Board Succession Review: CEO Succession

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Case Study: Board Succession Review: CEO Succession

Client

  • ASX listed company
  • A highly volatile sector undergoing transformative change
  • A board keen to ensure smooth transition 18 months ahead of departure of the successful current CEO
  • Board and CEO concern about the retention of current contenders

Presenting issues

Board faced with potentially 3 internal candidates, one regarded as safe pair of hands and 2 regarded as a stretch but with significant career upside. Concern that CEO attributes will have to be profoundly different for any new appointment providing strong justification for going outside to bring in a transformative thinker. However this strategy may result in retention risks for current highly valued contenders.

The consulting brief

The consulting brief included working with the chair, selected board members and CEO to build the profile of a ‘fit for future’ CEO. The formalised profile was intended for use as the benchmark to run a succession review process with the current contenders which involved using a 360 style referencing process. The 2 outputs from this process included individual development reports with clear development strategies and a consolidated succession review for the board providing a ‘state of CEO succession’ picture.

Deliverables

  • Development and board sign off of a ‘fit for future’ CEO candidate profile
  • Review of all contenders against the agreed profile (a couple of others in the top team were included in the process) resulting in individual development reports
  • One on one formal debrief of contenders and agreeing development priorities
  • Preparation of individual development plans with recommendations on how those with CEO potential can be fast tracked to meet 18 month succession time frame, and getting CEO buy in for his implementation of those plans
  • CEO Succession report for Board including presentation to Board

Developing a ‘Fit for Purpose’ Talent Strategy

New growth strategy launched, requiring a profoundly different competitive response to market and client opportunities. Read more...

Case Study: Developing a ‘Fit for Purpose’ Talent Strategy

Client

  • Large publicly listed Financial Services Organisation
  • A highly competitive landscape with many new entrants and resulting high retention risks
  • Sydney head office with representation globally

Presenting issues

New growth strategy launched, requiring a profoundly different competitive response to market and client opportunities. No clear or shared view about the talent required to deliver on growth ambitions. No systematic approach to dealing with the organisational barriers that stood in the way of a strong talent/development culture emerging.

The consulting brief

The brief was to develop a coherent talent strategy that reflected the new growth strategy. This involved working with the top team to identify not only the nature of talent required into the future, but also identify the ‘cultural’ conditions necessary for talent to thrive and stay engaged.

Deliverables

  • A coherent Talent Strategy successfully executed through high levels of clarity, consistency and commitment from the top team.
  • A set of Group Guiding Principles that helped clearly define what was ‘tight and loose’ to create optimal flexibility for businesses operating in a decentralized organisational structure
  • A gap analysis which included reviewing current practices through developing a series of hypotheses about how leaders were currently being developed and how talent was currently being surfaced in the organisation, and testing these hypotheses via data based evidence
  • A robust review of the definition of potential/talent to ensure a shared view across the BUs, and one that was aligned to the organisation’s growth imperatives. This included a review of all talent pipelines to ensure sustainable solutions
  • A consistent assessment methodology and framework for the systematic identification of talent. This included reviewing the use of assessment providers across all BUs, and bringing about a common approach across the Group. The use of executive coaches was also included in this brief, requiring the design of accreditation guidelines that would be used in selecting appropriate executive coaches
  • A stakeholder engagement plan which included ‘Talent Master Classes’ as part of skill building for the business embedded HR partners
  • Replacing the current succession planning process with a growth aligned approach led by the CEO covering all business critical roles. The approach developed was better able to deal with the risks associated with under-developed successors and over-promoted derailment risks
  • Design of a workshop to improve the feedback skills of the senior executives – this was identified through the project as a key barrier to a strong development culture emerging
  • A risk management framework that dealt comprehensively with all manner of risk including portfolio risk, vacancy risk, retention risk, readiness risk, and transition risk
  • Developing lead and lag measures of success (in the form of a Talent Scorecard) in order to track progress in implementing the Talent Strategy
  • Advice in setting up a Talent Council to ensure an on going leader-led approach to talent management
  • On-going advice (on a retained basis) on the People Day process conducted twice a year and led by the CEO through providing objective external calibration

Developing a Diversity Strategy & Implementation Plan

CEO drives re-formulation of the Diversity Council with him as Chair to effect greater momentum in the Bank's progress with diversity. Read more...

Case Study: Developing a Diversity Strategy & Implementation Plan

Client

  • Global Bank
  • New Growth strategy
  • New Branding strategy

Presenting issues

CEO drives re-formulation of the Diversity Council with him as Chair to effect greater momentum in the Bank’s progress with Diversity.

A stable/long serving top team, requiring some profoundly different thinking on Diversity. Many progressive Diversity Programs implemented (e.g. flexible work arrangements, child care provisions, career support) but with relatively low take up by employees.

The consulting brief

The brief was to assist the organisation in re-positing the focus on diversity, help steer a different type of dialogue at the Diversity Council about the broader challenge of building an inclusive culture; developing and executing a clear and compelling Diversity & Inclusion Strategy linked with the new Global Branding.

Deliverables

  • A clearly articulated Diversity & Inclusion strategy linked to the Bank’s new Growth Strategy and Corporate Branding
  • Facilitating the newly constituted Diversity & Inclusion Council through an educative process to ensure a deeper understanding of what global companies are doing in the area of diversity & inclusion and to help identify the barriers to change – a ‘unfreezing the thinking’ exercise
  • A Diversity & Inclusion Development Program that uses profoundly different learning methods to help shift mindsets of line leaders and to drive more sustainable organisational change through a focus on the culture of inclusion rather than equality
  • A burning platform for change worked on collaboratively with the senior leaders (which included testing a range of hypotheses with company data to get a more accurate picture of how inclusive the Bank culture was)
  • Undertaking a review of People Policies to ensure better alignment with the intent of the newly developed Diversity & Inclusion Strategy
  • A set of lead and lag measures as part of a Diversity scorecard
  • Running Diversity and Inclusion Master Class for the HR community in their role in the line as change agents

Identifying the Next Generation Leaders

The lack of quality shown on the succession plates. Read more...

Case Study: Identifying the Next Generation Leaders

Client

  • Global Services Company headquartered in London
  • A highly competitive landscape with significant sector consolidation
  • A history of under-developed successors for key roles
  • Running significant retention risks with senior talent

Presenting issues

Board concerned about CEO and Regional MD succession. Although having had a talent review process for some years, the CEO was concerned about the lack quality evidenced on the succession slates. Concern also that there was not a shared view of the talent required to meet the growth challenges of the future. Past talent management and succession planning processes were not ‘future focused’ i.e. aligned with the core competencies required to compete in the future

The consulting brief

The consulting brief included developing a process to identify the ‘next generation leaders’ for the organisation. This commenced with a facilitated, structured process with the top team, including an exercise to translate growth aspirations (to double their revenue in 2010 and retain number one or number 2 in chosen markets) into the desired business culture and the nature of leadership that this implied. A succession report that comprised recommendations for creating and strengthening the ‘warm’ bench of successors, organisational design recommendations and the collective and individual development effort required for business critical succession.

Deliverables

  • Calibration of the internal talent review process to ensure it was better able to deliver required succession outcomes
  • The design and delivery of a Development Centre through which all nominated ‘next generation leaders’ were put through and which was ‘future focused’
  • One-on-one feedback sessions, following the running of the Development Centre, using the Support-Challenge model of feedback
  • Tailored development plans to fast track those identified with longer term CEO and Regional MD potential
  • Development recommendations to invest in those that had not and will not make the transition to leader but will continue as functional specialists making an important contribution to the organisation
  • Advice on the buy-build mix
  • A succession report for Board presentation

Applying a transformational approach to existing diversity awareness training for managers

Newly appointed CEO quickly identifies that the diversity awareness training that all new employees and line managers are put through is more focused on achieving compliance and good corporate citizenship. Read more...

Case Study: Applying a transformational approach to existing diversity awareness training for line leaders

Client

  • US Based Professional Services Company
  • New CEO
  • New growth strategy

Presenting issues

Newly appointed CEO quickly identifies that the diversity awareness training that all new employees and line managers are put through is more focused on achieving compliance and good corporate citizenship. Raises concerns about how transformational the programs are in the light of what appears to very narrow hiring practices in the junior and middle management levels of the company.

The consulting brief

The brief was to assist the organisation in rethinking the way in which its manager population was being trained in the area of Diversity and Inclusion. The brief was to develop a new approach that was behavioral and transactional in focus so that lasting behavioral change will come about in the way managers led their teams.

Deliverables

  • The design of a new approach aimed at changing the culture through a behavioral approach
  • Developing a program that was Best in Class and which included the forum theatre method, a transformational learning methodology
  • A pilot run with the top team to assess its impact
  • 150 managers in intact teams put through the new program
  • Monitoring of impact of training in changing attitudes
  • Developing a train the trainer module so that program can be rolled out across the organisation’s managerial population
  • Running Diversity and Inclusion Master Class for the HR community in their role in reinforcing the outcomes of the programs

Assessing ‘Fit for Purpose’ Leadership

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Case Study: Assessing ‘Fit for Purpose’ Leadership

Client

  • Australasian operation of US Multinational
  • Poor staff engagement scores and high turnover of talented people
  • New CEO

Presenting issues

Newly appointed CEO announced business strategy requiring an assessment of the top team’s ‘fit for purpose’

A stable/long serving top team, with some individuals openly resistant to required culture change.

The consulting brief

The brief was to work with the CEO and top team to develop a set of core capabilities that leaders had to demonstrate to drive the desired culture, and to use this to assess the top team’s ‘fit for purpose’. Determining the development strategy to strengthen the team (at the individual as well as collective level), and supporting the CEO to make the required judgment calls on ‘fit for purpose’ and working on a transition plan to strengthen succession in the medium and longer term.

Deliverables

  • A leadership capability model that captured the ‘growth’ oriented behaviours senior leaders needed to demonstrate to achieve the growth aspirations and create a growth culture
  • Putting all members of the top team through a robust but defensible  process for identifying the ‘fit for purpose’ development gaps
  • Generating development plans for all members of the top team (which included coaching the 2 individuals in the top team identified as having CEO potential)
  • Recommendations for collective development strategies
  • Design and implementation of an integrated assessment process for the next level down in order to pull the next generation of leaders through
  • Revamping the existing succession planning process to ensure better integration between succession and development strategies
  • Tightening up the senior (external) selection processes to ensure alignment with culture and leadership priorities and to better reflect agreed buy-build mix
  • Executive Coaching support for those identified as having upside potential

Top Team Off-site focused on Diversity and Inclusion

The newly appointed CEO renewed interest in the Diversity Agenda asking for a change program which would commence with taking the top 12 Managing Partners through an educational process so that they more deeply understand the business case for change. Read more...

Case Study:  Top Team Off-site to reframe Diversity & Inclusion & mobilise leader led action

Client

  • Big Four Accounting Firm
  • New CEO

Presenting issues

The newly appointed CEO renewed interest in the Diversity Agenda asking for a change program which would commence with taking the top 12 Managing Partners through an educational process so that they more deeply understand the business case for change but also get familiar with what the world’s best managed companies are doing about Diversity and Inclusion.

The consulting brief

The brief was to develop a one day off site session with the top 12 Managing Partners which will ‘unfreeze’ their thinking about Diversity and build a guiding coalition for change in the firm. Faced with a largely ‘left brain’ top team the CEO was desirous of a profoundly different intervention that would shift thinking and generate the required understanding and insight required for change.

Deliverables

  • The design of a one day program aimed at achieving the outcomes the CEO was looking for
  • Creating a ‘burning platform for change’ by using the firm’s own data to prove/disprove 10 hypotheses associated with the existence of an inclusive culture
  • Developing some firm specific scenarios of subliminal non inclusion to use in the experiential part of the day
  • Pulling together world’s best practice in a whole range of D&I areas including gender, age, disability, ethnicity, sexual orientation and other  non visible  attributes of diversity
  • Evaluation of the learning impact of the off-site
  • Articulation of a clear business case out of the day and translating that into a coherent D&I strategy

Following up with a coaching program for managing partners who felt they needed more support and coaching in the area