Last year, alongside the pandemic, WarnerMedia faced a series of additional changes. In March, lockdown began and in April a new CEO, Jason Kilar, joined the business, bringing a new focus to the organisation. This resulted in a significant business transformation in Q4, reorganising divisions, flattening organisational structures, and broadening the scope and responsibilities of many leaders.
The leadership development team were working on a longer-term project to identify the WarnerMedia leadership framework and learning strategy aligned to it, but that work was going to take time.
“As I was meeting with leaders, a common and consistent theme emerged; the need to engage and support leaders right now to help them feel equipped to manage their teams effectively through the transformation,” said Tina Gupta, VP of talent development & employee experience. “This was not just about development or learning – it was about providing clarity, guidance and letting this group know – we are here to help you.”
In this case study, Tina Gupta outlines the launch and progress of WarnerMedia’s global interim leadership programme, LITE (Leading in a Transforming Enterprise).
Defining the challenge and desired outcomes for LITE:
Tina challenged her team to create an interim leadership development programme, with a goal of building skills and driving engagement by focusing on navigating through change, leading and motivating teams and supporting those in enhanced and broadened roles.
In just a few weeks, the team introduced a global interim leadership program called LITE (Leadership in a Transforming Enterprise). The programme was aligned to four emerging themes of the business strategy: focus on the consumer, build trust, seek innovation and lead with agility. The key outcomes were characterised as:
- Leaders understand the WarnerMedia business strategy, evolving business environment and broader market trends and practices
- Leaders understand what is expected of them to support change, motivate a team and drive integration across WarnerMedia
- Increased focus on collaboration, innovation and agility amongst the leadership talent pool
- Increase in employees’ trust and confidence in leadership, and increased overall engagement to WarnerMedia
The programme was aimed at leaders across the globe at the director level and above (~5,000 in total). They were playing the critical role of driving business transformation while supporting an evolving strategy, adapting to new expectations and supporting and motivating their teams through change.
It ran over a ten-week period – every few weeks, leaders received curated content focused on one of the four key areas/modules and allowed leaders to participate flexibly in a time and format that suited them.
Prior to the launch, participants were sent a high energy ‘sizzle reel’ in the form of a movie trailer, building excitement and using nostalgia for the WarnerMedia brands with a teaser of what leaders can expect from the programme.
This contained an invite from the CHRO, Jim Cummings, acting as a ‘save the date’. A video from Jason Kilar was played at the launch, encouraging leaders to make time for personal growth and to engage with the programme. This advocacy from senior leadership, alongside senior leader participation throughout, encouraged leaders to prioritise attendance.