Leaders’ Academy for managers from six continents – G4S
A global private security company requested AfT to design and conduct a leadership program for their current and prospective operational managers in a number of new markets that it was pursuing. Participants represented six continents and managed teams consisting of up to 5000 people.
During the first stage, AfT provided consultations regarding a leadership competency model that would be used in the selection of the participants and in the program design. AfT was also involved in preparing the company to execute the program. Strong focus was placed on creating immediate and future results for their leaders and the company itself.
AfT then developed a 3-stage leadership program comprising learning, challenging tasks, and a special leadership project. Each stage of the program was arranged to take place in a different country, thus preparing the participants to work in an international and multi-cultural settings.
The program launched with a 3.5-day seminar which combined theory with practical exercises in workshops run by leadership experts. It was followed by a 6-day leadership challenge during which participants were required to complete projects, deal with challenges and discuss issues – employing skills appropriate to their, culturally foreign, prospective work environments. Participants then attended a session dedicated to reflection and assessment which aimed at increasing leaders awareness of their strengths and weaknesses, their personal and professional effectiveness, and their roles within teams. The program concluded with the leaders working together on the development and implementation of a CSR project.
Throughout these stages, AfT conducted ‘aims, action and implementation’ coaching which supported participants in identifying and overcoming individual barriers to their development. In addition to this, leaders were invited to engage in action learning sessions in small groups, during which they could share their experiences and receive performance feedback.
Participants were satisfied with their development at the end of the program and were grateful for the opportunity offered them. Their leadership skills and self-confidence had improved; they were better prepared to become part of an elite group of potential leaders, equipped to embark on professional missions in ‘difficult’ countries. This program enabled the organization to create a network of successors, ready to capture new markets, while, at the same time, building a ‘leadership reserve’ for old markets.
Creating vision and mission
The board of an international logistics company requested us to play the role of facilitator during a ‘vision session’ for their managers, while their HR department requested an organizer of an outdoor experiential program for the same group, so as they could rest after a spell of hard work. An analysis of the situation indicated that, despite the satisfactory cooperation between team members, the company was wrought with problems related to newly introduced changes and an incomplete strategy. Our suggestion was to conduct a 3-stage program: 1. an inspiration stage involving outdoor activities which were to increase trust and understanding within the team, as well as trigger reflection and inspire dialogue among participants; 2. an analysis of the current, versus the desired, strategy and; 3. creating a vision based on the preceding analysis.
The openness of the group during the first stage, the surveys, discussions and the SWOT analysis of the second stage allowed the group to discover critical issues and create solutions – in an atmosphere conducive both to shared responsibility for decisions, and to the implementation of proposed changes. After a short break, during which participants were involved in a creative task, the group set to design their company’s vision and mission. This process allowed the managers to focus on key issues such as the company’s priorities, collaboration and staff engagement.
Consolidating management team around common goals (arvato Bertelsmann)
The board of an international production corporation decided to align the Management Team around common goals by improving team communication. An analysis of the situation indicated that the old management system created information flow blockages that considerably reduced the effectiveness of collaboration between factories and management, which in turn led to conflicts between individuals and teams. The board decided on a 3.5-day experiential learning program, aiming to enhance trust, openness and understanding between team members and to provoke discussion about necessary changes. By the end of the program, the team had agreed on key values and created a ‘map of goals and actions’. Participants finished the program, enthusiastic about new possibilities and determined to implement positive changes.
A challenging merger (BIC & Energizer)
Two global corporations, with different organizational cultures, decided to merge their operations in one country. On account of the importance of this project, we were employed to run an integration program for the managers of both companies. Our goal was to provide an opportunity for them to get to know each other, accept impending changes, work out terms of collaboration and discuss merge strategies. Due to the scale of the merger and the need to boost morale, the meeting took place in a very attractive, exotic venue.
The program comprised of: experiential team projects, team building activities, strategic games, brainstorming the vision of the future, exchanging experience, and creating team charters. This undertaking allowed key individuals from both companies to meet and enjoy time together, as a result of which the process of a merger accelerated.
Increasing efficiency in a production company (Volvo)
A renowned automotive industry company asked for our help in boosting their production activity and increasing cooperation between various lines and departments of a big factory. The project involved supervisors, line foremen and department managers, including production managers.
Interviews and surveys revealed major discrepancies in the working style of line foremen and managers which stemmed from different understanding of their roles, as well as from unclear areas of responsibility. As there was no synergy in interactions between departments, it was necessary to improve communication and cooperation among them. Our project included: an analysis of the situation in their departments, the design of a program, coaching aimed to increase trust and openness and exercises to enhance collaborative skills and communication in all production lines.
The project was a success: participants were inspired to make changes, as they discovered strong and weak points in their performance; they adjusted to increase productivity and employee satisfaction. Acting on our detailed report, they also made some major organizational changes that led to better results; we were invited to help make a selection of the best leaders to be appointed as new managers of this prospering factory.
World Class Manufacturing (SAB Miller)
A leading beer manufacturer decided to increase the efficiency of their teams by unveiling a World Class Manufacturing program for their production departments. The program spanned the following issues: team management, team building, team effectiveness, conflict resolution, organizing meetings, cross-cultural integration and leaders academy. Each brewery had a different history and a different organizational culture. The company set the goal of having uniform, high standards of work comparable to those in Japan. In the first stage of the project, AfT carried out experiential learning sessions for over 300 people, working on employees’ openness to lifelong learning, as well as on enhancing processes and collaboration between three shifts. The program resulted in a 300 percent decrease in downtime. This was achieved by increased worker responsibility throughout the production process and better communication between shifts.
In the next stage of WCM, AfT worked with 240 workers who had not been included in the previous process, including all of the workers from a newly acquired factory which was going through many organizational and personnel changes. For various reasons, these groups were potentially the most difficult to train. Our sessions covered a variety of topics: team efficiency, conflict resolution, organizing efficient meetings and team rebuilding after deep, structural changes. Due to time constraints, the sessions were organized for very large groups (divided into small units, working concurrently with many trainers). The sessions were concluded with excellent results; in the following weeks, the newly acquired brewery achieved a significant increase in its, already high, production effectiveness. We believe that the key to success lies in open communication and commitment to long-term collaboration between the company’s HR, line managers and AfT.