Case Study – Ascom Leadership Development Programme

Visible Value Leadership Programme - A Measurable Return on Investment

Ascom is an international provider of Mission Critical Communication solutions. The company focuses on the areas of Wireless solutions (for healthcare, fire-services, armed forces, care homes, hotels etc.) and Network Testing (for optimisation of mobile technology).

Oakridge worked with Ascom to deliver a Talent Development Programme for sixteen high potential leaders each year. The relationship was extended and Oakridge jointly designed and co-facilitated with the Head of Learning and Development for Ascom Group, an extensive Leadership Development Programme for twelve of the Senior Executives drawn from Europe, Asia Pacific and the US.

Our Approach

  • “Mission Critical Projects” became a central tenet of the entire Leadership Programme and approximately 25% of the programme time was spent on its further development. The other aspects of the leadership programme remained in place and indeed provided some of the challenge to thinking and tools needed. It was an intensive but highly stimulating four days.
  • Prior to the leadership programme all twelve delegates were required to generate ideas for revenue generation or improving operational efficiency. They could discuss this with colleagues and then submit a one-two page business case which was reviewed by the Board of Ascom. Their business case needed to be cogent, compelling and realisable within 60 days - demonstrating their ability as leaders not only to identify issues but to come up with solutions.
  • From the twelve submissions some six were selected for formal presentations at the Leadership Event to the CEO, and the other delegates. Based on the presentations a final vote took place and three projects were selected. Leaders needed to demonstrate their ability to make presentations, to persuade others, and to show-case their ideas to secure support.
  • During the main leadership development programme teams were formed to scope out the issues in more detail and to build project plans. This gave the opportunity for leaders to work collaboratively together and to focus on the task, the resources needed, and the risks. Again, key leadership skills to put into action.
  • Following the leadership development programme work continued on the Mission Critical Projects sometimes bringing in more team members. Fortnightly telephone conference calls were held augmented by written project update reports.


  • Leaders on the programme enjoyed having something practical and something “real” to do - it felt as if their talents were not only being recognised but also being used and the showcasing with colleagues and members of the Board clearly raised profiles. It was, in short, an opportunity to demonstrate real leadership capability in a high-octane setting and where the stakes were high.
  • Three “Mission Critical Projects” went forward and within the 60 days have reported as projects. During the next year it will be David’s job to track and measure the business impact, including the impact on revenue and on cost reduction. Already significant savings have occurred and some extremely valuable learning has been generated.
  • In addition, one of the projects made substantial inroads to the culture change needed from a strong technical and engineering driven organisation to a much more customer benefits focussed business.
  • Managing yourself in a virtual environment
  • Understanding your learning style and how to get the most out of your apprenticeship.
  • Sessions of circa 3 hours (to avoid Zoom-fatigue) involve interaction, group-work and application of topics covered plus time for action planning and linking the content back to the workplace environment
  • Interactive, experiential, and memorable learning is key which helps to build a network across the entire apprentice development programme


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  • Evidence from the past three years of similar “Business Impact Projects” set on the sixteen participants each show an outstanding visible value from putting leaders on the spot and expecting them to use their talent to produce results. It must be emphasised that the projects were over and above the “day job” and would not have happened if there had not been the leadership development programme. Their contribution to revenue and cost reduction were directly attributable to the leadership programme held each year.
  • In the first year: revenue gain and cost savings of £845,000
  • In the second year : revenue gain and cost savings of £1.26 million
  • In the third year: revenue gain and cost savings of £1.4 million