Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, helping clients to create sustainable value for their customers and shareholders by turning them into high performance organizations. Accenture improves their clients’ operational performance and helps them to deliver products and services more effectively and efficiently.
Accenture Nordic – which groups the company’s operations in Sweden, Norway and Finland – is engaged in a fierce battle for talented consultants. The company’s senior executives and managers build and retain talent through leadership and coaching. The first few years of the new millennium were challenging and talented employees were leaving the company. They citied ‘lack of coaching and feedback’ as some of the main reasons, while surveys indicated that coaching and leadership could be taken to a higher level.
We worked closely with Accenture Nordic’s Management to determine specific development needs. One specific need was to turn the ‘critical judge’ style of intellectual managers and consultants into a motivational coaching style that could positively influence ‘insecure over-achievers’ in the organization.
Sharpening the ability to motivate and create commitment was important; particularly since notoriously high taxes in the Nordic countries meant monetary means had little capacity to motivate. The training also had to take into account another trait of the Nordic culture: men and women equally share responsibilities around their careers and the family, resulting in a need for work-life balance.
We translated these needs into a training program that would improve coaching and leadership skills. Recognizing that time is a scarce resource, we developed a high-impact program that required only five days of training over five months. Internal Accenture coaches, who had been trained by us, helped participants in between sessions to fully integrate the learnings.
The program was packed with cases and examples from Accenture’s own daily practice. By focusing on people’s behavior and skills, the program confronted counterproductive habits and instilled new ones that were in line with Accenture’s core values and business needs.
Together with Accenture Nordic, we agreed on an Impact Level Agreement . This involved tying our remuneration to tangible changes in the participants’ behavior. Before the training started, staff reporting to the participants was surveyed, a baseline was established, targets and stretch targets were determined and the related remuneration was agreed on.
Before the training, only 52% of the staff said they admired and respected their supervisors’ behavior. The end result after a year: 76%! At the end of the program 62% felt that their supervisors gave sufficient guidance on skills and capability development, compared to 38% earlier. We also managed to exceed the stretch targets in the other two categories, dealing with staff satisfaction about roles and responsibilities, and supervisors’ communication.