Case Studies


Case Title:

Fostering Cultural Change by Harnessing Ideas from the People Inside, for the People Inside

Program Name:

Partner University II

Delivery Locations:

Multiple U.S. locations


PwC conducted an extensive firm-wide pulse survey, including an individual office developmental survey. The survey results revealed some performance issues, which concerned the leadership across the firm. The challenge was that each office in the U.S. was seeing different results affecting their performance internally and with clients. For the design team, this meant customizing content for each office independently to look for solutions specific to their survey results. Each office was managed by an office managing partner who had insights to what needed to happen locally to optimize performance and change the culture, which in turn, would help performance specifically for that office.


For each of the approximately 80 PwC offices in the U.S., a customized solution was created, utilizing tools which could easily be adapted for the subject matter of each office.  Working with each office’s managing partner, ALA leveraged two of their Select Solutions – the Marketplace of Ideas and Innovation Stockmarket – as a way to customize the content, without redeveloping the entire process for each delivery.  This way, all associates had similar experiences, yet the content that went into the process was customized for their office’s unique challenges.

Each managing partner identified the particular issues facing his/her market.  Examples include Fairness in Compensation, Work/Life Balance & Flexibility, and Connectivity & Trust.  These issues were enveloped into the Marketplace of Ideas process, in which the entire office would share thoughts, align around the issues and develop ideas and recommendations to help solve the issues.

The next step in the process was to take the ideas generated in the Marketplace of Ideas session and roll them forward into the competitive stock market floor type exercise which is referred to as the Innovation Stockmarket.  During this event, each table team is divided into two teams consisting of first a sales team which will travel and “sell” ideas, and second team of venture capitalists who remain at the table to hear the pitches and invest in ideas and recommendations.

Ideas that generated the most investments (votes) in the Innovation Stockmarket process were ultimately supported and driven forward by a select group of partners and associates with the skillsets needed to further develop the solutions.  Post-program deliverables included:

  • 45 days post-program a brief summary and status of action plans were provided
  • 90 days post-program an update on progress was shared and highlights were reported via the large Town Hall meetings
  • 6 months post-program, in the spirit of shared learning, a report listing all office achievements and best ideas was circulated among all offices


By inviting and involving everyone to the solution space, there was an overwhelming feeling of care and commitment to making each office a better place to work. As a result of this program, each market created programs and in some cases, cultural shifts that fit the very needs specific to their unique challenges as opposed to a “corporate fix” that was handed down. Pulse survey results were repeated one year later and scores across all the offices improved greatly.

In many cases today when you visit some offices, you can still see and experience the cultural and localized solutions which were applied following the University II program.  As further evidence of the implications of involving people in their own solutions, an uptick in the results in the Forbes – Great Places to Work survey was observed.  The University II project started in 2005 at which point PwC was listed number 82 on Forbes – Great Places to Work list.  In 2006, after the completion of University II program, PwC jumped to 71, and by 2007 they were 58 on the list.

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Anglo American

Case Title: Change Agents: Leaders Tapped to Turn New Org Structure into Growth

Delivery Locations: Santiago, Chile

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Schneider Electric

Case Title:  Shaking the pillars of the “Schneider is On” strategy

Delivery Locations:  Dubai, London, Canada, Austria, USA


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