How do we engage our top 500 managers in the strategy process – all at once?

The challenge

A major global Swiss banking group brought their 500 top managers from all over the world together to communicate the new strategy and discuss its execution. But they don’t want the usual “presentation by the board” style of conference. Instead the goal is to tap into the resources of having the 500 most senior managers in one place and collect their ideas on how to bring the new strategy to life.

Our approach

Our approach was to develop a highly interactive conference format, fostering not only the mutual understanding of the new strategy, but at the same time allow for bottom-up feedback and development of ideas for implementation. To further enhance the client’s capabilities, we collaborated with them on the design of the conference and trained inhouse managers to facilitate the whole conference and related workshops.

Preparation phase

Together with the strategy department, we worked on the design of the two day conference. We decided on a format, which contained classical elements such as presentations, plenary discussions and panel discussions, but enriched them with interactive elements to ensure a maximum of opportunities for discussion and open dialogue.

The preparation included:

  • Content
  • Working formats
  • Facilitation
  • Dramaturgy
  • Room setting
  • Social program such as evening events
  • The facilitation of the whole conference was done by internal people – meaning the top management of the bank, being something completely new. They were briefed by telephone conferences and a facilitators’ manual including our scribbles to illustrate each session.

Deep Dive Workshops

One afternoon of the conference was dedicated to 50 deep dive workshops which were taking place in parallel to discuss and further develop current topics of the strategy and its implementation in day to day business.

The workshops were facilitated by the bank’s own mangers.

Results were summarized in prepared templates and consolidated the same evening so that the next morning the board could focus on the results and next steps for the future.

Evaluation

In order to ensure that the conference was not only a two day event but had a lasting impact on the organization, a post conference evaluation was conducted focusing on the execution of the results achieved during the leadership conference.

The results

  • A maximum of interaction and open discussion was achieved
  • Important topics were discussed and deepend in the 50 workshops in parallel and the consolidated results lead to an immediate execution in the several areas
  • Successful facilitation of the conference by inhouse facilitators
  • Successful execution of all topics discussed during the conference