Case Study: The Transformational Impact of Partnership
Disclaimer: Client name has been changed.
In 2021, a leading global corporation, Global Partners, embarked on a major transformation effort into a more growth-oriented, purpose-led, agile, innovative, and customer-focused organization. Global Partners understood that to achieve this transformation and establish a sustainable competitive advantage in the 21st century, their leaders must fundamentally shift how they perceive and engage with the world. In order to do this, Global Partners set out to find a partner to help them design and facilitate an extraordinary program tailored specifically for Global Partners’ executive leaders as they navigate unprecedented complexity.
The Global Partners Talent Development (GTD) Team invited several qualified leadership consulting firms to submit proposals for establishing a fully integrated program experience that would be capable of transforming leaders. Among the contenders, they selected The Nebo Company to collaborate in the design and delivery of Global Partners’ Transformational Leadership Program for Executives (TLPX) because of Nebo’s focus on vertical development, their talented coaching cadre, and their commitment to deep partnership. Over the next 18 months, Global Partners’ GTD Team worked closely with The Nebo Company to marry Nebo’s cutting-edge content and Transformational Leadership Framework with the Global Partners context and culture.
“Nebo listened closely to our people and helped us do what we could not have done alone – transform our leaders from the inside out and challenge us to see in new ways.”
–Executive Vice President, Global Partners
Recognizing that such an important project required Global Partners and The Nebo Company to model best practices in partnership, the two teams forged a strong alliance, agreeing to a cadence of meetings that allowed them to tackle strategic and tactical priorities to ensure an outstanding experience for participating leaders. This partnership showcased important lessons about effective client collaboration.
Here are tips for anyone looking to bolster the impact of leadership development through partnership:
Tip #1: Prioritize candor and respectful communication from the outset to earn trust with key organizational sponsors. Organizations enter these types of partnerships to gain fresh perspectives while also acknowledging their expertise in their own business.
Tip #2: Establish rituals that foster both productivity and collegiality to make the work enjoyable and spark creativity. A fun ritual that became a distinctive way to “initiate” people into TLPX was answering the question “What technology represents you?” Another ritual was having The Nebo Company and GTD team members voice an individual intention before each virtual and in-person session. This practice set a tone that the team collectively brought to life in how they showed up, what they noticed, and what limiting beliefs they let go of.
Tip #3: Model excellence not only in the program but also in the partnership itself. The Nebo Company prioritized creating a best-in-class experience both for Global Partners’ participating executives and in every interaction with the client sponsors. Nebo brought polished, well-organized processes, clear communications, and engaging materials, ensuring that each meeting with the GTD Team advanced the work collaboratively.
Tip #4: To tailor the program to the client, acknowledge the depth of experience already present in the cohort by studying the unique business challenges and leadership profiles. The first phase of the partnership with Global Partners included extensive “discovery” conversations with program sponsors and participating leaders. Nebo’s facilitators and coaches were able to integrate the language, stories, and pain points into every facet of the program while also calling on the “wisdom of the room” to ensure TLPX concepts were hitting home.
Tip #5: Find ways to bring compassion and openness to new ideas, rather than judgment or pride of ownership. Design sessions for TLPX’s three in-person summits included brainstorming special features, from technology demonstrations and innovative workshops to collaborative problem-solving sessions. Vulnerability and trust allowed both The Nebo Company and GTD Teams to take risks without fear of shame or blame, resulting in more creative and higher-quality events.
Tip #6: Recognize that experiential learning elements require the deepest level of design collaboration to attend to the individual leader’s experience AND connect the learning with the wider organizational strategy.
Tip #7: Leave sufficient space and time to respond to the client’s evolving context, which could look like rescheduling sessions, adapting language, or making on-the-fly design changes. Global Partners’ GTD Team attended all TLPX Program events and provided feedback “real-time” to Nebo.
Tip #8: Prioritize consistent engagement with top executives to ensure the program remains strategically relevant. By inviting sponsoring executives to track with the program concepts and instruction, they are well-positioned to take an active role in observing and adapting to their leaders’ development throughout the program and to ensure that program concepts are tied to development goals. For TLPX, Global Partners’ top leadership also became a special feature of each session. The involvement of the CEO, CHRO, and several other executives demonstrated commitment that lent credibility and seriousness to the program.
Tip #9: In close collaboration with the client, identify and encourage the opportunities for participants to direct their own learning within the larger program structure. In this way, the program can create a consistent experience and shared language, while also acknowledging the differing priorities, needs, and preferences among participating leaders. During TLPX, Global Partners’ executives defined the strategic focus of their experiential learning project and directed the focus of the developmental conversations within their confidential one-on-one coaching sessions.
In the first year of the strategic partnership with Global Partners, The Nebo Company strived to model the same agility that they were teaching leaders in the program. Unexpected disruptions like technological challenges and shifts in the business environment necessitated pivots and adaptability. No matter the challenge, both parties consistently showed up as compassionate, reasonable, creative, and results-oriented so that the participating leaders had a seamless, high-energy experience. Global Partners’ executives are noticing transformative shifts in their leaders’ willingness and capacity to be, see, say, and do differently as a result of a program created on a foundation of deep trust and collaboration. The Nebo Company and Global Partners GTD are excited to continue their successful partnership in the second cohort of TLPX.
The TLPX Program demonstrates the way The Nebo Company approaches working with clients and the type of leadership culture that many organizations are striving for: a mix of focus and fun, structure and flexibility, solid expertise, and creative innovation.
Would you like to learn more about leadership programs and partnership models that could best serve your organization? Contact us to get started.