Engaging leaders to lead

ITT: Engaging leaders to lead


After a year focused on spinning off two business units, the “new” ITT and its new CEO faced the next big hurdle: to articulate its go-forward strategy to leaders and employees and engage and align them to execute so the company could deliver all of the value promised by the split.

ITT transitioned from being a $12 billion conglomerate to a $2 billion global industrial engineering and manufacturing company with 60 percent of its business derived outside the U.S. When it became a smaller, more focused company, it faced the emotional and rational challenges of coming out of the corporate version of a divorce and feeling like a century-old startup.


  • Recognizing that reputation is driven from the inside out, shifted investment from external corporate reputation initiatives to employee engagement efforts.
  • Created a clear and compelling story that all leaders could tell about the company’s
    go-forward strategy.
  • Designed a four-day leadership experience, called Impact!2012, which felt different to leaders and supported their roles as communicators and change agents.
  • Guided leaders to communicate live updates to employees throughout the Impact!2012 meeting, creating a natural pull for more information when they returned to their teams.
  • Developed key levers and natural interventions aligned to business milestones that brought the story to life in a way that leaders could clearly understand and articulate.
  • Led the organization to integrate the story into everything it does (including the strategic planning process, employee review and recognition programs).


  • After the Impact!2012 meeting, nearly 100 percent of leaders said they more clearly understood the new strategy and their role in it.
  • More importantly, there was a 50 percent jump in leaders’ understanding of how to deliver the strategy to customers, clearly demonstrating their awareness of the linkage between strategy, customer experience and financial success.
  • Leaders embraced the go-forward story and continue to successfully incorporate it
    into how they talk with employees and external audiences, as well as how they run the business.




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