From Worst to First:
Rapid Change in a Professional Services Division
The Value of Individual and Team Executive Development
A new leader had just taken over as head of a Professional Services Division in a Fortune 100 company. He found a situation in which morale was low and in-fighting and conflict were high.
He brought in Turknett Leadership Group as a partner shortly after taking the position. By engaging the senior executive team in both individual executive development and group development, and formally assessing the organizational functioning before and after the engagement, major improvement was detected as the company moved from “worst to first.”
Initial Organizational Assessment:
The Turknett Organizational Profile (TOP) was used to get baseline data on how the organization was functioning. The assessment was completed by all department employees shortly after the engagement began. Results were poor. Scores were below the norm on 24 of the 31 scales, and more than one standard deviation below the mean on 17 of the scales. Employees saw the level of trust as very low and the atmosphere as politically charged. Morale was low, leadership was seen as poor, employees were characterized as unmotivated, and the organization was seen as bureaucratic and ineffective. View graph.
Initial Engagement – Work with the Senior Team:
Work with the division began by enrolling the leader and his direct reports (all department heads) in the Executive Development Program. Each team member completed a number of assessments, including a rating by coworkers. The results gave each individual a clear look at his or her strengths and weaknesses, and the coaching helped each member leverage strengths and address areas for improvement. Management practices and team relationships began to improve, but there was still serious conflict within the team. After several months of individual work, all team members and others on the staff were interviewed in preparation for the first of a series of off-site sessions focused on developing the senior team. During these meetings team members assessed their ability to work together, aired issues that were getting in the way, and worked on ground rules for working together effectively.
Leadership Development Throughout the Organization:
The leadership team believed that in a professional, knowledge-based organization each employee needed to play a leadership role, regardless of whether they had managerial responsibility. To this end, a leadership development program was offered to all professional employees. Work with Turknett continued with each member of the senior team, individually and in group settings.
Follow-up Organizational Assessment:
The Organizational Effectiveness Assessment was repeated one year and two years after work with the division was begun. Within one year there was dramatic improvement. Within two years the organization had moved from “worst to first,” from being one of the most dysfunctional organizations tested to one that employees saw as a model organization and an excellent place to work. Scores were two standard deviations above the mean on 29 of the 31 scales, and at least one standard deviation above the mean on all scales. The group continued to improve. Quality as measured by professional standards improved dramatically, and the division became a benchmark for their industry. View graph.