Engaging and retaining high-potential leaders through a customized 6-month program

“This program consisted of four generations, including millennials and seasoned professionals. The company wanted to retain and develop all of them. I love how the diversity of the group facilitates its own kind of learning. How participants problem solve and collaborate, not only with different functions, but different ages, ethnicities, and lifestyles, which helps everyone see there’s more than one way to get to a solution. Learning how to nurture and develop diversity of talent is one of the critical leadership challenges of our time.  An engaging cohort program like this is a great way to accomplish multiple objectives at once.”
- SE

Client

$100M health and wellness engagement and technology company with 500 employees; private-equity- owned and driven with very ambitious company goals

Key Business Issues

Company was losing talented young team members due to ambiguity around goals, high pressure and lack of support because many senior leaders either lacked training or were working remotely

Key Leadership Challenges

  • Needed to develop next-level-down leaders and engage them in shaping the future of the company

  • Needed to build communication and influencing skills in young leaders with significant responsibility

  • Needed to create more clarity and understanding of “how to be” in the company culture

  • Needed to teach leaders to navigate a high-pressure sales environment with technology bugs and client service challenges

  • Needed to increase cross-functional collaboration to quickly source root causes of issues

Services Provided

Articulating the Value

From the HR perspective:

“We knew we needed to do something fast to develop a bunch of people. I’d worked with Sherry in the past and she was willing to start where we were. We piloted the first program, it worked, so we kept going. She was easy to collaborate with and participants seemed to get a lot out of the program.”

-- Chief Human Resources Officer

 

From the participant pespective:

“This program packed in so much value. We worked on a real-life business problem and had to pretend we were the executive team as we figured out solutions. We had to go talk to 8 people and collect feedback about ourselves. We learned how to influence and present to senior leaders. We made new friends. Listened to visiting speakers. I could go on and on. This NEVER would have happened in our regular day jobs. Plus we could speak completely openly, not worrying about anything getting back to our bosses. I appreciated the authenticity of this program.”

  • Program design and facilitation:  2 cohorts per year of 15 participants each, reaching 120 high potential leaders over 4 years – or 30% of the company

  • Leadership development and coaching

  • Designed and implemented a highly customized program including individualized feedback, development plans, one-on-one coaching sessions, visiting speakers, senior executive involvement
     

Business & Human Impact

  • Increased cross-functional collaboration. Participants made many new friends and learned about breadth of company functions.

  • Generated creative solutions to business problems. Participants assigned real-time business projects with an executive sponsor and made formal presentations of their recommendations to senior leaders as capstone of program

  • Brought Joy! Fun! Laughter! to a high-pressure work environment. Showed young leaders they could solve serious business problems without taking things—and themselves—so seriously
     

“We got tons of exposure to senior leadership as part of this program.”

“I loved how many relationships I made with people from other teams.”

“Her methods have been wildly successful.”

“I felt like I could be open and Sherry created a non-judgmental vibe.”

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© 2020 Sherry Essen