We invite you to explore examples of our work.
This initiative started with a strong organizational commitment to leadership development. A successful financial services company in the Midwest requested a multi-faceted program to address the long-term learning and development needs for high-potential managers and above. The purpose of the program was to help participants acquire greater leadership acumen to drive higher levels of performance.
The program focused heavily on interactions with team members, direct reports, cross-functional work groups, and senior leaders. It addressed a host of skills and topics including team development and team leadership. The idea of focusing on people first to deliver stellar outcomes and drive results was introduced. It was a complementary approach to their existing execution-first practices.
Key elements of the program included:
- Springboard Learning
- Learning Panels with Resident Experts
- Structured Mentoring
- Volunteer Opportunities for Learning Outside the Box
- Transfer of Learning Projects
- Resolution of Business and Team Challenges
- Final Presentations to Senior Leaders
The program culminated with a celebration event to recognize the time, effort, and dedication of the participants. The support and commitment demonstrated by managers, mentors, and the organization made this initiative an ongoing success. Hundreds graduated from the program; resulting in subsequent promotions of the best and the brightest, year after year.
The measure of a program’s success is based on the achievement of the intended objective and the repetitive, long-lasting impact it has on the goal. We are proud to have managed this multi-faceted leadership development initiative for 7 years (with annual updates and multiple revisions based on organizational priorities).
Over time, it was eventually deemed prudent to create a train-the-trainer certification process so the enduring impact of the program could be facilitated internally. The program continues today under the direction of the VP of Talent Management.
This initiative is an excellent example of immersion learning. Immersion learning offers in-depth development of key skills and capabilities that are significant for the organization or individual. Participants applied skills, made mistakes, and learned through trial and error by carrying out monthly assignments and fulfilling final project expectations.
A German-based supplier in Oakland County wanted to improve their sales teams’ abilities to negotiate terms and conditions of contracts as well as pricing strategies. Because of their strong presence in Mexico, it was important to include sales leaders from those regions as well.
In preparing for the workshop, participants were asked to provide details of their most difficult scenarios where they had struggled to negotiate conditions on behalf of the company. These scenarios were then used as case studies to integrate learning with real-life challenges.
Learning materials focused on the “art” and “science” of Negotiation Skills. Skill development was structured in an easy-to-follow “step-up” process (the science) geared toward generating meaningful dialogue (the art) which enables two parties to come to an agreement.
Participants moved from conceptual learning to hands-on demonstration of skills sets. The expectation of performance skill practice increases the transfer of learning. Not only can the participant perform the skill as intended, but they have developed proficiency to the point of being able to teach others as well. Deliberate skill practice is an integral part of all Vision Quest workshops.
A simulation game was played where natural negotiating styles emerged, often revealing unexpected behaviors. This was an eye-opener for many who initially characterized their styles differently.
This workshop has been requested multiple times by the client based on exceptional course evaluations. Post-workshop feedback confirms challenges have been overcome by using the skills appropriately.
Today, we include access to an online assessment center where self-assessments and 180o feedback assessments can be completed to identify perceived negotiation styles. The feedback provides individuals with an in-depth understanding their natural tendencies as well as a starting point for improvement.
Clients love the multiple perspectives gathered from the feedback assessments. The insight and knowledge gleaned from the reports serve to pinpoint areas for improvement. Even the best negotiators lack the ability to “hear” what is being said and don’t ask enough questions that elicit important and valuable information.
Organizational Culture Change
Use of variable formats
A large manufacturing facility with a long history of serving the Big 3 automakers in Detroit was purchased by a global entity. A year after the merger; the Detroit-based operation partnered with Vision Quest to determine why they were still struggling with the transition. We were also tasked with evaluating why numerous changes had not been fully accepted and integrated into the local environment.
We provided several services over a year-long period to identify the root cause of multiple layers of problems that had arisen. Customized solutions were recommended to address the challenges and several initiatives were implemented to transform the culture.
Services and solutions for Phase 1 included conducting focus groups, forming committees tasked with evaluating and revising communication gateways, and developing leaders with stronger capabilities in vision, mission and goal setting. In Phase 2 we moved on to developing managers’ skill sets in Communication, Performance Management, Providing Feedback and Dealing with Difficult Situations. In Phase 3, training and development for new managers was introduced.
The development of a new website which enhanced communication channels was a proud accomplishment for the team. It served to keep employees well-informed while educating them on corporate actions and initiatives. A customized portal enabled 2-way dialogue with senior leaders. Communication capabilities of managers and leaders also transformed as evidenced by reduced employee relations issues and improved retention.
This entire project was a great example of what happens when change initiatives are not thoughtfully planned from the beginning. For this project, we went back to the cycle of change and retraced the steps that had been glossed over, shored up the missing links, and achieved the intended objective. However, it took greater effort to correct the oversights. It would have been better to utilize Vision Quest as a consulting/learning/change partner in the beginning to avoid the challenges that ensued.