Thomson Reuters Collaborates to Drive “Smart Growth” and Globalization Agenda for Top Leadership Team
Driving Strategic Alignment in Complex Thomson and Reuters Merger
Global Executive Program
Hanover, NH and Madrid, Spain (multi-module)
Thomson Reuters was created when Thomson acquired Reuters, an organisation more than half its size. The resulting integration was of significant scale and complexity, creating a global organisation of more than 50,000 employees. For the CEO and his Executive Committee, early priorities included delivering shareholder value from the integration; to accelerate the cultural integration; and to develop a cadre of senior leaders able to drive the organization’s strategic priorities of organic growth and globalization.
In collaboration with two top business schools, Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth in the U.S. and IE Business School in Spain, a custom executive development program was designed. Formal approval for the programme was given late 2008 at the time of one of the world’s worst economic collapses, a clear indication of the new organisation’s commitment to the development of its executives. The three parties – Thomson Reuters, Tuck and IE – collaborated to develop the Global Executive Program (GEP), a program that consisted of two tightly-integrated modules – one in the U.S. and one in Spain – to deliver one seamless learning experience. GEP’s three core themes – “Smart” Growth; Globalisation; and Personal Leadership – directly supported the organization’s strategy. ALA’s role was to highlight the challenges of globalisation, and help uncover collaborative growth opportunities in the growing company. ALA was also engaged to help individual leaders develop a growth mindset. ALA’s contribution included a“capstone” experience to illuminate the following classroom content:
- Understand and apply strategic thinking skills in an era of rapid change
- Learn a framework for converting global presence into global competitive advantage
- Understand the organizational challenge of “Leading in the Face of Change”
- Learn the traits of “ambidextrous leaders” and how to lead in an environment of ambiguity
As a way to deliver these lessons with visceral impact, ALA created Kinesis – a large scale behavioral simulation aimed to develop confidence and an enterprise mindset when operating in the face of change. The group was divided into small business units or teams. The delegates are tasked to operate with the skills, attitudes, and tactics of a great global enterprise. During the simulation, as the teams successfully solve problems, they are rewarded with points; points provide a score board -the more difficult the challenge, the more points are assigned to its resolution. What makes Kinesis most interesting is that the goal is not to simply maximize team output but rather to maximize enterprise output. Without a unified strategy, without sharing resources, without sharing breakthroughs, the result would simply be the sum of the parts. By virtue of the enterprise focus, Kinesis delivered more than the sum of those parts. The teams or “business units” explored key questions that involve a variety of decisions and trade-offs:
- How do we coordinate business unit tactics in order to maximize enterprise strategy and results?
- How do business units divide and share our limited resources and limited blocks of time?
- How can we transfer valuable “learn-how” and “know-how” across the enterprise?
- How can we take reasonable risks when we don’t have all the information?
- How can we tap into the individual talents and creativity of a diverse group of people?
- How do we set business unit and enterprise performance goals that have the right amount of stretch?
On every dimension, GEP has exceeded expectations. As a result of the GEP experience, participants revised Thomson Reuters strategy in key areas, including the organization’s approach to rapidly developing economies and to government and regulatory affairs. And of utmost importance, the program broke down organisational boundaries to create powerful collaborative relationships where leaders share an enterprise-wide mindset.