Senior Team Alignment & Strategy Execution: Financial Services

Aligning Executives to Drive Development and Strategy at a Financial Services Firm

Client Case Study

Situation
This global real estate and financial services company with over $1B in annual revenues was formed by a merger of a North American firm and a European/Asian firm. The North American part of the firm had grown rapidly via five strategic acquisitions and went public.  The firm needed to improve its organic growth rate and operating systems to compete.

Complications

  • Integration: When we began working with the North American division, it was struggling to integrate its new businesses and capitalize on cross-business growth opportunities.
  • Silos: Senior leaders and their organizations operated almost wholly independently in silos which inhibited customer success.

Approach
The COO of the North American division recognized that major changes were necessary in the organization. He engaged us to gain alignment at the Senior Team level with the conviction that the rest of the organization could not get aligned and work effectively together until the senior leaders did the same.

During the company’s Senior Team Alignment Process, we helped the Senior Team become a more unified group, by:

  • Creating clear norms and values
  • Developing a consistent strategic view of the business and its future using a Strategic Business Framework to gain strategic alignment.
  • Examining what stood in the way of achieving the objectives described on the Framework.

After identifying the six most compelling challenges, the Senior Team selected a group of 48 high-performance, high-potential leaders in the business to study the issues and develop solutions. Working with us, the company then launched a custom Performance Leadership program to provide the cross-functional project teams with a structure and process to facilitate the successful completion of the project work

  • The teams worked for 100 days on their projects, aided by the support of a Senior Team sponsor and a coach.
  • Check-ins along the way ensured consistent feedback from members of the Senior Team as well as the other project teams.
  • The Performance Leadership programs concluded with each team proposing final recommendations and clear implementation plans to the Senior Team, followed by real-time yes/no decisions on each recommendation.

During the Performance Leadership program, each project team member had the opportunity to work on his/her leadership behaviors, receiving coaching and feedback from his sponsor, coach and other teammates. Each team member also had the chance to try new roles and learn about other parts of the business, in effect joining the Senior Team in the strategic decision-making process. And, of course, the projects themselves yielded tangible, bottom-line results for the company.

Results

  • $30m NPV: The “Corporate Solutions” team’s recommendations yielded the greatest results. All the business lines have increased their focus on prospective multi-service companies. One large client opportunity was a direct result of this focus.

    On an NPV basis, this win by itself was worth $30 million to the firm. In the first year, three additional assignments were won as a result of this project, generating $5 million in revenue and $1.5 million in profit in the first 12 months.

  • Decreased Average DSO by 25%: Based on the recommendations of the “Economic Profit” team, the company instituted strict rules relative to receivables. Within six months, the company’s receivables were reduced from 72 average days sales outstanding to 54 – resulting in reduced borrowing costs and interest savings of $700,000 annually.

    In addition, the company restructured contracts in order to receive reimbursed payroll up-front, saving the carrying charge that they had incurred in the past. For one large client alone, the company saved $200,000 annually in working capital costs.

  • Increased Profitability: The “Client Profitability” team’s recommendations focused on improving the profitability of clients. Key outcomes from this project included a new fee structure for low profit accounts and a re-prioritization of support for high profit accounts. These changes have resulted in increased client profitability and new business.
  • Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For: The “Attract and Retain” team recommended changes that promise to increase employee satisfaction scores and reduce voluntary turnover over the next three years. The company saw improvements in both areas in the first 12 months of implementation.

    Via the team’s efforts, and after several years of sustained work on the initiative, the company also achieved its long-term objective: earning a spot in Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For.

Related Information

The LSA customized Organizational Alignment Survey gave us a comprehensive view of how our employees experience our culture, talent, and strategy.

The systemic approach provided us with a great forum to discuss the strengths and opportunities in our organization, and then to quickly get focused on the key actions critical to executing our business and people strategies.

Mark Forrest
General Manager, FSM Division

Trimble

LSA’s executive coach based his approach on understanding our business circumstances and strategy, as well as our leadership aspirations. The customized coaching covered all aspects of leadership; it was not simply a touchy-feely endeavor.

In fact, the focus on clear business outcomes and real life circumstances challenged me as a senior leader to develop my thinking and actions related to leading the business.”

Janet Pagano
Managing Director

Ovid

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

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

As a high growth 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

LSA has a very unique and powerful methodology regarding learning. Their ability to overcome skepticism, obtain executive support, and create an aligned learning strategy that provides measurable business impact is second to none.

They understand your goals, flex to your needs, and solve problems. They certainly help make my job easier and are a pleasure to work with.

I highly recommend LSA to anyone trying to connect the dots between strategy, skills, knowledge, and results.

Noelle Van Vlierbergen
Human Resources Director

AKQA

This was an extremely effective executive strategy session that helped our executive leadership team efficiently navigate through our core strategic objectives. It was exactly what we needed.  The approach was practical and valuable for our specific business and market.

I recommend LSA to anyone looking to push their strategic planning, thinking, and growth to the next level.

Blake Krikorian
CEO

LSA’s action-learning leadership approach 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

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

I can’t emphasize enough what a huge shift you helped to create for us as an organization. Thanks again for your change management consulting help and guidance.

The clarity, practicality, focus, and accountability are exactly what we needed to make this strategy and major transformation a success from a hearts and minds perspective.

Cris Alvarez
VP Corporate Strategy

LSA Global Cambridge Investment Research Financial Services Client

We recently hired LSA to help us take our client delivery methodology to the next level as we continue to grow and help our clients succeed.

The custom strategy and design session exceeded our expectations. They really understood our business and delivered within tight time frames. They were the best I have seen for this type of complex, visible, and strategic work.

LSA’s ability to get a group of 20+ executives from around the globe on the same page, push their thinking to new heights, and ensure an executable plan was excellent.

I would recommend LSA to anyone looking to take their strategy and strategic execution to the next level.

Rob Sturgeon
EVP Client Delivery

Service Source

LSA Global really shifted our perspective about strategic clarity and organizational culture.

The 3 C’s approach to workplace culture is very practical and really helps  executive teams – even skeptical ones – ensure that your culture is healthy, high performing, and aligned.

Amy Cappellanti-Wolf
Chief Human Resources Officer

symantec logo LSA Global

LSA helped us to create the strategic clarity and alignment we needed for our team to thrive.

The practical, no-nonsense, and outcome-oriented approach really helped us all get on the same page and set us up to be a high performing leadership team to focus on what matters most.

Michael Carter
VP Human Resources

Samsung

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. Thank you LSA!

Matt Britton
CEO

LSA was very thorough during all phases of our customer service strategy process.  Their time spent with management and our employees went very well.

LSA’s insights were very powerful, and their suggestions for the future were very valuable.

I can’t think of any phase of the process that wasn’t first class.

John Lynch
CEO & President

ESCI

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