Action Learning Leadership Development: Telecom

Using Action Learning to Develop Technology Leaders in a Growing Telecom Company

Client Case Study

Situation

This regional Telecom Company developed a new market strategy and began the transition from a utility to a high-tech, communication service organization.  In preparation for this strategic shift, IT leaders wanted to prepare their mid-level managers to take on a leading role in executing a new strategy that would double the size of the company and put it on a national scale.

The goal for this initiative was to provide mid-level IT managers with executive management skills, greater leadership perspective, and core capabilities needed to take on critical new responsibilities, change initiatives, and new technologies. Specific goals for emerging leaders included:

  • Managing technology expansion programs with high levels of efficiency, effectiveness, and quality in a cost effective manner.
  • Identifying non-IT opportunities that impact the company’s bottom line and increase managers’ enterprise-wide understanding.
  • Balancing strategy execution with tactical challenges.
  • Communicating IT’s value proposition at all levels and roles within the organization.

Complications

  • Change: Managers had little reason to change the way they worked for a very long time; now they needed to innovate and drive value.
  • Learning Expectations: Participants were only used to traditional training with little accountability to learn. Now they would be on the hook to not only apply their learning, but also to produce tangible business impact.
  • Relevance: Provide a learning experience that was relevant to participants’ current and future roles within the company.
  • Executive Sponsorship: Get significant levels of senior executives’ participation to link action learning experiences to current and future IT initiatives.
  • Risk-Taking: The company’s hierarchical organization structure discouraged mid-level managers from taking risks and innovating.  This made it difficult to balance IT innovation with the rest of the company’s desire for IT to remain consistent and conservative.

Approach

The program combined traditional executive and leadership development approaches with an action learning format. Once a month for 4-hours, we provided targeted training on topics such as communication skills, problem solving, conflict management, motivating employees, risk management, and others. For the remainder of that day, and in between sessions, participants worked in cross-functional teams, with a goal of providing a significant contribution to the company’s bottom line or competitive position.

Teams progressed through the phases of a major project while they received just-in-time training, coaching, mentoring, and the tools necessary to succeed. Four teams of 4 participants went through the following steps over a twelve-month timeframe:

  1. Identify opportunities to either drive new revenue or decrease operational costs.
  2. Select one high potential opportunity and create a business case to present to senior executives for implementation approval.
  3. Lead the project implementation, engaging and influencing targeted areas within the company.
  4. Measure results from the project.

During the course of the project, each team received the following just-in-time support:

  • An executive mentor who provided knowledge and input on project focus, company politics, and how to keep on track.
  • A shared Executive Sponsor, the Chief Technology Officer, who met with teams between sessions to provide strategic guidance.
  • A senior operations manager who helped provide subject matter expertise to the program, the facilitators, and the teams.

Results
In twelve to twenty four months:

  • $150,000 in bottom line impact was realized in Year 1
  • $500,000 in bottom line impact was realized in Year 2
  • 25% of participants were promoted immediately following the program as a result of their performance and executive visibility.
  • 12.5% of participants made lateral moves as a result of interest, performance, and new relationships with non-IT executives.
  • The development of new critical processes and identification of marketing opportunities.

Related Information

The customized leadership program was very practical and achieved our goals. LSA adapted very well to our group and the situation and helped us build trust and awareness of successful leadership styles. We look forward to the next steps.

Erik Okholm
Director of Software Development

Thank you so much for being the right person with the right experience and expertise to lead our Executive Team in re-examining our approach to change leadership.

I’m grateful for how you engaged and challenged us with so many “holy crap!” insights and realizations that we needed.

Jeff Nally
Chief Coaching Officer & CHRO

coachsource logo LSA Global

Great job in designing the Mergers and Acquisition strategy session for our global leadership team. The session was excellent.

I gained additional insight on the importance of the role of HR regarding strategy, culture, and people in Mergers and Acquisitions and would recommend LSA to anyone looking to align strategies and cultures.

Gloria Veon
Senior Vice President, Human Resources

Fujitsu

We turned to LSA to help us custom design and deliver a management development solution to help drive performance. They have done an excellent job diagnosing the business situation, designing a leadership approach that fits our culture, and delivering a first class solution with the support systems necessary to make a real difference.

I recommend LSA Global to anyone looking for real results.

Sally Buchannan
VP Human Resources

LSA consistently delivers for me and my team.  Recently they demonstrated the criticality for executives to look beyond current ethics topics and focus on applying fundamental values in everything they do to demonstrate true leadership. They successfully delivered in two hours what most leadership development facilitators would spend an entire day trying to communicate.

Nick Voyvodich, SPHR
HR Manager

Fujitsu

We consider LSA Global the top outsourced learning and development partner.

We work closely with LSA to customize leadership and management development programs to meet our growing business needs.

I would highly recommend LSA to any company wanting to deliver high quality and practical learning solutions for their leaders and managers.

Terri Wright-Scheer
Vice President Human Resources

LSA helped us with leadership development by designing a solution to match our unique needs and culture.

It was a huge success. I would highly recommend LSA to help take leaders and managers to the next level.

Karen King, SPHR
Manager, Human Resources

Alliance Data

Thank you to LSA Global for their partnership and support in helping us to design and roll-out highly needed and valuable leadership and management development programs that fit our unique situation.

I personally have partnered with LSA Global at four of my previous companies. It continues to be a delight.

We look forward to partnering with them for a long time to develop our managers and leaders.

Suzanne Kinner
VP Human Resources

Blackhawk Network

Thank you for a great leadership development session today. The facilitator was brilliant.  The team got a lot out of it (as did I).

I believe it will help us create an even higher performance culture by ensuring we have a common understanding of how to create higher performance and work toward clear and common strategic goals.

Simon Jefferson
Managing Director

AKQA

LSA has been a tremendous asset at my current company and my past company.

As an HR leader, I am always looking for ways to find external resources that can provide impactful leadership and management development expertise. LSA consistently does that for me.

The tools and practices are crisp, business relevant, and easy to apply on the job.

Ken Boehm
VP of Human Resources

We contacted LSA to help us design and deliver customized management development programs. LSA worked with us to meet our exact needs. We started at the top with our executive team.  It was such a great success that we rolled it out company-wide. We look forward to a long-term partnership with LSA Global and their team of experts.

Barry L. Byrd, SPHR
Human Resources Manager

We partnered with LSA Global to help us invest in our people. LSA custom designed an impactful management curriculum to help upskill our key managers and leaders.

We consider LSA to be our trusted learning and development partner and a valued extension of our team as we rapidly scale.  Thank you LSA!

Lisa Bruun
SVP Human Resources

Ellie Mae

LSA has a tremendous ability to distil complex, multilayered challenges into meaningful, impactful, and clear strategies and action plans.

The time we invested as a leadership team to get aligned was well spent in gaining laser focus and identifying ways to prioritize what was meaningful individually and as a team. The facilitation and leadership style was direct, firm, and compassionate.

LSA provided the high level thinking and support for our team to co-create in a rapidly scaling business.

Bindu Garapaty, PsyD
VP, Talent and Inclusion, Diversity, & Equity

LSA’s approach and ability to bring the right leadership and management expertise and approach to eBay has been a great asset.

They really focus on helping us succeed in any way they can and definitely lifted up our leadership and management development capabilities.

Mike Normant
Learning & Development

ebay

We turned to LSA to help us custom design and deliver a action leadership and management development curriculum to help drive performance across the company.

They have done an excellent job diagnosing the business situation, designing an approach that fits our unique culture, and delivering first class solutions.  Thank you!

Sally Buchannan
VP Human Resources

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