Case Study #1 Developing Managers for Fast-Track Productivity

Case Study #2 Creating Team Culture in a Manufacturing Plant

Case Study #3 Tackling Globalization Issues with a Fortune 100 Company

Case Study #4 Establishing Integration and Trust with a Merger Team

Developing Managers for Fast-Track Productivity


As part of the never-ending quest to increase speed to market, the senior management of a Fortune 500 corporation (50,000 employees, gross annual revenues of several billion dollars) turned their attention to their data management department...

This department of 125 people (ranging from data entry personnel to statisticians) maintained important contact with the governmental regulatory agencies and had every research activity of the entire company passing through their hands at some point in time. Senior management believed that increasing the productivity of this department would have a major positive impact on speed to market and the company's future success.

They made the decision to focus on the professional development of the 25 managers within the department. Most of these managers had been promoted based on their technical excellence; few had training as managers and supervisors.


The company wanted to create a fast-track development plan for the 25 managers that was aligned with the management philosophy of the company. To accomplish this, the company decided to bring in external expertise, and the contract was awarded to CPD. The company also placed priority on utilizing in-house organization development resources where available, partly for the cost savings, and partly to assure continuity between the work in this particular department and the larger effort to build an efficient corporate culture, so they asked CPD to partner with internal resources.


CPD suggested a three-phase plan.

Phase I — Needs Assessment

There were three components to the needs assessment.

As part of the first component, we held meetings and interviews with senior management to determine key issues and priorities for the data management department and its managers. We also used the interviews to define the evidence procedures for evaluating whether managers were appropriately developed and whether the department was functioning efficiently internally and with key stakeholders. Also, we spent this time identifying 'key stakeholders' who would be a part of a broader needs assessment process.

The second component was a comprehensive needs assessment with the key stakeholders. We developed a questionnaire and conducted personal interviews to gather further information on key issues, priorities, potential solutions, and measurement of results.

The third component was the design and implementation of a 360 multi-rater for the 25 managers. CPD designed a 52-item leadership and management multi-rater based on the input from the previous interviews and responses from the questionnaire. This multi-rater covered the following seven areas:

  • Goals and Standards
  • Communication and Influence
  • Structure and Processes
  • Decisions and Buy-In
  • Management and Motivation
  • Responsibility
  • Leadership and Setting

These 52 items and seven business areas formed the metrics used to monitor and determine the effectiveness of the project.

Phase II —This phase of the management development process focused on getting procedures and mechanisms in place to facilitate the management of a tough workload successfully. Together, the company and we identified and prioritized the skills needed for creating and managing those procedures. We identified the following skills development priorities:

  • Strategic planning
  • Project management
  • Priority setting
  • Information exchange
  • Goals and objectives setting
  • Performance monitoring
  • Problem performance correcting
  • Communication
  • Standard operating procedures alignment 
  • Time management
  • Team building

Phase III —The third phase involved ongoing checks on the development process and coaching of the managers. We used feedback in this phase both to guide the individual managers as well as to adjust the three-year plan as it evolved to ensure that the managers developed the prioritized skills. We identified a second tier of skills for managers to develop if there was time. These skills included:

  • Negotiation
  • Consensus decision-making
  • Professional presentation skills
  • Stress management
  • Assertiveness training
  • Conflict resolution (specifically regarding dealing with difficult people)


This was planned as a three-year project. The project team established metrics to monitor progress on six-month intervals. By the end of the second year, the project team determined that all of the goals and objectives had been met. The project was completed in a shorter time period than anticipated and had cost the company a 25% less than originally budgeted. Furthermore, during a major initiative implemented by the company a year later, this department ranked among the highest in the company in implementation of the speed to market change effort. Five years later, this department continues to meet its targets in a timely fashion, and its managers receive high marks on their in-house management and leadership 360 valuations.

Creating Team Culture in a Manufacturing Plant


The HR department of a manufacturing plant was struggling with a persistent set of complaints. The facility employed 1200 people and annually produced over a billion dollars of product. The plant was well-known for being "like a family" and for fostering open, friendly working relationships among the staff...

However, the inconsistent management styles of different groups within the plant had led to mismatched expectations and miscommunications between these different groups. There was a sense that the culture of friendliness did not support effective teamwork because staff were more inclined to be "nice" to each other than to make hard decisions or hold each other accountable. Various members of the HR team had tried to influence the plant manager to resolve these issues, but had not yet been successful.


The Director of HR asked for our assistance in influencing the plant manager and his leadership team to address these issues and achieve two specific outcomes:

  1. Create and present a vision for the plant that would give the staff a unified sense of the plant's direction and priorities
  2. Improve the teamwork of the leadership team itself

It was expected that these two outcomes — a specific vision and teamwork behavior modeled by the leadership team — would have a significant effect on the culture of the plant as a whole, setting the foundations for mutual accountability and a clearer sense of shared success.


After meeting with the Director of HR, CPD ascertained that the first step was to gain the full buy-in of the plant manager
. CPD suggested carrying out an Organizational Survey to collect information that might corroborate or further elucidate the suggestions the HR representatives were making. The plant manager supported this study and agreed to review the results as a guide to possible actions.

Organizational Survey
CPD interviewed the entire leadership team and a sample of other managers from throughout the plant. The interviews not only corroborated the conclusions that HR had been making, but also made a compelling case for change.

This survey results convinced the plant manager that it was time to act on the suggestions of the HR director and take the team off-site to work on these leadership issues.

Team Workability
CPD facilitated a TeamWorkAbility™ session for the leadership team in which we presented to them the aggregate feedback of the Organizational Survey. They were shocked, and somewhat embarrassed, to hear these perceptions about their performance as a team. As part of the TeamWorkAbility™ session, we also facilitated a process in which the team members gave honest feedback to each other, and many members of the team were again very surprised to learn of how they were perceived. The team used the discomfort from these new learnings to motivate themselves to create a new level of teamwork and leadership together. They used the tools that CPD provided to them over the remainder of the four-day session to build the following:

  • A new definition of their team
  • A new set of operating agreements
  • A new level of commitment to each other's success


Back at the plant, there was uniform feedback that something significant had changed. Staff noticed that the leadership team actually began to act as a team, that decisions that were formerly made by one of the directors without input from the others were now made as a team, taking into account each other's different interests. There was a noticeable commitment to ongoing improvement as well. The team made a commitment to regular follow-up sessions to hold themselves accountable for their new ways of working and shared publicly that they were doing so.

Obviously, one off-site couldn't solve all the problems, but there was a universal sense that a key foundation was laid in place for clarifying the direction and culture of the facility, and a long-term action plan was created for spreading the new ways of working and communicating throughout the plant.

Tackling Globalization Issues with a Fortune 100 Company


The IT division of a Fortune 100 corporation had created a very aggressive schedule for replacing its regional structure with a centralized organization —globalizing both services and infrastructure. The challenge for the management team was to deliver an improved and more sophisticated service to the business while not relaxing any of the organization's current objectives...

This organizational restructuring was to occur during a business cycle that required a reduction of costs not only in the long-term, but in the short-term as well. The management team's solution was to adopt a matrix management structure in which teams would cross functional and geographical lines.

This new structure required radically different individual and team behaviors within the 1200 person organization, and yet the reorganization had to be accomplished immediately and fit within shrinking budgets. This placed huge demands on both HR — to design and implement a flawless process for guiding the entire organization through the change — and on the IT managers — to achieve and model personal change immediately and effectively. CPD had worked closely with this HR-IT team before, and they turned to us for support in this mammoth undertaking.


The outcomes for the organization were very clear. Within a year they needed to:

  • Have the new organization functioning effectively within its new structure and paradigm
  • Deliver on its already promised deliverables and cut costs.

The HR department was going to be very busy carrying out the reorganization, and they asked us to be responsible for carrying out the paradigm shift. Specifically, we targeted the top three levels of management within the organization — 70 people in all. The objective was to have every member of this group aligned with the new direction and exhibiting the new attitudes and behaviors required to operate effectively in the new environment.


The size, complexity, and short timeframe of this project required us to shed the framework of an external consultancy. We joined HR as full team partners in a matrixed project team that shared decision making and all relevant information. This required us to live and practice the same type of paradigm shift we were asking of the IT department itself.

The members of the combined CPD-HR team co-wrote the project plan and assigned parallel project managers within the organization and within CPD. Ten CPD consultants served on the project with well-defined roles. The project was composed of several phases and concurrent streams, but the principle mechanism for achieving the desired results was the assignment of CPD coaches to each of the organization's division leaders.

Each division leader worked with their CPD coach to develop a planned program of intentional change for their division leadership teams within the framework of the larger team. Each coach supported both the division leader and his or her whole team in bringing the different divisions together within the new matrix.

We designed and delivered trainings to address the particular areas in which the group needed to succeed within the new matrix as well as helped guide the individual members through trainings already available through their HR department.


At the end of the year, the organization's vice president deemed the project a complete success. The IT group achieved their strategic deliverables, met their goal of reducing overall costs while increasing service volumes, and had the new organization up and running effectively within the scope of that first year. Our partnership with the HR team was so successful, that they asked us to stay on as virtual members of their team for the following year.

Establishing Integration and Trust with a Merger Team


Two international pharmaceutical companies had announced a merger. In addition to the cost savings that the merger promised to generate, senior management was intent on delivering a strong, team-oriented culture, and they wanted this culture to take root immediately, knowing that the typical expectation would be a couple years of “storming” before teams from the separate companies fully integrated. To support this objective, they created a team of managers, The People Team, from across the two heritage companies to strategize and implement an approach for quickly defining and growing this new, integrated culture. They also set aside a significant budget for the ongoing implementation of the new company culture.


It was clear that for the company to succeed in rapidly integrating employees from the two heritage companies into one cohesive team, The People Team itself needed to integrate rapidly and powerfully in order to work efficiently together as well as to model for the other teams how the integration could succeed. The People Team's hope was to schedule a single kick-off meeting to set the tone for the integration and to build enough trust across the merger lines to be able to work effectively as a unified team to guide the unification of the rest of the company. Research shows that companies that merge are successful faster the more their leaders are integrated with the new culture.


First we interviewed all of the members of The People Team to get an honest and accurate read of the team’s current state. These interviews confirmed that there was indeed a significant amount of distrust among team members – not only of the people from the other heritage company, but in some cases of colleagues from within the same company. It was clear that we needed to explore the perceptions and issues related to the employees' trust of one another – or lack thereof. These interviews, however, also demonstrated that team members carried high levels of hope for the integration, and the interviews gave the CPD consultants the chance to solidify the commitment of the individual team members to do whatever was in their power to work towards the fulfillment of these hopes. After interviewing the team members and sharing the resulting aggregate themes with The People Team’s co-leaders, we scheduled an intensive off-site meeting to facilitate a customized CPD TeamWorkAbility™ with the objectives of establishing trust and creating a beginning strategy for how the team would work together to accomplish the same throughout the new company.

Over the four days of TeamWorkAbility™ and working session, the CPD facilitators and participants worked together to create a climate of open and honest communication. Participants talked about themselves, their past experiences, their hopes and fears, and most importantly, their commitments and desired outcomes going forward. This sharing helped create the basic foundation of safety for discussing the issues at hand – the team could discuss the different issues and tensions knowing that each and every member was deeply committed to the team’s success and ready to learn, shift, or change as individuals to create that common team direction.

In addition to the open conversations among the team members, each participant took part in coaching sessions in the evening. Additionally, we used a process called Walk and Talks to pair up each team member with every other team member for brief, focused conversations to clear up any misperceptions about each other and to set the stage for every relationship among the team members to be productive. CPD created specific tools to encourage productivity for the participants as they engaged in several different types of conversations during their Walk and Talks.

Once a foundation of trust and partnership was established, we worked with the team through processes allowing them to determine short- and mid-term strategic goals, set action plans, and create operating agreements between the team members.


The team fulfilled and even exceeded their goal of integrating rapidly and establishing trust. By the end of the four days, there was no question that they had resolved their initial concerns, were fully aligned and prepared to take on other challenges as they came up, and had a basic plan in place for guiding team integration across the new company. In fact, the week was so powerful that the people who were part of it remembered it and told stories about it for years afterward. 

Afterward, the company invited CPD to partner with The People Team as an external partner to assist in designing and implementing similar programs globally, from the senior teams down through the organization. The company adopted TeamWorkAbility™ for all new teams experiencing a significant level of mistrust or conflict. CPD designed a two-day off-site New Team Alignment™ for teams that needed to integrate and create plans quickly but did not necessarily have a great deal of mistrust or conflict to work through. Over the next few years, CPD was often thanked and credited for making a significant contribution to the smooth and timely creation of an integrated culture at the new merged company.

Ongoing Learning and Research

CPD has conducted its own research on accelerating the merger-and-acquisition process through leadership integration. If you are interested in talking points from this research, please contact us. We also have available an in-depth study of best practices, and we highly recommend Merger and Acquisitions Integration Excellence published in 2000, which can be found at The company discussed above is included in this study. Due to confidentiality agreements, we are not at liberty to advertise the company; however, we are free to discuss many of the particulars with you.


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