A Game-Changer: Securitas Elevates Leadership to Achieve Its Most Ambitious Business Goals Yet
|Securitas North America, a security industry leader in the United States, Canada, and Mexico that combines specialized guarding services with world-class technology
|Headquartered in Parsippany, New Jersey
Client Profile & Challenge
When Securitas North America set out to become the modern security services leader in its industry, the company’s C-suite executives knew they couldn’t conduct business as usual.
They had to think big. Do something bold.
They also knew the most important factor to drive this transformation would be the strength of their mid-level managers, individually and collectively.
So, in a high-stakes move, the executive team decided to double down on investments to build the most exceptional leadership team capable of launching the company to the next level.
“We knew that to meet the business priorities that we’ve outlined over the next two years, it was a business imperative to strengthen the capabilities of our leaders,” said Antonia Elliott, Vice President of Talent Development at Securitas.
In partnership with the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL)®, Securitas created Accelerate, a 6-month leadership development journey divided into 3 cohorts of 24 area vice presidents (AVPs). During months of meticulous planning, every element of the customized, highly immersive initiative was designed to equip participants with the self-awareness and skills required to be high-performing leaders.
The first cohort began by taking a battery of leadership assessments, including a 360-degree Securitas tool that systematically collects perspectives about an individual’s performance from peers, direct reports, and superiors — and provides a complete view of a leader’s strengths and opportunities for growth. The exercise proved eye-opening for the AVPs.
With this vital feedback in hand, the AVPs embarked on a 2-day experience during which they met face-to-face with the company’s executive leadership team to discuss the most pressing challenges and opportunities for Securitas. They began to make connections between the company’s larger strategy and their own leadership development, setting the tone, foundation, and expectations for their individual and collective growth as leaders. Participants then explored leadership as a social process and engaged in activities that demonstrate how trust and psychological safety are key to effective collaboration. Challenged to take a hard look at their own leadership practices, the AVPs prepared to deepen their learning through the live online modules, peer team sessions, and coaching that followed during the next few months. Each AVP was teamed with an executive coach throughout the initiative.
Just as their journey began, it culminated with a second 2-day retreat focused on developing and retaining talent through effective communication. Through hands-on practice and working in small groups, the AVPs began to develop a communication style of their own — learning how to coach, give feedback, and ignite better conversations with team members. Finally, they explored how they can drive and sustain impact as Securitas leaders when equipped with such tools as our Direction – Alignment – Commitment (DAC)™ Model for Leadership and 4 core skills for coaching conversations.
After the second gathering, the AVPs met with their executive coaches to create action plans with next steps.
What initially started as a leadership program for a select group of mid-level managers quickly expanded to become an integral development program across all leadership ranks.
“We quickly realized, if we’re really going to bring about the cultural transformation that would go hand-in-hand with the digital transformation, that we had to go really big with this program and make it mandatory for the majority of our field-facing leadership teams. CCL helped us with that,” Elliott said.
Finding the right partner to build just the right program for Securitas proved to be a critical decision, making for a smooth and meaningful experience for those involved.
“CCL’s programs are steeped in research and have very strong facilitators who truly know how to engage business leaders in pragmatic ways and share easy-to-use, practical tools that the leaders can start using right away,” Elliott noted.
“We have very high expectations of our partners — and working with CCL’s implementation team exceeded those expectations.”
“Rarely do we find partners who are willing to walk the talk as powerfully as Securitas and its senior leadership,” said Ren Washington, Lead Solutions Partner for Securitas. “One of the most inspiring things the senior leadership attitude helped create was how ready the AVPs were to be trusted and how excited they were to demonstrate they were worth the investment.”
It’s too soon to measure the precise impact of Accelerate — only one of 3 cohorts has completed the entirety of its work. Securitas plans to collect data on each cohort 6 months out using the Kirkpatrick Model, which analyzes and evaluates training programs based on reaction, learning, behavior, and results.
Success will be measured by concrete actions and behaviors related to collaborating across boundaries, leading high-performing teams, developing and retaining talent, and leading with an innovation mindset.
That said, informal feedback thus far shows the initiative has created a palpable — and unprecedented — level of excitement about learning among managers at Securitas. While the first cohort of AVPs came into Accelerate a bit skeptical of what they would learn, that quickly changed when they experienced what the program had to offer in the very first immersion.
“They were coming in not really knowing what to expect and they left extremely inspired,” Elliott said. “That’s one word that we’re hearing over and over again from our leaders after the first in-person immersion is that they’re inspired — they feel valued, they feel listened to, they feel vulnerable, and they feel like they have a lot to learn.
“Their passion and enthusiasm showed so much that the second cohort came in really excited. That was a beautiful shift, especially with leaders who have been with the business for 20-plus years.”
And the shifting did not stop there: Accelerate has ignited an awakening about leadership development among the company’s highest ranks.
“While our senior executives know that we need to build the capabilities of our leaders to meet our business priorities, they are also holding a mirror to themselves,” Elliott said.
“They are thinking about leadership development holistically and they are asking themselves what they might need to change to be able to lead more effectively and move the company forward.”
A Leadership Journey: Measuring Success
Success will be measured by concrete actions and behaviors relating to:
Collaborating across boundaries: Reaching out to colleagues and teams to partner on best practices. Creating direction, alignment, and commitment in critical relationships.
Leading high-performing teams: Reporting high levels of direction, alignment, and commitment. Reaching KPIs more quickly and consistently. Cultivating high trust and accountability.
Developing and retaining talent: Creating a culture where employees feel ownership and accountability and feel supported in their professional growth.
Leading with an innovation mindset: Leveraging other AVPs to think about and propose new innovations. Increasing willingness to take a risk and fail fast, and to share mistakes and lessons learned to promote innovation.
(what participants said)
increased their effectiveness as a leader
felt prepared for future leadership responsibilities
increased awareness of the impact their behavior has on others
“Executive coaching helped our AVPs to be introspective. Being so used to solving problems and focusing on others, it was eye-opening for them to learn that leadership starts with themselves. As a result of coaching, AVPs felt empowered to navigate challenges in their work.”
Robbie van Kippersluis
Director of Talent Development
“Working with CCL really opened my eyes … I went into the Accelerate program hoping it would be beneficial, and I came out of the Accelerate program embracing the training as quite possibly the best individual training in my 29 years with Securitas. The format, content, and full collaboration between my peers and the CCL management team have made a difference in my performance and, more importantly, my leadership. I learned how to listen more, ask more questions, and embrace transformational change. The core principles of Lead, Teach, and Mentor have been implemented into my daily routine with my valued team members.”
“Learning more about providing and receiving good feedback has been a game-changer. Today, I am alive and aware of how having great conversations provokes better engagement and astounding outcomes for me and my people. I consistently let others in my organization know the impact CCL has had on me and encourage them to immerse themselves in the program when they get the opportunity to attend.”
“Since this program, I have woven newfound insights into my leadership fabric, fostering collaboration, innovation, and a vision to propel both my team and myself toward a greater success. They breathed life into my leadership style, infusing it with the reminder to lead with empathy, vision, and the courage to pioneer meaningful change in my workplace.”
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