Case Studies

We would like to share with you a couple of things, what some of our clients have been saying about our work and specific examples of the benefit clients have received from their relationship with us. We hope these will inspire you to contact us to discuss how we can help you tackle the tough issues facing your organization.

Below are links to some projects that illustrate the value clients have received from the products and services we offer.

Sandia National Laboratories

Sandia LogoAt one of our country’s most highly regarded national laboratories, leadership development is reaching new heights. Through commitment, dedication and a lot of hard work, a very devoted group of people created a landmark process for developing more leaders. The Leadership Academy, as it is called, is an integrated, interactive, behavioral-based management development program designed to develop and enhance a manager’s leadership capabilities. The 18-day program, spread over six months, consists of five key elements: leadership, self-awareness, business of the Laboratories, leaders developing leaders, and fostering a learning and teaching organization.

The heart of the program is designed around the Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership®, outlined in the award winning book, The Leadership Challenge. Selected managers begin their development process by examining deeply and receiving feedback on the Five Practices, which sets the foundation for the entire program.

Strong ties and deeper working relationships are created with fellow participants, through a variety of work group and business simulation activities. Notable results of the program are reflected in the personal, professional, and organizational changes and improvements that, participants report, have made a difference in their work groups and with the people they lead.

It has been our privilege at ILA to partner with Sandia, in helping them craft and offer this valuable leadership development program.

AT&T Mountain States Branch

at&t logoThe struggles of AT&T during the 1990’s was well documented. The company was facing unprecedented levels of new competition, pricing in the industry had dropped through the floor, and massive, gut-wrenching business unit wide re-organizations had occurred almost every year. In spite of all of this, there was a team that continued to put up astonishing results throughout the decade. What made them different?

In the fall of 1991, Jack Schiefer brought his senior leadership team to The Leadership Challenge® Workshop. During their time together, they began the work that would forever change the future of their sales center. On a Friday morning in a small conference room, they shared with each other the heartfelt desires they each had for their sales center and for the kind of leaders they wanted to become. From that initial groundbreaking, the vision of a world-class sales organization, rooted in quality and reflecting a renewed commitment to their customers, their families and each other, was born.

This was not just a one-time exercise to craft a slick sounding statement; it was the creation of a new culture of success. Did their work pay off? You be the judge, based on the following results.

  • Jack’s Sales Center was number one or in the top 3 in the country for the 10 consecutive years.
  • They delivered consistent year over year growth, averaging 17% per year, when most of the business unit averaged single digit.
  • The Sales Center had a consistently strong promotion rate averaging 36% per year.
  • Jack’s leadership was consistently recognized at the highest levels of the AT&T Senior Leadership Team. Jack was awarded AT&T’s Leaders’ Council 7 times in the past 10 years. (AT&T’s Leaders’ Council is awarded annually to the top 1% of the sales force.) To date, no other AT&T employee has ever achieved this level of consistent recognition and honor in AT&T’s history. And of course, there were always members of Jack’s team earning this award as well.

It is also interesting to note that Jack’s market area was the Rocky Mountain states, not the hotbeds of growth like Silicon Valley, the Northeast, or the Sunbelt .

In achieving those results,

  • They were frequent innovators of important processes adopted throughout their business unit.
  • They built an organization that attracted top talent.
  • They consistently did extraordinary things on a regular basis for their customers

Following are some of the specific things Jack and his people did to make the vision real and bring life to their dreams:

  • Jack got almost everyone in the sales center immediately involved to review, clarify and strengthen the direction they were headed.
  • They created a symbol, the Rocky Mountains surrounded by a “Q” (for quality).
  • They developed and participated in “Personal Development Fairs, where associates learned about development opportunities from a variety of personal and professional sources.
  • Members were presented the “Q” pins, which symbolized individual commitment to the branch vision and personal development. This vision pin was later enhanced – associates were awarded jewels for their pins, when they were nominated for dramatically and visibly demonstrating the ideals of the vision. These pins still today are proudly worn to demonstrate the ongoing commitment to the sales center.
  • They updated their performance plans to include the categories of support of the branch vision and commitment to the welfare of the branch associates.
  • They developed more symbols and rituals to constantly bring life to the vision. Examples included: the “special plate” – a commemorative plate recognizing personal and professional accomplishments; the “high tea” – a special ceremony welcoming new members into the branch; and an associate calendar – highlighting an attribute of the vision and values each month, along with associate birthdays and other important branch events;
  • They created a branch mascot, the Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep, an animal able to survive and grow in spite of very perilous circumstances. The story of how this animal truly reflected the strengths and desires of the branch was widely shared. “Rocky” as it became known, adorned the calendars, letterhead, note pads, etc. as a constant reminder of the commitment to becoming the best in the business.
  • Jack’s center was a leader in instituting a different kind of orientation process for new employees. Reaching beyond the usual topics of structure and operating procedures, people were provided a two-day introduction to the culture of the branch, – its vision, values, philosophies of leadership and participation, commitment to quality and a review of the Branch Journey. New people were asked to buy in – and they willing did so.
  • Jack involved sales center members in the development of the core values, forming the soul of their values-based leadership approach.
  • They completed a very extensive benchmarking study on “world class,” involving customers, members throughout the sales center, and other internal company participants so they could walk their talk.
  • They continued to provide ongoing learning opportunities, including dealing with change, leadership development, quality, and personal and professional development.

The results of Jack’s team took a lot of hard work and deep commitment to success. It also took staying the course. As his own organization went through changes, Jack continued to bring his new teams together every couple of years to again participate in “The Challenge” to re-look their vision of world class performance and values-based leadership, reaffirm their commitment toward it, and develop the actions necessary to carry it out. Over they years, they were able to produced some very remarkable, sustainable bottom-line results.

Fifth Third Bank

Fifth Third Bank logoFifth Third Bank, headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, is one of the country’s most highly regarded banks, with an enviable record of 29 consecutive years of earnings growth. About six years ago, Fifth Third was on the front of a series of acqui­sitions that would result in their employee base growing from 5,000 to 19,000. Lauris Woolford, VP of Executive Development, came to Fifth Third understanding what that growth was going to mean for leadership development within her new company. “We knew from past experience that management was simply not enough.” Such quick and tremendous growth would call for a larger group of high potential employees and greater bench strength; requiring the need for a new set of leadership competencies. The program adopted by the Bancorp was The Leadership Challenge® Workshop, based on the book written by Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner.

The three-day workshops were rolled out to senior level managers throughout the organization. The “top-down” approach appeared to be very effective. As the program began to pick up momentum, The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership® discussed in the book and the program were integrated into their orientation, evaluation process, and annual goals for all senior managers. This helped to establish a common language and set of common expectations.

As part of their development, managers were assessed using the Leadership Practices Inventory, the 360° feedback tool based on the principles of The Leadership Challenge®, which delivers practical feedback on specific behaviors. This feedback allowed Fifth Third managers to focus on areas tailored to their individual leadership development. Every participant of the program—over 1,500 in the past five years—completed and received the feedback while attending the Leadership Challenge® Workshop. The participants were then invited back twelve months later to attend a one-day follow-up program and receive another LPI report.

Fifth Third tracked the performance of five randomly selected individuals who attended The Leadership Challenge® Workshop and follow-up program, and found that they had improved their LPI scores in each of The Five Practices. They then compared the data back to these individual’s financial results for the same time period. The results were astonishing! Profits generated by the five individuals and the groups they were leading significantly increased from before attending the workshop to after the workshop. Four individuals contributed a 31 % profit increase of $8.8 million over the previous year. The overall Bancorp turned in a 15% increase during the same year. The fifth individual implemented process improvements resulting in $385,110 to the bottom line.

In addition to the obvious financial growth contributed by these individuals and the teams they were leading, participants reported improvements in the way they acted as leaders on a daily basis. The five reported noticeable differences in the following areas: more innovation, greater initiative, the initiation and ownership of calculated risk, collaboration, self-confidence, and clarified shared values.

Not all of the $8.8 million in bottom line growth generated by these five individuals can be attributed to attending The Leadership Challenge® Workshop. However, these individuals believe that attending the workshop and implementing The Five Practices directly translated into higher employee performance and a greater sense of ownership that is required to continually grow profits for the bank’s shareholders.

The Leadership Challenge® continues to be a strong cornerstone for Fifth Third. They know that to grow and prosper over time in the difficult industry of banking, the winners will find ways to make themselves distinctive in meeting customer needs and profitable in operations. They also know that success in those endeavors will only be achieved as more and more associates become better able and more willing to step up and provide leadership.

Luxottica Retail

luxotticaBeing the Best at Helping the World See is more than a glitzy slogan at LensCrafters. It is the cornerstone of a meaningful vision that has propelled this remarkable company to over $1 billion in annual sales and an annual ranking on the list of Most Admired Companies. The vision (along with their core values) is a source of pride, heart and guidance – not just words on a wallet card. They talk about it, teach it, and use it for key decisions. The power of their vision has enabled them to:

  1. Attract and retain great people
  2. Be a consistent innovator in their industry
  3. Smoothly integrate and prosperously work with their European owners, Luxottica
  4. Become a worldwide leader in helping less privileged people around the planet through the Gift of Sight Foundation

For over 12 years, ILA has worked with LensCrafters helping them develop more visionary, productive leaders throughout their business. We salute their grand achievements and thank them for their continuing partnership with us.

Fulton County School System

Fulton County SchoolsThere is nothing more important than improving our children’s education experiences. A few years ago, The Fulton County School System in Atlanta made the decision to attack that overwhelming goal – and they are succeeding. The school system, which served over 65,000 students in 66 schools, made some remarkable progress in becoming a “Model for Excellence” using the Baldrige Criteria. Superintendent Steve Dolinger clearly demonstrated “Modeling the Way” by taking to heart the Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership® from The Leadership Challenge®, and acting on his beliefs about continual improvement and learning. With an encouraging senior leader like Steve, people at all levels were able to provide the kind of leadership needed to face the enormous challenge of systemically changing an entire organization.

As Mary Hooper, an internal leadership and organizational development consultant, remarked at the time, “I knew this program could be impactful. I never imagined that it could actually be a catalyst for our culture to evolve in such a way, that people really believe we can change in ways that will lead to breakthrough performance.”