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Case study from a global top-tier Professional Services firm

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The Country Leadership Team, together with the CEO of a large professional services organisation and operating in a very competitive landscape, felt they needed to better equip their Directors newly promoted to Partner, with the leadership skills required in the transition to their new level of responsibility. Although they were provided with information around roles, targets, rules, regulations, etc., they were underequipped in leadership skills as there was still a dominant culture of ‘command and control’ with expertise being recognised, rewarded and promoted, not necessarily ‘leadership’.

Objectives

  • To foster peer solidarity & strong bonds in a cohort of Partners in order to inspire, grow and learn from each other throughout their careers
  • To infuse the new Partners with a mindset of being change agents, to be the ‘new blood’ in the organisation, as explicitly required by the Country CEO
  • To equip all Directors, newly promoted to Partner, with the required leadership toolbox

Interventions

The programme is managed by two TPC Leadership facilitators and a number of coaches. TPCL work closely with the client’s HR and partner relations teams, who supply input and the set objectives for the programme. The continuous redesign was entrusted to TPCL. Each programme is tailored to the current client needs and is key to the programme’s success.

To date, TPCL has successfully guided and coached a large number of Partners during multiple (annual) cohorts, starting in 2018. Cohorts are purposefully kept intimate to ensure a personalised journey for the entire 12-month cycle. The cycle is launched with a kick-off and encompasses three individual coaching sessions and three times two-day (off-site) training camps.

Each training camp dives deeper into key leadership development topics, namely:

Training Camp 1: Personal Leadership,

Camp 2: Team Leadership and leading change

Camp 3: System Leadership

TPCL regularly touch base with the client throughout the cycle during feedback/feedforward sessions.

The organisation saw the value in TPCL’s unique approach to facilitating, with human-to-human interaction and sharing personal experience being central. They also accepted and understood the reason for three coaches, none being facilitators, to guide the Partners in private coaching sessions, the intimacy allowing an even more open relationship in a psychologically safer space. The Partners could comfortably discuss moments they were triggered during the facilitation sessions and in day to day situations.

Working with such a dynamic, incredibly busy group of new Partners has its challenges. Managing their mental and physical presence to ensure they could all be together in the same room for more than 15 minutes, was only overcome by mutual commitment and trust in the process. Partners were eager to continue the programme remotely, following the long interruption created by Covid-19, highlighting the value the Partners had felt being together, despite the hurdles. In the session on Team Leadership, TPCL facilitators act as team coaches, observing the cohort, assessing the Partners working on a real project driven by the country leadership team. The facilitators are able to share their observations at the end of the real play session. The session on Systemic Leadership takes place directly after their annual meeting with all Partners. They had received pre-work observation questions to encourage them to observe and analyse their own system within the bigger organisation which serves as valued real-life input for their training.

Outcomes

The annual programmes, each spanning over 12 months, allows TPCL to form close relationships with the Partners. They are transformed individually, their perceptions of the new roles changed in positive ways. It became transparent to each of them in mind-shifting ‘A-ha’ moments that a Partner is not just a super director but leads teams and has to inspire and engage people. The confidence in and success of the leadership programme has allowed TPCL to return to the client year after year, offering training which is in fact an accompanied walk – the metaphor used by our client is one of mountaineering: base camp is the kick-off, training camps are the three modules – TPC Leadership were the Sherpa.

“The sessions were a great experience and have definitely delivered a lot of food for thought. I definitely think we should maintain this format for future cohorts.” feedback from a participant and Partner.

To learn more about this case or other interventions of relevance for your organisation don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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