How DigitalGlobe Developed Business Acumen in Newly Acquired Leaders with Capsim


Case Study – DigitalGlobe
The Challenge 

As one of the first private operators of remote-sensing spacecraft, DigitalGlobe’s brief history spans the life of its industry. Founded in 1992, the company went public in 2009 and brings in roughly $650 million in yearly revenue. Such extraordinary growth—in a field of constant technological change and risk—has its price.

John Hollander, a senior talent management executive, said, “in terms of human development, we’re just learning to walk.”

With acquisitions as a regular source of growth, less than 30% of the company’s leaders were at the company three years earlier, and 70% came through recent acquisitions or from the outside. Organizational boundaries and clarity eroded through rapid expansion and the effects of the interconnectedness of its markets, customers, technology, processes and systems.

The focus was shifting from not just government agencies but also to providing satellite imaging for the private sector. DigitalGlobe recognized it needed to build the skills to foster distributed leadership throughout the organization, an absolute necessity for it to deliver on strategic goals in the face of increasingly short-term expectations from customers and shareholders.

The Solution

The talent management team needed more than just a “class.” They wanted a complete leadership development program to give participants the confidence to take ownership of their own ongoing development at a very deep level.

Seamless integration of individual assessments, including the Hogan HDS and a 360 review, was simple. Building business acumen, leadership effectiveness, and relationships across functional and international boundaries were key learning goals.

Working closely with Capsim®, DigitalGlobe shaped a live business simulation experience designed to develop strong customer focus, awareness of KPIs, decision-making based on strategic engagement, and self-awareness.

Delivering on the company’s learning objectives and providing behavioral insights, feedback in real-time, and immediate practical application back on the job, the Capstone® Business Simulation hit the leadership “sweet spot.”

The Impact 

The impact of the simulation was so powerful that 100% of participants wanted their colleagues to take the same training. Even better, 96% said their team’s performance and business results will improve as a result.

With its clear focus on individual development needs, the simulation provided each participant an immediate opportunity to work on their personal learning goals. As one leader said, “I came in thinking this was a game, but then all my stressors showed up!”

DigitalGlobe’s leaders are now “asking the right questions,” according to Thom Kinney, organizational development senior manager. “Like what’s the competition doing? What do my customers need? How will our decisions impact the rest of the business? And do we stick to our strategy, or has the environment changed so much we need to adjust?” One leader even began using segment maps similar to those used in the simulation to map out his own units strategic product plan for the future.

Discover the products DigitalGlobe integrates to build future business leaders.

Business Simulations

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