Case Studies

Learn more about how our clients use the Forté suite to strengthen professional communications on a regular basis.

Thomas Jenkinson, Operations Director,  Actavo

A corporate case study on how to hire right first time, and retain top performers through performance coaching.

Thomas Jenkinson wanted to understand the indicators of top performance in field based roles.  Using this information, he drove a project to re-design a selection process to ensure the best candidates were hired first time, on-boarded and retained by the company.

 

“It’s not the silver bullet, but was certainly a nugget of gold for our process”.

Thomas involved a cross functional team including operations managers, HR, L&D, team leaders and field staff to complete a comprehensive data collection, interpretation and diagnosis exercise.  The purpose was to hire right first time for field based roles.  The outcome was to retain top performers for longer in the role.  Forté provided invaluable data points which in turn allowed new insights to occur which informed a re-design of the recruitment and selection process.

“I worked with Bríd Bourke on a project with an objective of using Forte Profiling to help better select candidates for field based roles which would enable us to retain recruits for longer.  The project began with trying to understand ‘what good looks like’ and then to profile that! This process involved profiling control groups of good performers and poor performers to achieve a base line of the two groups across the four variables i.e. Dom/Non Dom, Extrovert/Introvert, Patient/Non Patient and Conformist/Non Conformist. There were clear differences!

This science was then used to create a hiring guide and training programs for managers.  Interestingly we also learned that there were clear differences between the field based role versus the Team Manager’s role. Traditionally we would go straight to the high performing field based employees when filling a Team Manager role.  This did not always work out well.  These new tools allowed us to make more informed decisions when selecting new employees and has had a real impact on our retention numbers. It’s not the silver bullet, but was certainly a nugget of gold for our process”.

 

Terry Clark, Director of Sales & Training, Ply Gem Industries

Coming from a military background, Terry Clark knows how crucial good communication skills can be within an organization.

Today, he works for Ply Gem Industries, which is the third largest manufacturer of residential windows in the United States. Its largest clients are Lowe’s and Home Depot, and they also sell to lumber yards across the country. Ply Gem sells both new and renovated windows, patio doors, and sliding glass doors.

“Forté is three dimensional because of the tools that accompany it. It is an ongoing process and it tracks you. The ultimate feature of Forté is that once you trend out over time, you develop a profile.”

Since Terry has been working with the Forté Interpersonal Profile for so many years, he has been able to use it “over a thousand times” with organizations ranging from Fortune 500 companies and different types of government, including the military. Working with Ply Gem, Terry uses the Forté Interpersonal Profile to coach their current employees and he also has used it throughout the hiring process. “We needed to start recruiting those who were successful. We profiled our bottom third and our top performers (top 4%) to see if there was a trend line profile. There was. Once we identified that, we began recruiting. We found that when the Forté profile along with their background, product knowledge, and communication skills, all aligned, we were more successful with getting that person into the selling mode than other groups.”

Terry believes that the only way to use the Forté Interpersonal Profile is with all the tools in place. Using all phases of the “tool box” is the correct way to do it.

Rob Berkley, Managing Partner, Group MV

After working with the Forté for almost 15 years, Rob Berkley uses the Forté Interpersonal Profile to coach companies and individuals as an executive coach and management consultant for his company Group MV.

As an experienced user, Rob says that there are several reasons why he uses the Forté.

“I think Forté is really fabulous. The other profiles I like for different things. But when it comes to communication styles, preferences, team building, and team communication, nothing comes close.”

First, he values the high level of accuracy the profile gives. Berkley explains that he rarely has to convince people that the results are correct because his clients freely acknowledge that they are extremely accurate. Secondly, he says that it is extremely easy to explain to clients. Thirdly, he states that the Forté profile is easy to understand. Lastly, he loves the fact that the Forté Profile is context sensitive. “I can do [the Forté profile] with my relationship with my spouse, partner, or work mate,” Rob said. “Where my primary profile is always stable, my adapting context can be adjusted to the situation.” Putting it simply, Rob says, “It’s not a one Forté fits all, it is as many profiles that you need to completely understand all the relationships in someone’s life.”

Recently, Rob worked with a team to help improve their communication with one another. This group, which was already operating successfully, still had a desire to improve their communication with each other. After only a few short hours walking through their primary profile results, the team felt that any friction they had with each other had been resolved. The team began to feel much more connected.

To sum up his appreciation of Forté, Rob says, “I think Forté is really fabulous. The other profiles I like for different things. But when it comes to communication styles, preferences, team building, and team communication, nothing comes close.”

Kay Hohn, Personal Consulting and Senior Partner, Brimstone Group

Opening her own business ten years ago, Kay Hohn has been using The Forté Interpersonal Profile since the beginning of her company.

Since working with the Brimstone Consulting Group, Kay has utilized the profile with large and small corporations for the last eight years.

“Forté offers insight that leaders and clients can walk away with. They end up having another perspective on how they are viewed, how they operate, and how they can more effectively communicate with others.”

Kay has been able to see how the Forté profile can improve communication between organizations of all different sizes and types. Kay was first introduced to Forté because of her affiliation with Executive Edge and Kim Ramsey. Kay has now incorporated Forté into her own businesses ventures. “75 percent of my use [with the Forté profile] is on an individual basis, part of executive coaching and then the other 25 percent would be doing team building,” Kay said.

Kay has seen the benefit of Forté on all levels because she has the ability to use the product in both large and smaller companies. On an individual basis, Kay explains, “[the Forté primary profile] is concrete. It gives a bit of information to work on, a plan to take action, and it provides a way users can utilize what they have learned.” While working with large corporations, “I primarily focus on leadership teams, the insight that Forté creates for members of a team and the differences among each other when I administer Forté,” states Kay. The teams are more effectively able to communicate with each other and act as a leverage of strengths among the team members.

One of her most memorable moments with Forté came about six years ago when she was using it with AOL. In this instance, the team of eight leaders were continually impatient with each other, and it was interfering with their productivity at work. After looking at their primary profiles, the leaders were able to see the differences with each other and how their communication was perceived differently than they thought. Kay continued the process by showing them their adapting profiles, which tracked the change in the group. Kay said that these two tools provoked the group to ask questions about how they could change their communication style to be more effective at work, while understanding how to use the different styles to get along the most effectively.

Cissy Bowman, Director of Communication for Mt. Lebanon School District, Pittsburgh, PA

As Director of Communication for the Mount Lebanon School District in Pennsylvania, Cissy Bowman understands the value of interpersonal communication.

As communication director, Cissy is in charge of all internal and external communication, branding, website content, communication planning, and serves as a strategic advisor to the superintendent and school board.

“Knowing that my organization is undergoing a major transition, reorganization, and because some of our root issues were stemming from lack of good interpersonal communication skills development in our administrators, I thought it was a perfect time for our organization to use Forté.”

Out of all the case studies, Cissy is the newest Forté client, having been exposed to it less than one year ago. Her first exposure to the Forté came from her daughter, a professor at the University of North Carolina Wilmington in the Communication Studies Department. Dr. Jeanne Persuit worked with Forté for her advanced Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) course where the class created a IMC plan to implement the Forté in higher education. Dr. Persuit sent Cissy a primary survey request to get her input about the profile. After seeing the group presentation of Dr. Persuit’s students and experiencing the Forté Interpersonal Profile personally, Cissy decided to implement the Forté in her school system to help improve communication.

Since Cissy has been using the Forté, she has noticed an improvement in everyone’s communication, especially between her and her boss, the superintendent. “We are at completely different ends of the spectrum. He is extremely dominant and I am patient. Some strategies that I needed to employ to better communicate with him were reinforced through the Forté report.” She said that after her boss saw his communication profile and realized that he was the most dominant person in the organization, the biggest risk taker, and the least patient, he has a better understanding of how he needed to communicate with his coworkers.

As a new user to Forté, she believes that, so far, the interaction report has been one of the most useful and beneficial tools that Forté offers. “It brings it down to one-on-one communication and that is what I am really interested in. My job is about creating relationships and being able to strengthen skills of a person I am interacting with,” Cissy said. “When I look at an interaction report of two people who have not worked together before, it gives me more to go on. I can work on the same page and adapt to make my communication more effective.”

Cissy ended her interview by saying that she is very thankful to UNCW and to Dr. Persuit for introducing her and her organization to Forté.

Dean Heffta, Director of Development, Water Street Solutions

Dean Heffta uses the Forté Profile with his consulting company, Water Street Solutions.

Unlike most consulting companies, Dean’s company specializes in consulting for agriculture workers, specifically farmers.

“Over time, we continued to make Forté a part of how we engaged with the employees, employee-manager relationship, and as team members. When we bring clients in for client meetings, we will take them through a Forté session. The results are well received, especially since it is farmer families generally who are using the profile. There are two from each operation that come in for a session and they usually have never been through an exercise like that. They love it.”

Introduced to Forté in 2003, Dean is a relatively new user compared to some of the other clients of Forté. Since he came to Water Street Solutions in 2006, he immediately saw a way to implement Forté into his consulting company. Unlike many companies, Dean walks his clients through the entire process and then has them work with an advisor on a weekly basis to make sure that they continue to use their results.

Since he has begun using the profile with farmers, Dean said that usually after one of his clients takes the profile with his coworkers, the client usually wants to take it with regard to their marital and family relationships.

Unique to many other users, Dean is able to see his clients use their profiles in their professional and private life. He says that there are two reasons that keep him using the profile. “The first reason is the simplicity of the survey. Most other tools that we have been around, and that I have been exposed to, simply take a lot longer to complete. The other thing that is really important to us about Forté is the adapting component. Allowing people to say: ‘I know I am different in that environment. This provides me the platform to communicate how I have adjusted depending on the environment.’”

Two of Dean’s clients have been married for 25 years. However, every time they went to a social function, they always ended up in a fight. The husband was an extreme extrovert, while the wife was an ambivert. She became an introvert when she was put in an uncomfortable situation. The husband enjoyed being sociable, and whenever the wife was left alone, she would get frustrated.

After the couple took the profile together, they understood each other’s different communication styles. They were able to solve their problems and they haven’t had a fight in four years.

Dean stated that as many as 40 percent of his clients are ambiverts. The Forté Interpersonal Profile is the first tool of its kind to acknowledge what an ambivert zone is and how certain people can act in different situations when they are uncomfortable or stressed. Dean says it is a relief to many of these clients when they go through their Forté profile and understand the ambivert zone that they are in.

“That was really weird,” is a statement Dean often hears from his clients, many of whom are shocked by Forté’s quick and highly accurate results. To Dean, the Forté Profile has been instrumental in understanding his clients in both their family relationships, as well as their relationships with their coworkers.

Amryl Ward, President, Award Consulting

As president of her own company, Award Consulting Group, Amryl Ward uses the Forté profile with a variety of clients, both large and small.

As a human resource firm, she provides solutions to private, public, and nonprofit organizations.

“Currently, as I own my own business, I use Forté for executive coaching and through the coaching process. It is a great way to jump start a relationship.”

She uses the Forté to provide strategic planning, coaching, team building, and to gauge the productiveness of their employees. She was first introduced to Forté in 1991 while she was working as Director of Human Resources for a different company. Hoop did a read-back for her organization. Since then, she has implemented the Forté Interpersonal Profile in her own professional life. Since the beginning, Amryl said her clients take to the Forté results very well; most of them say that the results they receive really help their organization. “I use Forté for team building, so often times I will find, or the client will find, that with new members on the team dynamics change. I get the opportunity to use the Forté Interpersonal Profile to bring them back together and start conversation about ‘Where are we? What’s my style? How’s my personal style affecting my ability to achieve the goal?’” To Amryl, the best way to incorporate the Forté into any organization is to use the entire process, of the primary profile, adapting profile, interaction reports, and the team builder report.

One of Amryl’s most vivid memories of when she used Forté with a client was when she worked in consulting for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. She had the opportunity to bring captains of the Celebrity Cruise and the Royal Caribbean Cruise together. Two employees of different nationalities, Greek and Norwegian, were forced to work together, but could not seem to get along because of their predetermined stereotypes of each other’s ethnicity. These conflicts, which were causing problems for the effectiveness of the business, needed to be solved. Amryl used Forté to bridge the gap between the two captains, showing that even though they were different, their communication styles were the same. “They got the opportunity to see that some styles were similar and they weren’t so foreign. Their dislike that they had for each other was not warranted because they were so similar to how they acted and communicated,” Amryl said. “They were beginning to see that the way they were communicating wasn’t wrong; it was just different.”

As Amryl continues to grow her business, it seems that she will continue to use Forté not just for the client’s benefit, but also for her own. “Frankly, there isn’t an instrument I’ve identified that gives that kind of information in such a simple way. Forté captures what is going on now. It is so relevant to the organization because it allows an organization to make improvement immediately without having to spend much wasted time. It really enhances performance.”

Jean Cullinane, President, Cullinane Consulting

Jean Cullinane the founder and president of Cullinane consulting, offered a unique view of the Forté Profile.

For the last 15 to 20 years, Jean has used the product with “training, team building, and an array of different human resource services for companies in Ireland.”

 

“One reason why I have stayed loyal to Forté all this time is because it is very easy to use. People can take it online, therefore there are no administration costs for me. The other reason is that I think it is very accurate and I have gotten good results from it.”

As a one-person company, it is important for Jean to know everything there is about her clients so that she can best serve them. Although Jean uses the Forté Profile mostly for developing individuals and teams, she says there are other ways to use it as well. “There are individual people who come just for help with their careers, a group in a company, or the company as a whole that wants help as a team.” Jean resolves the issues in a team by using the team builder report.

In her experience, she has found that Forté is a great way to get teams talking to one another and realizing the similarities and differences in their communication. “ I found that Forté is a very good vehicle for getting people to talk about how they can get the best out of each other in their work-related relationships. Also, with individual reports, Forté provides an insight into one’s communication strengths and weaknesses.”

Despite being an ocean apart from most Forté clients, Jean has had the same positive results issuing the profile. “I would say, overall, people have rarely defeated the results, people are very comfortable with them.” Jean has only found one instance where the profile was wrong for a particular person, and as it turned out, the individual had taken the profile based on how she wanted the results to be, not her true communication style.

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