A global dairy product manufacturer competing for shelf space and higher sales margins. The company wanted a substantial increase of bottom line results by improving sales in a very competitive market through supermarkets nationwide in Germany.
The national sales team of 30 members selling 2,500 tonnes of dairy products annually were challenged to increase sales to 3,500 tons annually. At the same time several sales team members also changed roles in the company which meant the sales team was reduced down to 24 sales representatives which would mean individual sales targets were increased.
In close collaboration with the Sales Director we created 4 Modules of 2- day workshops being delivered every 2 months over 8 months. Working with 2 trainers in a tandem delivery for 2 groups of 12 we created good size working groups. We identified and changed limiting beliefs, mapped out the milestones necessary to achieve target, defined critical success factors and a measurement process, created a peer coaching culture of weekly best-practice sharing.
The team spirit improved substantially because of the clarity we created with the common goal and milestones road map, the removal of hindering beliefs and most importantly the ongoing best-practice sharing. As a result, the reduced sales team exceeded target by selling 3,800 tonnes annually.
Testimonial from the Sales Manager
“The contents of the workshop, “high-performance sales coaching” was highly relevant for me in the following 3 areas: Development of new management strategies, dealing effectively with conflict, introducing a sales coaching culture. Excellent work! “
How do you survive as a global tire manufacturer organisation of 50,000 + employees in very competitive EMEA market conditions, rising industrial complexity and the need to create more with less. The answer seems straightforward yet needs direction and support to turn it into reality. You have to tap into the collective Intelligence of the entire workforce by cultivating a coaching leadership style enabling managers to switch from telling to asking better questions, from push to pull.
Create a Coaching Culture to drive performance, enabling managers to understand and apply what coaching is really about. Apply Coaching to resolve business issues in better ways then before as the coaching questioning process triggers fresh ideas further down in the organisation.
In close collaboration with HR and several Coaches a pilot was designed of an initial 2-day workshop followed by 4 Action Learning Sets over 4 months. This pilot was delivered in various countries and refined. Then the initiative was rolled out over 2 years across 1,800 Managers, and finally increased to 2,400 Managers in EMEA. We kept each group size to 12 participants with 2 facilitators, introducing the Art of Performance Coaching in a pull (– not push !) style and then working intensively in 2 break-out groups with each of the 2 facilitators resolving real business issues through peer coaching.
Starting with the top level of Executive Committee Members, we drove this initiative deeper and deeper into the organisation through 4 levels. We created a paradigm shift around performance coaching. The biggest eye-opener was to practise coaching live, helping participants recognise that instead of the coaching they thought they were providing, the video feedback reflected that they were still in a “telling” mode. To anchor the habits of best practice coaching, each group went through Action Learning Sets over 4 months resolving real business issues through peer coaching, again and again. We selected cross-functional group members also to reduce the silo thinking and acting syndrome, which was a big learning curve for some people – coaching someone from another department without having to be the expert as the coach! The initiative is still ongoing with new workshop groups every year.
We raised the level of awareness of 2,400 managers to the benefits of coaching. They can now better decide when and how to use coaching; we triggered behavioural change in many direct reports as they now ask themselves first to come up with solutions to problems, instead of automatically going to the manager first to ask. By promoting that each person needs to put their thinking cap on and become a knowledge worker they tap into the collective intelligence of the organisation. That gave the managers more time to focus on strategic thinking instead of extra time spent solving problems for others. Also everyone involved had to think about taking more ownership and responsibility for problems, rather than passing them on to others.
Building a large chemical plant in China within budget and time lines, combining German and Chinese expertise, and building it bigger and faster than ever before. The large budget and importance for this project meant we were in the 1000 Watt spotlight of the board members’ attention.
To form one strong high performance team, blending the European and Asian culture together. Establishing emotional Team Intelligence and preparing the individuals to “perform in the storm” together, when, against the predefined milestones, the project falls behind expectations.
Telephone interviews before the workshops provided a deep analysis of the status quo looking for the main irritators in the project team. Delivery of 2 workshops, 3 days each, one with Europeans only to prepare for the bigger workshop with both groups from Europe and China, 40 People in total. Focusing on the vision, mission, goals and milestones, values, team and communication rules, we created clarity in all those areas. Getting the right balance between interactive teambuilding exercises and detailed project related business discussions, we ensured that everybody was engaged and interested to contribute. We used cross cultural awareness and emotional Intelligence as the fundamental drivers to develop 40 individuals to a high performance project team. The delivery style, combined fun, high energy and drive created excitement for the years ahead to the successful completion of the project.
Very positive feedback throughout and after the events, a more connected project team, appreciating their differences, being more accepting and much more focused due to the clarity created. Being equipped with tools to give more open and honest feedback and resolve conflict in a timely manner the atmosphere and team spirit of the whole group was noticeably improved.
Testimonial from the Project Leader:
“To form a powerful international team of experts from two different Business Units to build a large chemical plant in Shanghai, China, I have reached out for support from external Performance-Coaches which had been highly recommended to me by different colleagues. The challenge was to form one strong team and overcome the cultural differences between 20 German/European and 20 Chinese Project team members.
The design and delivery of two Teambuilding Workshops over 2 Quarters, each over several days in Shanghai for 40+ Members of the Project Team have been highly successful due to outstanding delivery performance. The Workshops were very well prepared regarding the definition of outcome, research and analysis of the team situation to start with. As a consequence the exercises and numerous Break-out groups were very well received by all team members. The approach was very creative, motivating and fun, yet focused and practical – relating to the real business challenges we faced out there in China. The commitment and engagement of the facilitators over exceeded my expectations, especially because of the follow-up documents provided and recommendations for the implementation of what we worked out in the sessions. I can really recommend this kind of tailored teambuilding initiatives.”
To encourage across the board commitment of approximately 500 senior managers of a global Reinsurance organisation, to embrace the value that their new standardised performance management process (PMP) would bring to the organisation, different from the existing PMP and supporting online systems which many considered a burden.
Initiate a paradigm shift in the global senior leadership, from resistance to commitment supporting the implementation of the PMP to improve business results. Setting high performance goals with direct reports and clarifying expectations; and install a performance-centred leadership style and a performance and coaching culture.
After thorough analysis, we designed a workshop that developed performance coaching in alignment with the company strategy and matching the desired company culture. A 2-day programme for 500 participants was designed, to improve listening and questioning skills, recognizing non-verbal signals.
Coaching employees who have business problems without actually taking the problem away from them as a senior leader was delivered as a pilot in the US and Germany. This was then fine tuned before being rolled out globally in the US, Germany, France, Italy, UK, Australia, Singapore, Tokyo, South Africa and Mexico. 33 workshops took place in just 2 months, with groups of 15 led by 1 facilitator.
The worldwide roll out helped to unlock individuals’ potential across the organisation because of the improved business performance process and a new performance-centred leadership style. There was an observable behaviour change – the start of a coaching culture in the firm. Based on the more in-depth performance dialogue between leaders and direct reports, both parties better understood their own attitudes, development strengths and needs. A bi-product of this intensive 2-day programme was that senior managers learned a great deal about themselves, their interpersonal skills and were given direct feedback from colleagues in a confidential and risk-free environment.
To develop the Middle Management and High Potentials of a global pharmaceutical corporation in times of operational pressure.
Creating a customized High Potential Development programme, which improves the knowledge, skills and attitude of selected individuals from middle management based in Germany. The programme needed to be very practical, covering problem-solving of real business issues. Creating a much more connected and reciprocal community of the selected 36 participants across departments.
We used our success proven 7 stage approach:
1) Analysis by interviewing 30% of the target group to find out needs and expectations, as well as hidden issues that needed to be dealt with.
2) Design of customized content for 5 Modules spreading over 18 Months, with Action Learning Sets in between each module.
3) Development and production of company branded programme materials.
4) Delivery of the 5 modules over 18 months, working with 36 participants, 3 groups of 12 in German language. The 5 modules were designed as a development journey from “the inner to the outer game”, starting with mindset change and ending with skill set improvement.
5) Additionally we divided the 36 in 6 smaller groups to meet for 5 Action Learning Sets to take place in between each module. These are 4-hour sessions with 6 people to discuss real business related challenges and come up with creative solutions through peer coaching.
6) Evaluation of the experience for the participants and of the impact on business performance.
7) Development and production of Follow-up Material to sustain the learning, on- and offline.
For each Action Learning Set we mixed different group members to increase the networking and connections of all participants across departments.
As a Follow-up process the company introduced a tailor-made 360° Tool, which all participants completed with a personal development plan as an outcome
The feedback from participants was so positive that the company decided to launch an additional cycle of the programme in English for a global group of 10 participants, from Austria, Italy, Japan, the US, and Switzerland. At the kick-off event all 4 groups were invited together with top management and board members to create high-level recognition and to reconnect with the strong vision for the company’s future.
The behaviour of the participants was improved in many areas such as self motivation, challenging limiting beliefs, taking more self-responsibility (= inner game), effective communication, excellent presentation skills and High Performance Coaching (= outer game).
Testimonial from a participating Marketing and Sales Manager
“I was impressed by the fact that in our Action Learning Sets we discussed detailed business challenges in a circle of cross functional participants. (like marketing, finance, procurement, sales, laboratory research, production) Colleagues from other parts of the organisation, that never before were faced with the specific problems I presented very quickly contributed valuable suggestions in our intense Action Learning discussions to resolve my issues. In many cases I applied those solutions already the next day, which was a great help!”