Ericsson is a world leader in the rapidly changing environment of communications technology – providing equipment, software, and services to enable transformation through mobility. Through its 4G LTE mobile technology, Ericsson has gained market share while being recognized as a company that thrives at the edge of technical innovation. Today, 40% of global mobile traffic runs through Ericsson networks, and Ericsson holds more than 37,000 granted patents in the telecom ecosystem.
The Big Challenge
With Ericsson’s primary business in the saturated telecom industry, sales growth rates had leveled off. Ericsson had to become better at value-based selling, leverage their global assets, and scale to solve even more complex business problems. This required a strategy to influence sales from outside the traditional sales organization. The need was a clear shift from the dependence on hardware solutions to more software- and service-based solutions.
Ericsson’s 500 project managers in North America were the real owners of service delivery margins and revenue potential. They have a highly technical audience and most have worked closely at customer sites with the customer’s project managers, engineers, and technicians. To deliver the necessary financial results, Ericsson knew its project managers needed:
- Enhanced business acumen to effectively determine the impact of project delivery decisions on company financials (margin, revenue, cash flow)
- Further development of consultative skills
- An optimized customer experience
This required an immediate change to the approach, behavior, and performance for this target audience. No learning program existed that covered all of these needs in one solution.
Our Immersive Process
Ericsson’s team interviewed vice presidents to better understand the gaps identified by the CEO, and collected input regarding learning objectives. Executives from service delivery and customer key accounts provided additional insights on required needs and identified the competencies that impact business results. The team also solicited input from the learning solution’s target audience – project managers and their leaders – on the inherent project challenges – both internal to Ericsson and external to customer engagements.
The Root team met with approximately 20 Ericsson project managers, including master-level facilitators, graphic artists and a game designer to translate words into visuals on a large white board, which helped drive greater clarity and shared meaning around the program.
The outcome was a two-and-a-half-day experience – The Accelerating Business Savvy for Project Engagements. It incorporated realistic practice, visual tools, simulations and game play with scenario-based decision making and consequences.
The experience kicked off with a Root Learning Map® module designed to foster discussions on current challenges and the reason “why” a change in behavior is needed. The second day focused on how project managers can create an impact on the business by becoming the business manager first and the project manager second. This is when game simulation and role-play began. The final day focused on securing plans to change behavior. At this time, participants took part in an exercise designed to illustrate how becoming a business savvy project manager would drive career success.
The results were astounding, including behavior change consistency across 90% of the students demonstrating the desired behaviors and increased revenues enabling an ROI for the solution of 807%. Beyond the numbers, the feedback and excitement expressed by project managers further validated the impact of this interactive, creative learning experience.
- Participant comments included:
- “This is the best training I’ve had in 17 years.”
- “I’ve seen this strategy before, but I’ve never been a part of the discussion … I’ve never had the opportunity to experience what it actually means to me or the business.”
- Following the program, participants began to identify themselves not as project managers, but as business leaders.
- A survey was distributed 90 days after the program and the exceptional level of participation demonstrated project managers’ ongoing appreciation and commitment to the training – even after a three-month time period had elapsed.
- The survey confirmed that project managers were sustaining their newly acquired knowledge and behaviors, and also confirmed they saw value in how these new behaviors were impacting customer relationships.
The Learning and Development industry has also taken notice and Ericsson has been awarded with a series of accolades including:
- A Silver Brandon Hall Award for Best Unique or Innovative Learning and Development Program (for Ericsson’s unique approach to accelerate business savvy)
- A Gold Brandon Hall Award for Best Use of Games and Simulations for Learning (for Ericsson’s use of games & simulations to accelerate business savvy)
- CLO Learning in Practice Division 1 Business Partnership Silver