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

LSA Global has been a great partner in helping us move toward being “the leading developer of talent in the service performance management industry.” I have engaged LSA to help develop best-in-class programs in the areas of: Executive On-boarding, Manager Training, Sales Training, Employee Engagement and Instructional Design. They have consistently met or exceeded my (very) high expectations and are always responsive to my needs.

Mike Normant
Senior Director, Training & Development

Service Source

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.

Lisa Bruun
SVP Human Resources

Ellie Mae

We have had a very beneficial partnership with LSA. Their recent Leadership Development Program helped us to identify, develop, and retain top leaders. It was instrumental in helping take our company and our key people to the next level. I would recommend them to anyone looking to truly develop and retain top talent.

Steve Janowsky
Vice President of Operations

Proxicom

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.

Gloria Veon
Senior Vice President, Human Resources

Fujitsu

LSA is an excellent training outsource partner! They listen to our needs, are responsive and work at a pace that keeps up with ours. We have found LSA to bring strategic and innovative solutions to meet our business problems by partnering effectively with our staff. I consider them to be an external extension of our team.

Wendy Chinn
Sr. Director, Global Sales Enablement

Over the years, both at 3Com and now at Redback, I’ve found LSA Global to be a valuable partner. The recent management programs that they delivered for Redback’s executive and management teams was the right solution, of the highest of quality, and customized to fit our unique business and culture. I would highly recommend LSA to any company looking for top quality solutions.

Gina Fulton
Vice President of Human Resources

LSA helped us design and deliver a blended learning solution for our leaders to help drive our growth plans in a way that aligned with our specific culture and values. LSA understood our business, had deep expertise in the content areas, tailored the programs to fit our specific needs, and delivered great results. They constantly strive to deliver business impact and align their solutions with our business initiates, culture, and performance management systems. I highly recommend them to anyone looking to take their leaders to the next level.”

Beth A. Taylor
Vice President of Human Resources

Thoratec

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

Sally Buchannan
VP Human Resources

LSA helped us with leadership development by designing a solution to match our unique needs and culture. It was such a huge success and received rave reviews. I would highly recommend LSA to help take leaders and managers to the next level.

Karen King, SPHR
Manager, Human Resources

Alliance Data

The customized leadership styles and coaching program was the best training that I have ever attended. The facilitators were phenomenal. They have a wealth of experience and knowledge coupled with compassionate and caring styles. I’d highly recommend this leadership training program to any manager, director, or executive looking for a life changing leadership program.

Shoaleh Ghaffari
Director, HR

Cutera

We value our relationship with LSA Global. They focus on understanding our business situation and helping us succeed. LSA continues to deliver top quality consulting and leadership solutions that are highly customized for our business and culture. I would highly recommend LSA Global as a top quality resource to anyone looking to greatly improve the skills of their leadership, management, and project teams.

Bonnie S. Olson
Vice President of Human Resources

LSS

The action-learning leadership project has been very beneficial to me, our leadership team, and the entire organization. The balance of development and results has been excellent. We have made huge progress, and I was also able to identify 2-3 high potentials while having the extra benefit of people stepping up to carry key strategic projects forward. The experience was better than anticipated.  I could not be more pleased.

Heather Feltman
President & CEO

LSS

As a high growth digital marketing agency with cutting edge talent, we hired LSA Global to help clarify our strategy and work with our executive leadership team to help implement strategic changes in a way that made sense for our unique culture. The work was so successful that we also hired them to coach our key leaders. LSA has been instrumental in helping us transition to a new leadership team and triple revenue. In this age of useless consultants, I highly recommend their practical and business-oriented approach to strategy, culture, and talent.

David Bentley
General Manager

AKQA

After a difficult search to find a partner that could address a very specific leadership development need, we chose LSA Global. They were responsive to our needs and created a solution that we continue to see results from. It is nice to know we have access to their expertise with a simple phone call.

Valerie Blackburn
Director of Business Operations

I continue to be impressed by the level of depth and breadth of expertise, leadership development, and management development that LSA has to offer. What a smart and client-centric group of great people who really know how to help leaders attract, engage, develop and retain top talent.

Tracy Esposito
Director, HR Business Partner

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