying a sustainable solution, and with our guidance, determined that standardizing and building internal OCM capability was the way to go.

Initially, we provided executive coaching to help our client identify key influencers and stakeholders critical to enabling the vision. We then helped to align leadership around the issues and garner support for the changes and investment required to resolve them.

We worked alongside our client to define the capabilities and experience required to lead change effectively. We developed new role and job descriptions, as well as a structured interview process, helped to identify potential candidates, and even supported the selection process. Some of our team members staffed open positions to build momentum and provide immediate support to initiatives already underway. While on the ground, we created opportunities to transfer knowledge “in the moment,” helping to accelerate the learning curve and ability of team members and new hires to deliver immediate value.

At the same time, we developed a standardized OCM methodology and toolkit, as well as an integrated change plan framework to equip team members with resources to support transformational initiatives across the company. We built a custom OCM training curriculum to ensure they understood how to draw upon these resources to build effective change plans – and more importantly, execute them. Additionally, we designed an OCM training for business partners to expose them to the work of the new OCM team, as well as help them understand when and how to engage them in supporting their specific functions.

Today the demand for support and acknowledgment of the team’s strategic value continues to grow. So too does the team, and their ability to serve the organization. Increased knowledge and capacity have reduced the need for external change management support – saving the company a considerable expense – and bolstered the team’s confidence, engagement, and performance significantly.