CASE:  Leadership Excellence

Case Studies

CASE: Leadership Excellence

In today's competitive marketplace, in order to become high-performance players, employees need to possess a full range of skills. For many clients, Guttman has custom-designed programs that focus on a number of key individual and team skills.

A financial services firm

Several years ago, senior management at a Northeastern financial services firm conducted an employee-engagement survey. Responses revealed that the level below officer—directors and senior directors—was being underserved by the firm’s development programs. These individuals, the future leaders of the company, were not being prepared to take over the reins. Heeding the wake-up call, top management called in Guttman to custom-design a multifaceted capability development program for the next generation of leaders.

Guttman began by identifying the key skills needed at officer level and the areas in which directors were deficient. We then created a capability development program to close the gaps. Based on data gathered in personal interviews of officers and directors, our consultants concluded that the firm needed to focus on five capabilities: influencing, conflict management, strategic thinking, problem solving/decision making, and developing team members. We designed a comprehensive capability development program, which the company called “Leadership Excellence” and which was presented in five modules, one month apart, in which each capability was introduced; on-job application was carried out between each module and results were presented the next time participants met. In the final module, participants made presentations to senior management around compelling business issues they were beginning to solve with their new skills.

Eventually, Guttman consultants delivered the program to nearly 250 directors and senior directors over a four-year period. Six months after each five-module program, the company held focus groups with participants: Were they using the skills? Answer: Definitely. At the same time, their colleagues and supervisors were asked if participants’ behavior had changed since going through the program. Answer: Definitely. The same questions were asked of both groups one year later and the same responses were received. Participants gave the program the highest rating of all those ever run by the firm; there was a year-long waiting list to attend; and at least one to two participants in each program were promoted within a year after attending.

Designed & developed by Greenfield/Belser Ltd.