Representative Engagements
Project Industry Location
Executive Coaching Consumer Products Georgia
Executive Genesis℠ Pharmaceutical California
Organizational Development Energy California, Virginia, Illinois, U.K.
Organizational Realignment Public Sector California
Management Assessment Retail Grocery Chain Houston, TX
Performance Management Public Sector California



Project: Executive Coaching
Industry: Consumer Products
Location: Georgia

Client Situation:
Taking advantage of a recent downturn in the Consulting Industry, a major consumer products company recruited a managing partner from one of the Big-5 firms to be Senior Vice President of an organization of just over 300 people. The individual brought with him significant knowledge of industry Best Practices, a long history of successful engagements, and large scale project management experience. He was known as a visionary who could sell value propositions to client sponsors, which would be critical to his new role. He had been hired to replace a long term executive who had been known more as a caretaker than as the lightning rod they hoped this new executive would be.  All expectations aside, within 3 months evidence began to mount that many of the new executive's concepts and directives were being less than embraced by his people. Within 6 months, it became clear that two of his major initiatives were headed for failure. The CEO and the EVP of HR asked GMR to determine the root cause for the SVP's ineffectiveness, and what, if anything could be done to alter course.

Our Approach:

Under the guise of another project for the CEO, GMR conducted interviews with the SVP, several of his peers, all direct reports and a sampling of project managers. Although most of these individuals were reticent to directly criticize the new SVP, a number of underlying issues emerged. GMR learned that many in the organization were treating his directives, policies and procedures with passive resistance.  New policies and procedures were slow to being adapted. Project timelines had slipped. Change was nearly nonexistent. The SVP's predecessor had been well respected, and many in the organization resented his ouster. Moreover, until this hire, the corporate culture had valued upward succession. While everyone acknowledged that the SVP was not to blame for the company's decision to go to the outside, several admitted there was an internal candidate whom many believed had earned in that position; accommodating an interloper would be disloyal. Unaccustomed to less than immediate responsiveness from his workers, and frustrated with the lack of progress, the SVP had begun leading nearly non-stop staff and project meetings. Increasingly vocal in his criticism of others, he reassigned key players to roles where they could be "more productive or less damaging." He terminated some pivotal managers and replaced them with associates from his old firm, referred to internally by many as "FROG's" - Friends Of George. Relations with his direct reports devolved.  Morale among staff continued to decline.

GMR determined that the SVP's failure to date stemmed initially from his unanticipated challenge in adapting to the significant differences in human dynamics, drive and imbedded corporate culture between that of his former firm and this Fortune 500 company.  Reacting autocratically may have worked for him as a Big-5 partner, but served merely to compound this situation in rapid fashion.  He had never worked within a corporation, other than as a consultant. His overconfidence in his ability to read the tea leaves and to mandate, rather than to facilitate change exacerbated a sensitive situation which could have been avoided altogether. GMR's consultant coached the SVP in person and through subsequent telephone follow-ups over the next four months, on specific actions, behavioral changes, and adjustments to his management style.  The SVP and the organization learned to adapt to each other, and with the exception of some slippage the two initiatives were fulfilled successfully.

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Project: Executive GenesisSM
Industry: Pharmaceutical
Location: California

Client Situation:
A global pharmaceutical company approached GMR to conduct a retained search for a CIO, with the objective of landing an executive who could transform the company into an e-business.  This represented a dramatic departure from the company's core business.  Historically, managing Information Technology had been a responsibility passed between senior executives in Finance, Sales & Marketing, Manufacturing and Distribution.  It was considered a "tour of duty" useful at rounding out executive experience, or to provide focus to specific, near term objectives of the executives in these functions. Despite this effort at "focus," the reputation of the IT organization was lackluster, at best.  Worse yet, the client had yet to develop any defined vision for what kind of e-Business the company should enter.  Red warning signs were everywhere.


Our Approach:

Before embarking upon an ill-conceived search, GMR conducted extensive interviews with the company's senior leadership team, both in the U.S. and Europe.  During the course of this two week discovery period, GMR's consultant learned that there were, in fact, two parallel IT organizations that had never been realigned after a merger several years before.  One organization was in Europe, the other in the United States.  Their only commonalities were their hierarchical existence on an org chart, and the financial system mandated by Corporate Finance. They each supported their own incompatible and aging ERP systems.  A recent attempt by the European IT organization to replace its ERP system had failed.  Neither system could communicate meaningfully with the other.  Forecasting and replenishment at plants and distribution centers were more "wishful thinking" than reality.  The two IT organizations were at odds over IT architectural standards. Customer satisfaction was non-existent.  Directors, managers and project managers in IT were weak at best, never having been mentored by a true IT leader.  In short, after years of unwitting mismanagement by non-IT executives, the entire IT function was in need of triage.

GMR defined a new search specification for an experienced CIO who would focus on these core issues, quickly and immediately.  Furthermore, GMR recommended to the client that rather than distract the CIO with e-Business opportunities, the company should outsource any e-Business initiatives to a prominent consulting firm.  GMR introduced the company to such a firm, the firm performed several brainstorming workshops with the company's leaders and - while the new CIO busied himself orchestrating the mission critical business of repairing IT - the consulting firm helped this client launch a new e-Business sales channel that provided the company previously unattainable insights into the users of its products, new branding opportunities to stabilize market share, and an entirely new business.

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Project: Organizational Development
Industry: Energy
Location: California, Virginia, Illinois, U.K.

Client Situation:
After many years of moderate growth, dramatic changes to the business platform in the Energy Industry were placing wholly new growth demands upon our client. The primarily centralized and largely flat technical operations department, which had built a stellar customer service reputation, was being pressured to distribute its resources around the world. Forecasts indicated that our client would need to quadruple its staff in 12 months.


Our Approach:

Our challenge was to design a regionalized organizational hierarchy that introduced new management layers, new staff responsibilities, and new internal processes, while maintaining the same high levels of customer service, and a stimulating and rewarding work environment for the staff. We began by conducting extensive interviews of the management and staff to gain a thorough understanding of the department's scope of responsibility; how accountability is assigned, and how performance is measured; the interdependencies of teams; and the controls and management processes in place. We then developed a vision for the new global organization, in collaboration with managers and respected long time staffers in the organization. As the vision document matured, and the solution gained momentum and support, we defined job descriptions for all department positions, and worked with a 3rd party compensation consulting firm on new compensation models for each classification. In Phase 2, we worked with client management to reengineer critical internal processes, seizing opportunities for global clarity, uniformity and efficiency.

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Project: Organizational Realignment
Industry: Public Sector
Location: California

Client Situation:
The new CIO for this large county government had been given a charter: build a customer service driven IS function. The organization he had inherited was highly hierarchical, divisive, unresponsive its customer base, and was managed by a stovepiped, uncollaborative management team. The org chart had evolved around specific managers, neither a reflection of customer needs nor of process efficiencies. Fortunately, despite the fear of change evident with the highest layer of IS managers, the overwhelming majority of technical professionals thirsted for change. They wanted to make a difference.

Our Approach:
We established a baseline by asking IS personnel at off-site focus group meetings how they wished to see IS evolve; by meeting with customers and elected officials; and by conducting internal surveys on job satisfaction and careerpathing. At the same time, we searched for operational and process efficiencies by consolidating operating units (e.g., combining LAN, WAN, Radio and Telecom into one unit), and by introducing the concept of interdependent project teams that would force formerly segmented groups to work collaboratively. A "front office" and formal sales roles were created to bridge customer relationships. Trainers instilled needed project management skills and customer service techniques. Throughout this project's lifecycle, we developed an Organizational Realignment Plan, which we previewed to internal personnel and customers alike, refining and eventually marketing the plan with vigor enterprise-wide. To cap the effort, our client launched the formal rollout itself with a massive celebration, sending a message to personnel and customers alike that this was not "business as usual," and that the days of "getting by" were over.

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Project: Management Assessment
Industry: Retail Grocery Chain
Location: Houston, TX

Client Situation:
GMR was engaged by a new Chief Financial Officer and new Chief Information Officer for this $2.5 billion retail chain. The company had invested heavily in technology over the last 5 years, but IT was not truly adding strategic value to operations and lacked credibility to executive management.

Our Approach:
We personally interviewed and evaluated the entire Information Technology management staff. During each one-on-one, 3-hour interview with the IS management team, we examined each individual's respective professional experience, career objectives, current project and departmental plans, and we solicited specific recommendations for change. We held a mirror to this input by going through the same analysis with the heads of key user departments. After completing the interviews, we prepared a comprehensive report for executive management on each individual evaluated, along with our recommendations to facilitate change. Our process and our analysis were well received by every executive who had the desire to dramatically increase the Information Technology department's credibility and effectiveness.

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Project: Performance Management
Industry: Public Sector
Location: Southern California

Client Situation:
Our client's performance evaluation process was broken. Managers viewed it as a bureaucratic, rubber stamping process mandated by HR. Workers viewed it as being subjective and often punitive, marred by favoritism and inconsistency of criteria. No one viewed it as a tool. Without a process by which managers could establish clearly defined goals for all levels of personnel -- and the metrics by which to measure performance -- overall organizational performance would remain substandard. Our objective was to begin the transformation of our client's culture into a customer service driven organization.

Our Approach:
We first developed a Performance Management process that would allow managers to set clearly defined expectations and goals, identify potential gaps in training or experience that would prevent attainment, and then demonstrate to workers how and why to modify their behavior. We validated our model in one-on-one interviews with all managers and supervisors, wherein we sought to learn each individual's personal management style and philosophy, and tested his or her capacity to change. With the model validated, we developed with our client a set of Core Competencies against which all personnel would be measured, and then Job Specific Competencies for which actual metrics would be developed. We then prepared a Performance Management Training program for rollout to all supervisory personnel. Lastly, we augmented our plan by conducting a personalized, two-month coaching phase with the unit's senior most managers.

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