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The Company

Synopsys is a publicly traded global technology organization that has its hand — or more precisely, its software — in almost everything. From cars to computers to medical devices, Synopsys provides the software, IP, and services used to create advanced chips and systems to run an array of electronics and gadgets. The company, founded nearly 30 years ago, has been on a steady growth trajectory, thanks to continual product innovation and several successful mergers and acquisitions.

The Business Need

As Synopsys grew, the company faced some challenges — specifically, with local management. Vice President of Talent Heather Hoerdemann, who oversees global staffing, onboarding, and new hire development, saw the opportunity to support global growth by focusing on leadership development in emerging markets. The company had an expanding workforce, particularly overseas. Heather and her colleagues realized that Synopsys sites around the world needed to better equip local talent with the skills to continue the company’s path to success.

They wanted to ensure that newly recruited or promoted on-site managers understood the Synopsys growth strategy and had the tools to inspire and engage their people to deliver results. They knew this information was needed, because new hires were proactively asking for additional information about the company, its goals and strategy, and their role in driving success. The new managers were craving more knowledge to help them lead their teams with skill and confidence.

While most organizations first focus on the U.S. region and use their work there as a model for the rest of the world, Heather had a different idea. She wanted to flip the paradigm and start a program in the emerging markets – where the need was greatest – and then modify it for the Americas.

The Process and Implementation

Synopsys needed a partner with a proven, customizable solution that would resonate with their global audience. Synopsys works with Advantage Performance Group (APG), who recommended Root and its Root Compass® Manager Development product. Root Compass® was a smart solution to employ because of its novel and engaging delivery methods, as well as its ability to be scaled and deployed quickly. Additionally, because Root Compass® emphasizes leadership fundamentals, including delegation, coaching, and building trust, it would fulfill Synopsys’ need for arming new manager hires with the key skills to successfully lead others and connect their team’s work to the greater business goals.

Heather worked in conjunction with a colleague in India, Anshuman Ray, to create a test group. Anshuman brought together his team and key line leaders in Bangalore and they took the time to experience the program, provide feedback, and recommend adjustments for their local markets. This proved to be an invaluable step and helped Root to properly customize materials for Synopsys, while also building internal advocates for the program in overseas markets.

Root then conducted a four-day Train-the-Trainer program in India, catering to Synopsys’ growth markets of Armenia and the Asia Pacific region. A combination of HR professionals and business line leaders were trained so they could partner to deliver the Root Compass® experience to local managers in small group settings in the Indian cities of Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Noida, as well as in Armenia and Taiwan.

Why Root Compass® Worked for Synopsys

Synopsys found success with the Root Compass® program for several reasons:

  1. Involving regional leaders in the planning and pilot program illustrated the organization’s commitment to honoring local offices. This was reinforced when local team members were trained to deliver the program to peers in their own markets.
  2. Local trainers brought their region’s unique perspectives and circumstances to the group conversations. This resulted in culturally relevant experiences that resonated with Synopsys employees all over the world.
  3. The methodology of Root Compass® – asking questions and creating inclusive conversations instead of delivering one universal answer – successfully addressed the organization’s need to transcend geographic and organizational boundaries. While a challenge in India might be solved differently than the same challenge faced by a manager in the U.S., Root Compass® ensured that everyone going through the training, regardless of location, culture, or language, would receive a common framework to engage their teams to deliver results.
  4. Line leaders relished the opportunity to contribute to developing talent. For managers going through the program, the involvement of line leaders told them that this was a business priority.
  5. The small-group format used during trainings created a safe environment where everyone could contribute in a way that was comfortable for them.


Approximately 300 Synopsys managers have gone through the Root Compass® experience. What began as a standout success in India, Armenia, and the Asia Pacific region has translated beautifully throughout Europe. The class was recently offered for the first time in North America with instructors from that first Train-the-Trainer session in India serving as mentors to the North American delivery team.

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