LEARNING CENTER - Building Teams. Developing Leaders.
print this page

Who We Are
Case Studies

The following success stories represent Learning Center contributions to it's 3 major customer niches.

Interop: Success through alignment in a start up.
Interop was a 25 person organization when LC began work in 1991. Founded by high-tech visionary Dan Lynch with the goal of creating an organization that would rival industry leader Comdex, Lynch had two major challenges. First, how to get his talented executive team to collaborate, second, what strategy to follow to build the company. Through a combination of foundation executive team programs and course of action intensives for his key vp's, Lynch achieved a tight and highly functional executive team. By using Learning Center's Stages of Team Growth material, Interop arrived at a focused (vs. opportunistic) growth strategy that resulted in Interop building to the point where it genuinely does rival Comdex in the Industry. Lynch became a multimillionaire when he sold Interop to Ziff-Davis.

This is what Lynch said about the Learning Center:

"For the past 15 years, your organization has helped me in many different ways. It's hard to describe what you guys really do because of the breadth of your capabilities.

In the past few years I have found myself creating a new organization that has very little apparent bureaucracy, but is comprised of strong-willed individuals. Somehow I knew the Learning Center could help me, but not in the usual public seminar way. Your organizational development sessions and private advise were key in helping us focus on focusing instead of trying to grow in every opportunistic direction.

Today we are a very successful business, growing carefully, often remembering the cycle of natural development that you taught us. As we grow, I look forward to working again with you in ways I cannot yet imagine."

Envirotest Systems Corporation:
Leveraging Performance In a Turnaround Situation in a mid-sized growth company.

Envirotest was a $100 million company running turnkey womb to tomb smog control programs to assist states to meet Clean Air Act standards. Learning Center conducted custom programs for both a key state (Washington) program and for the corporate executive team. The state programs were challenged to do more with less by achieving increased performance under tight budget constraints. Achievement of financial targets was paramount to the Corporate goal of increasing the stock market value of the company as part of a strategy of positioning the company for sale. Learning Center's work with the Executive Team focused on 7 key initiatives crucial to the business valuation and getting the company ready for sale process. Execution was paramount.

This is what Perry Ludy, VP of Operations, said about Learning Center's contribution:

"Please use this letter as documentation of my opinion of the two training programs conducted by the Learning Center for Envirotest Systems Corp during 1997 and 1998. Both training programs were performed extremely well and the results have been much higher than expected in both scenarios (e.g., our WA program continues to perform above expectations and the performance of our company is indicative by our successful turnaround, as documented by our performance in the stock market (increase from 2.5 to 15 during this period). We remain appreciative of the results and would recommend Learning Center to other peers and associates."

Note: In September, 1998 a successful sale was concluded to Environmental Services Products in Connecticut.

IBM: Renewing Leadership and a Core Value within an Industry Leader.
In the early 90's, IBM was reeling from changes in the computer industry. Long held advantages were disappearing and with them, long held cherished beliefs were being tested as never before. IBM was a classic prisoner of it's past success. As it hit the wall, programs put forward to help the company survive were viewed as takeaways by a workforce that had incrementally become "entitled". Leaders were unable to obtain buy-in to crucial change initiatives vital to overall success. The result was unhappy leaders and workforce, both trapped in a paradigm that no longer worked, but which neither knew how to overcome. One visible result of this dilemma was a precipitous decline on IBM climate surveys on one of it's core and most closely held values: respect for the individual.

In consultation with IBM's northwest division management development, Learning Center created a half-day module on change and renewal: Ball and Change, which it subsequently facilitated for over 750 IBM managers. It was the first time IBM had ever let an outside firm work on an IBM core value. The program won a coveted company-wide award on innovation in training.

Here is what the leader of that team, Chuck Blodgett, said about the program:

"You helped us fulfill our desire to develop and deliver a module entailing IBM's Basic Belief of Respect for the Individual. You assisted us in development of a novel approach with your "Ball and Change" idea. This module was facilitated with over 750 managers from the nine Northwestern states with year with measurable success. . . Your module offered an innovative approach to renewing an IBM core value. Thank you for your contribution to a very successful year."

IBM Worldwide. Later, but still early in IBM's turnaround, Learning Center designed a two day course called ChoicePoints, How To Optimize Risk. Completely customized, this course effectively taught managers how to eliminate undue risk-aversion in a culture then needing to respond to a competitive market place in a new way. Learning Center provided all training materials and collateral, then successfully trained IBM's Master Trainers worldwide to deliver the course.

Mergers. UC Medical Center.
After UC Medical Center acquired Mount Zion Hospital, both organizations faced classic merger issues of combining different cultures, systems, and management.

The cultures could not have been more divergent. UC was research-oriented and prided itself on "state of the art" process and technology; Mount Zion was the prototypical client-centered, heartfelt hospital. In addition to this challenge, leadership quickly determined that costs would have to be cut by $30 million by combining services in the new organization. Director William Kerr wanted his new leaders to make these difficult calls and contracted with Learning Center to provide a customized Task Force Team Leadership program to achieve three imperatives. 1) help pull the new team from "them and us" to one team, 2) successfully effect the organizational restructuring, and 3) significantly cut operating expenses without compromising quality.

This is what Kerr said about the Learning Center intervention:

"I am happy to provide you with this feedback on the program you presented for us. The program was attended by over 100 UCSF Medical Center management and staff who were members of Task Forces created to implement the first phase of a Financial Improvement Process intended to reduce expenses by $30 million within a two year period. The Task Forces were charged with developing plans during a 10 week period for meeting assigned expense reduction targets. Each Task Force was comprised of members from different departments which would be affected by any changes.

The Effective Meetings training program was structured as the kick off meeting for each of the Task Forces. We received excellent feedback on both the content and format of the Program and feel it contributed to the accomplishments of the Task Forces, which identified $20 million of expense reductions. We particularly appreciated the efforts you and your staff made to understand the Medical Center organization and objectives to allow you to tailor the Program to us."

Dr. Arky Ciancutti now conducts some leadership workshops at his award-winning lodge in Mendocino, California. Contact Learning Center for details.

Click here to return to the previous page.
TAKE ACTION NOW For free consultation on your critical team/leader/performance issues,
or leadership training seminars in California or your own state/country
email info@learningcenter.net .
print this page