Senior Executive Coaching for executives in a European foundation
As part of a heavy investment in leadership development by a European foundation, Kemp and Watson worked with three high potential senior execuitves separately over two years. In each case, we used a variety of tools to evaluate their current situation and then collaborate with them over six months on specific development actions. At the beginning of the project we conducted a 360-Feedback analysis and administered self-assessments in order to generate comprehensive data about each executive. We created a detailed and structured coaching program over six months that included the oversight of challenging work assignments, monthly coaching sessions, and further guidance on individual development planning.
Leadership Succession for a large NGO
Recently, Kemp and Watson designed and implemented a leadership succession process for a large NGO. This complex organization with operations in many countries had outgrown its informal way of identifying senior executives. The need for a systematic approach to identifying talent became essential. We were able to design the following cycle:
- Every two years, the top 75 executives are subject to 'evaluation for potential', including personality self-assessments, interview-based 360-feedback, and assessments using a new leadership competency model.
- We advise whether each executive will be ready for greater responsibility immediately, within two years, within five years, or never. This information is owned by the Chairperson.
- In addition, each executive is assigned a development activity that include challenging work assignments, formal executive development, and executive coaching.
Talent Management for Growth within an International NGO
An international NGO had redeveloped its humanitarian response strategy and wanted to scale up its surge capacity. Over the next three years, its international response team headcount would be increased significantly.
Kemp and Watson worked with the Executive Director and senior management team to understand their expectations and objectives and then conduct a three-stage intervention.
Stage 1: Talent Review – We conducted a review of both the existing response team and the organization’s talent assessment systems. Following this evaluation, we made recommendations to streamline various processes in order to effectively support the growth strategy.
Stage 2: Talent Management System – Over a few weeks, we used a variety of techniques to gather data and conduct best practice research from other NGOs. Then, working closely with the senior management team, we drafted a new grade structure and aligned a competency framework to it. Later, using the competency framework, we created a grade progression matrix to demonstrate how an individual can progress through the grades. Each grade had specific requirements including technical competencies. Simultaneously, we drafted new job descriptions working with the various technical leads for each grade and role within the response team structure. An implementation plan was agreed with the Executive Director and his team.
Stage 3: Implementation – The most important element of the implementation was to get the communication right. The teams were scattered across the world. Line Managers received individual training on how the new structure and talent assessment would apply to their specific teams and sectors, so that they could communicate effectively with their teams.
Top team improvement for a global NGO
Kemp and Watson utilized team improvement for a global NGO disbursed through four countries. The NGO had recently undertaken a strategic review; as a result, the organization switched from a country-based model, to a global program-based model. At the executive level new roles were created, and some roles were eliminated. After filling each position and managing necessary personnel changes, the CEO wanted to construct a top team that fully supported the new approach to global programs.
First, Kemp and Watson undertook a diagnosis of the top team and the organization. This was an interview-based process, based on strategy and on our model of top team effectiveness. All effected executives were interviewed, and a comprehensive report was created for the CEO. This diagnosis illuminated all the main issues within the team, and acted as a foundation for top team design.
When this was complete, Kemp and Watson partners began the process of executive team design with the CEO and his team. In two workshop discussions, we led the team to create shared goals, performance criteria, mechanics, and an agenda. This resulted in an intentionally-designed team with a clear mandate.
After this success, Kemp and Watson partners observed the team for three months, making recommendations for adjustments where necessary.
A talent strategy for a medium-sized NGO in Africa
Working with the internal HR team, we used interviews and secondary research to create an intensive short-term project to synthesize existing talent activity, and suggest relevant new activities. Our work was informed by the overall long-term mission of the organization, which had defined milestones for success. Kemp and Watson defined talent programs, recommended priorities, and collaborated on the early planning of most programs.
Senior talent review for a national foundation in the US
The Executive Director (ED) of a national foundation in the US recently employed Kemp and Watson’s services during a time of planned growth. The organization had perfected a new approach to funding, which greatly increased the size of the grants that it received. This innovative aggregation strategy, combined with new matching funds, demanded new leadership skills of senior executives. The ED contracted Kemp and Watson to implement a senior talent review aimed at determining whether the organization had the right skills at the senior level to execute this new strategy.
Our first task was to evaluate the most critical roles, and the incumbents of those roles. We reviewed the new strategy against the existing roles and responsibilities of all senior executives, and discussed with the ED which new competencies would be required. We then used a group evaluation to assess all senior executives against our generic development model, supplemented by the specific competencies required by the organization. The ED and two members of her team participated in a facilitated discussion about each individual. We were able to evaluate the potential of individuals; the ED learned about each person under review; and the Kemp and Watson partners offered an opinion on the likelihood of each executive succeeding in a role of increased responsibility.
Finally, our partners recommended development actions for all staff members. We advised the President on the transition to the new strategy, and coached senior staff as their roles changed. Over six months, we helped the Executive Director make gradual changes to the roles of senior team members, and acted as a sounding board for her ideas for additional changes.
Organization Design and Decision Rights for a small US-based nonprofit
Kemp and Watson was hired by a nonprofit in the US with 25 employees. The organization had been growing steadily, and a new strategy had created many new funding opportunities. The structure of the organization was outdated, and the CEO wanted to know how to restructure to take advantage of the growth.
Kemp and Watson partners interviewed all senior staff, reviewed documentation, and observed executives in order to diagnose the situation, and assess the readiness of the nonprofit to execute its new requirements. Our first report was an a aggregation of executive interviews, without commentary by the consultant. This document - which was shared initially with only the president, and later with the rest of the senior team - created a common language about the organization’s problems, and energized the organization toward potential solutions.
Next, we led the CEO through a facilitated process of organization design. We designed criteria, examined options, and provided organization models to the CEO so that he could test hypotheses. Ultimately, as hybrid solution was selected.