A Challenge to Develop Leaders

Industry: Utility

In 2003, a major utility asked Rayner & Associates to develop a leadership program to orient new leaders throughout the company, from supervisor to executive. The program was to be composed of two major components: classroom training and ongoing coaching.

The Leadership Model

The first step in the training development was to step back and ask a basic question: what did it mean to be a leader in the company? What did every leader need to demonstrate? At the time, the company didn't have a cohesive leadership model. In asking these questions, Rayner & Associates helped to articulate the company's expectations and requirements for its leaders and design a simple model that expressed the major commitments of leadership, the roles leaders play, and the competencies necessary to each role. This leadership model then became the basis for the training.

An Evolving Program

Now in its twelfth year, the company's leadership program continues to orient new leaders to the organization and reinforce its expectations for leaders. Rayner & Associates remains active in the teaching of the program. Rather than being set in stone, the leadership model and the training that accompanies it have been dynamic artifacts: amended and redesigned to reflect the changing organization, the times, the emerging opportunities and challenges that the years bring.

A Vision for the Future

Industry: Aerospace

A division of a major aerospace corporation sought to make itself relevant in a changing industry, where small parts and systems were increasingly being outsourced. Rather than struggle to hold onto its secure past as part of a larger corporation, it hired Rayner & Associates to look toward the future, to help articulate a strategy to bring distinction to the manufacturing facility.

Rayner & Associates conducted a series of interviews with a cross section of employees throughout the organization. We asked their views not only on the current operations, strengths, and challenges of the organization, but on how it might operate in the future. We asked them to imagine and specifically describe such things as leadership actions, the strategic planning process, process improvements, people involvement, the use of information technology, and metrics.

A key theme emerged: the company saw itself as a leader in the application of LEAN and Six Sigma. In the future, it would continue to be an experimental hub of best manufacturing practices. That was the key to making itself relevant in the changing market. Indeed, years after its sale, its new parent corporation continues to hold the facility up as a model for LEAN throughout its enterprise.

Meanwhile, Rayner & Associates was called on to apply its future vision work with other divisions in the aerospace company. For example:

From Transactional Relationship to Strategic Partnership

Industry: Pharmaceutical

Together with another consulting firm, Rayner & Associates worked closely with a major pharmaceutical company to implement a new strategy for outsourcing clinical studies.

At the time, each clinical study was treated as an independent transaction, with the study generally awarded to the CRO with the lowest bid. But this wasn't adding up to savings for the organization, since each contract was tightly constructed so that any small change in protocol resulted in cost increases. Study totals were often well above the original budgets. Furthermore, this method of outsourcing meant the organization worked with many different CROs, all with different processes, linkages, and people, leading to greater start-up times and lost learning.

The company desired to change its approach. Instead of a transactional relationship, it was advised to work toward a strategic partnership with fewer CROs, which would allow the organization to get to know its study team and subsequently have faster start-up times.

Rayner & Associates and its partners helped design the criteria the company would use to choose its CRO(s). The criteria focused on technical and cultural compatibility, on issues around maintaining a relationship. While cost was a consideration, it was not a key factor. When the company reached a decision, it went beyond narrowing its list of CROs to three or four; it decided to enter into a strategic partnership with just one.

Rayner & Associates quickly began working to establish a relationship between the two companies and manage the two distinct cultures. It was not always smooth sailing. Both companies struggled with residual negative behaviors from working with other companies under other circumstances, and there was some internal resistance to the change. We worked closely with leadership from both companies to develop a three-year vision for how they were going to work together. This was followed by a strategy map, change management plan, and a process for documenting and implementing best practices.

The new outsourcing strategy led to process improvements, tighter budgeting control, and less redundancy of information and resources among the two organizations.

Improve Team Performance

Industry: Biotechnology

A major biotech firm sought assistance to design and conduct a leadership and high performance team development program. Program design included the creation of a leadership model unique to the organization and the implementation of seven team disciplines based on Rayner's research of high performing teams. This intervention, focused on improving leadership capability in key functional areas and developing high performance development teams, also included executive coaching and ongoing consulting support. The firm is recognized as having one of the fastest development cycles in its industry.

Attract, Develop, and Retain Top Talent

Industry: High Tech

During a major period of growth, the recruiting department of a high-tech company contracted with Rayner & Associates to help streamline the recruiting process, re-organize the department to better address the different requirements of college and professional recruiting, and provide coaching and team development expertise to the head of the recruiting department. During this time, more than 17,000 people were hired through the department, and the company was recognized by Fortune as the number one company in the world in its ability to "attract, develop, and retain top talent."