A.G. Edwards Achieves Leadership Excellence with Program Designed by Interaction Associates

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The brokerage and financial services powerhouse, A.G. Edwards, has partnered with Interaction Associates to meet important strategic challenges with a collaborative leadership platform designed to develop senior, high potential leaders.

The Chairman's Challenge went way beyond typical learning experiences that focus on skills development in a vacuum

The brokerage and financial services powerhouse, A.G. Edwards, is meeting important strategic challenges with a collaborative leadership platform designed to develop senior, high potential leaders with the skills to work effectively across boundaries and to execute more successfully.

Interaction Associates (IA) partnered with A.G. Edwards to help the company achieve those important goals by creating an innovative program called The Chairman's Challenge that provided 22 senior-level A.G. Edwards leaders with a learning experience that balanced new skills acquisition in leadership, collaboration tools, and change skills with action learning to develop leaders and foster strong teams.

"In looking to develop our senior leaders, we sought to address what it would take to have two-dozen senior leaders who shared the same perspective as our Executive Committee," said Michael Zuccarello, formerly Director of Training & Development at A.G. Edwards. "We needed a partner with the expertise to help us tackle this high profile initiative which, if designed and executed well, would have lasting impact on the organization," added Zuccarello, who is now Senior Vice President, Director of Learning and Development for Wachovia Securities.

Typical of many large companies, A.G. Edwards was operating as a highly silo-ed organization where leaders were without the collaboration tools necessary for working successfully across divisions, groups, or geographic locations. Additionally, the company lacked a firm-wide balanced scorecard providing a snapshot of its progress towards goals. "Senior leaders were often reviewing mountains of one-off reports with a variety of metrics, and struggling to integrate data and determine the necessary actions to meet the company’s goals," said Andy Atkins, IA’s Director of New Ventures.

In addressing those issues and others, IA created and implemented The Chairman's Challenge, an action-based learning experience to meet a set of key strategic challenges, including: Recommending a set of key metrics A.G. Edwards would use to measure its progress in executing key corporate objectives related to sustainable revenue growth; operational efficiency and effectiveness; achievement in areas of service excellence; and success in developing A.G. Edwards professionals.    

Additionally, The Chairman's Challenge required high potential leaders to test the validity of the metrics through recommendations to the Executive Committee about growth opportunities; threats to growth, and how A.G. Edwards might better execute on the company’s growth strategy.

"The Chairman's Challenge went way beyond typical learning experiences that focus on skills development in a vacuum," said Atkins. "The high potential leaders involved here were challenged to develop a measurement tool for the whole company and to test its validity via recommendations to the Executive Committee. It doesn’t get any more real than that," added Atkins.

The Chairman's Challenge helped to shift A.G. Edwards's leaders to a keen and collaborative focus on strategy and execution. Its new balanced scorecard provides senior executives with a snapshot of progress each quarter. Additionally, A.G. Edwards realized several other important benefits from The Chairman's Challenge, including the creation of the company's Office of Strategy Management. "IA helped us realize benefits that exceeded our goals," added Michael Zuccarello.

Read more about this leadership development case study.

About Interaction Associates:
Interaction Associates (IA) has nearly 40 years' experience in helping companies find breakthrough solutions to business challenges. IA's integrated management consulting and learning and development services have been used by Fortune 500 companies, government agencies and nonprofit organizations throughout the world. Interaction Associates helps these enterprises set strategic direction, inspire commitment, and build leadership capabilities, leveraging the power of collaborative action for long-term, sustainable results.

This press release was distributed through eMediawire by Human Resources Marketer (HR Marketer: http://www.HRmarketer.com) on behalf of the company listed above.

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Michael Tirrell
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