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Client Case Studies

Retail: Technology Alignment

Donna was a newly appointed leader of 70% of all IT with a budget of $92M and over 400 projects that they couldn’t account for the progress of. The team members were trying to support their leaders, as order takers vs. strategic partners. Internal clients consistently complained of IT not meeting deadlines.

The Team Purpose to PerformanceTM Process resulted in aligning on four major areas that focused their efforts down to only those essential projects that met their strategic priorities. This alignment enabled faster response time and great client satisfaction.

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Due to our partnership with Laura Stone, Inc. we made huge progress – Specifically, we have clarified roles, allowed more ownership and provided great accountability.
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“Due to our partnership with Laura Stone, Inc. we made huge progress – Specifically, we have clarified roles, allowed more ownership and provided great accountability. We have been able to get messy and dirty, i.e., become transparent with one another versus being politely impolite as we used to. We are a different group from when we started this process just five short months ago – we are a team – and it’s getting noticed by our stakeholders and in the work.”

Donna Sams | Senior Vice President | CVS Health

Merger & Integration: Telecommunications

A newly appointed leader was charged with integrating three separate and distinct businesses resulting from one merger and two simultaneous acquisitions. The merger required all employees, customers and operations to be combined. The business had never experienced an integration of this magnitude or complexity.

Laura Stone Inc. came in to identify with the client what change was needed and to map the process. We identified the key stakeholders, issues, goals, milestones and agreements needed for each phase. And we defined a shared vision for a successful integration. In less than two months, we helped gain senior management buy-in, create an integration team, charter the project, and define functional responsibilities. Most important, we helped identify and resolve critical cross-functional issues and interdependencies that were vital to the success of the integration.

While this dedicated team focused on the transition, the rest of the organization was allowed to focus on day-to-day business operations. The business achieved “best in the country” results, ahead of its projected goals. Currently, the process is being used as a prototype for future acquisitions.

Web Site Overhaul: Financial Services

A year after the launch of an institution’s web site, both traders and clients were frustrated with the site’s limitations. Service demands were rapidly increasing. Complaints about lack of research and inaccessible account data had once-loyal customers threatening to move their business over to the competition.

Under an extremely tight timeframe, Laura Stone, Inc. was brought in to help produce an active prototype within one week and a final website in three months. (Typically, this process takes at least six months to complete.) Using breakout sessions and videotaped feedback from customers, we prioritized the content flow and quickly identified limitations as well as enhancements that would give the site the greatest customer satisfaction.

The prototype not only impressed the President and the Executive Council, but also reduced the site development time by half. The web site went on to receive the “Best Financial Trader Site” Award.

Strategy Alignment and Organizational Development: Media

The Systems department of a media company experienced explosive growth in a two- year period, increasing their staff 400 percent. As a result, focus shifted from quality customer service to internal operational problems. Leaders had conflicting objectives. Projects were over budget and past deadline. Management lacked a clear sense of priority for the multi-million-dollar projects in their current inventory.

Organizational strategic goals impacted decision-making at all levels. Managers were skilled technically but had minimal management experience. Employee turnover was over 30 percent.

Laura Stone, Inc. was brought in to help align the department. Our detailed process to define and analyze workflow revealed that the Systems team regularly duplicated work. We partnered with senior management to define their priorities and helped create a customized development plan for key talent who needed management skills. This plan, which covered coaching and developing others, strategic planning, project management and leadership, delivered measurable results.

Projects are now completed on time and on budget. Morale has improved dramatically, which has had a direct impact on productivity and reduction in project turnaround time. An estimated $250,000 was saved in the first two months of the project.

Redefining Product Development Strategies: Conglomerate

The two largest multi-billion-dollar divisions of a company were merging. They were also losing market share, as nimble competition continued to threaten the senior company, which lacked a timely, streamlined approach to manufacturing and bringing new products to market. These units rarely worked together, let alone shared resources or information.

Laura Stone, Inc. helped bridge the gap and maximize collaboration for the growth of the business. During a highly effective offsite gathering, personal agendas were brought to the forefront and discussed in depth. By creating this critical level of candor, Laura Stone, Inc. enabled the business to clear the air, focus on strategy, and redirect its future.

As a result, the combined business units redefined themselves and realigned resource allocation. Within one year, the company regained market share and stock prices tripled.

Branding Plan Rollout: Investment Banking

Senior management of an investment banking firm had agreed to a new marketing and branding plan. But in order for it to be successful, the organization needed to integrate it through every avenue of its operation.

Laura Stone, Inc. came in at this critical juncture. In addition to leading a major brainstorming session that tapped the creativity and knowledge of the cross-functional representatives, we also invited marketing experts from outside the company to provide a fresh perspective and a reality check.

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The result was the most successful rollout of a branding strategy in the company’s history.

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By the end of the session, we’d generated an array of viable ideas, which the branding team incorporated into their plan. The result was the most successful rollout of a branding strategy in the company’s history. The integrated branding message helped to capture market share, bring in new clients, and attract key talent. Three years later the strategy is still thriving.

Leadership Training and Development: Financial Services

Explosive European business growth daunted the young leaders of a financial services firm. Though they had management backgrounds, they were not prepared for the challenges of this rapidly expanding business. To compound matters, technical experts were being promoted into positions of leadership without the practical tools to deal with day-to-day issues or the skills to manage people.

Within a four-day period, 18 individuals representing 12 countries convened to address critical leadership issues. Laura Stone, Inc. was hired to develop participants in the key areas of facilitation, listening, negotiation and meeting management. Participants also received real-time coaching using videotaped feedback sessions.

Through this training, Laura Stone, Inc. helped increase confidence and effectiveness at the leadership level. Managers came away with heightened skills and specific tools to design and facilitate meetings, resolve conflicts by reconciling differences, and build agreements based on dialogue.

Portfolio Analysis Revamp: Pharmaceutical

The Research and Development function of a major pharmaceutical company was struggling to streamline its portfolio selection process. Selecting which drugs to invest in for the future was a critical yet overwhelmingly complex process that was negatively impacting the entire division. Plagued with problems including an inordinately lengthy process, it pitted politics against analysis. Those who dedicated hundreds of hours never learned the end results.
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Due to our partnership with Laura Stone, Inc. we made huge progress – Specifically, we have clarified roles, allowed more ownership and provided great accountability.
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Over a two-month period, Laura Stone, Inc. gathered with the R&D executive team to understand individual department concerns and gain agreement on key issues. These issues were then addressed by 50 sub-team members. We trained internal leaders in process development, such as chartering and facilitation, and led the sub-teams to refine the issues and goals. During meetings we further facilitated the process by defining the operating assumptions and ground rules for group collaboration, clarifying expectations and roles. Ultimately, we helped the team to revamp and integrate the new process.

The company’s portfolio selection process time was reduced by half and saved over 20% of their annual budget.

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