Case Studies: Executive Development

Case 1: Improving Executive Performance

The CEO and executive management team of a large corporation with multiple satellite locations were facing aggressive business demands that taxed their human capital and financial resources. Executive realities were beginning to emerge showing members of the team were not as equipped as they needed to be in order to leverage future opportunities. Most notably the following factors were creating significant challenges:

  • More needed to be done with less people and financial resources
  • Their business environment around them was changing
  • The satellite facilities needed leadership autonomy and, at the same time, accountability to corporate goals

The CEO in consultation with board members decided to initiate a comprehensive analysis of the executive leadership team using the Hallmarks of Excellence® in Leadership. The Hallmarks® analysis revealed individual leadership gaps and specific team deficiencies limiting their overall effectiveness.

Executive coaching sessions and team training experiences were instituted using the Hallmarks® report as the development guide. Within six months the officers removed many of the gaps that were impairing their individual performance and the officer team reported increased overall team effectiveness resulting from greater focus, energy and results.

Case 2: Leader Assessment & Development

After 12 years of successfully leading a struggling college campus, the President realized that he needed to review his skills in light of some looming challenges. He requested that the Hallmarks of Excellence® be administered to him.

Aware that the abilities and competencies that had helped him previously were not likely to be the same ones needed to take the college to the next level of effectiveness, he wanted to be evaluated from multiple perspectives to gain a comprehensive picture of his strengths and limitations.

The findings indicated that his strategic, communication and critical thinking competencies were strengths, but the effective use of time, managing multiple projects, and team building were weaknesses and creating gaps in his overall performance.

A customized executive development plan was initiated by combining the findings with his current and anticipated challenges to increase his leadership capacity, focus and performance.

Case 3: Driving Development Plans #1

A large organization experiencing transition in a key senior leadership position requested an in-depth assessment, as well as training and development, for the remaining senior leadership and middle management teams.

Findings from the Hallmarks of Excellence® in Leadership assessment and analysis enabled individual leadership patterns to be identified and evaluated. Results were then contrasted against performance attributes (the “DNA”) of proven high performance leaders found in the Hallmarks® instrument to reveal strengths and gaps related to leadership excellence.

This information was then used to create customized training and development plans for each senior leader and manager. In addition, training standards, leadership succession plans, and recruitment strategies were established for three different positions.

Case 4: Driving Development Plans #2

The Vice President of Sales for a fast growing, mid-market firm in the financial industry was seeking help to solve sales performance issues with his team.

The Hallmarks of Excellence® in Leadership was used as part of the assessment strategy to conduct a full analysis of the sales team, assessing the skills, motivation, and attitudes critical to sales effectiveness. From the findings, a benchmark was established that captured the “DNA” of effective sales representatives for the firm. Using the benchmark as a “gold standard,” the results of selected sales representatives were then compared to the benchmark to discover overall fit and resulting strengths and gaps.

The comparative analysis was then used to develop individualized training for each participating sales representative with the goal of accelerating sales performance. Furthermore, the benchmark now serves as the standard for hiring new sales representatives and provides feedback to help the sales management team orient and train new sales representatives to reach sales goals more rapidly.

Case 5: Turning Around Low-Performing Leaders #1

The executive director of a small, non-profit organization was suffering from a lack of leadership skills, presence, and effectiveness. As a final effort to help the executive director keep his position, the board of directors required him to seek leadership development.

The Hallmarks of Excellence® in Leadership was administered to establish a baseline of leadership competencies. Analysis of the assessment results indicated numerous leadership challenges, but most notably the results identified that the executive director’s leadership presence and style were creating most of the leadership friction.

A prioritized and customized leadership development plan was implemented based upon the gaps and limitations identified by the findings. Within six months, dramatic improvement had occurred in both relationship building and executive skills.

Case 6: Turning Around Low-Performing Leaders #2

The CEO of a fast-growing technology company, having hired what was believed to be a very strong sales manager six months before, found the employee’s performance rapidly declining.

Discouraged with the employee’s performance and doubting his own hiring ability, the CEO requested that the Hallmarks of Excellence® in Leadership be administered and that the results be mapped to a benchmark of competencies and attributes of proven performance in this sales management area.

Analysis of the Hallmarks® results revealed challenges the sales manager faced managing multiple projects, making timely and effective decisions, and displaying a high-quality focus towards customers. Targeted training and stronger management practices by the CEO eliminated the performance problems.