Background & Challenge
The company is one of the most significant players in the global insurance and financial products market, headquarted in Italy. Characterised by a strong international outlook, it had expanded rapidly with particular focus on Asia over the last decade. To support this growth, a new management structure had been established, with most of the new leaders being hired externally.
With increasing competition in the market, leadership performance was critical for business success. The company wanted to;
- Understand whether their leaders were performing at the level they needed to achieve their strategic goals
- Gain insight into whether they had placed the right people in the right roles
- Foster their desired culture through their leaders acting as role models for the rest of the workforce
- Support the leaders’ development, closing any shortfalls in performance
Step 1 – Defining performance standards
- The first step was for the company to define a set of Leadership Capabilities, which clearly defined the focus areas and related behaviours expected at each level of seniority.
- These capabilities reflected the desired culture, evolving strategy and performance standards to achieve the company vision.
Step 2 – Assessing leadership capability
- The leaders’ performance was assessed against the desired profile. Since the leaders were widely dispersed over the world, the assessment approach comprised of a combination of online psychometric assessments, virtual business simulations and behavioural event interviews.
- Since working effectively in an international context had been idenitfied as a critical success factor, an intercultural assessment was included to measure cultural attitudes such as
cultural sensibility, adaptability and openness to diversity.
Step 3 – Enabling development
- Each leader participated in a feedback session to debrief and discuss the implications from their assessment for their development. The goal of this session was to identify 2-3 areas of their performance which were most important to improve. The leaders were then able to draw on the rich assessment data to identify the specific behaviours and activities that they needed to change or introduce which helped them form a practical development plan.
- Their coach also helped them identify critical experiences which would accelerate their development and seeking these out was incorporated into their plan.
- The final stage was for the leaders to attend a leadership programme comprised of attending learning sessions around different aspects of performance, supporting by follow up coaching.
The immediate benefits for the company included;
- Greater clarity across the business of overall leadership capability levels and common areas of strength and liability
- Insight into where to focus development budget and resources
- Objective and robust information on leadership progression potential and readiness for the next level
- Greater leadership commitment and engagement
The company reported longer term business impacts such as:
- Leadership performance increases, based on their next appraisals
- Greater number of leadership promotions
- Increased engagement scores