Leading Business, Leading People, Leading Change

Future-proofing an iconic brand and its leadership


The case in short:

The challenge

  • Future-proof an iconic brand against global recession.
  • Work alongside management with zero leadership training experience.
  • Roll out an existing leadership development strategy on a global scale.

The solution

  • Encouraged managers to take personal responsibility for the process.
  • Ran a series of workshops spearheaded by top-level Pirelli executives.
  • Created a common language for good leadership practice.
  • Designed a 360° feedback tool to monitor results, tailored to each local team.

The results

  • In-depth insight into personal strengths and development areas.
  • Establishing a global, company-wide feedback process.
  • Visibly motivated core team, driving subsequent workshops.

The challenge

For over a century, Pirelli has enjoyed a celebrated industrial tradition combined with innovation, product quality, and brand strength. After the economic downturn of 2008 however, senior management knew that Pirelli needed leaders equipped to keep their eyes on the rocky road ahead, provide clear direction, and make sound, tough decisions while maintaining fairness and integrity.

Pirelli interviewed its core management to establish strengths and identify any areas in need of an overhaul. Many managers had not received leadership development training so this would be a new experience.

The ambition was to build an entirely new leadership model that focused on three main areas: leading business, leading people, and leading change. Pirelli had a vision to roll out their new strategy worldwide, but it couldn’t be activated alone. That’s when we got involved.

The solution

Adding that personal touch

We established that speed and efficiency were crucial factors for Pirelli. The programme was introduced over the course of one year with workshops involving 300 core managers. We then collaborated to design a 360° feedback tool to engage the managers and respond to what was working and what wasn’t.

We soon discovered this was more of an organisational change project than leadership development. We were never there to tell them what to do, merely to allow them to buy into the proposed organisational shift and become a central and dominant part of its implementation.
It was essential for us that the core management team were as involved as possible. They co-facilitated the workshops and managed the projects on removing obstacles to success, while the top management inspired and pushed the participants to be bold and more willing to take risks. They also acted as role models in implementing the new leadership model.

The impact

Being driven across the globe

The first major impact occurred before we started, in that all 300 executives bought into our proposed programme. The introduction of the 360° feedback tool was also very well received and together we established a common language for excellent leadership qualities.

The programme has since been cascaded into other territories, with each local core team taking responsibility for developing and engaging their middle management. The ‘360° Pirelli Feedback Tool’ has been translated into eight different languages, integrating the threefold Pirelli Leadership Model.

We believe the success of our work with Pirelli was because the tool engendered personal and individual development across the organisation, but also due to the fact that we ensured all top-level management strategically bought into the programme and led by example.

‘The commitment of the chairman, the CEO and the core team was a defining feature of the programme,’ explained Donatella de Vita, Pirelli’s Head of People Development. ‘Their incredible commitment had a tremendous effect on the impact of the programme. Managers have said: “If they can do this, so can we.”

“We were never there to tell them what to do, merely to allow them to buy into the proposed organisational shift and become a central and dominant part of its implementation.”
Stuart Schofield

Get in touch

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The potential is people