Leading the Culture Change: Arming Managers with the Right Tools

Business Issue

As this global specialty distributor of networking and communications equipment operates in a sales-intensive, highly competitive marketplace, it was important to the company to retain its talented employees. When that was not happening, an employee survey was sent out to get to the root of the problem.

The survey identified two main issues: managers lacked proper communication skills and employees felt they were not being heard. Wilson Learning was called upon to partner with the company to develop a solution for the leadership issues on a worldwide basis.

A two-phased approach was developed to address the issues. The first phase used Building Relationship Versatility, previously named Social Styles, to address the communication issues and support better relationship skills, as well as Negotiating to Yes to address all of the internal negotiation issues and conflicts that management faced in assignments, scheduling, or workloads. The company needed managers to influence and negotiate with others without becoming adversarial. The second phase would include reinforcement webcasts and three Leading for Performance modules that helped build upon Building Relationship Versatility and Negotiating to Yes skills.


Phase 1 was designed for successful implementation and impact and was comprised of the following:

  • Executive interviews to help lightly customize the training
  • Executive alignment sessions to help the management team get aligned with the goals of the training and spread the word to their subordinates
  • A two-step training process: first Building Relationship Versatility and, one week later, Negotiating to Yes

Phase 2 built on Phase 1 to extend the skill development into new areas and included the following:

Overall, 80 U.S. and 40 U.K. managers have finished Phase 1. Half of the U.S. managers have also finished Phase 2, with more classes planned for the future in both the U.S. and Europe. The organization is making rapid progress toward its goal to have a coherent set of management skills in place consistently throughout its worldwide operations.


Follow-up activities demonstrated that nearly all of the managers began and continued using what they had learned. Some of the outcomes managers reported involved assigning tasks and explaining details based upon the subordinate’s Social Style to ensure the delegation was well received.

Due to the positive results the organization is experiencing, they have piloted both UPFRONT: Persuasion Through Presentation (now Mastering Successful Presentations: Skills for Influencing Outcomes™) and Inbound Sales Excellence™ with roughly 20 sales representatives.

Managers reported a positive response from direct reports to interacting based upon the subordinate’s Social Style.

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