Case Study

Reinventing the Organization: Succession in a Global Institution

The Problem

When the Chairman of the Board of an international financial institution was ready to identify a successor, he was concerned about whether there was a strong enough pool of candidates. As the board and the CEO discussed the problem, they realized that their approach to leadership was outdated and not in line with the increasingly complex economy. 

As the senior leaders reflected on what helped the organization succeed in the past, they realized that to continue growing and have influence, they needed to change. They wanted to find and grow leaders who were capable of thinking differently about how to lead, organize, and grow. 

The Solution

To move forward and change, from hierarchical to innovative, would require a fundamental shift in senior leaders capabilities. In order to accelerate this shift, the chairman decided to invest in a custom program that would build these capabilities in an impactful way. 

The Chairman and CEO selected The RBL Group to partner and create a high-impact interactive program that would grow the organization’s forward-thinking leadership capabilities while also evolving and reinventing the organization itself. RBL’s proposed solution included the following three elements: 

Individualized Leadership Assessments and On-going Coaching 

The RBL Group administered psychometric and behavioral leadership assessments to the senior leadership team. This acted as a foundation for a structured process where participants set goals to develop leadership capabilities that would have the biggest impact on their ability to better meet stakeholder expectations. Each leader then received 1:1 coaching during the next year that created accountability and provided support and feedback on critical behavioral shifts. 

Collective Development Journey 

In parallel, the senior leadership team participated as a group in RBL’s Reinventing the Organization Academy. With online and team sessions, the participants explored how to build a more agile and adaptive organization that would be better-positioned to capitalize on the regional financial services opportunities. 

This 12-month journey included an understanding of the six dimensions of a high-performing, “new economy” company. They utilized tools, frameworks, case studies and application exercises in the following topics: 

Advisory to the Chairman of the Board and CEO on CEO succession 

The Chairman and CEO understood it was imperative to pick a successor with a new blend of strengths and capabilities to lead in a reinvented environment. The assessment and Reinvention Academy provided an understanding of each leaders' strengths and assess against the company's future needs. 

The Outcome

This collaborative effort helped accelerate the organization’s transition to a more competitive financial center. While the organization was already considering expansion before this project, RBL’s approach helped both the organization and individuals make critical changes needed for the expansion to be a success. The outside in, results-based process created significant outcomes at both the organizational and individual levels.

At the organizational level outcomes mirrored the four vital capabilities for a market-oriented ecosystem:

  • External Sensing 
    • Aligning Around Market Maturity: The senior executive team challenged one another to find the appropriate balance between innovation in emerging markets and risk management in more mature markets. The program helped identify a platform for change and shaped the way of thinking that influenced the expansion and future of the bank.
  • Customer Obsession
    • Customer-focused Culture: Creating the right culture was paramount for their success. They accepted that they didn’t have it right, and that there was a disconnect between customer and market. This gap was addressed by defining a strategic leadership brand. 
    • Employee Customer Engagement: They recognized the power they have to breathe life into their employees to focus on customers. In the past, there was a feeling that a small group of people could run the organization but they had to empower thousands of employees to be engaged with customers.
  • Innovation Throughout
    • Strategic HR: The priorities identified through the process revealed the need for HR to be more innovative and focused on building human capability that was critical for the strategy to yield the desired results.  
    • Personal Growth: Each participant committed to be innovative with their personal goals and changes they wanted to make. An example of a change influenced by the program was the behavioral shift in one participant in a leadership position. As a result of the MENTOR feedback, the leader was given goals to reinforce other voices in group discussion and they were able to demonstrate and achieve those goals by the end of the program and accept that everyone had a voice on the team.
  • Agility Everywhere 
    • Clear Alignment: While there was clear alignment around the need to grow internationally, the executive team realized that the growth strategy wasn’t as clear as it needed to be. The structure and frameworks of Reinventing the Organization helped senior leadership align around a clear and concrete strategy. 
    • Succession Plan: The Chairman of the board supported the new leadership brand which had a huge influence on who he selected as the next CEO. Using the new leadership brand as a guide, the chairman identified and selected a different candidate than he had anticipated for CEO. One year in, this new CEO is delivering the results stakeholders are expecting.
    • Reorienting Leadership: The Reinventing the Organization academy enabled the organization’s leaders to transfer their energy and attention from level 1 thinking (completing tasks and moving the machine along), to level 2 thinking (the how and why of work). They came to understand that siloed thinking is destructive to value in the future and found ways to work more effectively together. 
    • Employee Empowerment: They recognized the limitations of their current hierarchical mindset and challenged each other to break down bureaucracy and empower employees throughout the organization. 

If you are looking to build these capabilities in your organization, we invite you to explore RBL’s results-based guided learning digital program, the Reinventing the Organization Academy.