Case Studies

CASE STUDY – LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT & CULTURE ENHANCEMENT

Client Feedback:
“As Managing Director of the Gensler London office, I have been working closely with Rachel Shelmerdine of To Be You for the last few years. She has been instrumental in helping us to make fundamental changes in the way that we communicate and behave as individuals, how we interact and work together as teams and how we operate as an office. The programme has been extremely successful and, as a result we are continuing our working relationship into another year.”

Overview
Gensler is one of the world’s leading architectural firms whose aim is to harness design’s ability to empower people and transform organizations. It is renowned for its excellence in architecture and design and consistently produces high quality client work – for two years running, Gensler has been voted Contract Magazine’s Most Admired Firm by their peers. The culture is essentially entrepreneurial with an internal structure that emphasizes teamwork, innovation, and the creation of real value. Gensler has offices across the States, as well as 2 offices in the Far East and 2 in Europe. London is the European hub with around 180 staff.

The company has gone through many changes over the last five years which has included a downsizing operation to weather the global downturn in the market to coming full circle again more recently and starting to grow the business and bring new people on board. As the company moved into a growth phase it made sense to begin an internal people and culture development coaching programme in order to maximise business efficiency and potential. In the London office there was a good mix of long-timers and new people in the business allowing for a strong blend of seasoned experience and new ideas and approaches to work. The coaching worked to make the most of this structure by enabling everyone to tap into the internal expertise more readily and create more natural centres of excellence throughout the business. A strong people development/coaching programme allowed the company to tap into the existing talent resource and develop key skills, revitalise company motivation, enthusiasm and loyalty and to create a benchmark for recruiting new people into Gensler in the future.

The coaching programme was designed to encourage greater knowledge and expertise sharing leading to greater creativity and innovation. It encouraged senior leaders and managers to be more motivated, more responsive and to work better together. There was a strong emphasis placed on excellence in communication and leadership. Relationships within and without the business became stronger and more productive as a result.

Overall the company culture is becoming more resilient to external hostile changes in the market and more flexible to be able to mobilize to make the most of all business opportunities. The Directors and Senior Managers are more energized and focused as well as being more success oriented. Finally the programme helped the company tap into the human capital in the business to ensure they were utilizing it in the most effective way to meet both the individual and company goals.

The coaching programme was integrated with existing HR policies for stronger working practices, more efficient business processes and was used to develop stronger staff commitment and development by linking it with existing performance objectives and appraisals. This has helped to make the culture even more goal focused and more able to benchmark individual and group performance in the future.

The coaching programme has been an excellent tool for establishing advocates in Gensler to promote a coaching culture throughout the business and act as an internal resource for staff support, motivation and development going forward.

In terms of positioning the coaching programme to ensure buy-in from everyone, I encouraged Gensler to position it as an opportunity for people to:
• Enhance skills and natural personalities and styles
• Tap into both personal and career goals
• Enhance their performance and productivity
• Ensure better and more effective work practices
• Eliminate negative feelings and thoughts
• Eliminate limiting behaviours
• Create a more open and continuous learning culture

It was also positioned as a demonstration of belief in the managers by the company by investing time and money into a programme that not only works on career objectives but also personal goals. It was also seen as creating a more supportive environment that would help them realise those objectives and goals.

STAGE 1 – Principals
This first stage of the programme had a core focus on Leadership, Communication, Impact, Awareness & Understanding, Relationships, Commercial Expertise, Leverage of Skills. These 10 Principals were also encouraged and empowered to be the torch-bearers for the coaching programme as a whole.

The majority of the Principals have worked together for a number of years and overall they were united by their creative and client focused backgrounds. Each had their own very individual personality, work approach and management style. They had seen the company through many changes over the last few years both positive and negative. Through their leadership and expertise the company had successfully weathered the downturn in the market in recent years and they wanted the coaching to help them to strengthen and develop their leadership and expertise in order to maximise potential opportunities as the market became more buoyant, and build in resilience for any downturn that may come in the future.

GOAL
• Build individual and collective business confidence and enthusiasm
• Re-energise and re-motivate to move forward and maximise opportunities
• Develop understanding of what actions created past successes and mistakes
• Develop willingness to be more open in communication and to new ideas/new behaviours
• Become a more cohesive group of thought leaders and centres of excellence
• Become stronger and more inspirational leaders and stronger people managers
• Build strong instinctive business thinking & behaviour and eliminate fear/holding back
• Increase strategic and visionary thinking
• Increase communication and people skills
• Increase business skills (client management etc)
• Increase profitability, enjoyment and effectiveness through best practice and performance

STRATEGY
One Individual Assessment Session for each person – 2 hours each
This allowed me to understand everyone from an individual perspective and to tap into each person’s view of themselves, the group and the company as a whole. It also enabled me to understand the coaching needs and goals of each person and therefore to tailor sessions accordingly.

Two Individual Coaching Session for each person – 2 hours each
These sessions allowed me to build a relationship of trust and understanding, set the scene for the coachee to look at themselves and their skills, thinking and behaviour in a safe but creative and challenging environment, create openness to new ways of thinking and behaving and sow the seeds for high performance coaching and skill development in the following group workshops.

Group Workshop – Excellence in Communication and Leadership – 3 hours
This session worked on two levels. Firstly it was a creative and dynamic vehicle for developing new approaches and skills in communication, leadership and relationship building and management on all levels. Secondly it brought the group together in a way that began to make them more open with each other and develop a greater understanding of each other.

Group High Performance Workshop – Excellence in Business Management – 3 hours
This session focused on further building the unity between the group as well as helping them to strengthen and build on their core business skills – being more instinctive, greater negotiation, presenting, strategic thinking, client development and overall team management.

One Individual Coaching Session for each person – 2 hours each
This session pulled together all of the new ideas and skills and made them personalised to each individual in a way that means something to them on a deep personal level. This helped to align company goals and expectations with individual goals and abilities. It also made changes natural and long lasting and sustainable.

Group Session – Creating a Vision – 3 hours
This session focused on the leadership group creating a vision for the future of the company – where they were going – and a strategy for how to get there. It focused on individual goals, team goals, divisional goals and corporate goals. It then drilled down into how these could be turned into a reality. And how this vision could be shared with the staff and how they could all encourage buy-in and belief in this vision.

Group Session – Embracing New Ways of Being – 3 hours
This final session focused on the importance of everyone working and communicating together effectively and acting as ambassadors throughout the business – of the importance that they lead by example and make the most of the opportunity to instil the positive communication, leadership and business ideas and skills they have developed throughout the rest of the organisation through natural and organic means in their daily contact with staff, colleagues and clients.

RESULT
A stronger more confident, more open and more effective team of leaders – as individuals and as a group with a stronger vision of the future and clear strategies for achieving their individual and corporate goals. And with a genuine understanding of how their behaviour and performance affected the company – how they were key in uniting the 3 different divisions of the company and in bringing everyone together to operate more effectively.

STAGE 2 – Senior Associates
This stage of the programme had a core focus on Management, Communication, Confidence, Greater Awareness of Self and Others, Relationships, Impact, High Performance, Bridging Skills Gaps
The 25 Senior Assocates were a mix of long timers and newer staff and the coaching therefore had to combine dealing with issues such as negativity, low motivation and commitment amongst the long timers and as well as developing new skills and behaviours in order for key people to be able to move forward and develop within the firm. Amongst the group were some people who have been identified as potential up and coming “stars” and so the coaching focused on building on their strengths and helping them grow and become more rounded in order to achieve their potential.

GOAL
• Build individual confidence and enthusiasm
• Re-energise and re-motivate to move forward and maximise opportunities
• Develop self-awareness and awareness of the effect of behaviour and communication on others
• Develop willingness to be more open in communication and to new ideas/new behaviours
• Become stronger people managers and start to develop more their own leadership styles
• Build strong instinctive business thinking & behaviour and eliminate fear/holding back
• Decrease negativity and lack of motivation and consideration for colleagues
• Increase communication and people skills
• Improve individual performance levels

STRATEGY
One Individual Assessment Session for each person – 2 hours each
This allowed me to understand everyone from an individual perspective and to tap into each person’s view of themselves, the group and the company as a whole. It also enabled me to understand the coaching needs and goals of each person and allow me to tailor sessions accordingly.

Group Session – 3 hours
This session worked on three levels. Firstly it allowed everyone to voice their ideas and opinions about their situation. Secondly it started to create an understanding of the three different practice areas in the company in order to stamp out isolationism. Thirdly it led them towards setting group and individual goals that were positive and affirmed their commitment to the company as well as encouraging them to positively take part in and support the changes that were happening in the culture such as tightening up work practices, working better as a team, sharing ideas and initiatives across the practice areas, and supporting the Directors.

Two Individual Coaching Session for each person – 2 hours each
These allowed me to build a relationship of trust and understanding, set the scene for the coachee to look at themselves and their skills, thinking and behaviour in a safe but creative and challenging environment, create openness to new ways of thinking and behaving and sow the seeds for high performance coaching and skill development in the following group workshops.

Group High Performance Workshop – Excellence in Communication, Management & Business Behaviours – 3 hours
This session was a creative and dynamic vehicle for developing new approaches and skills in communication, relationship building and management on all levels.

One Individual Coaching Session for each person – 2 hours each
This session pulled together all of the new ideas and skills and made them personalised to each individual in a way that meant something to them on a deep personal level. This helped to align company goals and expectations with individual goals and abilities. It also made changes natural and long lasting and sustainable.

Group Session – 3 hours
This session focused on the importance of everyone working and communicating effectively and acting as ambassadors throughout the business – of the importance that they lead by example and make the most of the opportunity to instil the positive communication, management and business ideas and skills they have developed throughout the rest of the organisation through natural and organic means in their daily contact with staff, colleagues and clients.

RESULT
A much more motivated and positive senior management team with greater business skills, communication skills and people management skills. As a result of the coaching the senior management team felt much more empowered and had a greater level of understanding of and relationship with the Directors. Negative behaviours and attitudes disappeared and the senior managers began to understand how they needed to be role models to their staff and supporters en enablers for their Directors.

OVERALL RESULT
Individual and group motivation and confidence was immediately raised significantly and a more positive focus developed early on in the programme. A new shared vision was developed and put in place and overall the Directors and Management Team had more clarity and greater sense of purpose. Company initiatives have grown out of the coaching programme which are positively enhancing the culture and having a positive effect on all staff. New business wins started to happen near to the end of the first stage of the programme which the company is continuing to build on. Communication across the company is much better and the overall individual and team performance is much greater. The overall feel good factor is higher and there is a stronger sense of enthusiasm for and control of the future.

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