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

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

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

LSA always helps us provide the right sales, management, and leadership programs at the right time to meet the unique needs of both individuals and departments. I especially appreciate their ability to deeply understand our business and our culture so that they can recommend the appropriate solutions.

Sarah Parks
Senior Project Manager

Hyperion

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

You have become our premier change leadership strategic partner. Your expertise in the human side of change is unparalleled and enabled our company to successfully implement our ERP Solution under challenging and ever-changing circumstances.

Ted Ramlet
CIO & SVP

McKesson

LSA is an instrumental training outsourcing partner in helping us to build management capacity and strategically invest in our people. Their flexibility, depth, and breadth of expertise allows us to deliver top quality solutions that are directly tied to key business plans. Their ability to custom design, deliver, and evaluate our Management Curriculum has been excellent. They are true business partners and a pleasure to work with.

Margaret M. Mader
Vice President, Human Resources

Hyperion

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

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 selected LSA Global over 5 other companies to help our key executives improve their overall communication and executive presentation capabilities. LSA exceeded our expectations.  I highly recommend LSA to any executive team looking to better organize and more effectively deliver key executive-level messages when the stakes are high.

Todd Power
Office of the CEO

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

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

The quality of LSA’s Leadership Training Programs and facilitators is always top notch. We recognize and appreciate the hard work LSA always goes through to align to our unique culture and meet our specific requirements. Thank you for regularly going above and beyond. Your support and dedication, both on the strategic and tactical side, have been outstanding!

Anna Meyer
Leadership Development

Intuit

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

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

Having tripled in size and recently merged, LSA helped our executive team to increase our level of strategic alignment, to solidify our new direction, and to push our agency forward. As we look to rapidly scale, the clear, actionable, and critical few strategic moves combined with how we differentiate ourselves to our top accounts and target clients has really set us on a great path to success. This is exactly what we needed to get to the next level.

Matt Britton
CEO

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