Case Studies

  • Services

    Business Challenge

    Action

    Results

    Business Challenge

    A $4 billion financial services, healthcare conglomerate wants to double the earnings of one of its’ largest divisions within five years. The company is the market leader in this business area, which challenges the aggressive growth strategy. The company wanted to optimize their sales and service division to increase revenue, lower costs, and improve employee morale.

    Action

    This problem was addressed holistically, taking the following integrated actions:

    • Coach President and all senior executives.

    • Assess Operations: Interview executives, employees, and customers, to measure corporate climate and diagram current state marketing and sales workflows. Identify/quantify performance gaps and change issues.

    • Design Desired Future State: Eliminate non-value added work and with it cost, delays, errors, and complexity.

    • Agree to measurable improvement targets with new workflows, organization structure, and job designs.

    • Coach all executives.

    • Design and implement corporate values.

    • Develop recognition and performance review programs.

    • Develop regular all-employee Townhall meetings led by the President.

    Result

    • Increased revenue by (1) adding new customers through targeted market segmentation and (2) increasing account renewals through performance management and measurement of sales process milestones.

    • Reduced costs by $4.7 million/year by eliminating non-value added activities.

    • Improved employee morale by (1) improving leadership effectiveness, (2) greater employee involvement, (3) clarifying job and performance requirements, (4) designing enriching jobs providing personal and professional growth and training and development opportunities, and (5) recognition programs.

  • Technology - New Product Development

    Business Challenge

    Action

    Results

    Business Challenge

    A Fortune 500 high-tech company wants to improve its product development process and decrease cycle time to be a first to market, innovative, quality product developer.  Departments within the company were siloed reducing time to market, collaboration, innovation and morale.

    Action

    This problem was addressed holistically, taking the following integrated actions:

    • Assess Operations: Interview executives, engineers, human resources. Perform facilitated process mapping sessions.  Assess strategy, human resource designs, and morale.

    • Perform Executive Coaching and act as a key advisor to the President and Product Development Process Owner.

    • Design Desired Future State:

    1. Collaboratively redesign the product development process including stage gates and performance process metrics and rubrics

    2. Design a risk-reward product and project selection process to cut current products/projects and reprioritize and balance strategically aligned products/projects.

    3. Establish a strategy to better research and understand the external environment.

    4. Reorganize the engineering department.

    5. Facilitate competency models and job designs.

    6. Facilitate the identification of support technologies and tools.

    7. Develop a framework to balance amiable culture with an innovative, learning organization.

    8. Teach and facilitate creative, intuitive, and innovative thinking.

    Result

    • Products and projects strategically aligned, reprioritized, or cut.

    • Reduced cycle time.

    • Increased productivity.

    • Improved leadership skills.

    • Improved morale.

    • Improved creativity and innovation.

  • Transportation

    Business Challenge

    Action

    Results

    Business Challenge

    A 150 person, transportation firm wants to grow, but lacks the necessary organizational infrastructure, work processes, and human resource systems.  Their top priorities are to increase revenue, improve safety, improve service quality, and reduce employee turnover.  

     

    The organization had:

    • An unclear strategic direction.

    • An autocratic leadership style and “command and control” culture.

    • Vertical organization structure and inefficient work processes.

    • Lack of well-defined, enriching jobs and performance standards.

    • Lack of leadership training and poor employee training.

    • Poor recruitment and staffing strategies

    • Low employee morale.

    Action

    This problem was addressed holistically, taking the following integrated actions:

    • Serve as trusted advisor and executive coach to the founder/CEO.

    • Work with the CEO and his leadership team to define the company’s mission, values, vision, strategic goals, and performance measures.

    • Assess business processes and employee satisfaction. Collaboratively define improvement recommendations.

    • Coach the leadership team using behavioral assessments and psychological coaching strategies.  Teach best practice leadership skills.

    • Redesign major work processes and enrich jobs.

    • Define leadership and employee job standards and competencies.

    • Design Human Resource Systems for staffing, training and development using the ISD model, and performance management/rewards.

    Result

    • Doubled company value in 6 months.

    • Improved employee productivity by 192%.

    • Brought clarity to company’s strategic direction for leaders and  employees.

    • Transformed culture from “Command and Control” to “Participatory and Collaborative.”

    • Improved employee satisfaction and reduced turnover.

    • Organization selected more motivated and skilled employees.

  • Manufacturing

    Business Challenge

    Action

    Results

    Business Challenge

    A world leader in titanium metal manufacturing experiences high turnover, difficulty attracting employees, and faces the possibility of being shut down because of OSHA non-compliance.  

     

    Key contributing factors include:

    • Angry employees.

    • Lack of well-defined performance standards and performance management.

    • Poor recruitment and staffing strategies.

    • Lack of leadership training.

    • Poor employee training and unsafe work practices.

    Action

    This problem was addressed holistically, taking the following integrated actions:

    • Define organizational values with senior leadership team.

    • Coach and train leaders and facilitate required culture change.

    • Integrate values into the organization through formal human resource systems and cultural interventions.

    • Design job performance standards and competencies for each job.

    • Redesign the Staffing System.

    • Redesign the Training and Development System.

    • Develop a university for the technical training of engineers, maintenance and production employees.

    • Redesign the Performance Management System.

    Result

    • OSHA recognizes this work as “The Best” framework to human performance improvement, employee satisfaction and training for OSHA compliance.  

    • Reduced turnover as employee satisfaction improved (as evidenced by periodic employee satisfaction studies).

    • Organization selected skilled and motivated employees as a result of improved staffing systems and improved reputation.

    • Leadership and employees attained the competencies to perform their jobs.

    • Organization met OSHA compliance standards.

  • Oil and Gas

    Business Challenge

    Action

    Results

    Business Challenge

    A world leader in the petrochemical industry faces the possibility of having one of its refineries shut down because of poor operational performance.  

     

    Key contributing factors include:

    • Lack of enterprise focus due to a siloed, functional organization structure.

    • Distrust of management by the union.

    • Poor people performance attributed to low morale.

    Action

    This problem was addressed holistically, taking the following integrated actions:

    • Integrate departments to achieve a cross-functional, process business focus.

    • Design cross-functional jobs to leverage skills and develop job performance standards.

    • Develop a University to train leaders, engineers, operators, and maintenance/crafts personnel.

    • Redesign the Staffing System.

    • Redesign the Training and Development System.

    • Redesign the Performance Management System.

    • Coach leaders and facilitate the required culture change.

    Result

    The refinery not only remains open but serves as a Human Performance Best Practice approach to the corporation’s other refineries because of:

    • Improved employee performance

    • Aligned corporate culture

    • Improved employee morale

Karen Storsteen M.A., M.S. | Executive Coach | Leadership Development | Managagement Consultant

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