IMPAQ has repeatedly assisted organizations to increase accountability and achieve measurable business results. Review IMPAQ’s case studies for companies implementing business change, culture change, leadership development, team building and employee engagement in a variety of industries internationally.
IMPAQ’s unique strength in achieving measurable business results is based on measuring Execution, Relationships and Deliverables. In addition,these measurements are correlated to portray a clear and meaningful picture of organizational effectiveness and success. Whether increasing performance, reducing costs, implementing change, increasing trust, or improving customer satisfaction, IMPAQ exceeds client expectations.
- A Multinational Petroleum Organization
- A Major Retail Chain
- A Telecommunications Company
- A Medical Center
- An IT Department of a Major University
- Major BioScience Manufacturing Plant
- Nuclear Plant Improvement
- New Service Delivery Modelâ€“Worldwide IT Division
- Regional Call Centerâ€“Global Electronics Company
Faced with resource cuts, this large organization needed to restructure into business units and improve productivity and sinking morale.
Using our Core Accountability Methodology, we helped orchestrate the change and developed interlocking accountability between newly formed business units and centralized functional departments. We developed internal change agents and assisted them in implementing cross-functional accountability within each business unit and central functional areas.
Within one year of implementation, this organization met their productivity goals for the first time in 5 years. Even though the change was initially met with resistance, morale showed a 20% improvement by the end of the implementation according to the organization’s standard surveys.
Declining sales and reduced resources required this organization to improve teamwork and customer service in their department stores.
IMPAQ developed internal change agents to implement its Core Accountability Methodology within each of the stores. In addition, each leader was developed to support the change with IMPAQ‘s Accountability-Based Leadership Program, emphasizing strategic coaching for store managers.
Stores which implemented Accountability increased store performance as much as 20% within 6 months. As a result, both customer satisfaction scores and revenue generated increased. The organization is now financially healthy and sustaining their improved business results.
They were facing declining morale and performance with the announcement of an acquisition by another organization.
Starting with management and then moving to the rest of supervision, IMPAQ applied its Facilitation Mastership training program. Coaching leaders of the organization on Accountability-based change supported the transition.
Performance and morale continued to improve throughout the three months leading up to the take-over by the new organization. After the transition was complete, the new organization acknowledged the combined firms for their unusually high morale and cooperation during the transition.
To increase quality of care, productivity and morale in order to prevent being taken over by managed care. To create an organization-wide culture change committed to accountability and a “healing health care” environment. They intended to become the recognized health care leader in the community.
IMPAQ assisted the organization in restructuring management into a structure that modeled interlocking cross-functional Accountability. The Accountability Core Methodology was used with every functional department and linked to each person’s performance management and appraisal. All levels of management and supervision were trained in the full series of Accountability-Based Leadership, including Strategic Coaching, Taking Advantage of Change, Customer Service and Accountability Based Facilitation.
This organization is viewed as a benchmark in their industry. They have consistently ranked in the top employers in Oregon as rated in Oregon Business Magazine’s Best Places to Work In Oregon. They also achieved their profitability and productivity goals during the past 7 years. They achieved the highest rating of any health care organization for energy efficiency and became a leader in becoming ISO certified. They maintain high levels of morale according to industry standards and have grown to providing regional care to better support a larger community.
To implement newly formed department values, while increasing customer satisfaction, productivity and morale. They also needed to deal with declining resources and turnover of key talent.
IMPAQfirst worked with Leadership to turn their newly formed values into Success Factors of Performance Execution that could be measured and linked to their performance goals. We implemented Service Excellence and the Accountability Core Methodology within each functional area to include all managers and employees.
The IT Department received 2 customer service awards within the first 6 months after implementation. Later that year, they demonstrated customer satisfaction improvements and an increase in overall morale by 25% based on a standardized University climate study. They also achieved a 35% increase in trust in leadership. Five years later the department has continued to sustain customer satisfaction improvements, increased productivity based on projects completed, and increased retention of key talent.
The BioScience California plant had a history of being one of the most successful plants in this “Fortune 500″ organization, producing Recombinant Factor 8. As demand grew over the years, considerable capacity had been added. However, this Western Regional plant found itself in a dilemma affecting its future. Based on competition and advancements in the industry, Recombinant was being replaced by another product developed elsewhere in their own organization. As a result, this plant’s capacity exceeded production requirements.
The handwriting on the wall was clear: within two years costs and headcount needed to be reduced or another role for the plant needed to be found. For the plant Senior Leadership Team (SLT), this meant a decision to either:
- Shut down current suites as production continued to be lowered; or
- Develop the organization to add or change suites for accommodating contract manufacturing and prepare for future internal pipeline products.
The easy solution was to reduce the number of suites, but this would have had a major negative effect on employees, resulting in job loss and lowered morale. Preparing the organization to satisfy the requirements and competitive challenge of contract manufacturing meant making major modifications to the organization related to costs, processes, marketing and sales capability and changing the mindset and culture of the organization to accommodate this new direction. The SLT unanimously decided to take on the challenge of transforming the plant.
The Leadership Challenge
Coming off years of focusing primarily on driving the success of the Recombinant product line in a supply constrained market, the SLT realized the need to prepare the organization for a demand constrained market and manufacturing other new products. They were going to have to become much more effective at keeping the organization focused on its new direction, improving decision making and responsiveness, and communicating with one voice to the rest of the organization. The Middle Management Team (MMT) would have take on a leadership role as change agents, exhibiting more initiative to solve problems and make operational improvements that crossed the boundaries of each department. The SLT and the middle managers would have to work in partnership to create this transformation if they were going to meet the deadlines of preparing the organization for a rapid change in product, process and customer.
The SLT also had to address the challenge of retaining key individual contributors who knew the business situation was changing and who also were watching their peers move on to competing organizations in the area.
The Solution | Developing the Organization for Change
The SLT realized that they did not have the skills and experience to undertake the required transformation, so they retained IMPAQ to introduce The Accountability Based Leadership program. This program addressed topics of Change Leadership, Performance Management, Team Leadership and Personal Accountability. One of the most important components of this leadership development series was a two-day working session focused on building high performance teams, improving performance execution and achieving critical deliverables.
During the annual plant shut down, all members of the SLT and MMT participated in The Accountability Leadership program to prepare them for change. The program included technical training as well as assistance in developing communication skills and an understanding about personal accountability.
The SLT created a Vision of Leadership which represented how they would need to change their executive leadership role to align with the new contract manufacturing business model.
The SLT broke into sub-teams to develop action plans for making improvements. The team quickly realized that they had to change their â€œhabitsâ€ of performance execution as a team rather than just individually. Alignment and demonstrating that they could “walk the talk” would be critical.
While the strategic planning process had previously identified 37 different strategic goals, the team quickly learned that commitment and focus could not be built across such a wide variety of goals. As a consequence, the team narrowed the focus to 6 key priorities:
- Reduce costs;
- Develop capacity for contract manufacturing;
- Compliance with FDA, reducing observations by 40%;
- Improve customer fulfillment;
- Increase cash flow related to inventory;
- Prepare and develop the culture for change.
For each of these target areas, one SLT team member took the lead and developed a project plan for achieving the deliverables associated with the target area. Using the principles of “shared accountability” every person on the SLT was responsible for the success of all six target areas. The SLT reviewed each project plan, gave input and eventual agreement with the final project plan. The SLT as a whole was responsible for monitoring the progress on each project plan and assisting in resolving any obstacles or conflicts that would block success.
Finally, they identified areas where they needed to improve relationships as an SLT and rated themselves in each of 15 areas.
- Addressing conflict, meeting effectiveness and challenging one another turned out to be keys for moving the whole team forward.
- The Middle Management Team went through a similar process, identifying four areas for improvement including:
- Accountability (both personal and shared accountability);
- Meeting Effectiveness (all meetings in the plant);
- Open and Honest Communication;
- Project Management from an execution standpoint.
As the SLT and MMT worked on their top six priorities and selected success factors, they tracked monthly “leading indicators” which were selected based on their ability to predict achieving key milestones and hitting major performance goals. At the end of 9 months, 75% of the 21 Success Factors for effective performance execution improved with 57% being significant improvements. Improvements in performance execution contributed to the following business results:
- 20% reduction in unit costs
- $17.3 Million positive manufacturing variance
- Reduced raw material inventory by $10 Million
- Improved release cycle time for BD’s and final container by 6 days (from 33 to 27 days)
- Reduced the number of FDA observations from 17 to 3
In The Words of the SLT
“We learned that Accountable Leadership is more than having goals and targets and insisting on individual accountability to achieve results. We needed to be a unified team focused on performance execution and collaboration between our different functional areas to be successful.”
“By having a systems approach to leadership we were able to track our progress toward measurable outcomes so that if we were off track, we could get back on track to achieve the goals we desired. We also discovered that when we were focused and clear in direction, we could lead this organization to achieve even better results than planned. Ultimately, it was everyone in our organization that represented our success and it was our job as an SLT and MMT to lead the effort and continue to prioritize group and individual accountability.”
Synopsis | The Situation
The nuclear plant was ranked in the lowest INPO quartile and wanted to increase Accountability in the organization in order to move up. Safety problems, outages and other issues were continuous; people weren’t being accountable to processes and procedures already in place. Management had tried just about everything they could to address the problem. The senior team purchased three different books on Accountability in an effort to build Accountability internally. They found”The Accountability Revolution” to be of most interest and called IMPAQ for assistance.
Summary | Our Work Together
Started with the Technical Services leadership group and emphasized cross-functional leadership which they were not used to doing at all. Initially, the team would arrive at clarity on an issue but then go into paralysis by analyzing the solution to the extreme. This produced solutions that were overly complex and created even more confusion at the operating unit level.
The leadership group began to take ownership for the whole department not just their individual silos. They discovered similar problems across units and began to work on them together rather than take a more fragmented approach.
The CEO was actively involved in the initial working sessions and stated that although he thought he had seen just about everything in the industry, nothing had been nearly as successful as this approach.
6 Month Results
- Average repair costs are down.
- Improved recordable and loss time rate related to safety issues from 2.02 to 1.58 (22%).
- Improved quality of Operability Determination – outstanding issues reduced 40%.
- Average corrective action (items) went down from 900 to 114-never been below 120.
- Number of control room deficiencies down by 25%.
- Corrective maintenance backlog down by 25%.
- Reduction in AR backlog down 700-100.
- 79% of their success factors improved and 46% improved significantly.
Quotes from the CEO and Chief Nuclear Officer
“You never know what the next challenge will be in the nuclear utility industry. Your organization must be responsive and focused in dealing with it. Working together as a team must be a natural behavior. IMPAQ and Agreements for Excellence enabled us to achieve that level of performance.”
- Vic Parrish-Energy Northwest, Richland WA
Company Situation and Drivers
The XYZ Group (16+BEuros revenues; 115.000++ FTE’s) is active in 170 countries across the globe. As a vertically integrated company, XYZ notably controls 70 production factories producing equipment goods addressing B2B, B2C and B2E market segments.
To support the accelerating pace of its global business ambitions and competitive pressures, the company started in 2002 a major organizational transformation, evolving from country based to a matrix mix of product lines, regions and support functions.
Accordingly, their “IT/IS” (1350 FTE’s, 4 Data Centers) aligned its organizational design. Coming from separate IT organizations in each region, they progressively adapted a global centrally coordinated model, with a mirror-image IT function in each of their regions: North and South America, Europe, Asia and Middle East–Africa.
While the percentage of total IT spending centrally controlled by HQ CIO moved from 10% to 95+%, IT/IS’s management team started addressing 4 key recurrent generic objectives:
- Increased Efficiency (through synergy and scale benefits of Centralization),
- …without undermining Effectiveness (Product Differentiation and Services Innovation; Anticipation of and response to either global or local fast-changing business needs).
- Modify the mix of investments by reducing allocations to “Commodities” while tripling the percentage dedicated to “High Value Business Focused Applications”,
- and simultaneously improve overall productivity ratios by a minimum 10% per year.
These objectives were rapidly declined in a number of distinct initiatives:
A short, middle and long term “Convergence” plan still in progress, to reduce technical dispersion (number of technology constituents and providers), identify “High Value Business Needs”, promote technology and applicative consistency WW and insure aligned on time availability of necessary competencies in adequate geographies;
- Infrastructures outsourced globally to an “ESP”;
- A Global architectural blueprint managed by global architects on behalf of IT governance in joint IT/Business committees;
- All Application Development and Evolutions governed globally in “Business Domains” with a focus on “Master Applications” being the de facto standard for all the company.
Accordingly and to coordinate the overall, a governance and architectural framework was launched in mid 2005 as being XYZ IT/IS’s “New Service Delivery Model” (NSDM).
The New Service Delivery Model’s (NSDM) Challenge
Coming from a country based and moving to a global “NSDM” required IT/IS’s both Leadership and Middle Management to rapidly change their patterns of work and behaviors. The inherent and on going execution difficulties linked to its deployment brought XYZ’s CIO to ask for IMPAQ’s intervention early 2006.
IMPAQ’s Engagement | Starting March 2006
a) The engagement started by an initial assessment conducted both in the US and Europe to identify the execution problem(s) and the calendar of the various steps to address them. Three major observations surfaced:
- The model wasn’t exactly clear enough for all of the IT/IS members and managers;
- More importantly, even when understood, people still didn’t know how to practise it (or behave) within the new dimension of transversal geographically dispersed teams;
- And finally, coming from a vertical organization, the IT/IS’s various levels of management had not yet identified the new common shared values, behaviors and roles which are the basic attributes of “team building” and leading organizations.
As a consequence, one of the identified objectives was to move managers from challenging the model itself to questioning how to implement it more effectively; and to evolve from a vertical silo oriented approach to one of shared accountability for results across teams, functions and vendors.
b) The first step was to form a “Leadership Team” (a smaller group than the initial IT senior management group) who was to meet regularly and guide the process; and to strategize the role of the team and directions for the middle managers.
- Two distinct working sessions–2/3 days each (from June 2006 to March 2007), enabled both the Leadership Team and Implementation Teams to define…
- A compelling vision of what success would look like;
- Their 5 top priorities, like “Speaking with one Voice” for the Leadership Team;
- Their associated “Key Success Factors” describing the new ideal habits of performance execution as a unified management group and a self assessment of current performance against the ideal;
- Their “interaction agreements” such as how should/will we work and recover together;
- And finally, baseline measurements for each of the above that would be monitored and evaluated over time for “improvement and effectiveness”.
c) These processes were then deployed, reviewed and progressively fine tuned, both to ensure adjustments were producing results and to adapt with new emerging requirements.
An “NSDM Risks Factors and Mitigation Plan” covering most of their execution critical aspects (such as “Standardization of working environments”, “Critical Capacities Planning with Recovery Plans” and “Mandatory Program Management Skills”) was implemented; and “Leading Indicators” were deployed on top of already existing “Tracking Indicators”.
d) The perimeter was then expanded to
- A breakdown of trust between different regions and IT/IS’s primary external partners resulting in heavily penalized collaboration across the organization;
- And to the 10/15 top projects of their Application Development Portfolio equally suffering difficulties: late deliveries, budgets being exceeded, functionalities misaligned with initial plan, etc…
e) Simultaneously, IMPAQ’s approach was applied to XYZ’s relations with their major ESP where “over-reaction” and “Contract Management” was the usual way to address the many on going critical issues. “Relationship and Demand Management” was progressively promoted and incidentally extended to IT/IS’s relations with their company’s various internal users and Support Functions (Marketing, Manufacturing, Supply Chain, Finance, etc…).
Obtained Results in July 2007 | And next steps
After 15 months of IMPAQ’s involvement (roughly 6 working sessions of 2 days each plus one hour conference calls every 2 weeks), various improvements were recorded:
a) The first segment relates to how they now practice the “NSDM”:
- Trust and Respect, especially with regard to decision making and delegation, is considered a major improvement. Almost all teams report team spirit and teamwork to be high and the challenge(s) now most frequently to be outside IT/IS’s boundaries.
- Moved from having to explain and justify the “Service Delivery Model” to full cooperation, use of it and appreciation for middle managers.
- Across functions alignment: Most efforts are now focused in a unified way on the difficulties of the new technologies and business challenges.
- The “Leadership Team” publishing decisions regularly is receiving a 90+% positive rating; and Self-Assessment of Middle Manager Success Factors of Performance Execution improved by a 70% increase.
- Progressively improved “Relationship and Demand Management” with their major ESP.
b) The second resumes specific measurable results. 70% of their most important “Success Factors” for more effective execution have improved by an average ratio of 65%, translating into significant outcomes:
- As evaluated in July 2007, collective moral is high and Productivity Improvement Ratios are met, both in spite of two unexpected budget reductions during the past 18 months.
- Infrastructure and Working Environments major non conformities (heavily penalizing operations when we started the engagement) were significantly reduced, due to jointly shared more accurate “Critical Capacities and Recovery Planning” with their ESP .
- As a consequence and for the first time since long, “Operations SLA’s” are currently exceeding 2007 objectives.
- In a context where their number of projects was progressively reduced from 1300 to 250, the entire Project Portfolio is now under control, with conformity to the “Enterprise Architecture” as a mandatory pre-requisite. A significant achievement.
- Recently implemented “Leading Indicators” are also lowering project risks while enabling faster implementation.
- Within this portfolio and to start with, 13 of their 30 most important projects (representing close to 70% of their annual project budget) were selected, all directly aligned with major business ambitions (Supply Chain, Marketing, Business Intelligence, etc..).
- The first six are now on time and budget while meeting expected deliverables; and conformity with targeted KPI’s has improved by 50% for the other 7 projects.
c) Next Steps: From now on (July 2007), the expected plan is notably to…
- support agreed upon recurrent processes of coaching, guiding and empowering “IT/IS” management while the company is streamlining its entire organization;
- and to focus on the more on risk “transversal – multi-internal users” portion of their project portfolio, where getting each to specify precisely enough their respective needs and even more, to agree all together on the largest–not the smallest–possible common denominator is considered one of the next challenges to be addressed.
The Customer Call Center (CCC) had been engaged in some improvement projects for over a year when they called us, and although those projects yielded some good successes, the company still faced significant accountability problems with regard to handling customer complaints and working collaboratively across departments. In an effort to provide better customer service, the company developed many tools designed to help the Customer Service Reps (CSR) serve the customer. So many tools were developed that there was confusion about the tools, and as a consequence, most of them were not used effectively. The company engaged their own internal change agents from corporate headquarters and they discovered that too many metrics, stated goals and audit requirements were distracting employees from a “customer first” priority. Other challenges that surfaced were:
- Teams and functions were operating within silos
- Job role definitions within teams and across the organization were restricting the ability of the CSR’s to respond quickly and flexibly to customer issues
- CSR’s seemed to know and understand their own and team’s goals, but not organizational goals
- Managers were managing and not leading their teams, and were reinforcing the silo mentality
Management brought in a Customer Service Training program which had some positive effects, but true accountability for owning the customers’ complaint and effectively and quickly resolving those complaints was not happening.
The client had worked with IMPAQ several years back and they asked us to develop a training program for the entire call center population to address the accountability issues. The client felt that if the CSR’s were truly engaged, defined their own concepts of great customer service and then held themselves accountable to meeting those concepts, then they would achieve the improvement in customer satisfaction scores that corporate was demanding. Corporate had set a goal of customer satisfaction scores in the 8’s and higher. (Several branches of the organization including production and accounting had already been outsourced overseas and top management was looking to possibly outsource this function as well.)
The Director of Call Center wanted her leaders to demonstrate greater consistency in how they were managing employees and more professionalism. Many people had been promoted from within and were having a hard time stepping into a leadership role and away from an individual contributor role. There was also a lot of “hallway” quarterbacking and second guessing of management decisions.
Summary | Our Work Together
We began our engagement with a series of group and individual interviews and we came to the conclusion that a training solution for the general population was part of the answer, but the bigger issue was that the leadership team needed greater Shared Accountability for owning customer satisfaction and needed to provide greater focus and clarity on a few select improvement goals. (The Call Center was spinning its wheels working on too many improvement goals at once and not gaining traction on any of them.)
We facilitated Agreements for Excellence® (AFE) for the Leadership Team emphasizing cross-functional Accountability. The Team began to take ownership for the whole Call Center not just their individual departments. The team identified twenty-three Success Factors to improve performance execution and selected four of those to work on as team improvement projects for the next six months. The top four Success Factors were: 1) Solicit, understand and act on customer feedback, 2) Alignment and focus on top organizational priorities, 3) Effective hiring, and 4) Clear understanding of other team’s roles and goals. In the session, sub teams were created to develop improvement projects for all four areas and the groups met on a monthly basis to work on these projects. The team also created a Team Interaction Agreement on “Holding Ourselves and Others Accountable.”
In addition to doing their own improvement work, the Leadership Team was committed to having each and every employee attend IMPAQ’s Power of Personal Accountability® Program and we spent several hours strategizing how the leaders would roll out the program to their teams and how they would follow up with their employees once they had gone through the program. There was tremendous alignment in making sure employees knew this program was important and setting up the schedule of the program so employees could attend the program without having to worry about their daily responsibilities. The Leadership Team decided that a representative from the group would kick off and conclude each session, but that they would not attend the sessions with their employees.
The focus of the Power of Personal Accountability® Program was to help employees gain a new perspective on accountability, to develop ways to work more cross functionally to better serve the customer and to look at their own roles in providing superior customer service. The leadership team all went through a short version of the Power of Personal Accountability® Program so they could be on the same page as their employees. The Director of the Call Center did the introduction and came in for the conclusion for 10 of the 13 sessions we conducted. When she couldn’t attend the session, she assigned another member of the leadership team to fill in for her. (This was a critical factor for conveying the importance of the program to the employees.) Each session had up to 30 employees and we mixed people up so they had an opportunity to meet and work with employees from different departments. At the conclusion of each session, employees worked in sub-teams to identify strategies on how they could keep the work going and what support they needed from management to keep the work going.
Results | Anecdotal and Measurable
The Leadership Team met six months after their initial Agreements for Excellence Program to track and measure their results and to create new improvement projects. They achieved a 61% improvement in Success Factors overall; 17% of the improvements were general improvements and 44% of the improvements were significant. The group identified 25 General Improvements including:
- Improved teaming and trust between functional teams
- Much better understanding of each team’s roles
- More open dialogue on teams and across teams
- Much improved hiring process and bringing on new talent that were of a very high caliber
- More ownership by Customer Service Reps for customer satisfaction
- Better balancing of workloads on teams
The group also identified 16 Measurable Improvements including:
- Customer Satisfaction Scores consistently over 8.0 (This call center was the only region that was consistently above 8.0 in all metrics)
- Getting to an 8.6 in the metric, “getting to the right person”
- Each month, every team is doing an activity to reinforce the accountability concepts
- More shadowing and attending other team’s meetings
- Getting consistently good reviews and accolades from the sales team
The company conducted a pulse survey of the employees four months after the Power of Personal Accountability® Sessions and over half of the 225 employees responded. Some of the key results were as follows: 63% of the respondents noted that they had observed performance or attitude improvement within their teams since the session. 55% of the respondents reported that they have observed performance or attitude improvement across teams since the session. 81% of the respondents said they had taken some action steps to improve their accountability or performance since the session. And 60% of the respondents reported that they had observed their manager taking action steps to improve his/her accountability or performance since the session. 84% of the respondents reported that problems are getting resolved in a way that better improves customer service, improves quality or reduces time.