Virtual Leadership at HELABA

Helaba, a commercial bank and organisation which operates across multiple and increasingly interlinked locations, recognised the fact that effective virtual leadership is a significant success factor. With this in mind the following two fundamental questions are particularly significant: With which specific methods and techniques do managers need to be equipped to work effectively in the virtual world? Which specific communication skills do they need in order to build trust-based relationships with employees?

Mindful of the objective to support the managers, not only on a technical but also on organisational and cultural levels, Black Gazelle implemented the ‘Virtual Leadership’ training project at Helaba in 2015.  Karsten Bich, Head of Human Resources, explains: “We would like to increase the managers’ awareness of what it means for employees when they feel isolated and to equip them with methods and techniques to foster successful virtual teamwork and collaboration.”

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Alfa Laval - The Alfa Laval Virtual Strategy Process

A short description of client work that demonstrates best practice in HR
Peter Bailliere and Ghislaine Caulat

Ashridge Business School, one of the leading International business schools, and Alfa Laval, a global engineering company with 13,000 employees and operations in 55 countries, have been working together since 2004 on a number of programs. These have included ones for sales and marketing, the Booster senior executive initiative, a group communications program and projects focusing on the HR community within Alfa Laval. At the end of 2008, Alfa Laval approached Ashridge seeking help for the development of creative solutions and project plans to implement a number of critical "Prime Performance" business issues.

Prime Performance is Alfa Laval's drive to ensure that all its processes, including sales, manufacturing, research and the culture of the company, combine effectively to deliver the highest levels of performance. There was a clear remit to deliver results within a very limited timeframe of four months from inception to completion, and to be efficient with the use of senior leaders' time and the organization's limited budget. HR had helped to define and shape the assignment at the heart of which was the need to involve the best brains of the organization, all very busy people who were dispersed across Europe, the Americas and Asia.

Given the nature of the business needs, it became obvious very quickly that the best solution was to design and facilitate a virtual strategy project. Ashridge has been researching the topics of virtual leadership and virtual learning for the last seven years.

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Deutsche Telekom - Pioneers of the Virtual Frontier

Like the brave pioneers who came before us, Virtual Leaders at Deutsche Telekom are forging a new frontier of 21st century communication. Employing a global workforce of nearly 230,000 professionals, virtual interfacing has become an essential tool of the German telecommunications conglomerate. With every remotely conducted encounter, leading edge practices and protocols are being redefined that impact the productivity and profit of the worldwide corporation.

Realizing early on the importance of cultivating an exceptional team of Virtual Leaders, Deutsche Telekom appointed Black Gazelle Consulting to educate and train a select group of top-level project managers to become more effective, high-performance innovators with the skills to galvanize their teams across the virtual landscape. After the three-day course was completed, participants gained practical experience based on direct feedback from their peers as well as from Ghislaine Caulat, the Virtual Leadership Program Facilitator and Founding Director of Black Gazelle Consulting.

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The International Federation of the Blue Cross (IFBC) is an independent, non-governmental health development organisation dedicated to preventing and reducing the harmful use of alcohol and illicit drugs especially among children, youth and families. Furthermore, it advocates evidence-based alcohol policy formulation and implementation on national and international levels. Through the activities and projects of its Secretariat and 42 member organisations (MOs), IFBC aspires to ensure that all people have the opportunity to knowingly choose and live a life free of addiction to alcohol and drugs. In addition, IFBC activities seek to provide people harmed by alcohol and drugs with access to the benefits of high quality and holistic treatment. Internationally, the Blue Cross is organised as a federation of local and national organisations of differing sizes, strengths and capabilities.

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Represented in almost 50 countries worldwide with nearly 143 million mobile customers and over half of its 60.1 billion Euro revenue generated outside of its home country, Deutsche Telekom is a global telecommunications powerhouse that is paving the way towards the future of virtual leadership.

Together with Virtual Leadership Expert Ghislaine Caulat and her vanguard team at Black Gazelle Consulting, Deutsche Telekom invited an exclusive brain trust of Vice Presidents, Department Heads, and Division Managers to participate in a three-day intensive Virtual Leadership Program conducted remotely across the European continent. The objective was to help these already established leaders to become more focused, effective and impactful influencers when working virtually amongst their teams and throughout their industry.

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Umicore - High Performance in the Virtual Space

Umicore is a global materials technology group offering materials and solutions that are at the cutting edge of new technological developments essential to everyday life.

In 2010, one senior International team approached Black Gazelle with the aim of improving the effectiveness of their virtual team meetings. While the team concerned were somewhat unhappy with their current meetings, they were not convinced that training in working virtually was a good use of their valuable time. The senior level of the sponsorship and the very time efficient offering from Black Gazelle, convinced the client that it made sense to go ahead.

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ZF is a global leader in driveline and chassis technology with 121 production companies in 26 countries, in four continents. ZF is one of the ten largest automotive suppliers worldwide.

Over the last 10 years, ZF has grown from a predominantly German company, through being European, to the present day when it is truly Global. This change led to the recognition that new skills were needed to lead remote and global teams without the necessity to spend time traveling across the globe.

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T-Systems - Virtual Leadership

T-Systems, a subsidiary ofDeutsche Telekom,‘shapes the networked future of business and society and creates value for customers, employees and investors thanks to innovative ICT solutions’.

In 2012 and 2013 T-Systems commissioned Black-Gazelle Consulting to design and run several Virtual Leadership Programmes as one stand-alone module and as a module part of a broader Leadership Programme.

Participants described a culture, prior to the Virtual Leadership Programme, where there was the clear need to demonstrate a strong task focus, where time spent on reflecting was difficult to find and where relationship building was incidental rather than intentional.

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