Case Studies

Successful multi-party actions
Read about the use of  SchellingPoint’s software and methods to drive strategic subjects from leadership team decision-making to complex societal challenges.

Any Shared Subject

'We' topics requiring coordinated action

Any Number of Participants

4 - 15,100 to date

Any Number of Organizations

1 - 550 to date

Any Type of Organization

For-Profit, Not-for-Profit, Government, Associations, Coalitions

Any Mode of Collaboration

In-person, Fully Virtual, or a Hybrid
The tabs below provide a diverse range of 57 projects from the hundreds conducted. In each case, the client enjoyed a combination of outputs, outcomes, speed, and efficiency unavailable from conventional collaboration approaches.
BPO/Outsourcing
Business Plans
Change Management
Corporate Strategy
Culture Change
Customer/Supplier Relationships
Digital Transformation
Diversity & Inclusion
Departmental Strategies
Industry Coalitions
Innovation
IT Projects
Mergers & Acquisitions
Policy Development
Process Improvement
Product/Service Strategies
Programs and Projects
Strategic Alliances & JV's
Sustainability
Transformation

Making the Best Decision to Outsource a Core Business Process

A first-time outsourcer minimizes risk and maximizes buy-in.

The Situation
A professional services company was experiencing high growth. It decided to consider Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) to ensure it had the talent acquisition capacity to support its growth and flex that recruiting capacity through the projected growth peaks and troughs.

The Requirement
This was the company’s first outsourcing decision. They assumed there would be an RPO configuration that would be right for them but wanted to find it before committing. They wanted to minimize the risk and disruption of a flawed choice on their growing organization. The company spoke to several RPO firms to become educated about RPO, understand this type of outsourcing, and learn how to make their decision.

The Solution
One of the potential RPO providers offered to help the firm learn and clarify their requirements  by using a consultant leveraging the SchellingPoint software and acting as a neutral third-party. Accepting the invitation, the process took two-weeks.

Nine company and four outsourcer personnel participated. Each anonymously shared their assumptions about RPO, the need to consider it, the outcomes it could and should produce, how it should operate, potential negative side-effects of building internal recruiting capacity, and the barriers to standing up a successful process. The group expressed over 190 opinions in total, including 32 reasons why RPO might not be successful.

The Result
Company leadership had valid expectations of RPO’s purpose, its scope of use, and the core operations it comprised. However, beyond the viability concerns, the alignment analytics identified divergence within the company leaders around the customer/outsourcer roles and responsibilities – some executives wanting RPO to reach deep into their organization, while others wanted any RPO services limiting to augmenting a growing internal recruiting capability.

This fundamental difference of opinion was reconciled, and the key concerns validated and mitigated. The dialogues used knowledge and insight from the RPO consultants, facilitated by the SchellingPoint-enabled consultant.

The company’s CEO said the process gave his team valid confidence they understood what they were buying and from who. A 5-year RPO contract was configured, signed, and conducted through the firm’s growth and eventual acquisition.

 

Ensuring a Successful Transition to a Seven-Year Outsourcing Contract

Even an aligned supplier cannot satisfy a misaligned customer.

The Situation
Dissatisfied with its incumbent supplier, a public sector organization chose to shift the outsourcing arrangement for a consumer-facing function, three hundred personnel, and the entire IT infrastructure, to a new outsourcer.

The Requirement
The new outsourcer was aware of the problems in the previous relationship. Despite a six-month evaluation process by the customer, the new outsourcer needed to ensure that the nine-month transition to their operations was flawless. The delivery team needed to meet the expectations agreed by the deal team.
The outsourcing contract comprised six primary deliverables over the first two years. The client expected the supplier’s operation of their business processes to deliver rapid, tangible process improvements. However, early signs of misalignment between the customer and the new outsourcer’s delivery team appeared.
Recognizing the need for a rapid and rigourous way to clarify and solve the situation, an independent consultant using the SchellingPoint software was brought in.

The Solution
Over 30 executives, managers, and key players in the client and the outsourcer participated. Within two hours, the virtual dialogue among them surfaced over 150 views and opinions on the contract and the transition.
The alignment analytics illustrated that the outsourcing team saw necessary process improvement as requiring the client-side of processes to be matured, too, not just those elements ‘bought’ from the supplier, whereas the customers mostly expected no effort should be required to ‘transfer’ the process from the incumbent to the new outsourcer.
Further, the outsourcer’s prioritization of initiatives to upgrade process excellence across the process lifecycle was silently rejected by the customer’s leaders, by assigning lower priorities to its staff’s activities and meetings.
Concurrently, unbeknownst to both the outsourcing team and the client’s management team, the senior client executive weighted one of the six deliverables as “If this one doesn’t happen, the rest doesn’t matter.” This focus was a new perspective, not heard during the purchasing process.

The Result
After identifying these disconnects, the client explicitly acknowledged that they needed to participate in process improvement, and all parties agreed to publish a revised set of project priorities.

 

Ensuring Contract Renewal through Proactive Troubleshooting

Removing re-contracting roadblocks before the renewal process.

The Situation
Large IT outsourcing contracts are typically complex, imperfect, collaborations. They can deliver immense value for customer and outsourcer alike, but the experience can be challenging for all involved. In one case, in year eight of a ten-year contract, the F500 client started to discuss the contract’s renewal and the need to go back out for competitive bids. The global BPO firm’s account executive was concerned that her client would not automatically renew the next years, in year nine, and prepare to find and move to after year ten concludes.

The Requirement
The Account Executive hired an independent consultant using the SchellingPoint software to gain a complete and accurate understanding of the state of the relationship and pinpoint the cause for concern not being surfaced during regular account meetings.

The Solution
18 client and outsourcer managers participated. In less than two hours, the alignment analytics revealed worrying sentiments and differences of opinion across these stakeholders. Despite formal, regular contract performance reporting saying things were ok, some customer personnel believed that certain contract KPI’s were consistently not met. They did not believe the outsourcer was accurately reporting certain KPI’s and felt their concerns had been ignored several years before and treated all subsequent updates as invalid.
Also, though the outsourcer had taken full control of the client’s processes and run them for five years, they were being judged negatively for inadequate innovation during that period.
Further, within certain groups, the customer’s sentiment was that they expected best practices from the outsourcer, yet it seemed they were ‘Doing it for the first time.’
On the other hand, customer personnel acknowledged that they were imperfect, but could not admit to problems they caused for fear that the outsourcer would use the honesty against them in future negotiations. This holding back led to operational weaknesses going unresolved, or the wrong remedy applied.

The Result
These and other issues were surfaced and pinpointed using SchellingPoint analytics. The root issues were reviewed with the customer and outsourcer’s IT and process leadership.
It transpired that the false KPI reporting was indeed accurate, and the client had been incorrect in their negative judgment of the outsourcer’s reporting flaws. The different expectations of innovation and business process excellence were resolved, and new agreements made.
The customer did not go out to rebid and confidently signed a multi-year renewal with the outsourcer. 

Designing a Sustainable Health Information Exchange.

Stakeholders with competing interests develop a policy for financial sustainability.

The Situation
A Health Information Exchange for a US state had been established using available federal and state grants. Given notification of the termination of these grants, the HIE’s governing body faced the question of how it would fund its future operations and growth.

The Requirement
The Health Information Exchange had two years in which to identify and build new sources of income before the grant funding ceased. Unable to agree upon an approach that would provide financial sustainability, the HIE’s executive director hired a strategy consultant using the SchellingPoint software to lead the board and management through a strategy development process.

The Solution
Competing interests of the insurance company payers, health care providers, and board members from organizations representing patients and the public complicated the need to find new revenue streams.
However, the group’s transparent virtual dialogue enabled anonymous comments, and the governing body was able to transcend their personalities and focus on how to make the HIE sustainable.
A breakthrough occurred when the process diagnosed that stakeholders were using different definitions of the word “payer” in their discussions and held different financial assumptions regarding technology development grants.

The Result
With these previously unstated assumptions surfaced, the differing meaning for words being used regularly in the conversation (a common issue in groups) was rapidly resolved.
Within ten weeks, the team developed a strategy and business plan that enabled financial sustainability. This organization is now among the few Health Information Exchanges in the country with service revenues that exceed its operational costs.

 

Clarifying Next Year’s Operational Plans within a New Go-to-Market Strategy

Choosing whether to stabilize or maintain pace during a period of high growth.

The Situation
A mid-size services firm had experienced three years of double-digit growth. Its go-to-market strategy needed refreshing, with clear goals and objectives for the upcoming year.

The Requirement
The firm’s leaders realized they had important choices to make. They understood the need to refresh the go-to-market strategy, but with ‘all hands on deck’ managing the growth, meetings were being postponed.
Also, leadership was conscious that unresolved tension was growing between informal calls to ‘slow the growth to consolidate our execution capability’ versus ‘continue the high growth and risk a few errors.’ A similar divergence was present around the firm’s customer targets, typified by statements such as ‘grow share-of-wallet in the major accounts,’ versus, ‘expand into new markets.’

The Solution
The firm’s President chose to use a consultant using the SchellingPoint software to engage her organization in the go-to-market strategy revision and formulate a set of goals and plans that would meet the firm’s continued growth goals but gain support from its personnel.
42 staff engaged in the virtual dialogue and solutioning activities – leaders, managers, and key staff from business development and service delivery in addition to the leadership team.
All activities took place after the workday ended when personnel felt they could focus on their internal needs.

The Result
The different policies described above were included within the group’s virtual dialogue. However, before these policies could be discussed and agreed, two surprising issues surfaced in the analytics.
On the one hand, confidence in the business model, the leadership team, and the market opportunity were high, but there was unforeseen concern around brand differentiation and decision-making policies.
In two, 3-hour leadership team meetings, the go-to-market strategy revision and supporting annual objectives were identified and endorsed.
The firm maintained its growth rate over the following three years.

 

Annual Goal Setting and Priorities

Annual goal setting surfaces discontent with a recently revised business strategy.

The Situation

A private equity firm had acquired a US retailer. The private equity firm’s internal consulting group was brought in to help the retailer revise its five-year business strategy and operating model.

The Requirement
One year into their corporate re-positioning, the retailer’s leadership determined they needed to take stock of their situation and select a few core objectives for the next 12 to 18 months. The new CEO brought in by the private equity firm chose a consulting firm using the SchellingPoint software to lead the discussions among a leadership team comprising new leaders such as himself and several from the pre-acquisition management team.

The Solution
The group’s virtual dialogue analytics identified strong alignment amongst the eight most senior executives around the more tactical, operational activities that were underway but weak alignment around their core strategy and go-forward operating model.
The visual display of alignment across the strategic to tactical subjects lead the COO to declare ‘Houston, we have a problem here.’ There was distinct misalignment around the implementation of one aspect of their revised strategy, plus one of the revised operating policies – which several leaders were pleased to have out on the table in full view.

The Result
Through two half-day solutioning meetings, a re-evaluation of their competitive positioning and brand differentiation was conducted, focusing on their branded and non-branded product strategy.
With revised go-to-market priorities set, the organization enjoyed three years of revenue and EBITDA growth.

Developing the Change Strategy for a 10,000 User ERP Implementation

Ensuring go-live success from Day 1 to 100.

The Situation
Within a Fortune 50 organization, an internal team of corporate, global, and national change managers was appointed to lead their local section of an ERP upgrade impacting the company’s entire customer-facing quote-to-cash processes. The project was moving the organization from a legacy system to SAP, with integration to multiple third-party applications.

The Requirement
The team was required to assemble a coordinated change strategy. The head of change chose a management consultant using SchellingPoint and the advanced consulting process to facilitate her group.

The Solution
Working virtually across the globe, the 16 change leaders assembled a 100-day and two-year change program comprising 47 actions across seven workstreams to attain 18 change objectives.
These objectives described success from the first site go-live to the third, with consideration for scale-out requirements across the company’s 60 locations.
The group covered all aspects of the implementation, from business unit priorities and IT capabilities and constraints, to the role and use of internal subject matter experts and external consultants, plus mechanisms for handling scope clarification and change, through to training efficacy assurance.
Through the Change Strategy template and virtual dialogue showing what needed to be discussed, and in the order in which to discuss it, the team assembled their agreements, goals, and plans within ten hours, through six virtual meetings.
Beyond the pure technical changes impacting the business users, multiple policies, for example, regarding ‘pushing information’ vs. ‘having users pull information,’ had to be reconciled. The modes, types, timing, and levels of personalization of communications, training aids, and job aids were specified, and projected shortages in internal subject matter and process experts mitigated.

The Result
The change strategy roadmap provided consistency across the organization’s global upgrade.

 

Ensuring Executive Alignment Around Their Enterprise Change Program

Bringing clarity, completeness, and prioritization to leadership’s goals.

The Situation
A US-based automotive company funded an enterprise-level Omnichannel strategy to bring their disparate customer and distribution channel systems and processes together. The ‘one-company’ strategy comprised consolidation of IT systems, behavior, and process changes from the corporate office to each consumer-facing employee.

The Requirement
A specialist organizational change management (OCM) consultancy was contracted to lead the project’s change management, independent of the global consulting firm leading the overall program.

The Solution
Parallel with setting up the change network and other common change program start-up activities, a SchellingPoint software-driven virtual dialogue was conducted among the C-level executives to bring full clarity to their expectations, requirements, priorities, and concerns for the initiative.
The seven CxO’s expressed over 140 opinions related to the nine goals they had set when funding the Omnichannel strategy. This virtual dialogue analytics surfaced two common problems in such programs, that leadership’s goals were listed but not prioritized, and several were open to interpretation due to a lack of tangible performance metrics.
The unexpected issues caused the process to be extended to the next level of leadership, over sixty vice-presidents and managers. This coverage surfaced a high degree of alignment around the overall sentiment and purpose of the Omnichannel strategy but divergent expectations around specific policy, process, and capability changes.

The Result
The key misalignments within the C-level executives visualized by the Advanced Consulting Software were reconciled by the OCM team leader using Advanced Consulting Skills in four in-person meetings.
Their new agreements were communicated to the next level of leaders, who participated in six weekly virtual meetings to resolve the misalignments, misunderstandings, and omissions in the programs’ details.
This collaboration created a set of executive and field level managers who led the transformation from a common set of goals and expectations.

 

Using Change Management to Restore Commitment to a Failed Initiative

Making a transformation project work on the second attempt.

The Situation
A utility company had tried to upgrade its consumer-facing IT platforms and associated billing, service, and maintenance operating processes three years earlier. The program met strong resistance from operational managers and staff. Small, standalone technology swaps had occurred but the core of the change, a new ERP system, never moved from proof of concept into production.

The Requirement
The utility decided to take another approach and gain commitment to the changes at the outset of a new, second attempt at the program. They selected a change consulting firm using SchellingPoint’s software.

The Solution
Unlike the first program, an invitation went out to several hundred personnel from field service engineers to back-office accountants to participate in a virtual dialogue about the program.
The alignment analytics immediately identified that the need for the change was mostly acknowledged and the consumer and utility benefits. However, over 50 constraints were expressed, anonymously, with 17 having broad concern among the participants.
The utility’s leaders and program management team identified inaccurate misunderstandings causing resistance and mitigated the issues and concerns of which they had previously been unaware.

The Result
The utility has moved to the new ERP platform.

Refreshing the 5-Year Enterprise Vision

A Fortune 50 CEO wants to clarify his leadership team’s view of their vision.

The Situation
After two decades of growth, the organization was embarking on a nine-figure ERP implementation to enable the upgrade of its core business processes to maintain operational efficiency. A brand-name management consultancy had proposed the strategy to make the change, and another had given responsibility for the program.
The organization’ strategy was not in debate; the average tenure on the leadership team was over seven years, and the core business strategy had not needed to change in five years.
However, challenging economic conditions had surfaced on the horizon after the program started.

The Requirement
The CEO wanted to ensure that his leadership team would drive the three-year program from the same vision for their organization, something he felt necessary for success but essential, given the incoming business conditions.

The Solution
Rather than conduct a conventional three to six month management consulting project to clarify their vision, mission, and strategy, the CEO elected to hire a management consultant using SchellingPoint’s advanced consulting software and skills with two Business Strategy templates. His primary reason was speed, efficiency, and cost – he needed the project done in weeks and not hold up the transformation.
The virtual dialogue analytics surprised the leadership team, who had worked together for over ten years. For example, their different beliefs about the role and ranking of Operational Excellence, Customer Intimacy, and Product Innovation surprised the team (using Wiersma’s Three Disciplines of Market Leadership template in SchellingPoint.)
Their assumed like-mindedness had led to actions and initiatives that were becoming fragmented and silently had taken the implementation of shared values in different directions. Realizing they needed to agree on a common viewpoint, three 2-hour meetings were used to maximize alignment around their direction.

The Result
The subsequent strategy, and how it implemented their definition of their vision, was rolled out to their top 100 leaders within eight weeks. The initiative is given credit for enabling the organization to experience eleven growth quarters over the next three years, through the market challenges. 

 

Agreeing How to Execute a Growth Strategy

Who are we, and what do we do?

The Situation
The CEO of a cosmetics company was discussing with his management team and first-level leaders how to increase revenue 20% over the next three years. The growth was to come organically, not through acquisition. The growth strategy consultant hired to help them find the answer had helped the leadership surface an exhaustive range of approaches and options.
The conversation had bifurcated around two different approaches to their go-to-market strategy. Ideas such as new pricing schemes, new advertising campaigns, voice-of-the-customer analyses, retooling the sales force, new partnerships, and an exhaustive list of rational actions were debated but with little resolution.

The Requirement
With the CEO’s approval, the growth strategy consultant chose to insert a consultant using the SchellingPoint software into his project to shift the client team onto common ground.

The Solution
Twenty-nine executives and senior managers participated in their two-hour virtual dialogue. Their alignment analytics immediately surfaced a highly divergent assumption, one that had not been explicitly discussed by the group.
Over half of these senior managers believed the company sold ‘commodity cosmetics,’ while the others viewed their product line as a set of ‘value-added facial solutions.’
The difference explained why the suggestions for organic growth were so divergent; price, position, and supply chain improvements conflicted with solution selling training for salespeople and value-based marketing strategies.
The CEO and his team spent three hours clarifying the nature of their product lines. The group agreed that they were selling low-differentiated cosmetics into a highly commoditized, competitive market.

The Result
The clarification allowed the group to select the appropriate marketing and sales strategy adjustments, which have been core to their continued revenue growth.

 

Ensuring a New Leadership Team Meets its Objectives

Establishing coordinated action to deliver a new business strategy.

The Situation
As part of a corporate reorganization, the back-office operations within five business units reorganized into a single shared service function. The new organization, comprising two-thirds of the original headcount, crafted new vision and mission statements plus a set of strategic objectives. However, after nine months, the group’s performance was not meeting expectations, including zero improvements in its operating expenses.

The Requirement
The organization hired a management consultancy using SchellingPoint to work with the new management team to find ways to attain the original business case metrics.

The Solution
The leadership team’s virtual dialogue showed that a set of fundamental beliefs and assumptions regarding the environment they were operating within were misaligned. For example, a key assumption related to their success rate within a key part of R&D, and how they compared to benchmarked peers.
One of the fifteen senior leaders felt their performance was poor; the other fourteen claimed it was top-box, upper quartile performance. When asked for their reasoning, the general response was that “We are XYZ, we are the market leader, we are as good as any competition,” whereas the dissenter wrote, “I have a three-month-old report showing that we are not half as good as our benchmark peers.”
When the group accepted this markedly different competitive position, it changed an underlying foundation of their strategy. A second key finding was that the group lacked any shared objectives; they had no targets they could only achieve through cooperation. Third, the cost-reduction objectives were not complemented by value-creation objectives.

The Result
The group retained the vision and mission statements but are working to a revised, interdependent scorecard, with supporting actions agreed to by all.

Driving Culture Change in Healthcare

Changing to a customized leadership competency (behavioral skills) model.

The Situation
The client is a regional healthcare system comprising five hospitals – four acute care and one rehabilitation hospital – as well as a drug and alcohol treatment facility, a research facility, and a home health service. US health care reform and market dynamics had increased pressure for the health system to further enhance its performance.

The Requirement
Their internal business planning process surfaced the need to create more holistic attitudes about policies, protocols, and practices across the hospitals to support ongoing improvement efforts in quality, safety, and financial results.

The Solution
A consulting firm specializing in culture development was selected for their experience and Culture Engine™, their assessment and solutioning template running in the SchellingPoint software. The President and CEO championed, and the Senior Vice President of Human Resources spearheaded the change. A key output was a customized leadership competency (behavioral skills) model.

The Result
Over three years of implementation, the competency model is now incorporated into all human resources management practices.
The CEO has reported ‘the kind of results we had hoped for.’ “One example of cultural change driven by the Culture Engine™ process is ‘System-Wide Thinking.’ With a focus on this competency, localized thinking and behavior is receding and is being replaced with initiatives to standardize clinical protocols across all facilities to achieve clinically integrated networks. Job rotations among the facilities are now becoming the norm, and the sharing of best practices has become an organizational standard.”
He adds another important outcome, “The competency ‘Developing Others’ has driven the creation of the first-ever employee development process and has kick-started the creation of a succession planning process that manages the organization’s talent from a system perspective, using a common definition of leadership.”
Their experience with the Culture Engine™ was differentiated by the early identification of barriers and unintended consequences. “The methodology allowed us to quickly identify key challenges so that the team could begin to work through them in our first meeting. Without the process, it would have taken months to figure out the best approach to move our organization to the next level of excellence”.

 

Dismantling the Silos to Release Staff’s Brilliance

Culture change helps reinvigorate a European brand.

The Situation
A new CEO was brought in to return an established, respected European brand to growth. One year into his tenure, the management team determined it was time to target changes to the organization’s culture and remove issues at the heart of ongoing challenges.

The Requirement
A Human Resources consultancy was hired to determine where and how the culture should change to support the new business strategy. The consultancy was chosen because of their people expertise and their SchellingPoint capabilities.

The Solution
1,300 personnel across Europe participated in their two-hour virtual dialogue. Over 170 opinions described people’s views, hopes, aspirations, and concerns for the company’s culture.
Among all the information and useful insights generated, the concept of silos and their role in the culture stood out. On the one hand, silo-thinking was described and recognized as an impediment to collaboration, innovation, speed, and efficiency. On the other, staff saw silos as a way of providing community, connection, knowledge depth, and pride.
An approach to removing the word with its negative connotation and negative consequences was innovated that enhanced its positive attributes. These changes became part of a two-year culture change roadmap across six workstreams comprising 67 individual actions.

The Result
Within three months of starting the change roadmap, positive results were experienced and reported by staff and senior leadership. 

 

Quantifying the Culture of Quality in Pharmaceutical Supply Chains

Defining, measuring, and improving supply chain quality cultures.

The Situation
Effective supply chains are essential to any organization and its customers, no less so in the pharmaceutical industry, where shortages and recalls can impact patient health. The 2012 FDA Safety and Innovation Act gave the FDA new authorities to address the challenges posed by an increasingly global drug supply chain.

The Requirement
In response to the FDA’s declared interest in an organization’s ‘commitment to a culture of quality’, Xavier Health, in collaboration with PwC, launched an initiative to engage with industry to (1) define ‘a culture of quality’ and (2) to measure and compare groups within one company as well as compare results across companies, to improve company and industry supply chain performance.
Xavier Health and PwC asked SchellingPoint to help them find how to define and then measure ‘a culture of quality.’

The Solution
Over 80 pharmaceutical quality leaders participated in two rounds of online virtual dialogues via the SchellingPoint software. Using Systems Dynamics influence mapping, cause-effect matrices, goal clarification techniques and the SchellingPoint sentiment indices, Xavier, PwC, and SchellingPoint identified 28 behaviors that constituted the cultural root drivers of quality.
Pilot data from 22 participating organizations showed an overall sentiment that the culture of quality in their organizations was below ideal, across the board. Interestingly, but possibly not surprisingly, quality leadership was generally of the opinion that a culture of quality existed while production operators were ambivalent, at best.

The Result
Pharmaceutical organizations are now using the Quality Culture Improvement Program (QCIP) to measure the presence of the 28 leading indicators of a quality culture in their supply chains. The results feed directly into an action roadmapping processs to improve those which are insufficient.
A recent QCIP project saw 1600 personnel participate of 2000 invited, produced over 5,000 pieces of quality information regarding the 28 leading indicators, resulting in five being action roadmapped for improvement.

Clarifying the Meaning of Customer-Centric

Solidifying the identity of the customer within a B2B product company.

The Situation
When you make a product that is specified, bought by, and then used by different organizations on the way to the consumer – who exactly is the customer? How does R&D factor in the variety of needs, interests, and preferences beyond gathering and listing them? How do they create a view that is shared by marketing, sales, manufacturing, and finance?

The Requirement
The R&D leadership team of this Fortune 250 organization needed to be clear about the answer to these questions as they saw the market and their competition changing. They needed to clarify and gain alignment around their meaning of the term Customer-Centric. They hired a management consultancy using SchellingPoint’s software.

The Solution
The group identified 16 dimensions to customer-centricity. For examples, Inclusion was the theme associated with all opinions related to the role customers do, could, should play in the company’s R&D processes. Customer Perspective was the theme associated with all opinions related to what customer received from and wanted from the R&D processes.
A related theme was Economics, housing all the opinions related to the financial value and costs of the ideas and current actions associated with custom-centric behaviors.
The group’s virtual dialogue across these 16 themes of customer-centricity identified 14 underlying assumptions which need to be verified before a valid set of policies could be debated and selected. Through three global teleconferences, data and reasoning were shared and discussed on these items and all other aspects of customer-centricity in a series of five to ten- minute micro-conversations.

The Result
A policy comprising 11 objectives and associated behaviors was documented, describing the successful implementation of R&D customer-centricity to guide the customer lifecycle from ideation through development and delivery to improvement.

 

Staying Close to a Transforming Customer

Winning back a key customer after losing them through acquisition.

The Situation
An IT services firm had serviced the client for over two decades. The firm’s account manager regularly attended the client CIO’s planning meetings and her colleagues interacting with the CIO’s teams in person daily. They enjoyed ‘a seat at IT’s table.’
One day, the CIO informed the account manager that a private equity firm had acquired them. Within three months, the CIO was replaced, along with over half of the client’s IT leaders. The new CIO informed the account manager that all suppliers were under review and their relationship needed to become more traditional customer-supplier and that due to the size of their spend, their relationship would be one of the first to be evaluated.

The Requirement
This situation was new and unfamiliar to the IT services firm, the account manager, and her support team. After years of deep relationship, they found themselves ‘outside the door’ and cut off from their customers inside the client. The account manager needed to form a response and plan how her team would manage the relationship in the coming months rather than be reactive to the client’s next move.

The Solution
An IT consultancy using SchellingPoint was asked to help the team revise their account strategy. Sixteen colleagues participated. The client CIO and his team were invited to collaborate in the process, but they declined.
Using the group’s virtual dialogue with the Client Account Strategy template, an agenda was selected for a one-day strategy meeting. On that day, the group decided their client’s behavior could not be predicted, as they and their new owner found a path to business success. Foreseeing multiple twists and turns, in terms of client requirements, they developed a ‘shadow’ strategy, to stay as close to the account as possible and be ready to react.

The Result
The account manager shared her firm’s ‘shadow’ strategy with the client’s new CIO. However, soon after, they were informed they will be replaced by a less expensive competitor.
The incumbent deployed the shadow strategy in the coming months as they continued to serve the client while unwinding their services and transitioning them to the new supplier. Within the year, the client CIO changed his mind, disappointed with the new supplier, and re-engaged with the incumbent for another five years.

 

Using Alignment Data to Enhance Customer Relationships

Replacing proxy, indirect measures of alignment to accurately pinpoint opportunities.

The Situation
Supplier-side relationship managers in B2B organizations want to ‘be aligned’ with their customers but have only had indirect methods to assess that alignment. Voice of the Customer, Satisfaction Surveys, and Contract Performance Scorecards are valuable but incomplete measures of a B2B customer/supplier relationship. They measure satisfaction and performance – which is completely different from alignment.

The Requirement
Supplier relationship and account managers need an objective, data-driven way to identify how aligned their organization is with each customer’s needs. Customer’s purchasing and category managers leading the supplier relationship need to be able to objectively measure the degree of alignment within and between the 10’s to 100’s of colleagues involved in B2B customer-supplier relationships.

The Solution
Organizations are using SchellingPoint to surface known and unknown relationship challenges and opportunities to create explicitly quantify alignment and surface the conversations that their traditional meetings fail to reveal.
In one case, a mid-size manufacturing company used SchellingPoint to provide the data for their semi-annual business review, with a large, growing customer relationship involving over 50 personnel from both companies. Each participant invested 20 minutes into their virtual dialogue.
Once their alignment profile was acknowledged, two key statements in their misalignment lead to an important conversation. The supplier’s account manager felt “I would have never imagined being able to have the conversation if it wasn’t there on the screen”, and lead in the same meeting to a conversation between a customer executive and her sourcing manager that “adjusted the sourcing manager’s understanding of what was deemed success for the supplier.”

The Result
The supplier is now enjoying increased Share of Wallet at the customer. The same process at other customer/supplier relationships has surfaced $500,000 savings opportunities, increased innovation levels, service levels, and overall customer and supplier partnering.

Going Digital, Cautiously, Successfully

Turning apprehension into new revenue.

The Situation
A professional services organization was interested in the concept of digitalizing their service offerings. However, the practical implications were unclear, and key personnel voiced resistance to the idea.

The Requirement
The CEO continually heard from his network of examples of digitalization and the benefits. A management consultant using SchellingPoint was asked to facilitate a discussion within the leadership team of the interest in and ability to execute digitalization of their service offerings.

The Solution
The seven participants expressed 115 opinions on the topic in a two-hour virtual dialogue, conducted entirely from their desks. The analytics were used to drive a one-day in-person workshop. There was no pre-ordained decision or a pre-defined outcome. The conversations were to objectively assess if, where, how, why their service offerings could be digitalized in a way that would add value to themselves and their clients.
Positive drivers included views such as the positive impact on the brand and the reduction of menial project tasks for their consultants. Issues cited included concerns that consultants would have to learn to use software technology beyond Word, Excel, and PowerPoint and that going digital would mean less time interacting with clients. Some viewed the use of survey tools as being sufficiently digital, while others wanted to find ways to use AI and machine learning.

The Result
The leadership team came to an agreement they should pilot one digitalized service offering as a testbed for their learning. Within the first year of standing up the digitalized service, they sold four projects of medium size to existing and new clients. They have a strong pipeline and are training additional consultants to deliver the service.
Initial concerns such as a reduction in time with clients did transpire, but the quality of client meetings has risen, causing both client and consultant to appreciate the greater efficiency and efficacy.

 

Assembling a Competitive Digital Strategy

Going digital – Learning how to coordinate multiple technologies, personnel, motivations, and skills across multiple organizations.

The Situation
Financial Services is being described as an industry moving from ‘Financial services firms using technology to Technology firms selling financial services.’ One smaller financial services organization became concerned it would not have the financial and personnel resources to keep up with the large player’s digital innovation.
After reaching out to another CEO about the idea, seventeen CEO’s showed interest in co-funding a common digital platform. A plan and budget assembled, financial and human resources were committed, and co-development started.

The Requirement
Within the first year, the collaboration was not performing at an operational level as the founders had expected. Milestones were not met, and some participants were expressing frustration with the program.
One of the CEO’s was familiar with SchellingPoint and hired a management consultant using SchellingPoint to help the collaboration get on track.

The Solution
The CEO’s participated in a two-hour virtual dialogue around the subject of a successful digital platform collaboration. The topic ranged from the long, medium, and short-term forecasts for technology innovation in financial services to assumptions about customer’s needs and the competition’s action. Internally, fourteen areas were covered, from synchronization of the collaboration with each firm’s own business and IT strategies to staffing needs and skills sets.
The summary was that more had been accomplished than realized. The mutual benefits came in the form of shared knowledge, policy modifications, vendor selections, prototypes, and staff skills development.
There were two primary constraints. First, beyond co-funding a digital platform for common use, the strategy details were light, in terms of the outcomes the platform needed to enable, the choice of path to take. This second onstraint was a ‘first’ for the CEO’s – bringing together staff from over a dozen different firms, where each had their own culture, decision-making methods, collaboration styles, and work habits – and getting them to work together efficiently and effectively around a single IT architecture which had to support their individual needs.

The Result
Two half-day and one full-day workshop was held where the CEO’s discussed 23 planning uncertainties, 28 goals and objectives, 15 barriers to success, and identified 76 actions – a combination of changes to existing actions and new actions.
A revised two-year roadmap was approved and funded by the members as in in development.

 

Accelerating a Digital Strategy Execution

Taking digital from a promising idea to effective implementation.

The Situation
A US-based services organization had assembled a digital strategy and rolled it out into its workforce of nine hundred employees. The digital strategy had three core themes that would bring digitalization to their customer relationships and interactions, service offerings and support models, knowledge management, and sales and marketing processes.
Teams of internal personnel were identified to lead the strategy’s implementation. However, one year into execution, there was immaterial progress.

The Requirement
A management consultant using SchellingPoint was asked to perform a comprehensive assessment of the situation and a plan to bring the strategy on track.

The Solution
Forty executives, managers, and key staff involved in the digital strategy implementation participated in a two-hour virtual dialogue, expressing 188 unique, relevant opinions across the five themes of the strategy and 21 cross-theme subjects.
SchellingPoint analytics showed where the problems lay. These became the agenda for a global team of 8 partners, managers, and key contributors from Europe, Asia, and the US, who met online at various times of the day to share the burden.
They dealt with issues such as feedback that the concept of digitalization was still too vague for most personnel. Too many objectives were ambiguous and needed clarifying with measures and targets. ‘Low-hanging fruit’ projects to quickly ‘go digital’ were still hanging on the branches and areas identified for digital transformation were not receiving the thinking time they needed.

The Result
The team defined eight categories of actions, from incentives and communications to digital skills hiring and training, to data strategies and data analytics tools, to marketing and branding changes.

Refreshing an Organization’s Diversity Strategy

Ensuring executive dialogue is authentic and safe.

The Situation
A mid-size B2C services organization had grown to over 3,000 employees in four locations across the US. The Chief Human Resources Officer determined the organization should clarify its approach to diversity and inclusion. The leadership team agreed and placed the objective on their corporate scorecard.

The Requirement
The strategy revision started with the CEO and executive leadership team. Due to the sensitivity of the subject and the need to ensure executives could share their most genuine opinions on the topic in safety, a consulting firm using SchellingPoint was selected to run the process.

The Solution
All nine members of the executive leadership team participated in their two-hour virtual dialogue, expressing over 160 unique and distinct opinions on the topic. Subjects ranged from the definition of diversity to diversity’s role in enabling the company’s mission and supporting its values, to whether diversity was optional or mandatory and whether any actions be implemented quietly or overtly.
The subjects and opinions covered all company personnel, customer segments, supply chain partners and suppliers, plus their competition.
Strong alignment within the leadership team existed around the need for greater cultural competency in all personnel and stronger accommodation of diversity in the firm’s services.
At the same time, the leadership team found that their alignment was weak around the approach to any changes. The primary debate was whether they should set a path to attain defined diversity and inclusion goals or set policies and allow outcomes to emerge through a series of small actions.

The Result
The leadership team converged on an endorsed strategy and roadmap commencing with cascading the policies and principles through education to the rest of the organization.

 

Expanding an Organization’s Diversity Footprint

Minority leaders at a Fortune 50 design greater inclusion.

The Situation
The organization operated multiple minority communities within its worldwide workforce. The Black Executive Leaders group comprises managers at the Vice-President level and above. With over 50 members, the group is established and meeting regularly.

The Requirement
The group wanted to formally create a strategy to define and guide their actions in the coming years. They hired a diversity consultant and a strategy consultant using SchellingPoint to facilitate their discussions.

The Solution
The group expressed 159 different opinions across 11 dimensions of black diversity and inclusion in the workplace. The anonymous virtual dialogue prevents participants learning the source of an opinion, who agreed and disagreed with it, and from where the reasoning behind those sentiments came. The black executives displayed one of the strongest degrees of alignment of any of the hundreds of groups measured.

The small amount of misalignment within them was focused in a few areas. For example, some saw their employer as superficially committed to diversity while others experienced them as genuine and authentic. The discussion that reconciled these different interpretations of the organization’s true sentiment set a foundation as to how the group would approach the organization with their goals and plans. 

Another root issue for the group was the business case for diversity and the degree to which it existed, and was understood by all communities.

The Result
Through a one-day workshop, the group assembled a strategy to grow membership in the diverse communities through education and link diversity to the organization’s go-to-market strategy. 

This activity was an early part of a long chain of diversity events. The organization has been recognized in the US press for its leadership in diversity and inclusion.

Operational Excellence or Service Innovation, or Both?

A Chief Procurement Officer refreshes her 3-year strategy.

The Situation
This global manufacturing company was coming to the end of its current three-year procurement strategy and needed to upgrade it for the next three years.

The Requirement
With 95 category managers and sourcing team members on all five continents, the CPO wanted a way to accomplish the task without travel costs and inconvenience.

The Solution
A consulting firm using SchellingPoint was hired to lead the procurement strategy refresh. The process was expected to surface a routine set of ideas that would be discussed and translated into a set of objectives and plans.
Strong alignment existed around the function’s core role and purpose. However, the alignment analytics highlighted two strategic decisions needing to be taken. One was related to a concern that a round of technology upgrades and related processes changes were insufficiently implemented and stable, where others disagreed and were eager to get on with new initiatives. The other was that many saw the function supporting the business strategy through transactional excellence, whereas others felt the function could drive into providing more value-add, strategic services to the corporation.

The Result
Nine regional leaders of the 95 engaged in the virtual dialogue participated in six virtual, webcam-enabled dialogues, their content selected using the group’s virtual dialogue analytics. They established a plan to cement the new IT and procurement process foundations being put in place, then stand up an innovation workstream to experiment with new service offerings.

 

Ensuring IT Can Enable the New Business Strategy

Refreshing IT to support the company’s new five-year strategy.

The Situation
A food company refreshes its corporate strategy on a five-year cycle. The company’s functions then adjust their strategies in response, as required.

The Requirement
As a global food company, the role of social media, digital technologies, mobile devices were requiring increasing attention externally, and collaboration, globalization, and security, internally. The CIO wanted to open a full dialogue on how IT needed to be set up, organized, and operated to enable the new business strategy.

The Solution
The company had used the SchellingPoint software to form other strategies and chose to use it again for this topic. Over 50 IT leaders and managers and their ‘internal customers’ – including the CEO, all CxO’s, and other senior leaders, participated in the two-hour virtual dialogue over three weeks.
The dialogue covered IT’s value proposition to the business and its costs to portfolio and project management practices, its organization model, onshore and offshore outsourcing, skills and talent, and its technologies for operating IT. The virtual dialogue quickly showed that the business wanted practical, timely, IT-enabled innovation from an operation grounded in developing and running transaction systems.

The Result
Through two workshops of 24 IT leaders and managers, with content determined from the group’s analytics, an action roadmap was assembled to review and revise almost all aspects of IT, ranging from skills inventories and gap analyses to global desktop infrastructure strategy. The food company has sustained its growth, enabled by IT’s new skills and services model.

 

Repairing a Challenged Supply Chain Improvement Project

One year after a supply chain strategy revision, few milestones have been met.

The Situation
The acquisition of a similarly sized, complementary product company triggered the need to merge two supply chains into one for the integrated operation. A supply chain consulting company was hired to help design the new supply chain. Nine months into implementation, there is little tangible progress.

The Requirement
The project management team had tried to get the project moving using conventional root cause analysis, deep-dive meetings, and stakeholder workshops, with negligible impact. They hired a human performance consultancy to use the SchellingPoint process to learn why progress was poor in this multi-location, distributed project and find out how to get it ‘unstuck.’

The Solution
Supply chain leadership believed that key parties feared the impact of the change and were not supporting it outside the project conference calls. However, the analytics of the group’s anonymous two-hour virtual dialogue (conducted as sixty minutes, thirty minutes, and thirty minutes online over three weeks) surprised project leadership. They indicated that several operational leaders did not believe the underlying data used by the consultants to justify a number of the changes.
Compounding the situation, unresolved differences in their two company’s approaches towards the use of outsourcing, quality control standards, and process improvement methods were blocking implementation of the changes with which they did agree.

The Result
Facilitated by the consultant, project leadership ran a series of six one-hour virtual meetings to clarify definitions, expectations, and the reasoning for certain components of the strategy. Several business cases were reviewed, causing some actions being postponed or removed from the plan when their ROI models could not be validated. The reduced plan is implemented.

Chartering a New Global Health Coalition

Shifting a global disease strategy from research to patient impact.

The Situation
Four leaders from philanthropy, academia, disease control, and industry shared a common concern for the lack of progress made against an infectious disease whose primary victim is children. International research and aid groups were reporting their individual activities each year as research papers and conference presentations, but there was immaterial progress in reducing the patient count.

The Requirement
Thirty-six global specialists from Australian, Brazil, England, Ghana, Switzerland, the United States and other countries involved with the infectious disease, were invited to come together to formulate a coordinated global strategy to eliminate the disease. A management consultant using the SchellingPoint software was hired to lead the strategy development process. The challenge the group faced was that with the transmission mechanism unknown – how patients contracted the disease – donations on a large scale were not, and would not, be forthcoming, and any strategy would need to accommodate that fiscal constraint.

The Solution
Working virtually, with one in-person meeting with some attending online, the group converged on a single, two-step strategy. There were no deep divisions or misalignments within the community; they had just never been aware of their like-mindedness around what needed to occur and been given a venue to collaborate around acting.
The focus of the discussion centered on developing a common vocabulary and sequencing a logical action roadmap.

The Result
With a focus on Early Detection and Early Treatment, one group piloted methods that lead to severe case counts falling from 187 to 2 in the first test district. The initiative is now in its scale-up stage.
Ideas and techniques are field-tested, new detection and treatment training are implemented, and new fundraising is providing a channel of investment from the coalition to the villages and patients.

 

Maintaining a City’s Water Supply

Creating Coordinated Action to Prevent an Environmental Disaster.

The Situation
In 1869, a small mid-western town constructed an irrigation system to support its residents, businesses, and outlying farms. Through the last 150 years, the town became a major city, with a local population of over 150,000 with the surrounding farms a key part of the US food supply chain.
As the town grew, the irrigation system grew. Then, twenty years ago, the first alarms were raised that the over-a-century-old infrastructure was reaching a point where patching and small maintenance would be insufficient.
After that first warning, more warnings came from city engineers that a catastrophic failure was becoming more likely. Unfortunately, the original charter documents from 1869 had not planned for the ownership rights and obligations, regulatory compliance demands and penalties, and insurance and liability conditions, of the 21st century.
This made federal, state, local city, maintenance firms, and other involved parties reluctant to lead the conversation for fear of the liabilities and costs they might incur.

The Requirement
Two years ago, city engineers decided the conversation could not be delayed any longer and hired a management consulting firm, specializing in the utility industries and using SchellingPoint, to convene the involved parties and find a sustainability plan for the irrigation system.

The Solution
Sixteen executives from various branches of government, citizen organizations, farm and industry groups, and maintenance organizations, participated. Their private, anonymous, virtual dialogue surprised most of the group with how likeminded they regarded the urgency to act, and the best engineering approaches to guarantee another 150 years of uninterrupted water supply in and around the city.
Within this context of agreement over what should occur, they determined the funding sources and the roles and responsibilities of the various parties.

The Result
There is a great relief that an endorsed solution is found. Funding is secured, and the long- term repair and overhaul work is underway.


Creating a Global Pharmaceutical Research Strategy

Releasing the potential of pre-competitive collaboration.

The Situation
Multiple pharmaceutical companies and university research centers around the world were individually investigating a field of human biology they each saw as foundational to changing the pace, cost, and success rate of drug development.

The Requirement
The research leader at one of these organizations felt better progress would be made if organizations would engage in a coordinated, pre-competitive, research program. He acquired the services of an internal consultant within his organization who uses SchellingPoint and invited peers into a collaboration strategy. Twenty-five scientists, researchers, academics, and policymakers accepted the invitation to participate in creating the strategy.

The Solution
The globally distributed experts conducted their virtual dialogue before a 2-day workshop. They expressed 79 actions that should be taken, but with only mild alignment. They used this insight to converge on a subset of agreed actions by identifying those who supported a set of shared objectives.
The agenda also included operational factors and resolved issues such as the lack of common research standards, inadequate communications between inter-disciplinary silos, and intellectual property ownership.

The Result
The event is hailed by the participants as a unique success in cross-industry and multi-disciplinary collaboration. Five years later, it is credited with setting the research agenda for the topic.

Assembling an IT Innovation Roadmap for the European Commission

Turning the thoughts of 542 experts into 1 innovation roadmap.

The Situation
Healthcare 2020 is a sub-strategy within the European Union’s overall five-year strategy for Europe (2016-202). An objective within Healthcare 2020 is the ‘…innovation and adoption of in-silico clinical trials’. i.e., Increasing the capability and use of computer-based simulation and modeling in the design of drugs and medical devices.
When applying for approval for a new drug or medical device, only performance and safety data from human clinical trials has been acceptable. Consequently, computer-based modeling is only done by research universities and pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers interested in it for their purposes.
The European Union wants in silico clinical trials advancing due to the potential for faster, less expensive, and safer new product development.

The Requirement
A coalition of scientists working in this domain was funded to assemble a 10-year innovation roadmap for in silico clinical trials. A European consulting firm using SchellingPoint was selected to provide the organizing process.

The Solution
Over 540 of the world’s experts working in this field in healthcare IT, the life sciences, academic research, hospital innovation, and several related roles, participated in the project.
The consultant used SchellingPoint to gather insight and opinions through global virtual dialogues. The content and analysis of these dialogues were used to pinpoint the important conversations to conduct in four meetings across Europe over 18 months, using SchellingPoint’s framework for roadmap creation and completeness.

The Result
From data modeling and modeling algorithms to data security and patient privacy policy to new business collaboration models and modeling skills development, the Avicenna project assembled a 10-year roadmap to advance the capabilities and adoption of computer-based clinical trials.
In support of the project’s findings and recommendations, a 57-3 vote in Brussels adjusted the EU’s process to accept ‘alternative data’ (from computer models) in product approval submissions. Subsequently, the Avicenna Alliance was formed as a 501(c)3 to take roadmap implementation forward as a public/private partnership.

 

Advancing a Technology Company’s R&D Innovation Process

Using consulting process innovation to design consumer product process innovation.

The Situation
A US CPG company had increased its investment in product innovation, with the majority of new product R&D conducted in collaboration with a primary innovation partner. Due to the growth in the number of projects in the innovation pipeline, the communications, decision-making, and responsibilities of the 50 people involved at both companies became less clear.

The Requirement
To prevent a negative impact on innovation output and the relationship, the CPG company selected a consultant using the SchellingPoint process to help them assess and optimize the innovation collaboration process within and between the two companies.

The Solution
Fifty-one stakeholders from both organizations across the US and Canada were key to assembling a complete, credible, and viable process improvement plan. The 51 ranged from senior executives to technicians in the New Technologies group, supply chain, compliance, shipping, quality, product management, and other functions that dealt directly with the projects.
The group’s anonymous virtual dialogue provided an objective assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the relationship. Using the analytics, six virtual meetings were conducted to solve issues and enhance processes from onboarding new staff and chartering new projects to intellectual property sharing policies and the definitions of innovation to new working methods and rewards systems.
The consultant ran the project 100% virtually from their offices, meeting the client and participants only via telephone and GoToMeeting.

The Result
The group assembled a change plan comprising 37 actions across nine workstreams.

 

Increasing Product Sales by Removing Barriers to Adoption and Sustained Use

Determining how to increase sales of the market-leading product.

The Situation
The client’s product was the recognized market leader by sales volume in a mature market with multiple competitors. However, marketing estimated that sales could grow further by 200%. This prediction was based upon two factors – removing the barriers to first use and removing the causes for churn and customers leaving the product.

The Requirement
A consulting firm using SchellingPoint was hired to lead the innovation process for the product.

The Solution
The consultant assembled a set of stakeholders comprising cross-functional client personnel and external product and industry experts from each point in the product’s supply chain.
Collaborating remotely across the US and Europe, without any physical meetings, the group generated 99 distinct ideas, covering 20 aspects of the customer journey. This idea set was processed and reduced to a proposed package of 20 changes, 7 of which would increase initial use and 13 mitigating the current reasons for stopping use.

The Result
The proposals became part of the company’s Intelligent Product project and have received dedicated resources for prototyping, market research, and scale-up.

Chartering a Client-Server to Web Application Transfer

Ensuring full support and commitment to a complex IT initiative.

The Situation
A government software and services firm want to upgrade a core enterprise application from client-server to the cloud. The current version is well established in the market, operating in multiple states across the country. Seven city CIO’s indicate interest in collaborating with the supplier on the technology transition.

The Requirement
The cities using the current client-server version have not previously collaborated in a joint-IT project. For this reason, and the importance of a successful program on future sales, the software vendor hires a management consulting using SchellingPoint to facilitate the development of the co-development contract.
This project will also be the first time cities have procured IT collaboratively, and they expect the whole process to take the full two-year procurement cycle from the development of the collaboration plans and their approval through to funding.

The Solution
The CIO and 2 CxO’s from each of the seven cities plus eight software company personnel share their views of the co-development project using a two-hour virtual dialogue.
This group of 35 express 193 unique opinions on the project’s objectives, priorities, barriers, principles, and 12 other themes relevant to such IT projects, from integration strategies, reporting requirements, and user interface design to customization, localization, and standardization of processes.
With their areas of alignment quickly acknowledged, key misalignments and concerns across the eight entities are assigned to four working groups. These groups converge on agreed plans and objectives, including two fundamental issues related to the scope and funding of customizations, and implementation planning.

The Result
Through the conversations, one state chooses not to participate and amicably steps out of the group. For the six partnering cities, the conventional two-year procurement cycle is completed within three months. The project is funded with a shared cross-city budget, and the technology transfer takes place.

 

Protecting a Customer Relationship Management Strategy

Stopping silo-thinking from compromising a corporate initiative.

The Situation
A products company had revised their customer relationship management strategy in light of changing buying behavior and a desire to strengthen its 1-to-1 capabilities. A revised CRM system, touching multiple market stakeholders, was a key element in implementing their new go-to-market strategy. Three months into the three-year project, the corporate strategy executive became aware that the issues he had raised when the project was being designed had appeared.

The Requirement
The IT Director wanted an independent audit of the project to validate the concerns and surface any other issues occurring ‘below the waterline.’ A management consulting firm using SchellingPoint was hired to run this audit and produce an endorsed go-forward strategy.

The Solution
52 marketing, sales, R&D, and IT leaders, including the executive sponsors and the project implementation team engaged in a two-hour virtual dialogue. The community’s overall degree of alignment was inadequate, and surprisingly low, for such an early stage into a new project. Analysis of the key misalignments indicated, for example, that several departments did not agree with the project’s business case, based heavily upon projections of customer adoption rates.
Several believed the rate of customer adoption was excessively overestimated. This unresolved concern was causing them to privately questioned the project’s viability and priority.
Further, it transpired that the executive sponsors, while supporting the project, had different opinions as to its role in the long-term customer relationship strategy. Unaware of their different beliefs, their functional teams and the project implementation team were receiving different guidance on the scope and content expected in the new CRM technologies.
Compounding a questionable ROI model and non—aligned leaders, representatives from marketing, sales, field services, and customer support services had differing opinions as to the degree to which the project should be a technology swap or a deep functional change in thinking.
In the absence of a defined decision-making protocol, IT was being forced to make business decisions, for which they were then criticized.

The Result
The executive sponsors acknowledged how their incomplete alignment was causing cracks throughout the project team and supporting organizations below them. They used two 2-hour teleconferences to reconcile their differences and set a clear direction for the balance of the project.

 

Un-sticking a Stalled IT Transformation

Finding the path out of a perfect storm.

The Situation
A private equity investment and a new leadership team had put this national services company into the top tier of their industry. However, during a corporate risk assessment, IT is identified as a weak link in the corporate strategy.
A new CIO is hired, chartered to bring the IT function up to par. The new CIO and his 12 senior IT leaders refreshed the corporate IT strategy. Their strategy involved re-balancing the applications portfolio from mostly custom to packaged applications, moving to an agile development methodology, and upgrading the IT organization’s development and maintenance skill sets. Also, undocumented, single point of failure applications are to be retired, and the desktop and server infrastructure upgraded across over 100 locations.
Unfortunately, within six months, progress had almost come to a standstill.

The Requirement
The CIO is under intense pressure to deliver the essential changes and take IT out of ‘red status’ in the company’s growth plan.

The Solution
The IT leaders conduct a two-hour, anonymous, virtual dialogue around what is required to be a high-performing IT function that will deliver its strategy. Their alignment analytics were critically low for a group less than six months into a strategy they all had a hand in developing.
The analytics identified that three conflicting activities are causing the transformation to stall. 20% annual business growth is demanding IT-enablement and support for an accelerated number of field deployments of fault-intolerant systems. At the same time, IT is trying to source, learn, and re-platform legacy applications to packages. Compounding the change, IT staff with new skills are trying to transition to an Agile, SOA-based architecture. The IT leaders express differing views of the state, progress, and criticality of these three workstreams.
The business cannot wait for the project lead times required to accommodate IT’s learning; incident rates are increasing, and the interdependencies between IT activities are causing ‘root cause versus symptom’ disputes. Over 110 opinions describe a plethora of issues, for which there is full alignment around only 4 and strong misalignment around 31 of the noted problems.

The Result
The analytics were used to identify a sequenced agenda where the 12 IT leaders reconcile their disagreements and design mitigating solutions to the validated issues – their path out of the storm.

Should We Consider a Merger?

Enabling authentic dialogue around a critical but sensitive topic.

The Situation
Acquisitions of the weak by the strong have been occurring for many years, but in one industry, a ‘Merger of Equals’ has become a trend.

The Requirement
Board chairs and CEO’s are asking, “How do we have that conversation within our board and leadership team? What should we discuss, in what sequence, in a way that will be authentic and deal with the emotions involved?” An industry association decides to produce a guide to help CEO’s and boards have a full conversation and make a well-considered decision.
Thye commission a management consultancy using SchellingPoint to formulate the tool.

The Solution
CEOs and board members with experience of the merger and acquisition process plus industry experts participate in an anonymous two-hour virtual dialogue on the topic of evaluating and conducting a merger of equals.
Their inputs become a set of 87 test statements covering 16 aspects of the decision in a SchellingPoint-based process for helping a board and leadership team assess their interest in and ability to conduct a merger of equals.
Leadership teams comprising 6 to 22 executives have used the Merger of Equals template to safely express their views as to why the option should, and should not, be considered. “Do we have ‘equals’ out there?” “Are any of them suitable candidates?” “What outcomes should a successful merger produce if there are? “How might it cause damage?”
The process works at the personal level, too. “Would a merger leave an executive feeling they have failed?” “What positive or negative impacts would it have upon them and their career?”

The Result
The Merger of Equals template is allowing boards, CEO’s, and their teams to share their opinions safely and conveniently on the subject and learn their team’s alignment within one hour. The alignment insights are used to acknowledge their position on the subject and provide the discussion points to assemble an endorsed Evaluate/Reject decision.

 

Maximizing the Post Due Diligence, Pre-Close Decision Quality

Ensuring genuine commitment before signing on the dotted line.

The Situation
A firm’s acquisition team is completing due diligence at the acquisition target. If it goes ahead, it will be the largest acquisition the company has ever made, by a sizable margin. The acquisition target is a distressed brand that will take significant investment and management commitment to bring back into growth mode.

The Requirement
The management consultant advising the company on the acquisition recommends a consultant be brought in to use SchellingPoint to help them make the best go/no-go decision when the due diligence activities complete. He advises the executive sponsor they need to ensure that all colleagues involved in the due diligence process, and the acquisition integration if it goes ahead, genuinely endorse the decision, with everyone on the same page about what they would be taking on board, or rejecting.

The Solution
When due diligence completes, fourteen executives and acquisition team members from the acquirer anonymously share their views of the acquisition candidate and the integration requirements based on their due diligence findings.
The alignment analytics illustrate the due diligence team’s support for the acquisition overall with three key elements of the post-merger integration plans enjoying solid endorsement.
At the same time, there is strong misalignment around three of the assumptions built into the draft business plan; the need for certain retained staff, the timing of financial investments, and the consolidation of the target’s supply chain partners.
The majority of misalignments and success barriers are reconciled within the team. Two items are taken to the full executive leadership team for clarification.

The Result
The acquisition takes place with known alignment amongst those leading its integration. There are no surprises or course corrections in the first year. Four years later, the acquired brand is thriving and enjoying a strong comeback.

 

Designing a Viable Post-Merger Integration

Ensuring coordinated action once the deal is signed and reality starts to bite.

The Situation
The statistics on successful mergers are poor, with the majority deemed as failures or having materially missed their business case. Despite this, acquirers regularly declare success to their staff and those involved in the merger – when few consider it successful and complete.
Claiming a merger is done and successful because the integration tasks have been checked off is not the same as both acquiring and acquired leaders, managers, and personnel saying that the new combined entity has few operational problems and is on a strong upward trajectory.
Two to four months into a merger is the soft underbelly where the scope of the ultimate outcomes becomes set. The two organizations have spent time together, learned about each other, have new and revised opinions about each other, and what is going to be possible and what is not.

The Requirement
Two technology companies are signing the merger contract and want to ensure the merger does not go the way of most. They hire a management consultancy using SchellingPoint to maximize support for, and alignment around, the merger goals and plans.

The Solution
Three months into their post-merger integration activities, 152 executives, managers, team leads, and key contributors from both companies, in multiple locations, participate in a two-hour virtual dialogue around the integration. Subjects include the go-to-market strategy, product development plans, organization and talent plans, and financial models the integration plan is designed to implement.
Overall, agreement with the who, what, when, where, why, and how is strong. This leads to the validation of most of the planned or underway post-merger integration actions and slight ad