Leading a Business Begins With Leading People.
Challenge: To help the president of a university re-energize his team of vice presidents and get them behind a new vision for the school.
Approach: After interviewing each team member, Exetor consultants discovered that the group of VPs had not invested enough time and energy into developing a team identity. Significant communication problems were noted (for example… they did not really listen to nor trust one another, and the use of Inquiry was very limited). The Exetor partners observed and videotaped a series of team meetings and played the tapes for the executives. No one liked what they saw, but through a customized program of meetings and retreats, the team members learned techniques for improving dialogue and began to build trust.
Result: These executives had been working together for more than 10 years reasonably effectively. After these interventions, they truly began to communicate with one another for the first time and align behind the new vision. This also resulted in “buy-in” common vision throughout the university administration.
Challenge: To help the top team of an international medical-devices company in a time of crisis. A severe lack of coordination was causing late releases of new products and services and the competition took note and began to exploit this new found opportunity. The company president had only been in office for six months and his leadership style differed dramatically from that of his predecessor. None of the vice presidents had been in place for more than a year, and as a group, they didn't know how to work with this new leader nor with one another. A crisis was building that had the potential to derail the entire company: a lack of international coordination across development sites that had the potential impact on future sales and therefore market share market share.
Approach: After conducting a series of interviews, The Exetor Group developed a 360-degree assessment process to encourage feedback. Exetor consultants also organized a three-day retreat that included facilitated discussions, planning sessions, and action-learning exercises to deal directly with the lack of coordination of research and development across international locations. Informal social time was also built into the agenda to encourage the executives to learn to understand one another better. This in turn led to more effective listening skills, and building trust.
Result: By the end of the weekend, the president and vice presidents had disclosed many of their fears and aspirations for the company. This enabled them to come away with a shared vision and action plan. The problems associated with the lack of coordination decreased significantly, and development projects got to market on time and on budget.