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Strategic Advisor

An individual’s challenge in understanding and embracing change

Client: Financial Services

Background:

This assignment supported a Director in a major organization to face significant change and to manage the approach of the latter years of his formal career. Being from a Chartered Accountant background, the Client had many of the characteristics typical of a technical professional. Intelligent and fast thinking with a sharp analytical approach to issues, the Client held the belief that maintaining his professional standing would ensure that he remained highly rated by others.

How the Strategic Advisor role was agreed:

The HR Sponsor agreed with AGD that the Director, as part of his formal appraisal process, was offered a one-off Alignment session with an experienced AGD Strategic Advisor. The chosen individual was not just an Executive Coach, but also a seasoned Executive with a first class track record in related roles and industries and a Business Mentor able to draw on a wealth of experience and expertise.

Strategic Advisor Techniques used:

  • In the absence of a prior chemistry check, developing rapport and a trusting relationship with this individual was paramount. The initial challenge was to overturn the Director’s misconception that a short meeting would be sufficient to fit in with his busy schedule. The Strategic Advisor strove to understand his context and remain neutral, successfully connecting effectively by sustaining a high degree of focus, energy and openness towards the Client. Techniques and models such as the Johnson & Scholes, Cultural Web and the AGD ‘Readiness for Change’ diagnostic were used to open the conversation up and support the Director as he explored topics and options that he needed to address from both a business and personal development standpoint.
  • The Strategic Advisor successfully engaged the Client and was able to initiate a joint exploration of his longer-term professional goals and the impact on his lifestyle both current and future. This engendered a much greater understanding of his priorities had been achieved, making it possible to explore how he might utilize the feedback he had received from his peer group, boss and customers internal and external. This encouraged the Director to reconsider from a new perspective and shifted some of the opinions that he held about other functions and stakeholders within the business as the wider organizational context and the priorities of other key players was discussed.
  • Having established the Strategic Advisor contract and gained an understanding of the Client’s context, the Strategic Advisor was able to move on to consider other aspects such as the Director’s values and motivational roots. The Strategic Advisor assisted the Director in examining his options and the advantages and disadvantages of each business and personal development scenario open to him.

Outcomes:

  • Following two hours of discussions, after what could have been a very brief engagement if the Director’s initial barriers hadn’t been overturned, a program of regular meetings was established.
  • The Client and AGD Strategic Advisor met for 1.5 hours every 3 weeks.
  • Priority development areas were identified and actions discussed.
  • Clear connectivity was established in own and other key roles in the business.
  • Agreed to create opportunities to more closely engage and influence with senior colleagues cross-functionally.
  • Identified strategic actions required to enable longer-term career plan given changes within the organization.
  • Stakeholder map generated and priorities highlighted. 
  • Ensured development priorities linked to strategic business objectives.
  • Client gained an understanding of how to influence when ‘one-step’ removed from the projects and or business.

Benefits Achieved:

  • Greater engagement and ownership by the Client for long-term development. 
  • Enhanced appreciation of the viewpoints of other stakeholders.
  • Ability to plan ahead with greater clarity.
  • Priority areas identified for further exploration.
  • Identified the need to adopt different working practices with different stakeholders.
  • Greater alignment to the strategic goals of the business.