Following a major re-organization, the executives of a 2000 person IT organization were struggling with working together as a leadership team. The team was having difficulty exchanging critical information in a timely manner, making critical enterprise-wide decisions, and providing strategic input on complex issues.

Wheelhouse Group’s expertise in leadership and organization development, cultural change management, and process improvement, combined with our strong understanding of their business, enabled us to help the team transform into a high performing executive leadership team.

Approach/Solution

Wheelhouse Group applied the Drexler/Sibbet Team Performance Model to assess the team’s strengths and challenges including in depth interviews with the executives, and observations of the team’s interactions. Our analysis surfaced multiple strengths on which the team could build a foundation as well as complex, underlying problems including lack of a common purpose and shared goals, distrust, poor communication, and an overwhelming amount of work. Wheelhouse Group designed and facilitated strategic working sessions with the team over the course of 12 months to re-establish its strategic purpose and operating norms as well as provide the hands on support necessary for transformation.

For example, Wheelhouse Group focused on building trust, shifting to team leadership rather than individual, targeting strategic goals, connecting with one another and making group gatherings meaningful. The success of the working sessions was a combination of Wheelhouse Group’s expert facilitation and understanding of group dynamics and adult learning theory, coupled with lecture, activity, and real-time application of the learnings to real work issues. In addition, Wheelhouse Group assisted the team in performing their normal business duties while enforcing the new behaviors; Wheelhouse Group helped leaders understand and utilize valuable techniques and ensured that executives were able to apply them by acting as a coach on actual projects. This combination of providing strategic analysis, while focusing on the “real work” of the executive team enabled Wheelhouse Group to become a trusted working partner with the leadership team and instilled new effective behaviors amongst the team members. Wheelhouse Group has also engaged executive coaches for a few members of the executive team to work on individual style and tapped into the potential in the leaders that may otherwise been under-utilized.

Key Outcome/Key Data

After working with this team, the client was almost immediately able to see significant improvements. Some of the benefits include:

  • Strategically focused and goal-oriented team – the team focuses their time and energy on strategic, enterprise-wide issues and can complete cross-cutting projects more quickly and efficiently
  • Stable and trusting working environment – the team looks forward to working with one another, and taps into one another’s skill sets. Team members let their guard down and more freely interact with each other;
  • Ability to identify systemic and cross-organizational issues and solutions – the team works better to solve common/shared problems and coordinate key change initiatives across the organization. Team members delegate more effectively across the leadership team and backfill for each other
  • Leadership team results are put ahead of individual and departmental issues – loyalty and commitment now reside within the executive leadership team with members advocating for each other with external stakeholders.

Most recently the results of this work became evident during an organizational crisis when these executives were forced to collaborate and deliver minimal staff under intense pressure and scrutiny. The team reacted swiftly to the “crisis” and maintained full commitment and shared ownership of all outcomes – large or small over a two week period. The executive team performed as a high performing team and demonstrated high quality senior leadership across the organization.

Key Takeaway