CIBC is a leading North American financial institution which has more than eight million retail banking customers and approximately 8,000 corporate and investment banking customers.
The commercial banking division of CIBC was determined to increase revenues, attract and retain customers, and improve employee morale. We worked with the senior team to design and implement a business strategy that encompassed a culture change strategy. Using principles of self-management, bringing the whole system into the room, and stewardship, we developed and facilitated a change, learning, and implementation strategy. We worked closely with the change team to design and facilitate a 5 day meeting process which introduced the changes and built regional ownership. In addition, we designed and facilitated a three-day regional planning session using Open Space Technology, to create a regional implementation framework and action plan for all people to move forward. Our work with the Senior Management team helped them manage the transition for the organization and also for themselves as leaders. In addition, it helped them to build leadership capability. This work helped formal leaders to think systematically and create alignment, surfaced and challenged the assumptions underlying their decisions and opinions, and built productive relationships between team members.
At the end of the project, all regions had designed their own implementation plans and reporting structures. A year after implementation, revenues were up, efficiency in responding to client request was improved, and customer and employee satisfaction increased.
CIBC realized that in order to shift the way customers were being served a partnership culture was required. It wanted the kind of responsiveness, speed and on-line customization that was beyond the reach of the individual. It required people living a model of collaboration and partnership, not one of control and compliance.
Foundations of Leadership
We played a strategic role in designing and facilitating the organization’s flagship leadership program. It was aimed at helping leaders understand the people management agenda and the concepts of leading from partnership. Several thousand leaders from all levels of management (from the front-line manager to EVPs, Presidents and the Chairman) attended over a 4 year period. Our role included coaching additional facilitators as the demand for the program increased, and working with the Chairman and his team in applying these principles and practices.
Leading Effective Business Teams
We designed and facilitated this learning event for banking leaders who were guiding a team, or multiple teams. Leading Effective Business Teams was a practice field for learning through feedback,
reflection and action. It immersed participants in a 5 day residential teaming experience, wherein they explored the intrapersonal and interpersonal dynamics that evolved during the week at both the
small and large group levels. It also challenged leaders to think systemically and provided tools and practices which enabled them to surface and question the assumptions underlying their proposed
"pictures", decisions and opinions. They practiced having productive conversations and developed leadership capability that reflected a partnership stance. We facilitated about 30 programs a year for a 3 year period.
Several evaluation studies were commissioned to measure the impact of these programs on the organization’s culture. Both initiatives proved to be successful in improving the leadership and teaming
capabilities and in moving the organization toward a culture of partnership.
Leadership and Team Development
We provided consulting services to a leadership team in one of the Science Centre departments, which was planning for and implementing a new organizational structure. This included individual
interviews of leaders and team members, as well as the designing and facilitating of team development processes both with the leadership team and with several other teams within the department.
We also provided individual leadership coaching and process consultation during business meetings. The focus was on recognizing the critical link between the ability to have productive business
conversations and effective performance. Leaders and team members learned how to think strategically, challenge assumptions, and work more productively together to improve business outcomes.
Centre For Innovation
The Science Centre had been allocated significant capital to develop a "Centre For Innovation". We designed and facilitated a series of all day meetings with Senior Management, employees, and external stakeholders, in order to define the essence of this centre. Techniques such as charettes, open dialogue, and world café were used to enhance creative and authentic conversation.
Over the past few years the school board has undergone an amalgamation of 6 separate boards into one, as well as significant cuts to its budget. The TDSB decided to bring together a cross-section of the disparate voices from each of the separate boards – students, teachers, administrators, parents, community members, government and other constituents - to develop a shared vision and plan of action for the schooling experience. Over 160 people reflecting the diversity of the school board’s population attended a Future Search Conference to initiate vision and collective action.
The conference has initiated a more inclusive way of working across the board and between the school board and its key stakeholders.
The Canadian Centre for Management Development (CCMD) supports present and future public service managers through learning programs and courses, learning events, strategic research and other leadership development activities.
We have been involved in designing and facilitating this interactive learning program for individuals within the federal and provincial public services who have been identified as potential executives. The program helps individuals learn and integrate knowledge at the personal, team, organization, and country levels. Through a six-week intensive learning experience spanning nearly a year in duration, participants gain insights into the impact of their work on the communities they serve, and the role of public service leadership in shaping the quality of life in Canada.
Petro-Canada realized that in order to make a difference in the marketplace, competent and consistent delivery of service to the customer was critical.
Fast and Friendly Service Strategy
In partnership with internal consultants we designed a service strategy, leading edge processes, and materials for the field staff. In order that this was not seen as an additional program from head office it was important that change management principles were employed in the roll out strategy.
The service strategy success factors included:
• Ownership by the people who deliver and manage customer service
• Alignment of accountabilities, resources, business plans, and rewards
• Integration between roles and business processes
• Capability - tools, skills, mindset
• Continuous improvement and evolution
Building Retailer Capability
Our goal was to assist Petro-Canada grow its retail business by building the retailer’s capability. We were intimately involved in designing a national capability and learning strategy. This included an assessment, recommendations, and design of all materials and tools to support a successful implementation.
Our criteria for success included:
• easy to implement
• users did not view this as "business as usual"
• change is sustainable and enduring
We co-authored a commissioned paper with Roger Martin, Dean, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto. Entitled, Why Do People and Organizations Produce the Opposite of What They Intend?, the paper looked at the Walkerton water catastrophe from the perspective of the interpersonal miscues and cover-up that occurred at all levels.