Case Studies & White Papers

Case Studies

Members and leaders of Wisconsin-based Johnsonville Sausage have a bold vision to “be the best company on earth.” This requires that the leading national sausage brand be culturally prepared and poised for aggressive innovation on its way to growing and becoming a $1 billion company. An important step was determining whether the company’s Research and Development subculture would foster innovation and growth while supporting their desired culture famously cultivated in the “Johnsonville Way.”

As the largest health system in Illinois, Advocate’s challenge was to increase and stabilize engagement, focus on culture change, and strengthen relations within a high-profile, semi-autonomous unit that struggled with negative team dynamics, unproductive work relations, and entrenched passive-aggressive behavior.

Dallas, Texas-based architectural firm HKS Architects creates places that enhance the human experience, like the US Bank Stadium, home of the 2018 Super Bowl. After collecting employee satisfaction data for 10 consecutive years, leadership sought to better understand the current culture and the roadblocks that were inhibiting employees from taking the most successful actions.

SHAPE saw their customer satisfaction levels increase markedly and financial performance steadily improve as their culture progressively became more constructive.

Marti Wronski, General Counsel and SVP with the Milwaukee Brewers Baseball Club, shares: “Successful transformation happens when the majority of people in the company have aligned beliefs and when proper leadership mindsets fuel consistent action.”

Angie Zeigler, Vice President of Talent Management at Oshkosh, on the importance of syncing leader and manager development with efforts to understand and evolve the overall culture.

At the 1960 Rome Olympics, John Konrads won two individual medals: a bronze and a gold. He claims the bronze resulted from an over-focus on Competitive thinking and the gold from an Achievement motivation. Almost three decades later, he has come to understand how these two thinking styles played out to produce two very different results.

In July of 2003, California-based software firm Business Objects completed a $1.3 billion merger with Canadian company Crystal Decisions. It was a cross-border merger of mid-sized international leaders in the fast-growing business intelligence software realm, requiring the integration of not only competing technologies but also vastly different cultures. Merging the two entities successfully would require a deliberate approach fueled by accurate insights about both companies and their people.

To increase and stabilize engagement, a high-profile, semi-autonomous unit of Advocate Health Care chose to focus on organizational culture change, recognizing an opportunity and need to strengthen relationships within the unit as members worked to achieve their strategic goals. Using a combination of organizational and leadership assessments, as well as individual and team coaching and retreats, the unit achieved an impressive turnaround in its culture.

Women in leadership positions face different challenges than their male counterparts. With a foreword from New York Times bestselling author Marshall Goldsmith, Taking the Stage: Breakthrough Stories from Women Leaders sheds light on issues that actual senior female leaders faced and how they addressed and overcame those challenges. This chapter, written by Will Linssen, CEO of Heartware/Human Synergistics South Korea, and Kris Park, CEO of Aon Hewitt’s Korean subsidiary, profiles Aon Hewitt’s culture change process.

Mission-driven Pact is a nonprofit organization striving to eradicate poverty and strengthen local capacity in communities across the globe. Operating in 26 countries, Pact aims to give poor and marginalized individuals the tools and support they need to improve and take ownership of their futures. While Pact has always focused on empowering the people served, its own culture and the empowerment of employees took a back seat.

Today’s competitive economy presents unique challenges for organizations of all kinds. This is particularly true for organizations concerned with safety management: It has become even more critical that managers have the ability to manage for continual improvement. Companies are fairly proficient at the technical or “hard” side of training, but evaluating and teaching the soft skills required for effective team problem solving remains the holy grail of a learning organization.

How do you create a Constructive Culture—one that is proven to drive engagement, quality, profitability, and sustainability? This presentation from award-winning professor and executive Dr. Robert A. Cooke covers his widely cited model of "How Culture Works" as well as what you can do to create a Constructive culture and an effective talent management system. 

Dr. Linda Sharkey, author and former VP of HR at GE, was able to leverage her experience with HSI assessments when she was tasked with designing a new leadership development program for GE Financial’s top 600 executives worldwide. Using Leadership/Impact®, leaders at GE were able to see their values, the impact of their behaviors on people and the culture, and whether or not their leadership strategies were aligned with business results.

Catholic publishing company The Word Among Us (WAU) provides more than 500,000 readers throughout the world with daily meditations, devotionals, books, and other resources that encourage Catholics to connect more deeply with their faith and act in ways that mirror the values of the church. The organization itself, however, realized that it was not reaching its full potential and, in some ways, the management and staff at WAU weren't living and breathing the organization's own mission and values.

In 2004, IBM was facing an increasingly competitive marketplace with higher customer expectations. At the same time, employee engagement and morale were declining. Using the Organizational Culture Inventory® (OCI®), IBM transformed the organization's culture and experienced gains in productivity and significant cost reductions.

Dr. Linda Sharkey shares her experiences with and insights on quantifying culture and leadership. She highlights what you can do to get everyone moving in the right direction supporting your organization's values, vision and mission.

As the economy slowly makes its way back in recovery mode, and more employees are concerned with issues beyond job security, we are beginning to see a return to a focus on “employee engagement” as the critical overriding factor within organizations that drives performance. But is that really all there is to it? Should companies focus exclusively on employee engagement as the key indicator of success or failure within their organization? Is high employee engagement some sort of management panacea that cures all ills?

This article highlights what talent managers need to look for and develop in their high potentials (and the commonly made mistakes that they should avoid) to move their organizations toward realizing their visions and goals.

Paula Caproni, Ph.D., Director of Executive Skills at the University of Michigan’s Ross Business School, helps guide MBA candidates through the transition from individual contributor to team leader with a high-intensity class entitled “Creating and Developing High-Performance Teams.” Offered only two or three times per year to groups of about 40 students, the class gives Dr. Caproni an exceptionally keen insight into the learning process experienced by the candidates.

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