Success Stories

Best Practices in Designing and Implementing a Communication Strategy

A new Association Board President was determined to overhaul, among other areas, the association’s communications to its members. The Board engaged CeRCo to do research on communications best practices in associations, as well as recommended tools to consider. As a result of the initial interview process, CeRCo was able to identify several incongruities in the work, structure, culture, and board/staff which, if not addressed, would continue to impede any attempts to improve communications. We then included how to address those key components in our study, the results of which were critical in the Board’s redesign not only of its communications, but of its leadership and operations. CeRCo was also engaged in support of the design and the implementation.

How to Develop a Successful Online Community

This client was a small organization struggling to reach more followers and engage its existing followers on its online social media platforms, and converting those followers into sales. CeRCo performed a diagnostic on the company’s current digital presence, its mission and brand, and then building on and updating our prior research on best practices in online community management, we tailored the results and recommendations to the client’s needs. We are now being considered for the redesign phase of the work.

Recent Trends in CEO Succession and Executive Coaching

This client was a start-up leadership development practice in a small professional services firm. The group was interested in getting up to speed on recent trends in the field to build on their existing knowledge base and to help them draft a set of new perspective pieces. CeRCo quickly provided them with a “literature bundle” including articles, book reviews/summaries, and relevant studies, and included a high-level summary of key themes found in the results.

Role of the Lead Director or Non-Executive Chairman

A popular topic, CeRCo has performed research on these two roles for several clients. In one case, a simple literature bundle was all that was required – no summary needed. In another case, the client required a summary in the form of a deck identifying a definition of and rationale for the role, core responsibilities, a skill profile, and job description samples. In yet another situation, the client requested that we develop a sample job profile for a Non-Executive Chairman, based on the research and the organization’s context. 

Report on Board Composition

The CEO of this small, high-tech company was struggling with a large board of directors – the result of several acquisitions. In addition to complications due to the unwieldy size, several legacy directors did not have the necessary skills to support the company’s new strategy. We were enlisted to perform a review of comparator companies’ board composition as well as interviews with some of those companies. In addition, secondary research was performed to identify board effectiveness practices, recommended director skills for the client’s industry, and change management methods for rightsizing a board. CeRCo developed a report that the client was able to present to the board members and engage them in a productive discussion about how to improve the board’s effectiveness and determine appropriate board composition.

Learning Session Case Studies

This large multinational company hosts periodic learning sessions for HR practitioners and other executives to train them in issues such as leadership effectiveness, strategic HR practices, executive assessment methods, etc. We were asked to develop two case studies to be used in two separate but related classes. The first session was teaching HR professionals how to perform an assessment of an organization experiencing morale issues. The second was teaching them about how to redesign an organization in the case of a merger/acquisition. This research and writing effort first involved in-depth market research about the client’s industry so that the fictitious cases would resonate with participants. The second phase was creating the appropriate storylines and accompanying exhibits, and testing those elements with additional research. The cases are still in current use.

Targeted Research Digest on Risk Management

This client, a mid-sized professional services firm, was interested in providing its clients with a series of “research notes” on the topic of risk management practices. CeRCo first worked with the client to understand objectives, identify article selection criteria, determine abstract writing guidelines, and recommend production and publication processes. CeRCo then performed the literature research, wrote up abstracts for the selected materials, and coordinated with the client’s production/editorial team to produce the digest. The client sent out a series of three publications on risk management to selected clients.

Best Practices in Co-Leadership

The CEO and Chairman of a large consumer products company wished to choose a successor and focus his efforts on his Chairman role. Given his interest in staying more engaged in the leadership of the organization, which evidence has shown can be challenging, he enlisted our services in identifying best practices in co-leadership while the board conducted a search for the successor. The final report included best practices for boards, the two leaders, and several company profiles. We also developed an authority matrix to clarify the roles and responsibilities of the Chairman, the new CEO, and the board committees. Our work with this client was cited in a BusinessWeek article.

Best Practices in Executive Talent Management

This client, a large global company, had a strategic goal of becoming one of the top talent management organizations in the world by 2012. The head of talent management at the organization enlisted our services to perform a best practice study exploring the talent management programs in a number of large organizations in a number of industries. We identified in the literature a set of companies that are known for their exceptional talent management programs, leveraged our network of talent management leaders to line up contacts and interviews in those organizations, and developed a set of interview questions based on literature research. We developed a framework for organizing the results, and a presentation for our client and executive summary for the CEO, who personally sponsored this effort.