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Client Success Story: A Leading Financial Service and Analytics Firm Deploys C4X to Successfully and Cost-Effectively Build it's Leadership Capabilities

by Thuy Sindell, PhD. and Milo Sindell, MS.

“Skyline Group’s C4L allowed us to develop our leaders in a scalable and cost effective way Global Head of Talent Management.”

About The Company

MSCI is a leading financial services data and analytics firm with over 3,000 employees.

The Challenge

The Company determined that it was a strategic business imperative to accelerate the performance of its leaders through leadership development and visibility of its top Executive Directors and Vice Presidents across the firm. Doing so would increase employee retention, engagement, and further align globally dispersed employees with the corporate culture.

With more than 30 locations throughout the world, it was a challenging undertaking to design, build, and deliver a scalable, high-impact, cost- effective solution that would provide a consistent learning experience for its leaders. People resources were constrained due to competing demands, and the time required to design and develop such a program would be lengthy for the same reasons.

The Company, therefore, sought an international leadership development partner to provide a proven learning and development methodology to meet its immediate needs. The Company knew they needed to invest the time to effectively vet potential partners and to identify, the partner that best matched their needs and its vision. Once a partner was identified, they would then need to pilot a solution that integrated assessments, online learning, coaching, and applied learning sessions before formalizing and launching broadly a global leadership development program that included all the components they required.

The Company piloted Skyline Group’s Coaching for Excellence (C4X), an integrated solution comprised of a 360 assessment, executive coaching, and competency-based online learning over a 4-5 month time frame. Moving leaders from a foundational level of leadership to a sustained level of behavioral transformation, the program was proven to drive leadership performance throughout a leader’s career.

  • With locations throughout the world, it was a challenging undertaking to design, build, and deliver a scalable, high-impact, cost-effective solution that would provide a consistent learning experience for their leaders.
  • C4X was piloted and tested and became the core of a global leadership development initiative.
  • 100% recommendation among the leaders who participated
  • 45 participants were part of the first cohorts launched based on the success of the first program.

Upon the successful completion of the pilot, an annual 9-month program was created and implemented. An initial group of more than 40 vice presidents and executive directors, being prepared for increased responsibilities, were nominated for participation in this program, during which they engaged in Skyline Group’s Coaching for Leadership (C4L) program.

The participants, after debriefing their C4L 360s with their coach, and receiving alignment from their managers, selected three leadership competencies/goals of the 28 Skyline Leadership Competencies to focus on throughout their C4L program. Their online learning was then customized to allow participants to focus, with the support of their coach, on moving their selected competencies/goals from a foundational level to a sustainable transformational level of development.

Measuring the Results

The value to the Company as a result of this initiative included increased leadership effectiveness and productivity; stronger communication and execution of business goals; and overall improvement of the quality of the relationship among leaders and their team members. In order to understand the specific progress made by the participants, we look at results across different learning levels represented in the Kirkpatrick/Phillips Model aligned with Skyline’s CAL program:

Level 1: Reaction of participant (Satisfaction) - How they thought about the C4L experience - This is obtained with a post-program evaluation.

Level 2: Learning - C4L results in transformation and sustained behavior. This is obtained from a pre-and post-self-assessment that participants take that is separate from the 360 input; it is focused on the specific behaviors associated with the goals they are working on.

Level 3: Transfer (Impact) - C4L focuses on the extent of behavior and capability improvement as it transfers to business impact. This is obtained from the final rater input and is based on rater observation of behavior change.

Level 4: Results - Effects on the business resulting from the C4L participant’s performance are measured, Examples are numbers of promotions, retention, etc.

Level 5: RO1 - CAL reporting strives to show a correlation between development and business results. This is obtained from the participants in the post- program evaluation and measures the effects on various aspects of the business. The effects on the business resulting from the C4L participant’s measurable performance are measured.

Level 1: On a Likert scale of 0-5, participants rated their satisfaction

with the C4L program as follows:

  • Feel Supported by the Organization: 4.4
  • Good Use of Time: 4.17
  • Online Content Useful: 4.4
  • I Am More Effective: 4.
  • Others Have Commented on My Increased Effectiveness: 4

Level 2: 1 On a Likert scale of 0-5, participants self-reported pre- and post skills

We noted a significant increase in skill development across all competencies chosen from 8% to 33%. The four competencies with the largest increases:

  • Strategic Thinking (n=17) - 2.97-3.95 (+33%)
  • Thoroughness (n=2) - 3.68-4.62 (+26%)
  • Conflict Resolution (n=1) - 3.18-4. (+26%)
  • Emotional Control (n=2) - 3.41 - 4.2 (+23%)

Level 3: n a Likert scale of 0-5, colleagues reported feedback regarding


Impact is measured through the eyes of observers - post-program feedback is requested at the end of the program. Increased post-program scores were indentified for over 90% of the competencies. The four competencies with the largest increases:

  • Work/Life Balance: Pre-Program 3.1. Post-program 3.82 (+23%)
  • Entrepreneurship: Pre-program 3.57. Post-program 4. (+12%)
  • Listening: Pre-program 3.23. Post-program 3.69 (+14%)
  • Effectiveness: Pre-program 3.81. Post-program 4.19 (+10%)

Post program rater comments included:

- “My relationship with X is much better compared to 6 months ago. I strongly feel that we’re working in the same direction.

- “X made significant progress in driving the conversation without being too assertive.” “Over the last few months, I’ve seen X become much more effective at influencing others.”

- “I see more coordination and less conflict on some of the key projects X’s team has been driving.”

- “X became a strategist from a strong tactical leader.”

- “X improved her communication, she allows people to fully voice out their point of view and completely gets what was being said.”

- “I’ve always thought X did a good job at this from the start, but I do see increased control in particularly stressful situations.”

- “X has continuously improved on giving ownership to his team, which deeply relates to his improved confidence in his and his team’s decisions. His team is clearly more engaged and feels part of the broader team.”

- “I think X is more and more involved in mentoring her direct reports and giving them visibility based on their skills.”

Level 4: Obtained from the business post-program:

  • 17% of the participants were promoted.
  • 5 of the 8 executives most recently promoted completed the program.
  • Top talent retention improved 80% compared to those who did not take the course.

Level 5: Obtained from the participants themselves in the post-program evaluation:

  • 86% of the participants said they are more motivated, energized and willing to invest extra effort in their work as a result of being coached.
  • 86% of the participants said they are more optimistic about the future of their team and were more likely to stay with the company as a result of being coached.

During weeks 8 and 20 of the program, informal feedback was solicited from the participants:

  • 100% would recommend the program to other MSCI colleagues.
  • Highlights of the program were the 360 feedback coupled with the coaching experience.
  • Participants found the online content and the coaching to be helpful in increasing effectiveness.
Comments from the participants:

“My first impression was that the program was impacting my day-to-day efficiency in a positive way, but now that the program is over, I think it impacted my career and my life. And by the way …Last week, I was promoted to executive director”

“The C4L program was a milestone in my life.”

“I was able to put in practice the tips recommended from the online modules and help my team work more independently.”

“The coaching was so productive that I was able to analyze situations from different perspectives, learn new behaviors and use them every day.”

In Summary

As a result of the program, there have been a number of significant outcomes: 17% of the total number of participants in C4L have received promotions. In a recent round of executive-level promotions, 5 of the 8 newly promoted were recent C4L participants. Further, the top-talent attrition (retention) rate for those who went through the program improved 80% when compared to top- talent who did not take the course. Those who have participated in the Company’s leadership development coaching program reported that their self- awareness of their leadership behaviors greatly increased and that they feel more confident about what they need to do to continue to develop as leaders. Skyline Group’s C4L allowed us to develop our leaders in a scalable and cost- effective way, shared the global head of talent management.

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