At its core, Authentic Consulting is about unlocking the wisdom, energy and capabilities of the system. It’s about addressing the seen and unseen challenges through custom-tailored engagements based on deep listening, combined with decades of experience across industries and issues. Our approach helps leaders realize dramatic change by enabling them to transform their view of themselves, their business, their priorities and their actions. We expertly integrate traditional management consulting disciplines with cutting-edge leadership and team development practices. This unique approach produces strategic breakthroughs and bottom-line results with speed, efficiency and economy.
While our solutions are highly customized, they typically center around the following:
Almost all of our clients have some combination of vision, mission, strategies, pillars, focus areas and values. More often than not, these exist in isolation and do not tell a cohesive and inspirational story of where the organization is going and why. We help leaders create unifying narratives that enable clarity and alignment by connecting the strategic landscape, the company’s execution approach and the priorities of individual leaders.
Done well, coaching is a powerful way of helping leaders and systems evolve. When executives are coached as individuals, the impact can only go so far. Instead, we take a symmetrical approach, where seasoned coaches share a consistent philosophy and methodology and work as a team to coach the full system. This work can scale to multiple organizational levels and functions - and when coaching is integrated with strategic and organizational consulting, everything accelerates.
Most of our clients are industry leaders who are trying to realize new levels of growth, but the reality of success is that, eventually, you will have to do something different – often something radically different. Using proven approaches to innovation and strategy development, we help our clients see where their core competencies serve them and where they don’t, and develop pathways that will take them to new markets and new possibilities.
Humans have a fundamental need for community, and often organizations fulfill that need by identifying closely with a function or a geography. In doing so, they silo and develop distinct and sometimes antagonistic relationships with other parts of the system. Our work with cross-functional teams focuses on unifying identities that enable collaboration and leverage the group’s potential so that leaders work together across the system, rather than in opposition with one another.
Recent studies show that 50% of employees identify themselves as disengaged or moderately engaged. While the problem is well-identified, the solutions are often not. Trium helps organizations drive engagement by designing integrated processes that often start with top leader events and annual kickoff or sales meetings. Once engagement is created through those forums we help extend learning and impact by creating cascading communication and engagement workshops that bring the whole system into connection and alignment.
Often, the most important and sometimes the least functional team in an organization is the C-team. C-level teams are typically made up of strong personalities and strong opinions. Unless these leaders can truly role model the highest levels of collaboration, the organization suffers and execution falters. One of our core capabilities is helping very senior teams find new ways of communicating that unlock the capability of the organization. We also support functional teams and emerging and high potential leaders in improving their ability to develop and lead high performance teams.
Culture change is one of the most prevalent yet least understood disciplines in the consulting industry. Trium has over 20 years’ experience helping our clients build meaningful and strong cultures by precisely defining the culture needed to execute any given strategy and equipping the leaders with the values, tools, practices, definitions and distinctions needed to effectively and intentionally shape culture.
How can operationally and technically-oriented senior executives become authentic, inspirational leaders?
Technical competence alone won't help teams find traction and inspiration in the face of continuous change. By focusing leadership development at the level of underlying beliefs and mindsets, leaders can learn to lead through intuition, act with courage and build authentic, trust-based relationships.
The Full Story
Our client came to us because surveys indicated serious challenges with employee engagement and confidence in senior leadership. Top executives from across the organization achieved their success because they were brilliant, but not because they were good at inspiring brilliance.
These very successful and sophisticated executives were not open to or in need of “leadership training” or skills-based development. Rather, the client hired us because we were able to develop a custom process for them that thoughtfully engaged leaders in a new kind of introspection. Senior leaders began to explore their underlying beliefs and assumptions and, through inquiry, came to see where they were misreading situations and relying on outdated and often directive tactics.
The Trium program was designed to connect with the values of the organization and to bring the strengths of the culture to life, so impact lasted well beyond the workshop. Many leaders reported breakthrough insights that had lasting personal and professional impact. Most importantly, executives got clear on their genuine leadership intentions and learned how to inspire true emotional engagement from their teams. Ultimately, the program went on for over seven years and touched over 500 leaders.
How can a merger lead to the creation of a company that is truly greater than the sum of its parts?
Merger integration is about putting the pieces together and realizing efficiencies. It’s also about getting senior executives truly aligned and committed to a new and shared vision. Working collaboratively over an 18-month period, we created one incredible new company.
The Full Story
Our client leads a large division within a Fortune 50 healthcare distributor. While pursuing a growth opportunity for the corporation, it was failing to deliver on its promises. Two fundamental strategic objectives were essential for manifesting a transformation: driving the operating performance of key business units and dramatically increasing the business footprint to compete with scale.
Trium was approached for support in achieving strategic re-alignment, elevating senior-level leadership and revitalizing the culture around excellence and collaboration. Trium also supported the integration of the executive team following a merger of equals by collaborating with leaders over an 18-month period in both the turnaround and post-merger integration process. This involved energizing the broader team around a shared 3-year vision and enrolling the team in inspiring cross-functional goals; translating strategy into action by defining specific 12-month priorities and milestones; establishing a culture that enabled operational excellence and collaborative execution; fostering relationships of increased trust and cooperation across the organization; building high-performing leadership teams on multiple levels; and facilitating turning point conversations about the future organizational model and leadership implications.
In partnership with the client, Trium helped build a solid foundation for market competitiveness and growth. Teams began executing with a stronger sense of purpose, greater strategic clarity and increased cross-functional commitment. This enabled pursuit and completion of a challenging merger-of-equals, resulting in accelerated time-to-performance and improved financial results. The senior leadership team is now on solid ground to successfully steer a larger, more scalable business.
What’s required for real cross-functional partnership across a 30,000-person organization?
When marketing, sales, services and engineering speak the same language and share a single playbook, aligned action is possible. Communication then becomes the backbone to staying aligned, especially in uncertain environments.
The Full Story
Trium served a 25-member cross-functional Executive Board charged with setting and driving the strategy for the company’s multi-billion dollar Technology Services business. The company’s customer landscape in Services changed frequently, making the alignment of day-to-day decision-making challenging. In addition, there was unclear support for product and corporate priorities within the Services teams. Fear of missing opportunities led to reactive decision-making, often in a siloed, uncoordinated manner.
The client hired Trium to clarify and align the Services organization behind a 3-5 year vision and strategy to prioritize the investment areas for the coming fiscal year and to ensure aligned execution of priorities across diverse locations. Trium assessed that confronting such uncertain environments required having a clear view on how to serve customers in carefully selected future market scenarios. Framing and building-out the scenarios required significant iteration and buy-in, but in the end would build clarity and alignment, shorten response time and guide investment and resource prioritization decisions. Trium helped the client develop strategic plans for each of four critical market scenarios that accounted for the most important business uncertainties. Through interviews and a series of facilitated workshops, a globally and functionally diverse group of leaders articulated the following for each scenario: customer needs and requirements; client’s winning strategies; implications for go-to-market models and partner/competitor positioning; requirements for portfolio of offerings; and investments and innovations. They further named market signals that would indicate one scenario was emerging over another.
The highly collaborative process helped to build shared language for describing the Services strategy which, in turn, made large-scale alignment around a single playbook possible for the first time. Together, leaders created priorities and thoughtfully placed bets based on shared beliefs about near-term dominant customer needs. Importantly, this work created a foundation for ongoing strategic dialogues that would keep strategy execution clear, aligned and relevant as market dynamics evolved.
What does it take to get a plane off the ground on time?
Process efficiency and role clarity help, but creating a fundamental process improvement requires that all parties have a deep appreciation for one another’s challenges and constraints. It further requires that everyone work to solve the same problem - not simply optimize for their part of the equation.
The Full Story
With over 30 jumbo airliners and a powerful consumer brand, our client expected to double their size in five years. The core challenge: balancing an entrepreneurial, informal culture with pressing demands for operational excellence, sophistication and efficiency. The executive team approached Trium for help with improving On-Time Departure Performance (OTP); theirs was among the worst at their main hub.
Knowing that neither rigid recommendations nor a canned change methodology would fly with this client’s culture, Trium designed an interactive process, casting a cross-functional leadership team with the job of driving change. Trium collaborated with the “change agent” team through a process of analysis, diagnosis, recommendation and implementation - elevating leadership mindsets, skills, tools and approaches along the way in order to create the foundation for an organization-wide transformation. Trium led a parallel breakthrough process in which roles were clarified, mindsets redirected and behaviors calibrated to support the change agent agenda.
During the first month of full implementation, OTP was the best it had been in years. Over a one-year period, OTP climbed by 30% to 40% and it continues to improve. Real cultural transformation took hold across the organization as it entered its third era. Teams and individuals assumed greater accountability, made decisions faster and streamlined operational execution. For their part, executives learned that change takes time and that long-term commitment is essential.
How can a company with a single breakthrough technology diversify to position itself for sustained growth?
Innovation is a capability, not a one-time event. When the same creative thinking that gave rise to a product breakthrough is applied to the challenge of identifying new market opportunities, the organization finds answers where before there were only questions.
The Full Story
Our client disrupted the industry 10 years ago with cutting-edge technology that changed the way data travels through a network. With other players entering the space and customers asking for help with a wider range of problems, our client knew they had to evolve from a single to a multi-product company and expand into new areas. An Office of the President had been created to facilitate the evolution, but the President and his directs were not sure which changes were required to position the company for future growth and diversification. In addition, various members of the team had differing viewpoints on how the organization should evolve, creating uncertainty in the organization.
Trium knew the problem needed to be approached from several angles and started with an organizational diagnostic to understand the clarity of the strategy, how aligned the executive team was around which strategic path to pursue and how effective the leadership team was at reaching alignment on big bets. Trium custom-developed a way for the executives to have a holistic "where we play and how we win" strategy discussion through a set of well-framed dialogues. The dialogues allowed the executives to have dialogues at the right level of detail and to also see where their incoming perspectives had differed and how to align them much more quickly. While preparing for the strategy conversation, Trium also administered an in-depth 360 process for each member of the executive team, as it was clear that leading the company to create another marked disruption would require some new team and leadership behaviors. Our process allowed us to get very specific on what to change and how to do so.
Trium helped build an “outside-in” view of strategic options that enabled the client to make decisions about future growth based on customer needs. Through Trium’s engagement, the executive team got clearer on the set of winning plays they wanted to pursue, taking into account current organizational capabilities and ones that would be needed in order to grow. What started as significant misalignment around which direction to take ended up resulting in a prioritized plan for growth for the next 3-5 years. In addition, through the 360 process, executive team members – many of whom had been with the company for 10-15 years – awakened to their personal leadership opportunities and reconnected to why they were inspired to continue the journey.
What happens when senior executives personally commit to strengthening their leadership and building a strong culture?
Leaders throughout the organization get a clear understanding of "what good looks like" and begin earnestly evolving their own capabilities. Relationships strengthen, the quality of listening improves and people connect to their core values.
The Full Story
Our client is a premier U.S. financial protection and wealth management organization overseeing $600 billion in assets. Embarking on an initiative to consolidate holdings, senior executives determined that "Leadership Excellence" (characterized by streamlined decision-making and appropriate risk-taking) was essential. However, an entrenched command and control culture had created a highly risk-averse environment, slowing decision-making and execution. Trium was asked to engineer and facilitate an organizational and behavioral change program that would align the client's aspirational culture to their business goals. Such a program would help the client tackle these issues head on, while fostering an environment of innovation and empowerment.
Trium led 220 senior leaders through a program of two-day offsites, followed by a 45-60 day period of practice and application to reinforce key concepts and tools, including interactive dialogues and experiential activities centered around effective ways to: lead change amid uncertainty; build and motivate teams; empower others and foster trusting relationships; and develop the mindsets and behaviors required to build a high-performance culture.
The success of the “Results Through Leadership” program has been phenomenal. Participants consistently rate the program as “exceeding expectations” while generating the enthusiasm, commitment and ownership required for immediate change. Leaders cite significant efficiency, productivity and morale improvements. Following the program review, senior leaders decided to cascade the program to the next level of leadership. In addition, Trium developed an extensive follow-up program for phase one participants.
What kind of culture enables disruptive innovation in a highly mature and extremely competitive market?
When an organization’s culture embraces success and failure, productive debate and open dialogue thrive, and new ideas emerge from all levels.
The Full Story
A high profile global leader in money management was planning the launch of a new line of exchange traded index funds for the retail investor market. A successful launch required establishing an organizational entity to deliver a new product outside of the traditional distribution channels, defining operating principles to meet the unique demands of the retail market, and integrating the business unit into an established organizational culture with brand and market presence. Most importantly, it required a cultural shift from consensus-based management, to an entrepreneurial and innovative mindset.
Trium was approached to help the client accelerate time-to-execution through defining and aligning teams behind a shared mission and vision, a clear set of actionable operating principles, and the mindsets and behavioral shifts required to execute. The initial diagnostic confirmed challenges inhibiting the new team from reaching its ultimate potential – challenges such as structural integration of a new business unit into the organization, limited trust and relationship between leaders, and a divergence between old-school and new-school company cultures. Trium’s approach included a multi-day process with 20 members of the new leadership team, followed by iterative working sessions with a larger group of next-level leaders. Together with the client, Trium clarified and aligned leaders behind a new organizational vision, and defined what is required of each individual to enable the high-performance culture that is vital to its success.
Despite challenging market conditions, the client has since launched 42 new products, dramatically exceeding revenue and market penetration projections. Most importantly, the leadership team continues to operate with high levels of trust and relationship, and a cultural foundation that will support their future.
How can leaders quickly and radically reduce costs without undermining the spirit and capabilities of the organization?
In difficult times, companies often take a "peanut butter approach" to cost reduction and demand that everyone share the pain equally. By basing cost-cutting efforts on clear and shared strategic priorities, leaders can make smart choices that ultimately build capabilities and enable efficiency.
The Full Story
Our client is one of the world’s largest technology companies, a member of the Fortune 500, and a leader in multiple consumer and enterprise product segments. During a growth phase, the client rationalized its acquisitions, built capabilities globally and implemented innovative systems to elevate the organization to a new level of sophistication. Success in this growth phase required that the company align processes and systems, build a platform for scalable growth and increase the ease of doing business for clients – all at a lower overall cost.
Trium engaged operations leaders in a process to identify short-term, high-impact opportunities which would reduce operational complexities and create greater accountability for results. Underlying this work, Trium helped to define and address the shifts required to align, equip, and mobilize executives to take coordinated action on their decisions. This offered new insights to internal analytics, enabling executives to reconfigure organizational capabilities and transform the organization at a lower overall cost. The organization delivered approximately $30M in cash savings and reduced the overall cost structure by $100M.
Sustainable results were achieved by driving commitment from senior executives to focus on four critical shifts in mindset and organizational practices: 1) from a focus on bookings to a focus on managing margin targets; 2) from a focus on the enterprise customer to a focus on capturing market opportunities in all customer segments; 3) from a focus on selling products to a focus on selling multi-product solutions; and 4) from a focus on corporate, business unit and sales organizations planning independently to a focus on achieving strategic interlock.