Case Studies

Here are a some examples of business initiatives and results:

Leading Global Company Seeks to Drive Growth through Innovation

A global Pharma company identifies business Innovation as having the potential to be its next greatest discovery—providing a new way to drive growth to create a more sustainable business model. The Innovation program‘s success was predicated on increasing employee engagement as the key factor in realizing its business goals.

The worldwide Innovation team was called upon to inspire and motivate its business leaders and colleagues to actively engage in the program.  The senior team’s imperative was that the Innovation leaders gain the necessary buy-in to achieve active engagement and commitment.

A customized program was delivered specific to the needs expressed above as well as the needs of each member of the team participating in the training. The solution included a personal assessment, followed by an experiential workshop that applied business communication models along with theatre and performance practices and learning for excellent results.

The Innovation leaders were now able to present their exciting new model with great presence, impact, ease and confidence. This highly interactive program successfully developed their skills required to drive employee engagement.

The result – The client reported positive results that their colleagues from around the globe engaged and participated in the newly launched program at unexpected rates earlier than projected and to great achievement.

Continuing on, one-on-one coaching is delivered as a way to sustain and grow the skills learned in the workshop.

“It was clear Martha understood our business imperatives and each individual’s challenges and goals. The work was customized to our express needs. I took away tools to apply in my business to get the results I needed right away.

Martha brings her expertise and energy that makes this program unsurpassed. She knows what you need and how to get you there. Working with her has changed the way I communicate and build relationships…it has changed the way I do business.

The work took me and my practices way beyond what other programs have offered. This caliber of training is rare”.

– Sr. Director, Global Pharmaceutical Company

An Asset Management’s Fixed Income Cash Strategies Group had nobody that markets their funds. They needed to self-market.

Right then in that moment they had a short durations fund – one that other firms were marketing and had grown significantly from its success. My client wanted to take advantage of the opportunity the markets provided right in that moment. It needed to be extremely timely and with a fast turnaround.

The group of seven made up of analysts, portfolio managers and traders need to reach farther than what they really do day-to-day to go out to present this to potential clients.

The team was anxious and excited to present themselves and pitch their product with confidence, comfort and ease.

The ultimate goal was to earn outside money for the short duration product. The goal for the team is to give them experience and comfort to do this well by being at ease, conversational, asking questions, listening well to market and sell the funds.

The outcome was that the team built the strategies and skills to succeed in this initiative that became a success for the firm.

Better Partnering for Better Strategic Alliances

A worldwide business development team was charged with finding, negotiating and implementing strategic alliances with partner firms.  This was so essential and significant to their overall business; yet, there was an impression in the marketplace that this firm was more about creating value for themselves, maximizing their own profits with little regard to their partners’ needs.

All alliances need to keep the brand promise. At the core, they had to build excellent relationships both internally and externally.  These relationships had to be fostered and proven through one excellent interaction after another.

This group worked to sharpen and deepen their communication skills and to refine their relationship building skills.  They had to learn to communicate to build trust and credibility to dispel any marketplace views.

At first, the participants were overly analytical delivering an over-abundance of detail with a propensity to use too many PowerPoint slides that lent little to the overall message or regard for the relationship. An overwhelming amount of data confused the stakeholders and left little room to build the rapport and the relationships needed for success. They weren’t persuasive nor did they connect with their audience and their real needs.

As a result, this multiple sessions engagement had their people communicating with more comfort, clarity, confidence, and connection.  They dispensed with their PowerPoint and stood face to face with their partners – not hiding behind often irrelevant data.  This helps them to be more engaging and persuasive to their partners fostering deeper and more productive relationships.

Case Studies on Individuals

An Executive Director of Worldwide Strategy was struggling to gain leadership team buy-in for a critical initiative. He had minimal self-awareness and communicated in a way that did not engender full confidence or respect. As a result, he had little connection to his listener. This was a leader who was charged to inspire confidence and foster organizational change.  Because of his complete lack of awareness of those around him, it negatively affected his impact on others and how he was perceived. From this, he had alienated his team and had not gotten full commitment from his senior team.

His issues had nothing to do with what he was saying.  In fact, he was exceptionally articulate.  And once he was able to increase his awareness, he could easily and confidently focus on others in the room to project to and connect with them.  Even the most intelligent and articulate message cannot be communicated without this connection.

Now that he can connect his full message to his audience he is seen as much more powerful and credible.  Post-program feedback from his direct reports was that he has become a better listener, more tolerant of others’ communication styles, more supportive, and more effective in his daily interactions.

A Director for Technology Strategy and Solutions for a global manufacturing company was incredibly passionate, intelligent, and full of important ideas for the success of the business.

Because of a lack of presence, his enthusiasm gave the poor impression that he lacked focus. This caused him to lose the clarity of his thesis and the attention of his stakeholders.  His role was dependent upon him interfacing with senior leadership and  by not being taken seriously (having nothing to do with the real content of his message), he lost credibility. He lost respect due to his communication style, which lacked a stable/credible presence.

Working with the Presence and Impact program, he adopted techniques to show himself as strong, self-contained, grounded, and present in the moment.  His passion was still there but channeled into a power presence.

This executive was finally seen as authoritative, composed, powerful and, therefore, highly credible.

A Pharma client, who is called upon to speak at many internal and external conferences, had grown to view the audience not as people, but as a “wall” of inanimate objects. When he spoke publicly, he was in effect “speaking to a wall”, and that is exactly how it felt to his audiences. This defensive routine blocked the necessary relationship-building that would ultimately gain him buy-in and get stakeholders to take action on his initiative. He is charged with the job of bringing a new sustainable business model to the company.

The focus was on impacting others through “giving and receiving” communications and rapport building. As a result, he began to comfortably and confidently engage with the people in the room as people, not as a wall.

He no longer feared connection with the audience and was able to create an engaging exchange that opened up greater interest in his appeal. His presence grew, his words connected with audiences, his communication had the impact needed to make his case.

An executive who was in line to become a senior leader was “excessively expressive,” often at inappropriate moments—meaning, he used a big, broad dynamic in all interactions. It was like a “splatter effect”, as his words and actions missed their targets and had no lasting impact. He used his overly expressive dynamic as a smoke screen to replace “relating.”  Great fun at a party, perhaps. Not as effective in a real conversation, as it did not build one-on-one rapport. He had received this feedback and needed to address it to get promoted. (He confided one-on-one that he feared intimacy.)

Applying techniques that connect inner thoughts, feelings, and motivations with authentic expression, he practiced delivering his dynamic objectives using a spectrum of options for expression, not just the large, fast ones he had grown accustomed to using.

He told us that he was now confident that he had the tools to deliver his communications as more powerful, focused and connected, thereby making him a more effective leader.

A director of Internal Audit at a large financial institution was having daily meetings with internal clients that she termed as highly contentious.  She felt that she was not seen as powerful or credible in these situations. She felt blindsided and ill prepared to deal with the level of negative response she was confronted with consistently.

By practicing the principles of Improvisation for spontaneity, she became very aware of how frozen and fixed she’d become in her communications, beliefs and manner. This awareness and practice moved her toward letting go of the behavior that was holding her back. She quickly gained skills and greater confidence to react more fully and powerfully in these high-pressure situations.

She was able to connect to her audience more immediately, keep up greater control over the interactions without being fixed in her position, and more deftly move issues in a positive direction. She reported that these interactions were no longer contentious.

Leadership Communication

An H/R learning & development director in a global investment bank requested coaching for a senior level individual who received low scores for communication on a 360° assessment.  It was termed a “voice problem”.  After engaging in regular coaching sessions, the actual issue involved poor listening combined with judgmental and defensive behavior. The poor listening stemmed from lack of interpersonal awareness.  During coaching, new awareness was built, new behaviors were practiced and the result was this banker was seen as more accessible and effective as a leader, coach and mentor.

Team Dynamics

A newly hired senior manager in a private equity firm did not regard a high potential individual as a team player and wanted him removed from the team. It was discovered that the two had distinctly different communication styles – as the high potential person lacked the presence and the energy of his manager.  He learned to demonstrate greater passion and energy so that he was highly regarded and accepted as a team player by his senior manager.

Effective Pitching and Client Communication

A private equity banker was seen as one who could not effectively woo clients.  It was discovered that he functioned from a set of preconceptions and attitudes that made him come across as highly defensive – he asked questions from a place of distrust rather than trust.  Once changing his thinking, he changed his behavior and actions. This achieved greater results.

Becoming a Powerful Leader

A very senior leader in a professional services firm needed to lead his team through a particularly difficult time.  One-to-one with clients he was incredible. However, when speaking to a large internal group, he lost his powerful presence and the ability to exude confidence. After working using a combination of improvisation, acting and voice training techniques, this leader was able to stand in front of his business unit and offer the leadership necessary during to carry the practice through trying times.

Presenting with a Group

Panel speakers for an annual client conference were accustomed to droning on with very little attention to their audience or fellow panel members.  Introducing best practices of panel presenting, they learned how to focus on each other and to use the fine art of segue. This team presenting became the favorite part of the annual conference because they were able to impart insightful information in an effective and entertaining manner.

Building Executive Presence

Principals in a banking firm were preparing for promotion to Partner and they looked to find a strong presence and command.  Presence training followed up with one-on-one coaching prepared them for their new roles.

The Art of Storytelling and Persuasion

A manager prepared to speak in front of 2,500 fellow sales executives about his role in a pilot program of a company-wide initiative. His goal was to persuade his fellow teammates to become willing participants in the initiative.  After learning the best practices of storytelling using the Hero’s Journey story structure, he presented successfully and gained the required support for the initiative.

“Martha quickly understood the integration issues I faced in joining a new firm.  Her coaching advice was essential to developing my presence among the partnership.  I was so impressed with her work, that I recommended her to one of my CEO’s who has built a very productive multi-year relationship with her.”

– Principal, Private Equity Firm