Growing Organizations - Case Studies - Innolect, Inc.

Growing Organizations – Case Studies


story of success on typewriterROI: Building Inclusive Cultures and Valuing Talent

Innolect developed a highly interactive learning experience using an inclusiveness checklist, current film/television clips, and live testimonials to build a business case for involving and valuing talent.

A senior HR leader approached Innolect to help manage an escalating diversity issue in a division of a pharmaceutical company. The leader wanted to create a more inclusive work environment to increase employee engagement and retention.

Rather than offering the standard corporate diversity courses to a resistant and fatigued supervisory workforce, Innolect developed a highly interactive learning experience using an inclusiveness checklist, current film/television clips, and live testimonials to build a business case for involving and valuing talent. Supervisors examined their own behavior and explored how to think and behave in new ways.

Results: The supervisors pushed the organization to expand and offer the training to all levels of the organization. These same supervisors reported higher employee satisfaction scores among employees and requested ongoing development opportunities to increase their diversity skills and capabilities.

A Shot in the Arm for Healthcare Leadership

When a healthcare client realized it had a serious morale problem, it called on Innolect to develop a three-pronged plan to bring its frontline supervisors together as a formidable team.

An internal survey indicated that frontline supervisors experienced low morale due to a lack of clearly defined roles and detachment from the rest of management. This resulted in lower scores on employee attitude surveys, lack of support for hospital programs, and poor management practices among supervisors. Innolect consultants:
– Developed a three-pronged plan to place supervisors on a leadership team as full members
– Increased sharing of current and future organizational plans via leadership email groups and bi-annual leadership retreats
– Concentrated on training and education aimed at supervisors; this included the formation of monthly “Lunch and Learn” programs and quarterly Supervisor Forums
– Created a management bonus program that mirrored upper-level incentive compensation programs

Results: Tremendous upsurge of pride and identification with hospital leadership. Clear improvement in alignment of goals and sense of belonging. Increase in survey results of 40 percentile points in two years.


Merger Leaders in Transition: Building a Coaching Culture

A global pharmaceutical company asked Innolect to formulate an internal coaching initiative to tackle new business challenges. It was the catalyst these executives needed to make some healthy changes.

A global pharmaceutical company engaged Innolect as a partner to design a strategy and approach to implement a coaching initiative to prepare leaders for a merger. Innolect consultants:
1. Helped its leaders tackle challenging business issues and performance goals related to the merger and integration of colleagues
2. Developed creative approaches and innovative solutions
3. Addressed changes in their leadership roles and responsibilities during the major transition
4. Clarified and integrated core leadership competencies
5. Honed skill and experience required to develop others

Results: Survey results from participants rated the initiative as exceeding expectations of the executive sponsors, HR liaisons and participants. Participants particularly valued learning how to become catalysts for change and linking success to being more strategically focused. Representative comments included:
– “Better focus on performance…helps to gain insight into ways to improve results.”
– “I’m managing my people more efficiently, using my time better, letting my direct reports have more responsibility.”
– “I feel empowered…the company gets a better ME.”
– “I understand how others experience my actions and decisions.”
– “The coaching program makes the leader behaviors real.”


1. Responding To a Customer Crisis

When major customers tell a company that it has lost service leadership to the competition, something must change. The question is what.

A manufacturer of security hardware was losing market share. Though the manufacturer had long been the customer service leader, the company had lost its edge. Comments from the largest customers were peppered with negative feedback: “You’ve lost the customer service leadership that made you great.” And — “The competition has caught you.”

There was consensus that a “Customer Service Initiative” was an imperative. The disagreement was around how to define the new level of customer service. The client engaged Innolect consultants to gain Clarity — to help them listen to customers and prioritize. Innolect consultants designed and implemented a process to:
– Invite customer panels to share views, needs and suggestions
– Moderate panels in front of a cross-section of employees
– Conduct a broader customer survey
– Facilitate planning sessions with frontline employees
– Use employee recommendations as a basis for action planning with managers
– Implement changes
– Assess and monitor customer satisfaction

Results: Morale improved dramatically. Frontline employees felt empowered and responsible for customer satisfaction. Communication improved across functions and between managers and the frontline. Roles, goals and responsibilities were clarified. Accountability increased. Customer satisfaction, top talent retention rates, and sales and productivity measures all improved.

2. Shaping a Licensing Culture and Process

When a company changes strategies, culture and behavior changes must follow. For a pharmaceutical company, this meant assessing and coaching key managers, clarifying process ownership and enhancing teamwork.

Patents on chemical compounds, research and technologies are staples of competitive advantage in pharmaceuticals. Yet, globalization and pricing pressures have forced major pharmaceutical companies to alter long-standing business models and strategies.

The emphasis has shifted from internal innovation-only to more licensing and co-promote agreements. The shift in strategy requires a transformation in culture and behavior. A new Vice President of Licensing and Development (L&D) for a pharmaceutical company engaged Innolect consultants to achieve Clarity, Capability and Connectivity regarding structure, talent, behaviors and performance measures. With Innolect’s assistance, the VP implemented a change initiative in three phases.

During Phase I — Build Talent Capability, Innolect consultants performed a 360-degree analysis of L&D directors and direct reports, and created individual development plans. In addition:
– Innolect coaches were engaged to accelerate adaptation of new leadership and management skills
– Innolect designed and implemented customized “capability continuums” which helped the division become self-sufficient in performance measurement

In Phase II — Define Core Processes, we learned that there was poor coordination between various company divisions and functional groups. The “newness” of the L&D division and differing perceptions of its “charge” added further complication.
1. Innolect consultants designed and facilitated a teambuilding offsite that clarified process accountability
2. “Quick Cycle” meetings were implemented to improve workflow, socio-technical, cost-benefit and other process analyses

During Phase III — On-Demand Interventions, Innolect consultants provided on-demand coaching and facilitation when conflicts arose over process ownership and strategies.

Results: The L&D Vice President reported that the positive impact of aligning L&D managers and improving cross-functional teamwork was“immeasurable.” L&D became critical to the growth of company revenues.

3. Setting the Vision And Values

Sometimes the most engaging way to craft and communicate Vision and Values is to bring together a diverse cross-section of leaders for an opening airing and alignment of views.
Most organizations aspire to have a Vision and set of Values that can guide behavior. But frustration abounds when Vision and Values are established, shared and met with a “so what?”, or, “It’s just a piece of paper.”

In contrast, employees and other stakeholders gain confidence in and actively support an organization when the Vision and Values define a core philosophy and expectations for how it will be achieved. The most effective approaches to Vision and Values development and communications have certain characteristics in common:

– They establish a clear identity and direction

– They are not shaped by a small handful of leaders and managers; they instead emerge from a highly-interactive process

– It is clear how they will be translated into actions that will shape a new future

Innolect consultants have a track record of working with clients to:
– Involve stakeholders in Vision and Values development
– Define and refine Vision and Values statements
– Launch and communicate new directions in Vision and Values
– Engage whole organizations in changing behaviors to reflect Vision and Values
– Assess and monitor the degree to which Vision and Values are alive and present


4. Creating a Service Center Par Excellence

On the heels of a challenging merger, an international forest products company wanted to raise the performance of its account managers and launch a new service center.
An international forest products company engaged Innolect to strengthen the level of service provided by account managers.

To create an unparalleled Service Center, Innolect developed a five-day customized training program delivered over six weeks to support the team through a challenging merger. Throughout the training and during the months after, we met with line managers to identify ways they could reinforce the training on the job. We also coached the managers individually to guide them through merger challenges, and supported the launch of the new Service Center.

Results: The grand opening of the new Service Center was a huge success with high ratings for learning new skills while having such a good time — in the middle of a very chaotic merger. In spite of the unforeseen system glitches and many related problems caused by the merger, the company retained its customers — largely due to the partnership created between employees and customers.

5.Urgent Care for Healthcare Organization’s Revolving Door

This client experienced excessive turnover among employees during their first 180 days on the job. High turnover resulted in huge costs and workplace disruptions.

A healthcare organization suffered a 24% turnover among employees during the first 180 days on the job. This statistic came at a tremendous expense for recruiting and training (estimated at 50% of annual salary), plus a disruption to workplace productivity. Innolect consultants:
– Created a three-tier retention initiative aimed at new hires
– Helped train mentors who were assigned to every new employee
– Developed a “3-3-3” project where each new employee was visited at 3 days, 3 weeks, and 3 months by an HR representative; during brief 10-minute encounters, questions and concerns were addressed and support was provided
– Created a mandatory 60-day feedback/evaluation for all employees with an abbreviated form

Results: After three years, turnover among this group was reduced to 11%.

6. Qualifying to Deliver Quality

Many companies aspire to become “world class”. Some engage the expertise and make the multi-year commitment to do so. In the midst of an economic downturn, a mid-size manufacturing company set upon what first seemed inconceivable. The goal was to sustain profits during the downturn, enter new markets, and launch a long-term initiative to be “world class.” The company’s leadership engaged Innolect consultants to strategize, facilitate and collaborate with several departments and internal Organizational Development staff. The initiative had four key transformational components:
– Make fundamental yet dramatic changes in the structure and system to reduce Complexity
– Move the culture to an emphasis on customer service and quality
– Utilize Baldrige and California Quality Awards as standards

Results: The company won a Silver-level California Quality Award and a national Malcolm Baldrige Quality Award. The company sustained profits, achieved new market penetration during a weak economy, and positioned itself for future growth.

7. HR Efficiency For a Biotech

Businesses often play “systems” catch-up. A company grows and organizational mechanisms like HR systems are reconfigured to keep pace. One successful Biotech firm decided to reconfigure and refine — before the need arose.

A medium-sized Biotech research firm was poised for major growth, but internal systems were not aligned to accommodate the growth. The HR system had been cobbled together and was already outmoded. The question the Director of Administration put to Innolect consultants was: “What should we do to re-engineer our HR policies and procedures to accommodate growth?”

The first step was an extensive HR audit. The audit included assessing current HR policies, procedures and processes — from a legal and regulatory standpoint and a “best practices” perspective. The audit confirmed that current approaches resulted in duplications and gaps, and the situation would deteriorate in a high-growth environment.

To design a future HR system, Innolect consultants set a goal of reducing Complexity — adding depth and breadth to the HR system while improving effectiveness and efficiency. This included:
– A new organizational chart
– Job descriptions
– Career ladders
– Performance measurements
– Employee policies/procedures
– Documentation system

Results: The Director of Administration reported greater leadership and employee satisfaction, and described the new system as making it “easier for the growing company to quickly fill roles with qualified candidates.”

8. Redesigning A Hospital System

There’s an old maxim: “form follows function.” The organizational equivalent is “structure determines behavior.” When reorganization is truly strategic, results can exceed expectations.
Senior management of a large regional HMO/Hospital System wanted to architect a new organizational strategy for several related functions: Sales, Marketing, Account Service, Underwriting and Contracts. The existing system and cross-functional interactions were causing poor execution and declining customer satisfaction. In addition, rates needed to increase, but sales and service processes were ill equipped to handle changes.

The client engaged Innolect consultants on a project to overhaul and reduce Complexity within and between functions. The system was redesigned from functional silos to cross-functional teams supporting customer segments — for example, Small Business and National
Accounts. In addition, Innolect consultants and hospital management:
– Streamlined processes
– Adjusted compensation mechanisms
– Redefined roles (including those union members)
– Upgraded management practices

Results: In the next two cycles, the HMO/Hospital System raised rates 10 percent with no net loss of customers. Management attributed the success to the re-structuring and re-engineering of processes.

9. A Healthy System For Mental Health

A State Commissioner of Mental Health recognized that the state’s system of mental health services was cumbersome, confusing, complex and not customer-friendly. His goal was more efficient, cost-effective and accountable service delivery.

It is a challenge for any leader to reduce Complexity by simplifying processes and re-organizing resources. The situation was especially daunting for a State Commissioner of Mental Health who inherited a fragmented system of services delivered through regional clinics, satellite clinics and hospitals.

The Commissioner set a 12-month deadline for redesign and reorganization, and engaged Innolect consultants to facilitate the process. The existing model divided the state into three regions with separate administrative structures and delivery channels.

A series of re-design sessions were held in each region, attended by a cross-section of key stakeholders in the mental health system. Each regional team prepared a proposal — including regional requirements — for statewide governance and delivery. Then, 60 representatives from three regional teams came together and developed a final proposal for approval by the regions, the state’s Secretary for Health and Hospitals, and legislature.

Results: The process was completed and approved within the deadline. Clinicians and clients found the new model more accessible, transparent, accountability-driven and efficient.

10. Applying Six Sigma To Two Retail Healthcare Providers

A retail pharmaceutical manufacturer and a manufacturer of retail consumer healthcare and grooming products both desired successful Six Sigma to improve production and distribution efficiency.

A manufacturer of retail pharmaceuticals and a manufacturer of retail consumer healthcare and grooming products both turned to Innolect consultants for help with Six Sigma initiatives. The manufacturer of retail pharmaceuticals had a Six Sigma initiative underway, but it had faltered due to poor management-employee relations.

Innolect consultants took union leadership on benchmarking trips to other companies that had successfully implemented Six Sigma, organized a management steering committee to define a Six Sigma vision, identified high-impact projects, and championed the initiative.

The manufacturer of retail healthcare and grooming products wanted to improve the order fulfillment process. The company had no experience with Six Sigma. Innolect consultants:
– Trained the company’s leadership, team leaders and teams
– Developed a change implementation strategy
– Improved the system for collecting and analyzing the “voice of the customer”
– Helped communicate with major customers
– Hosted information sessions to alleviate middle manager fears and resistance to Six Sigma

Results: The manufacturer of retail pharmaceuticals achieved improvements in through-put and product quality, reduced costs, and increased customer orders. The manufacturer of retail healthcare and grooming products achieved dramatic improvements in order fulfillment cycle time, on-time delivery, order accuracy, billing accuracy and customer satisfaction.

12. After Action Review

Innolect used an after action review process to capture lessons learned, identify best practices, and create a roadmap for how best to work together in the future.

Senior management for a non-for-profit hospital system engaged Innolect to identify factors contributing to the frustration that accompanied the move to an electronic (paperless) self-service system for managers and employees.

In addition to complaints from employees, missed deadlines and coming in over budget, project members expressed reluctance to work together on the new project teams. Since the team would likely work together again on future initiatives, Innolect used an after action review process to capture lessons learned, identify best practices, and create a roadmap for how best to work together in the future. Using the data, Project Team and Steering Committee members met offsite to gain understanding and insight about areas of agreement and disagreement before launching another team project.

During the session, team members agree to:
– Develop a clear and realistic team charter with governance
– Redefine roles and expectations
– Engage the steering committee to review and reinforce the charter
– Establish a clear methodology for project management
– Streamline processes

Results: The recommendations were integrated into all subsequent implementations, and projects came in under budget and on time. Management attributed the success to recommendations applied from the after action review process.

13. Intervening In an Integration

Most mergers/acquisitions fail to achieve the goals originally set. An effective integration is one that is conducted in a disciplined, “planful” way and focused on both technical and cultural transformation. The right outside facilitation can save an integration.
The Vice President, Business Development for a Telecommunications company faced two dilemmas.

Short-term, his team was struggling with the merger/acquisition of another company. Long-term, the VP worried that a failed integration risked total failure of the company. The VP engaged Innolect as senior design and facilitation consultants to rescue the integration process.

The goal was to achieve greater Connectivity between the integration team’s work and the strategies and goals of the merger/acquisition and future business plan. Working with the VP and his team, Innolect consultants introduced a new level of strategic thinking and discipline into the integration including:
– A new merger/acquisition process map
– Clarification of individual and team roles and responsibilities
– Cross-functional problem-solving tools
– Leadership coaching

Results: Integration leaders and team members became more focused, with clearer accountabilities. In-fighting diminished. Improvements included reductions in development cycle times and service delivery costs.

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