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CA Technologies Adds Finance Component to Leadership Development Program

As an IT management company operating in one of the most dynamic and highly competitive industry segments in the world, CA Technologies places a priority on nurturing its talent through ongoing development. Its Leadership Development Program (LDP) is designed to ensure a pipeline of highly capable leaders at all levels across the organization.  The 12-month LDP consists of two multi-day, in-person sessions, augmented by webcasts, readings, team and individual assignments, and a business simulation. The simulation provides participants with learning opportunities to make business decisions regarding strategy and key performance indicators, and help them to practice decision-making, collaboration and risk-taking capabilities.

CA’s previous program was instituted in 2009 and needed to be updated with a financial component. It was increasingly critical for non-finance participants to develop an understanding of how their role and their performance impacted the overall success of the company. The finance module offered the opportunity to enhance the program which would reach more than 600 employees through 2014. Sessions were held in U.S., Australia, China, the U.K., India, Brazil and Singapore.


Solution

In considering options, CA’s Talent Development team determined that the best way to tackle the finance element was through a business simulation that would bring a real-world experience that participants could transfer into their job. According to Tracy Dodd, Vice President of Talent Development, “We considered developing the business simulation in-house, but after reviewing several options for partnering, we chose TRI Corporation because of the strength of the program and value it delivered to our participants."

Together, TRI and CA teams crafted a customized simulation geared to the leading global software provider, which inserted neatly into its legacy program. In the discovery process, they uncovered a key area of concern -- which included business units that operated in silos. TRI was able to develop a highly customized simulation that addressed the benefit of cross-functional collaboration, while focusing on delivering leadership and financial acumen in equal measures. These were tied to a balanced scorecard that would measure participants’ strategic decision-making performance. The key to this exercise was the extent to which the company’s real world issues could be tackled.

In crafting the component, the planning team enlisted LDP alumni to facilitate the simulation. The alumni would serve as mentors to the “class of 2014” and could further develop their own leadership skills in the process.

Before rolling out the program, the team scheduled a pilot with the CA LDP facilitators and other HR employees. Then they organized a “train the trainer” session for alumni who were conducting the simulations in 10 locations worldwide.

The simulation was conducted over the course of the afternoon on day one and throughout day two. The course simulated a business scenario that occurred over a three-year operating period, which was broken out into three distinct sessions. Each session covered one year and decisions made impacted the future sessions and company’s performance over that period.

The strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and challenges (SWOT) of the fictitious company (“Compass Software”) mimicked those of CA Technologies. Teams set strategy at the outset of the initial session, and conducted in-depth debriefing sessions with facilitators from the company to review their strategies and decisions at the end of each “year."

The issues addressed:

  • The need to “de-silo” three of the company’s primary business areas
  • Fostering “aha” moments among team members who discover the value of promoting cross-functional understanding and cooperation
  • Developing an appetite for sparking rapid growth in leadership and financial acumen
  • Creating an open, safe environment for participants to candidly and willingly address topics such as inclusiveness, trust, security, customer service and employee relations


Observers noticed that some participants who were minimally conversant in finance essentials at the start of the simulation, showed a marked increase in comprehension of these issues during the debriefing afterwards. “They wouldn’t have known what questions to ask in the beginning. But by the end, they wanted more.  And in follow-up meetings, participants were proactively seeking information, rather than waiting for it to be pushed to them,” said Lynne Iati, CA’s Director, HR Talent Development at CA Technologies. “Feedback from the participants, alumni facilitators and the talent development team was universally positive.”  


Benefits
The decision to partner with TRI on the finance component was a resounding success and the using the business simulation to deliver this training brought the experience home for participants. It raised awareness of each participant’s role in moving the needle on CA’s success and it gave them the basic finance acumen to put into context, for example, the content of an earnings call.

The combination of peer-to-peer work, team collaboration and the opportunity to work with colleagues across diverse business units and functions provided multiple learning moments throughout the simulation. Particularly noteworthy was that as the newly-formed teams jelled, competition among teams increased--upping the ante for participants who understood that collaboration within the team gave it strength and a greater likelihood of success.

The experience inspired CA Technologies to launch an alumni program. Since 2009, 1480 employees have participated in the program. The alumni program allows them to continue their leadership journey, and helps to create a larger pipeline of leaders and deepen bench strength for a company that is in it for the long haul.

 

CA Technologies Enhances Effectiveness of Leadership Development Program by Adding Business and Financial Acumen Component Delivered Through “Real World” Business Simulation

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