How Living Systems enabled the European leadership team of a global software firm to radically transform its strategy, taking it from consistent underperformance to one of the top performing groups in the organisation globally in less than two years.
The European leadership team at one of the world’s top software businesses was underperforming, with their market consistently ranking in the bottom five of forty markets. The team was facing increasing pressure from global leadership to transform the organisation, unfortunately each of their transformation efforts to date had failed to make a lasting impact.
In phase one of the project – the research phase – three underlying factors impacting performance were identified:
- The matrixed nature of the organisation meant each function within the European leadership team received its goals and KPIs directly from the global team. This meant that goals and KPIs in Europe were not aligned and often certain functions were in direct conflict with each other.
- Relationships within the European leadership team were conflictual and strained, but this was rarely, if ever, surfaced and proactively addressed within the team. It was clear there was little awareness of personality styles and preferences, and how this was showing up in the team.
- The leadership team had been operating a top-down approach to strategy development and transformation. This meant that the team consistently experienced resistance and push-back to their plans whenever they announced them.
Working in partnership with the leader of the team, Living Systems designed a three month development journey for the group. Living Systems rolled out an extensive process of team and individual development, with each leader undergoing a 360° assessment and receiving a series of one-to-one coaching sessions.
By the time this leadership group rolled out the new strategy, significant benefits and wins were already clear. Because they had done the work on themselves as a group, the leadership team had become more aligned and were outwardly more unified to the wider organisation. This meant they were able to authentically role model the collaborative behaviours they were also demanding of their wider organisation.
Secondly, because they had recruited a broader transformation group consisting of key influencers, these group members were more engaged and willing to act as champions for the change plan. This maximised buy-in and minimised resistance across the organisation. As a result of this work, the team transformed its performance in the marketplace, moving from a ranking of 35th within the global organisation to fourth over a period of just two years.
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