Global Leader in Consumer Cyber Safety Software Improves in All Leadership Skills

Zenger Folkman’s Extraordinary Leader experience exceeds expectations. Leaders significantly improved in all leadership skills.


Attracting top talent from around the world was not a problem for this large software company. They know that deploying strong leadership practices from top to bottom is going to drive better business results.

“Once leaders have achieved a certain level of success, it can be tempting to continue status quo, but we want to give them more opportunities to grow. Our success depends on our ability to develop, motivate, and retain high-potential employees at every level and prepare them to take on additional responsibility,” said the Senior Director of Employee Development.

To help leaders further develop their skill sets daily, the organization offered several unique high-potential/leadership initiatives. However, these programs were unaligned with different philosophies, selection criteria, methods, standards, and measurements. As a result, significant resources were spent with uneven access and results throughout the company.

To increase its ability to identify, differentiate, and develop key talent across the entire organization, while saving limited resources, the organization launched a program for top talent.

This new development initiative consisted of three tracks:

  • Individual Contributors
  • Managers/Senior Managers
  • Directors/Senior Directors

According to their Chief HR Officer, “By cultivating and deploying our employees’ leadership strengths, we can drive superior performance amidst accelerating growth and competitiveness in the IT marketplace. To not accelerate their development and feed this leadership pipeline would have been a shame.”


Their training programs focused on director- and vice president-level leadership training utilized a third-party leadership strength development program called The Extraordinary Leader.

The Extraordinary Leader program helps managers become better leaders by:

  • Applying a cross-training approach to leadership strength development
  • Utilizing 360-degree feedback to identify key strengths
  • Creating an action-oriented development plan that facilitates goal setting and follow-through
  • Learning to apply leadership development in daily, on-the-job activities

Based on these features and the success demonstrated through the previous training, the company decided to use The Extraordinary Leader for their high-potential first-line managers and senior managers.

One thing we heard from nearly every director or vice president who had ever participated in The Extraordinary Leader workshop was that they wished they had taken the competency assessment much earlier in their careers.

They designed a global development curriculum providing consistent development across all businesses, functions, and regions.

The Extraordinary Leader 360-degree Assessment, identifying leadership strengths and development needs, was included in the Manager/Senior Manager track to elevate the quality and results of the development experience.

The initial group comprised 455 first-line managers and senior managers. Each participant collected feedback from peers, managers, and direct reports on their perception of the managers’ capabilities in 16 researched leadership competencies.

They then received and debriefed the results in a two-day event where they explored the positive impact of improving their strengths and created a development roadmap.

After the reassessment, all program attendees participated in Zenger Folkman’s Inspiring Leader workshop. This program was added to build the leadership skills needed to increase employee engagement and retention and inspire and motivate their team to even greater success.

With help from these Zenger Folkman programs, the organization achieved its goal to create and implement a successful, consistent, cross-functional, corporate-wide high-potential program. The program is already proving invaluable as the newly appointed Chief Executive Officer builds upon the significant assets already in place to move the company forward.


Based on the success of the initial program, another cohort of leaders was identified and invited to participate in a subsequent program. Eighty of the 400+ leaders from the first cohort participated in The Extraordinary Leader Reassessment. This provided the organization and Zenger Folkman with the unique opportunity to measure their leadership growth and effectiveness over the preceding year. The results were incredibly positive. They found improvement in every competency measured.

They saw significant improvement in overall leadership effectiveness through The Extraordinary Leader implementation. Having their leaders improve in all 16 competencies and exceed all expectations is a great testament to the value of this proven approach to leadership development.

The Challenge

  • Driving results through effective leadership required ongoing personal skill development for their top talent.

The Solution

  • Zenger Folkman’s Extraordinary Leader and Inspiring Leader solutions were implemented to help high-potential first-line managers and senior managers leverage their strengths and better motivate and inspire direct reports and peers.

The Results

  • The results were astounding.
  • Participants in the program showed improvement in every one of the 16 differentiating competencies.

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