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Symantec’s Rapid, High Engagement, All-employee Cascade (from the Accelerated Corporate Transformation Method)

Editor’s Note: This article provides a thorough introduction and overview to a 5-minute video case study of Symantec’s Corporate Transformation process led by Robert H. Miles, former Harvard Business School professor and the world’s foremost expert on Corporate Transformation.  Watch the full lecture on YouTube here.  Dr. Miles also has released a comprehensive Flevy Executive Learning program on his Accelerated Corporate Transformation (ACT) method, a proven methodology has been successfully implemented in some of the most iconic Corporate Transformations, including Apple, General Electric, IBM, Symantec, National Semiconductor, Office Depot, PwC, and many others.

* * * *

The Situation

The founding CEO of Symantec (a young software firm at the time) had led his high-tech company through two significant phases to keep company revenues climbing and keep his key employees engaged and in place. It was now time to launch a third transformational phase to continue to drive revenues and profitability and motivate highly talented employees to stay put during Silicon Valley’s “War for Talent.”

Brief Background

Phase 1: Focusing on the Core was a period of rationalizing and structuring the company for high growth and building a strong and flexible employee base. The focus was on a single, major software product that had enabled the firm to achieve and maintain high, dependable, profitable growth, which was an extremely important indicator of current business health in comparison with neighboring competitors. The turndown in sales toward the end of this first phase had a chilling downturn in employee options and sentiment; and it was beginning to show up in rising employee turnover.

Determined not to have such a high dependence on a single product line, the CEO adopted a Phase 2 transformation game plan that departed from an adherence to the fate of the core business to growth by wide ranging acquisitions. The strategy did indeed result in a resurgence in growth. It also brought on board a great diversity of products, markets, management styles, employee loyalty, and very cultures. This great level of complexity eventually took its toll on company performance.  The dozen or so acquisitions proved to be too diverse and dispersed to predictably forecast the growth of the firm.

The ACT Method: Phase 3 was intensively designed by the CEO and his business unit leaders with continuous The CEO called for a transformation to shift from a product-focused to a customer-focused business. The CEO asked the Senior Vice President of Human Relations to attend the nearby AEA/Stanford Executive Institute, where Dr. Robert H. Miles, a former Harvard Business School professor was teaching a senior executive class with one his former CEO clients who had dramatically transformed his business using the ACT Method. The SVP met with Bob and immediately thereafter with the CEO to provide an overview of the ACT Method, who in turn announced to the Senior Leadership Teams’ commitment to leading a rapid, enterprise-wide transformation project.

Bob Miles, now President of Corporate Transformation Resources, had a strong record in serving as the Principal Process Architect of dozens of successful transformations using the transformation game plan embedded in his Accelerated Corporate Transformation methodology – now called simply “The ACT Method.”

The company had lost its focus and the set of the acquired businesses, which had become independent divisions with diverse management styles and cultures. Phase 3 was going to be a much tougher Challenge than the two previous transformation phases.  The company would shed a lot of executives and employees as its business was  triaged to three major, customer-focused business units.

The leadership team framed their Phase 3 Transformation Challenge as follows:

  • To fundamentally reposition and refocus – restore profitability and growth to our high-tech company in an increasingly competitive global software industry.
  • To re-engage the global workforce and dramatically reduce voluntary turnover during the Silicon Valley War for Talent.”

The three Transformation Initiatives:

  • Customer-Centered Excellence (Growth)
  • Play to Win (Profitability)
  • Winning Culture (Retention)

First Year Breakthrough Results:

  • 24% increase in Revenue
  • 41% decrease in involuntary Employee Turnover.
  • 290% increase in Profitability
  • Aligned the full company to one unified strategy and culture.
  • Rated “Vendor of the Year by a global “big box “retailer.

Now let’s see how the company used the ACT Method to achieve these truly transformative outcomes on the Transformation Initiatives.

Watch the full video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8c0vD-BbJHI

NOTE: The video immediately provides an action overview of the three major components of The ACT Method: LAUNCH, ENGAGE and EXECUTE. It is especially rich in detail about the Engage Phase, and it is designed to introduce you to the Rapid, High-engagement, All-employee Cascade.by viewing it directly in recorded action.

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