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Case Studies: Tony Goodale

An assertive, decisive leader rebuilds a relationship that helps create a sales increase of $250 million.

Situation:
Tony was a very assertive and capable leader who had no problem speaking his mind. Confrontation was something he experienced far more often than he liked. The department he led held the power to approve or decline large deals proposed by internal clients.

When these factors were combined with a headstrong, “freewheeling” internal customer that didn’t want to play by the guidelines, as well as difficult employees in both departments, a frustrating relationship emerged. It had begun to feel like an “us-verses-them” situation. Morale was low, productivity wasn’t where they wanted it to be and the profits were suffering as a result.

Overcoming the negative “history” the departments had with each other was a big hurdle that had to be overcome if the situation was to be resolved.

Solution:
Don’t “throw the baby out with the bathwater.”
Tony brought significant talent to the table and we wanted to preserve the assertive, decisive nature his role demanded – the very quality that made him so good at his job. The challenge was managing how that type of personality can be perceived in order to build the relationship with the leader of his internal customer group.

We used our assessment process to quickly clarify his strengths and blind spots as a leader and a communicator. This process also shed light on some of the reasons why he was having difficulty with the other individual.

Tony then came to the understanding that, although there was some quite poor behavior on the other team that “justified” his negative responses, the situation wasn’t going to change unless he made a change.

We went through our specific process that gets to the underlying issues in conflict situations such as these. The process fosters deeper, more honest communication than people are commonly familiar with.

After applying this exercise with his counterpart, the possibility of trust, respect and collaboration existing in the relationship was created almost overnight – difficult to believe perhaps, but true.

Tony then created a cross-country tour designed to apply the learning from the coaching and bring representatives from both teams together. He operated from what he wanted the relationship to look like (trust, respect and collaboration). The goal was to break down barriers, build relationships and become partners instead of adversaries.

Results:

  • An increase of $250 million in YTD sales numbers over the previous year! This speaks to the cooperation and teamwork throughout the teams.
  • 50% less escalations of complaints
  • An estimated 10-15% increase in productivity of both groups. Because the parties committed to a shared, win-win vision of what ideal business deals are and then focused on those, less time was wasted on unwanted business (and dealing with the conflict associated with it).
  • Significant increase in morale of both groups and an optimistic outlook for the future.
  • A change in turnaround on proposed deals of 200%, from three days to same-day. This has a significant impact on the end user client experience, on which both parties are measured.
  • An added level of competence (and confidence) in effectively managing conflict.
  • A significant difference in attitude – he noticed an impact on what he’s doing and how he’s doing it. “I’m more confident and energized about my work!” says Tony.

Next case study - Laura Richards. An extremely bright up-and-comer gets her spark back, breaks through difficult circumstances and takes her branch from 27th place to 9th in three months.

The names in these stories are fictional but the stories are real. If you’d like to talk to the individuals themselves, please email me for their contact information.