Leaders Driving Change
Aligning Diverse Viewpoints toward a Common Goal
Major business transformation requires visible leadership. The sheer diversity of people and priorities involved in most corporate change calls for strong and consistent messaging from leadership around the ultimate vision of the change. Even teams with the best intentions can derail a project through a lack of alignment in priorities and direction.
Leaders as guides
Our client encountered this common challenge as it formed a cross-functional team responsible for implementing a new enterprise software platform on a global scale. The team of 500 members, including internal executives and partner representatives, was charged with delivering industry-leading capabilities to the company under the intense pressure of aggressive deadlines. Expressworks was brought in to help the team work together as quickly and effectively as possible. This meant galvanizing the strong leadership base to a common goal and direction.
Leaders as collaborators
Hampered by clashing cultures of the client, software provider, integrator and end-user community, the implementation was misaligned from the start. Expressworks stepped in to get the initiative back on track, starting with a two-day off-site intensive workshop with the 35 top leaders of the team. The meetings included a session where every organizational leader was asked to define what they needed for the program to succeed, and then share those requirements with every other leader in a “speed-dating” format. The leaders left the meeting with a common understanding of what success looked like, and how they needed to work together to reach their goals. The next challenge was to cascade this alignment and focus throughout the rest of the program team.
Leaders as support
With the visible support of the initial leadership, Expressworks consultants ran similar workshops with each of the organizational teams over the next four months. The culminating event was a 3-day all-hands meeting of more than 450 members of the implementation team. A large component of the workshop was a cross-functional simulation exercise where groups were presented with challenges and asked to solve them as a team. The results were creative and inspired, and several of the ideas were implemented immediately by “Challenge Action Teams” when the groups returned to work. Over time, Expressworks led follow-up workshops and ongoing communications to revisit project goals and develop new capabilities and behaviors.
Leaders as sponsors
Expressworks was able to help these disparate teams find common ground and create a shared commitment to success. On a more practical level, the workshops and follow-up activities gave individuals the information, contacts and systemized plan they needed to execute on time. The massive effort succeeded not only in meeting the daunting timeline for the software rollout, but in forming a leadership team with the strong collaboration and group leadership skills to execute under pressure.
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