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“The flexibility Connor showed was incredibly valuable to us. They were just a cut above the rest."

Summary

Challenge

  • Needed to develop talent to drive growth now and in the future
  • High churn in EMEA region
  • Needed to give high-potential individuals a premium development experience

Solution

  • INSPIRED Performance leadership development programme from Connor
  • In-depth training and coaching aimed at developing mindset and behaviour in future leaders
  • Partnership with Manchester Business School to add academic content to programme

Results

  • Increased collaboration between sales departments across EMEA
  • Larger deals unlocked and new market position as a strategic partner
  • Future talent in the organisation feeling invested in and valued

Building a firm foundation for the future

It’s one of the biggest concerns for any organisation – how do you ensure that you have the necessary talent to drive growth not only today, but into the future? One of the world’s largest software providers was wrestling with this challenge across their EMEA region. They’d experienced a larger-than-expected volume of staff turnover, and that had consequences for their long-term succession planning.

“We weren’t sure who would be stepping into various key roles across EMEA,” says Sue Henley, EMEA Head of Talent Development, Education & Diversity. “We needed a way to identify our high-potential individuals, and then invest in them to encourage their development into the next leaders of our organisation.”

Creating an elite development programme for high-potential employees

Though the client had experience of creating their own learning and development programmes, it was decided that for this course they wanted external support. “We needed something different to what we’d done before,” explains Sue, “and something that made the people we offered it to feel that we’d made a significant investment in their future.”

To ensure that their external investment reflected the internal investment they’d made in the project, Sue’s team initiated a rigorous tender process that Connor, along with several other organisations, took part in. From the first meeting, Sue noticed a difference in the Connor approach that she liked.

“The flexibility Connor showed was incredibly valuable to us. They were willing to develop their INSPIRED Performance content to map to our specific needs rather than provide something off the shelf.”

That content involved a comprehensive set of tools including VoicePrint, a unique 360 tool that provides insight into the different voices people use in the workplace. In the end, Connor and our INSPIRED Performance programme was selected as the partner of choice for Sue and her team.

“They were just a cut above the rest,” Sue observes. “I was blown away by Kate. She was super-talented, very genuine, and didn’t once try to sell to us. Instead she listened to our needs and then came back with a proposal that matched what we needed. Brilliant.”

Tailored delivery to provide exceptional results

Each candidate for the INSPIRED programme was hand-picked by the client and Connor for their potential and their drive to succeed. In groups, candidates were then guided through workshops based in London that looked at their mindset, communication, resilience and influencing skills. Throughout, the Connor team were careful to make sure that the workshops were relevant and tailored to the specific needs of the people in the room.


A particular highlight of this project was the work Connor did to partner with an academic institution to deliver part of the content. “We wanted the course to offer real value to candidates,” explains Sue, “and Connor worked hard to make sure that the content from Manchester Business School was properly woven into their own course material. It didn’t feel like a bolt-on, which would have lessened its impact.

An impressive uptick in capability

The differences that Sue and the team noticed in performance were stark. Empowered with their new mindset and tools to lead others effectively, the business saw a marked increase in openness and collaboration amongst those sales leaders who had attended.


“The consequences were real and material for the business,” Sue observes. “For example, sales folk in different countries who were selling to the same client are now combining their efforts rather than coming at things in isolation. They’re now unlocking larger deals and we come across as far more of a strategic partner as a result.”


The delegates themselves were also thrilled with the quality of the leadership programme. “Voiceprint in particular was really great,” observes Daniel, Dev Ops Director for DACH BU. “At every step of the course I felt that the coaches related the course content back to my job and my personal behaviours. I got an incredibly valuable opportunity to reflect on my strengths and weaknesses, and how to use those in my leadership role.”


The success of the development, in Sue’s opinion, is largely down to the quality of the facilitators Connor provided. Connor’s facilitators are highly experienced in their fields, and place a high priority on the need to build positive relationships with candidates in order to see success.
“We’re very capable facilitators in-house,” Sue observes, “But the Connor team were in a different league. Their capability and their authenticity meant that they were very quickly able to get buy-in from the candidates for the programme. That’s no mean feat when you’re dealing with 14 ambitious, senior technology salespeople, some of whom don’t speak English as a native language, who are away from their home and family. Relationships were built quickly and that set the team up for success early on.”

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