Top Ivy League School Maximizes Organizational Efficiency

Zenger Folkman’s Extraordinary Leader development experience uses a strengths-based solution to help this Ivy League school maximize organizational efficiency.


When the economic recession hit, many organizations were faced with tough budget cuts. Universities were no exception. In light of the recession, this ivy league university’s endowment was cut, significantly restricting administrative budgets. Administrators were faced with the difficult task of right-sizing the organization. Not surprisingly, employee engagement, morale, and satisfaction had decreased. The remaining employees needed to be more efficient to carry the additional load. Identifying leadership ability became crucial.


The university partnered with Zenger Folkman to implement The Extraordinary Leader system with the administrative leaders of the university. The System included The Extraordinary Leader 360-degree assessment, a one-day Extraordinary Leader development experience, and follow-up one-on-one coaching.

After eighteen months, participants were invited to complete the 360-degree assessment a second time to evaluate their progress and what impact the program had on the university.


After completing a second Extraordinary Leader assessment, the variance in participants’ scores was analyzed. The results were as follows:

  • 95% improved in one or more leadership competencies
  • 64% showed significant improvement in their global leadership effectiveness

Administrators found that leaders whose leadership effectiveness scores improved had direct reports whose employee commitment scores had also significantly improved. In other words, direct reports who rated their leaders’ skills high also had higher levels of job satisfaction. The university was so pleased with the results of The Extraordinary Leader that it is now implementing the program at its faculty level as well.

The Challenge

  • This top ivy league school was facing significant budget cuts and needed to maximize organizational efficiency, counter decreased employee engagement, and identify leadership ability.

The Solution

  • They selected Zenger Folkman’s The Extraordinary Leader development experience and 360-degree assessment to help increase their leaders’ overall effectiveness and employee satisfaction.

The Results

  • The university found that 95% improved in one or more leadership competencies and leaders whose overall effectiveness scores improved also showed improved employee commitment.

What is the Organization Saying About Zenger Folkman

The university’s top officials feel the key to successfully managing personnel challenges is to improve leadership effectiveness at all levels, They found that magnifying a leader’s strengths, following Zenger Folkman’s strength-based approach, was the most effective use of their resources:

“…the path to greatness is really about building profound strengths, rather than through relentlessly focusing on one’s weaknesses.”

Contact Zenger Folkman

Zenger Folkman is committed to helping you reach your leadership development goals.