The Cassie Partnershipliberating human capital

Case Studies - Ken Kaess, President & CEO, DDB Worldwide

"I would say to other CEOs that you should not work with tcp if you are happy with where you are as a company or as a leader.

But, if you need to change or evolve, then Neil's style and intellect will be a considerable help on that journey.

We at DDB had not been very accountable as a culture, but that is now changing with tcp's help.
We are starting to achieve connectivity through our global network. We are evolving from a federalist command and control culture, to one of accountability - and that does not sit comfortably with everyone.

Neil has been integral in helping us make this step change. However, we didn't want revolution and to lose sight of our DNA. We wanted evolution and I believe tcp's help has been critical to this. In particular, there are two things that he's helped us as a company to establish.

Firstly, critical inter-dependence as a management group. And secondly, the ability to follow through on our commitments. He has been relentless about making us do that."

"In addition, there are two things Neil has given me as a leader. The first is a different type of insight into my key issues and the way I look at those issues and their implications. For example, the danger of relying on just personal loyalty from my executive team and not developing their loyalty to, or inter-dependence with, one another.

The second is that Neil has given me greater confidence to make and see through tough decisions.

Neil's approach is effective because he provides a combination of showing you what needs to be done and then gives you the confidence to do it. He has a way of asking very insightful and provocative questions but in such a way that I felt very comfortable to answer them and to deal with the answers. Neil has not only had an impact on me as a CEO but also as a human being.

For instance, I found the use of tcp's story technique really interesting and a brilliant human way of getting a range of different types of executives to open up and be more receptive to change."

"From my perspective as a global CEO, managing a diverse range of geographies and key operators in those geographies, it was great to see the story technique helping me to know those people better and in a way I never could have hoped to do otherwise.

The reason I invited tcp to help me with the Paris event, where Neil introduced the story technique, was that the 30 key global operators we invited were 'conferenced out' - and so was I for that matter.

He has a way of galvanising a group around a project or vision and being particularly effective with those members of the group that might ordinarily have difficulty embracing it. I felt that my leadership had appeared more destructive than constructive and I needed to show that I could build something up. Neil helped me enormously in the navigation of that task. He's more of a Sherpa than a dictator. He isn't a "let me tell you how it is" sort of guy. He's more an "I'll let you find your own way to the answer".

He helped me to see that we were not able to live by and deliver on our company promise of 'People First'".

"Since working with tcp, there has been much less conflict within my Executive Group than I would have anticipated about the programme of changes we are making to deliver on our promises.

Also, the changes have been achieved much quicker than I could have imagined. Without doubt, I believe I have had value for money from The Cassie Partnership. Neil is by far the best executive coach I've ever worked with."