Cases

(representative samples–some clients cannot be named due to contractual limitations)

Major Hotel Chain

The hotel was instituting a new handheld tool to manage rooms and services throughout the hotel. The project objective was to transform the training team into business consultants who could do more than train hotel staff on the tool.  They would also become business advisors—consultants– who could show hotel executives how the resulting management information could be used to build the business. To accomplish this, we designed and delivered an educational program, job aids, communications such as talking points, FAQs and templates; models and other support to be used by the training staff on topics ranging from change management to consultative models and questions, brain science insights, styles,  process improvement and more.

Global Pharmaceutical Company

After a merger, the company wanted to institute a common set of values across the entire organization.  We designed a program that included:

  • Activities and communications aimed at identifying which behaviors would “live the values” in each part of the organization
  • Manager training to foster behaviors in each part of the organization
  • Themed activities and relevant communications to support the effort

National Supplemental Insurance Company

The company was migrating the sales force from paper based tools to tablets. We

  • devised a 6 part change model and led key executives and team members through sessions to develop change strategies in six key areas: business readiness, communications, training, facilitation and coaching, rewards, feedback and metrics.
  • carried out assessments including a change gap analysis
  • created a strategic change plan called “The Playbook”
  • framed and worked with the internal department to create key change communications
  • worked with the change team, managers and executives to develop, track and implement the change plan

Chicago Sun-Times News Group

The Chicago Sun-Times News Group, which included the Chicago Sun-Times and over 100 community newspapers in five companies throughout the metro area, faced many challenges. Previous neglect and corrupt ownership combined with rapid changes in the industry, including a general downturn in print readership.  Reorganization and change became the norm.

  • As Director of Learning and Development Neesa created a corporate training strategy including the first ever management training for managers and executives at all levels.  As part of those sessions, which she delivered, employees met others from different companies, types of jobs and titles.  Not only were the sessions highly rated, people reported good results down the line as well as an increased ability to work together across previous divisions.
  • Neesa worked with the Vice-President of Operations, facilitating strategic planning sessions and helped to carry out reorganization efforts.  She also helped plan and develop a  communications strategy for two plant shut-downs.
  • Neesa facilitated a management offsite and oversaw training for advertising and ethics. She got high marks from both management and unions and developed innovative ways to “do more with less”.
  • Neesa developed a performance management system which included elements of culture change to a more innovative orientation to meet a rapidly changing market.

Allianz Insurance

Allianz Insurance’s Minneapolis arm sold small investment products.  They were changing, updating or creating six major backroom processes dealing with how payments and orders were handled.  As a change management consultant, Neesa created communication strategy, helped train executives and managers in roles and responsibilities, worked with in-house resources, created day to day and overall communications, and worked with the PMO to coordinate overall efforts.  Near the end of the engagement, new in-house resources were hired to take over the functions.  Neesa trained them and worked to transition communications and training.  In addition to work with the client, Neesa created presentations for other consultants on topics including polarity management and language specificity.

Underwriters Labs

UL is over 100 years old with 5000 employees around the world.  The company was facing challenges from new competition in the safety and testing business, technology, a changing customer base and new leadership. We were involved in several projects over several years time:

  • We co-designed and facilitated elements of a change summit which brought employees from around the world together for the first time.  The focus was an overall message of how the company needed to change to meet current and future conditions.  For a company with an engineering focus, this kind of marketing message was new. We also developed and produced the change roll-out package to employees around the world.  Elements included videos and guides for managers to facilitate interactive sessions.  The result was that employees, many of whom had been sheltered inside the company for decades, became aware of new competition and changes in the testing business, and were thus primed for business changes to come.
  • In the rush to improve outdated processes, employees were battered by sometimes competing change projects.  Neesa carried out a study that identified 32 different projects that affected the engineers who were the production engine of the company.  We were then able to better coordinate projects as well as reframe individual initiatives as part of an overall change strategy.
  • As part of an overall effort to streamline processes, the main engineering function of the company was redesigned from multiple management levels to four basic tiers of management.  We supported the internal project lead with a variety of research, communications, facilitation and report creation.
  • UL had no formal leadership supply or retention system.  We co-designed the company’s first every leadership supply program and facilitated systems for employee interviews and development.
  • Neesa co-designed and produced elements of new employee orientation including various media overviews of the company and the overall orientation strategy
  • Many of UL’s backroom processes, from project management, to financial processes, were on incompatible and inefficient legacy systems.  She supported the project manager of the backroom transformation project with communications and strategy facilitation.
  • The facilities department was reorganizing.  Neesa supported them with communications and other services.
  • As the technology became available, much of UL’s communication and training in and out of the US were to take place over the intranet.  A proprietary tool, called E-Space was developed and Neesa created the roll-out strategy as well as communications, training and sample model projects.
  • UL needed to ramp up the speed at which new engineers were able to function.  Since the safety industry is unique, new engineers had a long learning curve before they were able to function at  high and independent level.  Working with the internal training department, Neesa developed  interactive, scenario based training “games” that took new hires through a variety of potential client situation.  In the games, they were able to test their knowledge and strategy.  More important, they would be able to test their judgment as priorities from clients competed with each other and UL standards, and customer service and safety seemed sometimes in conflict.

Sears Roebuck and Company

Increased energy, ownership and participation were the rule as Sears Roebuck and Company increased employee and customer satisfaction scores with an innovative participatory management project called Goalsharing.  Employees elected councils, had input into scheduling and work rules, and a say in a profit sharing program.  Business literacy, communications and a say in how work was done were key elements.  When asked if he had time for an interview, the head of a large business unit at a major national retailer said “Sure—my staff is doing all the work.”   A salesperson summed up the reason business results improved: “I think of this as my own store,” he said.  The initiative was based on principles developed in the Scanlon methodology. We provided communications, facilitated key growth sessions, coached leadership, documented results, helped develop future strategy and interfaced with other organizations using Scanlon principles.

In other work with Sears, Neesa facilitated Open Space planning sessions with the logistics team, produced numerous videos for different departments, wrote speeches for executives and created promotional materials.

BP

BP Pipeline Division:

Changes were happening in the Pipeline Division and there was a great deal of uncertainty that was likely to last for some time.  As a change management consultant Neesa helped prepare executives, managers and employees through face-to-face and online sessions to help cope with the changes.  Executives and managers learned communication and other strategies to help people remain productive and committed.  Everyone learned about how people react to change and ways to mitigate uncertainty as individuals.  Participants gave high marks to the sessions.  In particular, employees reported that a better understanding of their own reactions enabled them to work more effectively.

BP Foundation:

  • Neesa was the first reader of grants in BP’s longstanding program of educational, urban and business development grants in Chicago.  She has also organized grant-reading activities and site visits for subsequent blue-ribbon panels and experts.  Most recently, as BP Foundation activities transferred to Houston and centered on educational projects in schools across the country, she was part of the team that selected winning schools
  • Neesa wrote speeches for executives of and prepared evaluative white papers on the BP Amoco Fellows and Leader Awards as well as numerous promotional material and organizational documents.  She helped organize a program aimed at bridging the “digital divide” by providing computers to schools in Chicago.

BP Asphalt Division

Neesa wrote numerous speeches and videos for division executives.

University of Chicago Graham School

For several years, Neesa taught “What’s Our Story”—a course designed to help businesspeople discover, frame and utilize the power of narrative in organizations.

Allstate Insurance

We produced dozens of training programs for claims, business insurance, sales, and other departments over nearly a dozen years including video, audio and training design. We wrote articles for Allstate’s sponsored magazine, numerous speeches for executives and white papers for Allstate Business Transformation.

Blue Cross Blue Shield

We produced dozens of training programs and videos as well as marketing material and executive speeches over several years for the Blue Cross Federal Employee Division.

Norwest Mortgage

Norwest was transforming their entire business structure.  We created numerous vehicles to help employees better understand the changes and to be able to cope.  Work ranged from meetings and interactive sessions, to video and audio tapes that helped people better understand what was happening and their future role.

CNH-Case

We designed and facilitated sessions of a division wide branding performance initiative for the Construction Equipment Business.  Materials and sessions were aimed at providing new tools and methods for sales people as well as incorporating new division wide standards.

Picture This Board Development

Picture This is a not-for-profit that pairs underprivileged youth with photographers who teach them both the craft and profession of photography.  In addition to one-on-one work, the organization stages exhibition and events.  For several years, Neesa facilitated board retreats in which the overall vision was revisited and strategic planning for the year carried out.