There were so many excellent submissions for the 2014 Jive Awards that we wanted to shout from the rooftops, but we decided to do one better and share these customer stories in our community. The first customer we want to highlight is Pearson, who took home the 2014 Work Better Together Jive Award. What follows profiles Pearson's journey through transformation when their new CEO, John Fallon, took over the company's leadership. Shout out to Kim England and Dina Vekaria for submitting this excellent awards submission!
Collaborative Leadership: How the New Workstyle Is Transforming How Leaders Lead
The tried and true top-down leadership model seems to be evolving much like the workstyles of the average employee. No longer can executives write up an email, click send to the company, and expect change to happen. Employees want to feel engaged in company strategy. They want to have a voice and take an active part in the destiny of their company. At the same time, leaders know things move fast and staying on top of the pulse of company morale and employee productivity gets tougher. Executives are also very aware of the increased demand by employees for transparency.
Creating an open dialogue
What typically happens when a new CEO takes over the reins? He or she begins the process of putting his or her leadership in place and the effects slowly trickle down throughout the company. Transformation is often slow, there is little to no transparency, and new initiatives that hold promise can become muddled because not everyone understands the big picture or how they fit in.
When John Fallon, CEO of Pearson, was handed the baton from former CEO, Marjorie Scardino, at the end of 2012, he wanted to create a dialogue with employees to talk about how he could best lead the company into the future. He began by embracing the company’s Jive employee collaboration solution, known as Neo.
Fallon’s vision for Pearson included a company-wide transformation called the Global Education Strategy (GES) to strengthen the company’s position as the world's largest education company. The GES represented the most significant restructure the company had undergone in its 150-year history.
It began with a series of Neo blog posts from Fallon and other executives. From this, company leadership gathered feedback, collected bottom-up content and questions in a collaborative manner, and monitored real-time data about how their messages were being received. The GES space launched on May 23, 2013 and generated a huge amount of interest—40,000 sessions in one day—causing a load issue within the community environment.
Demonstrating transparent leadership
Fallon says that using the company’s employee collaboration solution was not only an efficient and effective way to communicate about the company restructuring but that it also demonstrated transparency.
“Our strategy to use Neo to communicate was to change our culture to one where our leadership is open, transparent. Our next steps are to continue working with the executives and to help the next level down take a similar approach.”
Comments from employees about this approach are overwhelmingly positive:
“I feel valued by the amount of inclusion that is taking place with the new strategies. It's important to know how we are affected in our current positions.”
“The GES space on Neo is a great way to find everything that gets lost sometimes in waves of very long emails.”
“GES space on Neo and org charts-- both helped me to see how everything is going to fit together.”
Continuing collaborative leadership
Each member of Pearson’s executive team blogs regularly. Some even add selfies and address topics that are not always connected directly to the day-to-day job of leading the organization. They ask questions, create debate and invite opinion. Executives also want their messages to feature in the trending content around Neo. And since the introduction of Impact Metrics with the upgrade to Jive 7, they even engage in some healthy competition over who is having the biggest impact.
What could have been executed in a traditional top-down manner, GES turned into an opportunity for the whole company to collaborate around a major reorganization. Pearson desired to change their culture to one where their leaders are open, transparent and available and they are well on their way to making this so!
We can't wait to see how they take the next step and work with the executives on the next level down to continue this transformation. We know it will be a success and we're proud of how the Pearson team is working better together in Neo.