Improving Commercial Effectiveness Through Communication

The Client

A global software and technology solutions company with regional offices in 130 countries

Key Takeaways

  • Established and implemented key programs to communicate clearly and efficiently on a broad scale.

  • Facilitated teamwork with the overarching goal of achieving behavioral shifts in attitude.

  • Created a more collaborative environment and strengthened the interaction and trust between teams.

The Challenge

Ensuring clear communication and collaboration between geographically dispersed teams can be challenging. It’s even harder to navigate in large businesses where strategic objectives and messages can become confused, even when individual departments are highly competent.

Our client, a global software and technology solutions company with regional offices in 130 countries, had this exact problem. They enlisted Kaplan to help them restore a culture of collaboration between the teams by targeting their global talent pool of high potential performers. Their goal was for Kaplan to deliver workshops in seven of their international hubs:

  • London
  • Vancouver
  • Paris
  • Sao Leopoldo
  • New York
  • Bangalore
  • Johannesburg

The Solution

In order to address their needs, we chose The Kaplan Business Challenge, Kaplan’s flagship business simulation. This simulation provided an environment that promoted teamwork and strategic communication. Based on the direction from the client’s strategy team, we designed a customized, two-and-a-half-day program to incorporate a global strategy, as well as a two-day business simulation.

For the program, participants were invited to form the board of an ailing company, with the objective of turning the company around. Each participant adopted the role of a board director with a business role that varied from their own daily job.

This strategy pushed the delegates outside of their comfort zone and highlighted the challenges faced by other job functions. It also resulted in an appreciation for and a change in the decision-making process. Each team, in competition with the others, had to determine a strategy and implement, review, and adapt it accordingly as the program progressed.

As part of the simulation, team members were required to interact with various stakeholders of the company and interpret the stakeholder needs based on the simulation role assumed by each team member. Our program facilitators played the roles of customers, suppliers, workforce, and banks.

At the end of the program, each team was required to make a presentation to senior members within the organization. Their task was to reflect on the experience, highlighting what did or didn’t work, and identify operational changes that could be implemented in the workplace. Key learning objectives achieved:

  • Reinforce the organization’s strategic vision and objectives
  • Demonstrate leadership and teamwork skills in a commercially pressurized environment
  • Manage business risk and change
  • Develop a deeper understanding of cash flow velocity
  • Strengthen strategic thinking and alleviate commercial ambiguity
  • Improve understanding of financial statements and key performance indicators
  • Gain awareness of the financial performance and drivers of the business
  • Understand how day-to-day decisions and actions directly influence the bottom line
  • Monitor viable results and communicate with stakeholders
  • Improve commercial confidence and financial dexterity

The Result

The client was delighted to report that the program had encouraged a behavioral shift, and that a more collaborative approach was strongly exhibited between departments. These improvements were a direct result of each participant having a new appreciation for the other business functions within the organization.

In 2015–2016, our consultants were flown in from the UK to assist the client and deliver the first series of workshops. With Kaplan Leadership and Professional Development’s continued growth globally, we are now working with the client to offer delivery using our more localized teams of consultants. Our updated strategy will save on international airfare and accommodation costs, and ensure a more commercially effective program.

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Key Takeaways

  • Worked closely with client to identify data-feed areas that needed to be defined, and collaborated on necessary steps for data clean up.

  • Automated existing processes that streamlined reporting functionality.

  • Originated workflow methods, tracked the system at the various stages of the audit, and eliminated significant percentage of manual effort.

Key Takeaways

  • Evaluated and improved existing business model strategies.

  • Implemented an innovative program to educate leaders in technical competence and behavioral confidence.

  • Acquired a set of tangible action items that were added to workplace structure and management.

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