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Accenture helps EIL develop leaders for the journey to high performance
Accenture’s pioneering solutions for helping global organizations build and continually feed a pipeline of talented. EIL developed and launched a leadership program to build a pipeline of leaders needed to guide the company through ongoing growth. benefit both the individual and the organization—EIL sought help from a firm with the proven ability to develop the management skills. capable leaders made it the natural choice for developing a pilot program with EIL. Accenture. To develop team leadership as well as individual leadership capabilities.1 To stay well on the path to high performance as it continues to expand. Summary Working with Accenture. petrochemical plants. the program team applied Accenture’s Desired Culture Survey. EIL continues to grow at a rapid pace. Business challenge Accenture research shows that a distinctive capability of high performance businesses is a focus on leadership development. As a result. metallurgy and power. Their commitment was essential for ensuring participant buy-in and the overall success of the program. How Accenture helped Accenture brought its original approach to leadership development to the task of delivering a cutting edge and focused pilot program for EIL over an eight-month period. content-driven workshops and one-to-one mentoring.” which means to ascend.Client profile As India’s premier engineering. Participants enhanced their personal effectiveness as leaders and established collaborative networks with peers and future leaders across the organization. Most were engineering experts with 25 years of experience at the company. including coaching support. Expanding into new industries and offering new services.”2 In this sense. These experiences follow an innovative process founded on three powerful insights into leadership development: • Experience is the best teacher. procurement and construction firm. business acumen and visionary thinking that lead to improved financial performance. offshore platforms. It takes deliberate practice to improve performance. 1 . Accenture and the program management group at EIL teamed up to design and implement the program. This approach rests on the belief that the leaders of high performance businesses can be developed by undergoing a “crucible of learning. • Leadership is a performing art. pipelines. named “Aarohan. they handpicked 26 managers to participate in the pilot. These business projects apply the technique of learning by doing and reflecting to speed up the acquisition of skills and knowledge— thereby providing a crucible or transformative leadership experience for each participant. More than 40 percent of the participants have moved on to more challenging roles within the organization. The approach was based on experiential learning featuring a combination of strategic action learning projects. to meet the first three of these objectives and create a holistic learning program. EIL has experienced significant improvements in its systems. but work is not the only experience that matters. Eager to build a systematic and sustainable approach to leadership development—one that would 1 The High Performance Workforce Study 2006. selfevaluation instruments and group workshops. To begin. “action learning projects” were a critical component of the program. beginning with an initial workshop to introduce the program. processes. with current revenues of $449 million—an increase of more than 250 percent over the past 10 years. technology and people capabilities—all of which contribute to accelerated business performance. • Great leaders are distinguished from good ones by having a personal learning strategy—a tool anyone can devise. The findings of the survey and interviews helped Accenture and EIL to shape a program that would generate value for the organization by meeting the following objectives: • Engage the senior leaders to serve as guides and coaches for the participants • Challenge participants with worthwhile experiences to motivate involvement • Go beyond the development of individual leadership capabilities to foster team leadership capabilities • Deliver tangible business results • Build the processes and capabilities into the organization to sustain a continual supply of future leaders The team developed a broad set of innovative tools and methods. EIL recognized the need to expand its pool of leaders to support its growth agenda. Sponsorship came from the highest level of the organization—the company’s chairman and managing director launched the program with an organization-wide communication. a web-based benchmarking tool for assessing an organization’s aspirational culture. Moving into new markets while protecting its core business called for strategic thinkers with the confidence to lead the organization’s many business units through the changes to come. a crucible is a transformative experience through which an individual comes to a new or an altered sense of identity. The team also interviewed executive management to discover the leadership needs of the organization vis-à-vis its strategic goals. Engineers India Limited (EIL) manages industrial projects that include petroleum refineries. senior executives were deeply involved. These individuals were also expected to take up leadership positions in EIL. Next. From the start.
the coaching process and how to conduct upcoming immersion sessions. As a direct result. Continuous doing and reflecting helped these future leaders to understand how their personality styles. joined in on immersion labs to gain from the experiences of successful leaders at EIL and participated in action labs. negotiation. Accenture has helped the company meet a key objective of the program— build into the organization those processes and capabilities needed to sustain a continual supply of future leaders. interacted with their personal coaches. strategic thinking. where they would share their thoughts and experiences with the participants. learning style. such as setting up a joint venture in an alternative form of energy. global business awareness. Over the next six months. really helped in improving performance. actionable recommendations generated through their group and individual action learning projects. replicable and durable learning. By the end of the first phase. the executive director of the Accenture Institute for High Performance and developer of the “crucibles” approach—led labs and workshops in areas such as team building. guides and other senior leaders of EIL for valuable inputs and direction. Working through these projects for three to five months would help to ensure relevant. followed by a one-to-one debriefing session with one of Accenture’s trained facilitators helped participants to understand their learning needs in terms of their personality. executive director of the Accenture Institute for High Performance. The action learning projects were the heart of the program. by Robert J. Participants were then introduced to the concept of the “personal learning strategy” with a practical. Copyright 2008 Harvard Business School Publishing Corporation. with specific. The self-reflection phase identified each participant’s development needs and established a strategy for meeting those needs. 2 Crucibles of Learning: How to Learn from Experience to Become a Great Leader. participants noted their deep sense of accomplishment. chaired by EIL’s chairman and managing director. the Personality and Leadership Profile and the 360 Feedback Survey.The pilot rolled out in two phases: a two-month participant selfreflection phase and a six-month development phase. These labs deployed innovative instructional methods to internalize learnings: case studies. the internal EIL team will play a much broader role. The development phase then began in earnest. participants were introduced to a comprehensive process of self-reflection on their leadership style and areas for development. being conscious of one’s own behavior. In creating the pilot. Executive management at EIL monitored progress on these projects as they provided active support and guidance in their roles as project sponsors and guides. At the program closure session. implemented their individual leadership development plans. “Practicing while performing. executive management created specific action committees to pursue the implementation of the recommendations. videos and concept-based movies. The application of Accenture proprietary tools. As one participant stated. A number of Accenture subject matter experts—including Robert Thomas. and leadership strengths and gaps. participants worked on developing the core leadership skills needed to help EIL achieve high performance. teaming and decision-making processes shape daily work. Each participant formalized a personal learning strategy with an “individual leadership development plan” that addressed development needs for both the short and long term. each lasting two days. interactive games. including the chairman and managing director. and leading and managing change. In the three off-site action labs. As Accenture helps EIL extend the program to reach business and functional leaders in the organization. the participants worked individually and in teams on action learning projects. the Accenture and EIL team had worked with senior management to craft the set of action learning projects that would expose participants to critical business issues with the potential to positively impact the organization’s growth and performance. simulation-based exercises. role plays. 2 . These senior leaders attended coaching skills workshops to better understand their role as coaches. Participants shared. Thomas. The pilot program wrapped up with participants presenting the executive management of EIL.” By teaming up with the program design and management group at EIL in creating and deploying the pilot. step-by-step guide containing content-driven exercises and a development planning workshop. debated and brainstormed their projects in several fish bowl meetings in front of sponsors. Each participant was assigned a senior leader within EIL to provide ongoing guidance on personal development.
With executive leadership all the way up to the chairman and managing director strongly committed and deeply involved in the development of future leaders.High Performance delivered Working with Accenture. technology and people capabilities. prepared to lead and work in forwardthinking teams to win in competitive markets. Aarohan has demonstrated the endless potential of a highly motivated. communication skills and strategic thinking. “This program helped in breaking all silos and enabled us to develop formal and informal networks within and outside EIL. processes. At the participant level the impact has been equally dramatic. More than 40 percent of the program participants have moved on to new and challenging roles in the organization.” responded a member of the pilot program. Some of these improvements include implementing value engineering at projects. EIL has the resources on hand to move into new industries and new countries around the globe. The action learning projects. capable set of managers in leading an organization to high performance. The participants of the program have now become the first point of reference for critical change management and crossfunctional initiatives. prepared to lead and work in forward-thinking teams to win in competitive markets. individual growth. EIL has built a leadership development capability that has delivered tangible business results for its journey to continued growth and high performance.” 4 . coaches and guides have noted among the participants significant improvements in teamwork. The group activities and action learning projects also provided opportunities to build collaborative networks. individual growth. communication skills and strategic thinking among the participants. More than 40 percent of the program participants have moved on to new and challenging roles in the organization. approximately 50 completed to date. “Senior leaders have seen significant improvements in teamwork. Superiors. have led to substantial improvements for EIL in the areas of systems. introducing new and effective construction techniques and developing a learning management system.
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