After CNA and Connecticut General merged (Cigna), management needed to reduce expenses. The consultants had already been through both companies several times but more was needed. Additionally, morale was poor, fear was high and that was affecting the new company’s performance.
We had been developing an employee engagement process called IdeaSystem with Maritz Motivation but hadn’t deployed it on a large scale. IdeaSystem loosely “Americanized” the Japanese Kaizen. We successfully operated this all employee process at Cigna and in 12 weeks produced almost $50 million in documented savings for the company. Morale soared. The success of this program was based on the belief that employees knew more about their company and their job than management or outsiders.
IBM was already 2 years into their turnaround under Lou Gerstner. The HR department at IBM had engaged Watson Wyatt and Hewitt to make the compensation plans for IBM North America Sales more performance driven. They ultimately came up with a plan of over 100 pages. The following year, IBM’s employee surveys indicated few sales people understood the plan or were changing their behavior as a result. Various communications firms were consulted to improve the presentation of the plan but IBM wasn’t satisfied with the results.
We were hired to make sense of all these reports and plans. We took the position that IBM sales employees knew what was most critical to their needs and if asked in a risk free environment, would tell us how to redesign the plan so sales people could understand it and produce the results the plan encouraged. We rewrote the comp plan from 100 pages down to a 7 page 4-color booklet that employees loved and management adopted as a worldwide model.
Later, IBM Software in Europe was losing market share to Oracle. The IBM software outperformed the oracle software in every test. IBM hired Mckinsey to analyze the EMEA marketplace to find out why IBM was losing market share to a competitor with an inferior product. $15million later, McKinsey delivered their report and began implementation across Europe. Nothing happened. More changes were made and still nothing happened. So IBM started firing software executives.
We were introduced to the newly hired VP Sales and suggested to him there was a solution that everyone else had overlooked. He hired our team and 15 weeks later, having visited every key market city in the region, we presented our report. 15 months after that, IBM had gained 12 market share points from Oracle. This represented more than a billion dollars.
The specifics of our report are not as important as the methodology we used. Our point of view was that those IBM employees on the ground, facing customers, could tell us what needed to be done. We had to create an environment where they felt willing enough to tell us. Our ability to create such an environment was the key to the successful turnaround in the software company. After 10 years of development, we call this total process “Actionable Feedback” and it’s still producing blockbuster results.
Today, we’re still focused on sales force effectiveness and optimization. We have comprehensive industry experience in Healthcare, Technology and Energy.
We are equally at home in the boardroom or the utility room.Ask us how
The best way to predict the future is to create it.