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Client Profile And Challenge


  • An enterprise software platform company sought our services to help them to prepare their people and culture for an IPO taking place in 18-24 months.

  • Founded in 2016 with 150 employees and quickly scaling, they had an innovative software model, which helped them to quickly acquire market share and recruit talent.

Along with their remarkable business growth, a culture also emerged where the leaders avoided having difficult conversations with their employees and each other, resulting in unclear performance expectations, back-channel communication, and gossip.

High-performing staff was being promoted to management with no training. Managers also needed to deepen their strategic people skills to better motivate and engage employees. Employee morale was beginning to decline with a risk to business performance if the people and culture issues remain unresolved.

The Solution


After a skill-gap analysis and organizational development assessment, a dual approach was devised.

1. A leadership development program that equipped emerging leaders with the skills to manage and engage employees and drive team performance.

2. An organizational development intervention that measured and deepened psychological safety. So, all employees were more comfortable and equipped to have difficult conversations.

Best Practice for Developing Emerging Leaders

TLS Leaders uses the research-based 70-20-10 principle of adult learning, where leaders develop through three integrated components. When executed well, this approach creates high-impact, sustainable growth for the participants and business results for the organization.

A 12-month academy was designed to foster sustainable leadership growth:

70% of the program was dedicated to experiential learning. Action Learning was used where the leaders worked together in small teams to solve real, organizational issues while practicing and growing their leadership skills.

20% of the program was dedicated to informal learning. The leaders experienced assessment, executive coaching, Lunch n Learns and peer advising.

10% of the program was dedicated to formal learning. Interactive, group workshops taught key leadership principles and skills.

Individual Assessment And Leadership Coaching

Participants strengths and growth opportunities were assessed through a research-backed, online 360° tool. Each created a development plan to enhance their management skills, and engaged in individual coaching sessions once a month over a 12-month period with a TLS Leaders leadership coach.

Action Learning Projects Fostered Hands-On Learning By Solving Real Company Problems

Leaders worked in small, cross-functional teams to solve real company issues that bridged silos, deepened collaboration and drove business performance. The projects included:

1. Assessing and recommending strategies for creating an inclusive environment where people of all backgrounds are celebrated and thrive.

2. Identifying and recommending ways for the sales and branding departments to increase operational alignment.

3. Discovering low-hanging, new market opportunities, including co-branding, wearable technologies and CTV advertising.


Group Learning Sessions

Participants gathered in group workshops to build critical leadership skills based on nine leadership competencies.


  • Setting and achieving goals

  • Giving and receiving feedback

  • Empowering and motivating employees through coaching

  • Situational Leadership

  • Managing change and complexity

  • Change management

  • Interpersonal savvy

  • Organizational and political savvy

  • Managing conflict

  • Setting and achieving goals

  • Giving and receiving feedback

  • Empowering and motivating employees through coaching

  • Situational Leadership

  • Managing change and complexity

  • Change management

  • Interpersonal savvy

  • Organizational and political savvy

  • Managing conflict

Quarterly Lunch & Learns

Casual lunch-time discussions created a supportive learning community and fostered peer learning. Sessions were moderated by a different participant each time, who prepared the topics. Participants shared management challenges, best practices, and advised each other.


Learning And Support For The Participants’ Managers

The participants’ managers experienced two hands-on group training sessions. They learned how to have monthly coaching conversations with their team member who was enrolled in the program. They learned how to guide them on goal attainment, leadership and career development.

Building A Culture of Psychological Safety

An Online Psychological Safety tool was used to measure four dimensions that create psychological safety:

1. Willingness to Help
2. Inclusion & Diversity
3. Attitude Towards Risk & Failure
4. Open Conversation

An initial debrief and goal setting session was held with each department. Targeted quarterly interventions were conducted to deepen psychological safety scores over the course of 12 months.

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Results Delivered

  • Competency models now guide mid- and end-of-year performance reviews, resulting in an effective and efficient performance management process. The organization also has the ability to target employee-specific growth opportunities and “nip them in the bud”.

  • Leadership capabilities were significantly deepened in emerging and senior-level leaders, as measured by level three training evaluation, mid- and end-of-year performance reviews.

  • A supportive learning community was formed, enhancing cross-functional collaboration and communication across the organization, which led to deeper trust and psychological safety.

Psychological safety increased significantly across the organization. A reassessment survey was conducted three months after the program ended and showed a 68% increase. Six months post-program, a reassessment survey showed a full 79% increase.


Impact Data From Participant Ratings:

On a 5-point Scale

4.9 Overall satisfaction with the program

4.8 The program was a worthwhile investment of time and effort

4.9 I learned new knowledge and skills from the program

4.7 I am confident in my ability to apply what I learned to my role

4.9 My executive coach greatly supported my growth and challenged me to grow

4.9 The trainers demonstrated leadership expertise and engaged me in the learning

At TLS Leaders, we specialize in custom leadership development programs that are built to transform your people. Our multi-faceted leadership academies are tailored to the challenges your leaders face and the skills they need at each level to delivers results that matter to your organization and change that lasts. Contact us to discuss how we can help you to grow your people and fuel your company’s growth