Project #1: Business Strategy & Product Innovation

Challenging Situation: One of the products offered by this company had been highly successful in terms of its ROI. Recent changes in technology and competitors’ advances were decreasing its market share and profitability though. Leaders recognized that they needed to make some major changes in this product, but weren’t quite sure how to go about it.

Actions: Thea was asked to assist. After becoming familiar with the product and the division and determining root causes of the situation, she designed and facilitated a process to engage the creativity and knowledge of employees to first create a new business strategy and then to reinvent the product.

Results: The process was highly successful. Employees were highly motivated to contribute to this work because of the way they were involved. Working with Thea, the group altered their business strategy. This allowed them to discover an innovation that took the product in drastically different directions, ones that proved highly profitable over the next few years.

Project #3: Cross-Group Collaboration

Challenging Situation: Two groups in this organization had complex interdependencies requiring joint brainstorming, decision-making, and actions for the successful development of a key product. Each of the groups had several hundred employees, and there had been problems between them for several years. Key delivery dates were regularly missed and customer relationships were negatively affected. In addition, resources were wasted as the departments were duplicating activities rather than leveraging each other’s work. The problems transcended all levels of staff, from senior leaders to individual contributors. Several attempts had been made by others to resolve the issues and assist these groups to collaborate more effectively. None of those efforts had resulted in sustained improvement.

Actions: Thea started by seeking a fuller picture of the situation, issues, barriers, and perspectives. Using this information, she facilitated several streams of work to improve systems and processes. They were able to work through and resolve the issues preventing the groups from working together effectively.

Results: Immediate positive results were seen in the way the groups collaborated. Ultimately, the most significant proof of results was the creation of a great product, on schedule.

Project #2: Decision-Making Processes & Ownership

Challenging Situation: In partnering with a Senior Vice President, Thea discovered that it was often unclear who was actually responsible for making a decision, and the decision making process often lacked rigor. This was the case throughout the firm, and particularly in this VP’s division of 15,000 employees. These problems were hindering the effectiveness of employees, resulting in poor business decisions and missed opportunities.

Actions: When Thea brought this to the VP’s attention, she was asked to assist in resolving it. She partnered to determine the specific issues causing the problems. The leaders of the division were brought together to reach agreement about the significance of the problem and commit to working together to resolve it. With the buy-in of leaders, and armed with knowledge about the real problems, solutions were constructed.

Results: A six-month follow-up revealed tangible positive results based on this work; the new process was working extremely well. This check-in also enabled Thea and the leaders to identify a few important areas where further improvements were needed, and make them. Four years later, these decision processes were still meeting the needs of that division and had been adopted by many other groups and divisions across the corporation.

Project #4: Leadership Coaching for Higher Performance

Challenging Situation: A key leader was extremely strong in certain aspects of her work, but weak in her ability to impact and influence others. She needed assistance to help her strengthen those skills. She had become aware of the problem and received training to improve her skills, but wasn’t yet able to significantly change her behaviors.

Actions: As is often true when significant behavior changes are needed, Thea determined that coaching was the best tool to assist this leader. Over the course of several months, Thea met with her regularly, providing the needed coaching.

Results: The leader gained deeper insights and additional abilities, and was able to change her behavior. The sustained success of these behavior changes resulted in this leader’s increased ability to contribute to the organization’s success and she was rewarded with a well-deserved promotion.