How We Have Helped Leverage Diversity

Case Study 1: Power Company Pain

A local power company was faced with an employee complaint that threatened their reputation as a first class corporate citizen. JOR was selected to advise them as they developed an appropriate response to the situation. Among the counsel we offered was to be open, honest and act with integrity.

We also helped them see the wisdom of separating the legal from the learning.

As part of our work, they used the opportunity to further embed their values in the organization and to increase trust for leadership. We engaged them in a process of Leadership Challenge that involved the most senior executives. They were invited to get to know each other at a deeper level and to agree to a set of behaviors that they would need to model for the company’s employees in order to demonstrate a high trust environment.

The outcome was positive on both fronts. The complaint failed to clear the class certification hurdle. The learning events are heralded as the best experience ever shared by all employees.

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Case Study 2: Medical Center Expansion

The DeKalb Medical Center has served eastern metro Atlanta for over seventy years. They recently built a new, state-of-the-art, all digital facility in an area of the county that is predominantly affluent African-American.

They experienced some tension between members of their medical staff (white and non-white doctors) and questions about how best to staff the new facility.

They thought they had a diversity issue.

JORA was engaged to help them develop diversity management competencies. In the process, we uncovered the need for cohesion among the executive team. As such, we expanded the assignment to include team learning events and coaching sessions. The CEO and his direct reports have learned more about each other. They interact more often and more effectively (their assessment).

The new facility opened on time with great fanfare and with a staff of world class doctors that exceeded by 50% their target level.

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Case Study 3: Narrowing The Gap

Served as lead consultant to assist client in developing managers and supervisors capable of managing the diverse workforce more effectively. Two consultants were assigned to work with the internal staff from Employee Development.

The desired outcome was established as narrowing the gap of skills and attitudes that are hindering effective supervision of diverse people.

This was a second phase of an existing engagement, which involved all employees in understanding attitudes toward differences. Our first step was to identify the gaps. We performed a series of focus groups with both managers and supervisors and employees to determine what was working well and what needs improvement. The output of that effort was a management report that highlighted the findings and recommended additional activities as solutions.

We first compiled the results in a format that was understandable to all supervisors and managers. We designed and developed a one-day training sessions that included new skills and knowledge for addressing the issues discovered in the research.

The sessions also gave managers a chance for personal assessment of their attitudes and readiness to practice the new skills.

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Case Study 4: Create Communication

The client had just gone through a lengthy and somewhat painful restructuring which affected nearly everyone directly or indirectly. While the change was timely and necessary, the implementation of the process was less than optimum.

Many people lost faith in the company and its leadership and felt betrayed (both the survivors and the retirees).

This is a long-term client. We have been exposed to their people regularly through a training program we conduct. We had heard the concerns and had brought it to the attention of our sponsor, a vice president with communications responsibility. We were then asked to design a process to determine the communications needs as perceived by employees and to recommend ways to implement them.

We first consulted the Marketing and Communications staff to determine what they were already doing. We then designed and conducted a series of focus groups around the state to create a safe and open opportunity for employees to talk about how they prefer to receive information within the company. We compiled the findings into a summary report and submitted it for use by the client groups. 

We then prepared to present the findings and recommendations to the senior executive group (CEO and four EVPs). One of the recommendations that was presented and approved was a series of town meetings in which the senior executives would meet delegates from each work group (by function and site) to share their thinking to honestly solicit ideas and feedback form employees. This event was deliberately designed as casual dress and informal format. The delegates were responsible for presenting their notes form the session to their entire work group within a month of the session.

The results of this project have been significant. Senior executives have regained their focus on people issues. The employees have reconnected with their leaders.

And, overall, a lot of new communications plans are being implemented, including having managers and supervisors better equipped to pass important information down to employees.

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Case Study 5: Reinvigorate

The healthcare industry is undergoing tremendous change. Our client is in the process of mapping out its role and its niche in this ever changing marketplace. One part of their strategy is to build on their strength in providing culturally competent patient care. They had begun an effort with the issuance of a report and recommendations to the board and administration. The recommendations were accepted by the leadership.

A diversity committee was established to guide the implementation process. After several years of slow (or no) progress, we were retained to assist the organization in its implementation approach.

When we began, there was low energy and waning interest on the part of the council members and the executives. Three consultants are assigned to the project.

We served as shadow consultants for a few months to determine what was already working well and what needed to be added. I helped reconfigure the Diversity Council to be more inclusive of the stakeholders in the facility. We recommended the appointment of a Director of Diversity Development (I helped them establish the title and responsibilities of the position). We developed a detailed plan of action for the council. I conducted a mission/performance session to help confirm the organization’s vision and to establish the council’s role in helping the organization realize that vision. We conducted research in the facility (interviews, focus groups, and a Diversity survey) to identify the real issues and to gather input form the employees on how best to proceed. We provided instruction and support to equip the members of the council to serve as ambassadors for the process throughout the facility (actually making presentations and selling others on the plan). We conducted team development sessions to help the council get participation from more members and to help them model the process they were proposing for everyone else.

The result of our intervention is a reinvigorated council and a clearer vision of how the strategy will be implemented.

The council as well as the senior executives has a sense of ownership and commitment to the process. We are moving into the next phase of the process, which will include a comprehensive education and training component and quick win activities to help maintain the momentum and the enthusiasm of the council.

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Case Study 6: Taking Initiative With Diversity

The Prudential Insurance Company of America is the number 1 provider of life insurance products in America. The industry is undergoing tremendous change. Competition is fierce, both from domestic competitors and international players. Our client wanted to use a diversity initiative to assure the continued success of Prudential in such a volatile market.

They wanted, among other things, to insure their proper share of emerging markets.

We served as shadow consultant to the Diversity Council for the Individual Insurance Business Unit (IIBU). We provided a state of the industry information and recommendations for making the diversity strategy work. Among the things we recommended were research into the perception of the Prudential among various cultural groups (emerging markets). From this market research, the client discovered that most respondents were unaware of prudential=s #1 position. In fact, many groups listed Prudential as out of the top ten or not at all.

From this research, we assisted Prudential in redesigning its marketing materials to appeal to a broader market (this included ethnic-focused and non-English versions of their messages). In addition, we supported their efforts to recruit more women and minorities as agents for the expressed purpose of maintaining access to emerging markets. We also created a detailed Diversity Planning Guide for use by all field managers in setting and meeting specific diversity goals. We worked with individual agencies to support their efforts to increase their market penetration in non-traditional customer groups. We designed and developed a strategic training that was delivered to all field managers and executives. And we participated in the establishment of emerging market trials in various cities around the country. For example, a Hispanic marketing office was established in the Chicago area to improve Prudential’s presence in an untapped market of over two million people.

The result of our intervention was an increased awareness of the market potential of emerging markets as well as a clearer focus on how to position the company to appeal to a broader market.

Managers and executives were made aware of behaviors that worked against the goals of the initiative. All field sales people were given new tools to help them recruit and attract more agents and to make them successful.

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Case Study 7: Executive Teaming

Recently The Diversity Coach&#8480 guided a group of senior executives at a medical devices company through our Executive Teaming process. The theme of the intervention was Efficiency, Effectiveness and Execution.

We conducted extensive research on the unique strengths, talents, skills, and philosophies of each participating executive as well the constraints that challenged them as a team.

The project concluded with a tightly designed all-day retreat.

At the end of the day, a new “executive team” emerged. They developed and accepted a set of behavioral norms that they agreed to practice. 

Six weeks later, the Group Chairman observed that “there is a noticeable improvement in the level of trust and feeling of connectedness among the leaders. It is evident in the conduct of meetings and the speed and quality of decision making.”

An obvious question may be, why The Diversity Coach&#8480? 

Executive Teaming is a prime example of how we apply diversity management principles as a tool to transform organizations at every level. The principles we use to assess, create vision, and promote learning on our major diversity (management) projects are applicable to nearly every people-related challenge faced by any organization.

What is blocking high performance at your company? What is constraining productivity? What keeps you from executing against your strategies and objectives?

If it involves people (it always does), The Diversity Coach&#8480 is the right consulting partner for you.

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Case Study 8: The Diversity Plateau

The City of Roanoke, Virginia selected J.O. Rodgers & Associates to do a CultureScan™ and provide consulting support for its Leadership. Several observations were uncovered by the CultureScan™. The City’s strategic focus on customer service and performance had not been established clearly.

As such, JOR identified 4 target areas and collaborated on the management systems, polices and practices. 

Leaders were supplied with the tools and instructed. While some were successful, others ran into difficulties because the organization did not endorse a specific set of behaviors and create mechanisms to support them. JOR suggested that the City must identify 3-5 specific behaviors that are expected of all members of the organization, and provide additional learning activities and reinforcement tools to leverage the behaviors.  Over the months, customer satisfaction survey scores showed steady increases.

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Case Study 9: Learning Leadership

A global consumer products company wanted to establish itself as a leader and exemplar of leadership principles in its industry and to its other affiliated companies.

JOR was selected to guide them through a process of assessment, visioning, and learning to equip them for leadership in this field.

Our CultureScan™ process helped them to understand their personality and to weed out behaviors that might impede their quest for excellence. It also supported the design of a learning platform that was uniquely fit for their culture. The learning platform has become the most popular learning event in the history of the company. It not only gave employees a new perspective on Leadership, it also has succeeded in increasing the level of engagement of employees who now have a common (positive) experience that binds them together. The leader of this initiative has become the lead spokesman for effective diversity management throughout the company’s system as well as at conferences, universities, and other companies across the nation and throughout the world.

The outcome was positive on both fronts. The lawsuit failed to clear the class certification hurdle. The learning events are heralded as the best experience ever shared by all employees.

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