Employee survey results revealed that almost half of associates felt that they were not adequately equipped with the skills and tools they needed to effectively do their jobs. Employees needed more than strategy reform to perform at optimal levels; they needed to know why the business was going in the direction that it was headed and how they would play a role in getting it there.
In partnership with BTS, the company developed a two-day experience that would be attended by all 4,500 managers and associates around the world. The experience was designed to make strategy personal for each manager and associate and focused on four key principles:
BTS co-designed a series of experiences to help facilitate the thinking and conversations around these topics.
The first day of the experience was “Manager Day,” dedicated to individuals with direct reports. The company recognized that helping associates get the skills needed to accelerate the transformation would not be accomplished via formal learning alone. Instead, they opted to focus on teaching managers how to build teams that freely harness and share tacit knowledge and develop capabilities through on-the-job experiences. To cultivate these behaviors, the program opened with a custom simulation for all managers to work through. This simulation was modeled after the company’s business and culture. Managers were broken into teams of five and used digital technology to step into a leadership role at a simulated company. Each team had to interact with their simulated team members, internal stakeholders and customers, making a series of decisions in a variety of challenging situations. These situations modeled the real-life moments that managers face as they balance executing on today’s business priorities while searching for opportunities to develop their associates. Through practicing these behaviors, making decisions, and working through strategic objectives that closely resembled those they faced in real life, managers built alignment to the company strategy and further developed their management skills, which could then be applied back on the job.
On the morning of Associate Day, executive leaders used large-scale digital technology to lead a discussion with associates about the company’s past, present and future, helping to build participants’ understanding of the organization’s portfolio and capabilities. Associates worked together, participating in interactive experiences to gain hands-on practice discussing and debating business priorities, product features, key customer concerns, and the company’s impact on the world.
In the afternoon, the focus shifted to defining how each and every associate personally impacts the execution of the company’s strategy. Working in intact teams, managers and their associates worked through a map-based experience that challenged them to answer three critical questions:
The results of the two day experience were far-reaching. Through the data collected during the event, which included input from associates and managers across the organization, the company gained a better understanding of how to be more effective in executing their strategy and the barriers that they might face while implementing it. Both managers and associates expressed that the experience was incredibly impactful as it held a mirror to the issues that needed to be addressed while being a high-energy way to kick-start a broader strategic initiative to transform the organization and accelerate change.