Building Bench Strength for Growth
Our client, a global flavour and fragrance organization creates and supplies fragrances and flavours across a diverse portfolio of consumer goods manufacturing including fine fragrance, food, hair care, household cleaners and beverages. The organisation needed to grow its leadership talent bench and drive greater collaboration and innovation across the business in an effort to grow top line sales and manage pressure on margins. For the last 5 years, Right Management has partnered with the corporation to strategically identify and accelerate the development of its high potential talent in North America.
Accelerating High Potential Talent to Meet Business Needs
Right Management partnered with the organization to understand its strategic priorities and then identify competencies and capabilities that were important for driving business success. Stakeholder discussions revealed an organization that needed transformation and reinvigoration. With “agility” underpinning this, the program design evolved over the last 5 years, keeping pace with changing organizational needs and sponsor input. Collaboration and courageous dialogue were critical competencies in the earlier programs, enabling greater cross divisional co-operation to drive better idea generation and operational efficiencies. Most recently, building commercial acumen and an environment of breakthrough thinking was important for the organisation to grow. Right Management’s program design included individual assessment and coaching, a cohort team diagnostic and team development activity, targeted workshops and action learning. Right Management also provided continued individual and business coaching as the teams worked through their challenging action learning projects.
Who Cares? Business Sponsorship is Critical
The most recent program was targeted at a specific division, the cornerstone of the program being a challenging action learning project. The program sponsor, a senior commercial leader, had identified a piece of manufacturing equipment that was significantly under-utilized and at risk of being decommissioned and sold, impacting revenue and jobs.
“I was on a site visit and saw the machine sitting in a room. When I asked how often it ran and the answer was ‘once a week’, I knew we had to do something”, stated the key business sponsor.
The challenging machine utilization project provided the program with a rich development experience where the stakes were high for the participants and the business.
The sponsor role was key to this program and they were engaged at several points throughout the process. They were used by the team as business coaches and sounding boards. The sponsors also took part in a book review session and shared personal insight around their leadership strengths and areas for development. They were a key point of escalation in terms of guidance on project recommendations and removing barriers to encourage risk taking and breakthrough thinking.
The business was highly engaged in the high potential program for a number of reasons:
- The high potential participants had a specific stakeholder plan, developed as part of the program, to create meaningful and targeted dialogue with sponsors
- The business stood to gain increased equipment utilisation and top-line sales growth so had “skin in the game”
- The sponsors wanted to showcase and reinforce a more agile and entrepreneurial approach to solving problems so the program and participant behaviour became role models for a transforming culture
“We want to create organizational confidence again. The business has lost its confidence to win and we want to get that back” shared the key business sponsor.
Winning: Action Learning Outcomes
After significant idea generation, financial analysis including margin hurdles, customer feedback and presentation preparation/rehearsals, the participants presented their final action learning project recommendations to the executive team and program alumni with tremendous impact. The participants had secured a commitment from a customer to take samples once they had been produced, a strong sign of product success in this industry. The business unit president stood up at the end of the presentation and stated very clearly “So what do we do next, I have my cheque book ready”. One recommendation is currently being implemented by the business with a market potential in year one of over $1 USD Million and three others are being considered. In addition to the business outcomes, the team exhibited signs of tremendous team and individual growth. 75% of participants stated that they were able to apply the learning to their job immediately and 86% of participants and their managers felt that the program had a significant impact on increasing/driving innovation in the business.
Project Members: Kathryn Nell – Principal Consultant & Alex Smith – Consultant