15 cities, 1500 people, 5 weeks. Corporate quest across Russian cities

 The main target of this large-scale event was to help the employees of sales department in different Russian cities to accept structural changes in their company.  

Place and time:

Spring 2009

Participants:

employees of sales departments in Russia

At present moment it is our largest project according to geographical coverage and deadlines of implementing. Below you will find the article printed in summer issue of the magazine “STAFF” in 2010.

 City orienteering for business targets

 Opening new factories, introducing new products to the market, diversification of business branches, merging and overtaking – any organization passes their particular stages connected with business development. Each new change touches certain targets for achieving which you need to use multiple resources, both human and financial. To solve a number of tasks it is necessary to turn to outer help – outer providers. At this stage – choosing the provider – it is decided whether the company will achieve its targets and whether the set objectives will be solved. Success depends not only on customer’s company but also on provider.

 In spring 2009 there were rapid changes in Wrigley company that were related to products, human resources and various business-procedures. The beginning of changes was marked by company’s merging with MARS. There were considerable changes in the structure – reassignment, changes in linear managers and sales representatives, division changes and their functions. Due to transmitting some brands of MARS under Wrigley’s control it was necessary to inform the sales personnel how to sell this or that product, how to present these brands on the market and so on.

 Simultaneously, there were also some rapid changes on global markets. Taking into account all the processes in inner and outer environment, Wrigley made up the decision to hold a large event – “Sales start: confectionary category” that was to cover sales department in Russian from top-managers to sales representatives.

 Evgenya Kamyshnaya, training specialist in Wrigley:

 “Several things stipulated the event “Sales start: confectionary category”:   First of all, changes in organization structure of sales department. Structural changes are challenging for each company. In this connection we had the target to inform the staff on the strategy, targets and objectives of the company for 2009. It was essential to explain the meaning of all the changes, show strong points of the company, its priorities, introduce new teams to each other and their direct chiefs. Besides, 2008 was a difficult year in tasks that the sales department had that is why we needed positive motivational momentum for the whole trade organization.

 Secondly, transferring brands Skittles, Starburst, Rondo and Tunes from MARS to Wrigley’s management. Training department had a task to inform in details about each brand in short time-period: positioning, assortment, promotion strategy, advertising support, advantages, reasoning.

 Finally, at that time the sales department hadn’t had conferences for quite a long time. There was a high level of emotional stress. That is why along with formal “getting-to-know” events we needed informal ones which would help to reduce the stress level”.

 

 The challenge is met!

 Training projects in Wrigley are usually held by inner department of training and development. But in this situation it was necessary to implement a project in 15 Russian cities for 1300 people, though we could involve only eight people from training department. It was decided to turn to outer resources.

 Several companies-providers that met nearly all the requirements received the order. The bidding went to SmartAction company that focuses on training in unusual conditions – through adventures. After selecting the final bidder Wrigley’s team chose one of the ideas offered by SmartAction – so called “city orienteering” based on unusual exploring of the city – a kind of excursion around the city with puzzles and unknown route.

 Ivan Petrov, the managing partner of Smart Action: “After getting the order for a program, we (SmartAction staff) were happy but at the same time a bit scared of the large scale. We had to hold a big number of events all over the country in tight deadlines. It was clear that we needed an unusual program. We decided to offer a quest as an alternative”.

 Evgeniya Kamyshnaya, training specialist in Wrigley: “We formulated the tasks and chose the best method for them in our opinion. Thus, we got several solutions which created general concept of the event. In the end we got the following program:

  • Business presentation of the chief (2009 resume, priorities, targets and goals of 2009. New structure and reasons for changing)
  • Presentation of new confectionary category
  • Game - Club of the cheerful and sharp-witted
  • Quest – with setting the target for the region, competitive spirit, summing the results, awarding the finalists and feedback from the chief of the region. 

  Further we supported this by a number of events – e-learning course “Confectionary category”, article in the corporate magazine with project’s results”.The targets of the project that was implemented by Smart Action were the following:

  1. To help all the employees of sales department to accept the structural changes.
  2. To introduce people to each other in vertical and horizontal levels.
  3. To explore the brands of MARS
  4. Feedback for linear managers (fulfilled by inner trainers of Wrigley) as to the following directions:
  • Setting the targets and achieving them – getting the highest score
  • Effective allocation of resources in the team
  • Team work and assigning roles in it
  • Team motivation for achieving the results
  • Help on the levels “sales representative – sales representative” and “sales representative – linear manager”
  • We are the “team” – who are we?

 

  In each city the program included teams that consisted of sales representatives and their chiefs who represented a particular region. The number of people in the team varied from 45 to 90 people. Each team divided into mini-teams according to the territory it represented (areas, etc.) There were 4 to 11 mini-teams in each city. Thus, three levels of personnel took part in the event: the region’s chief, the area’s chief and sales representatives. According to the hierarchy the targets were divided into two levels: for chiefs and for sales personnel.

 The objective for each team was to get the highest score while covering the route across the city in mini-teams and fulfilling the tasks that they received at the start. During the whole event the participants were looking for ciphered tokens, solved puzzles and riddles, fulfilled creative and intellectual tasks.

 Besides, the quest contained business-questions part. The thing is that the quest was preceded by the region chief’s presentation with aims and objectives for the year and the presentation of the field training devoted to brands marketing.

All these made the event not only informative, teambuilding and sport one, but also focused on business Wrigley’s business with its particular purposes.

 At the start the region’s chief (within quest framework – the chief of the team) got the “package with resources” which included a lot of materials and “tools” to help the participants to solve the set objective effectively plus the tasks themselves with rules and other essential information. In each city we prepared from 40 to 160 tasks depending on the number of mini-teams.

  The region’s chief faced the objective to allocate the tasks among the mini-teams in the most effective way. After allocating the tasks it became clear how many scores they could get if they fulfilled 100% of the tasks and what the plan for each mini-team was.

 It is remarkable that each chief was handling this objective in his own way. Some turned for help to their colleagues – area’s chiefs, some did everything on their own, and the others used certain logical conclusions while allocating the tasks. But it was obvious that the chief’s behavior matched 100% his behavior in actual business environment.

 When mini-teams got their tasks, everything grew chaotic. The strategies were absolutely different – some immediately left the borders of the room and went to “fields”, others were calm and planned their route after analyzing the tasks.

 The quest program had several parts of the tasks:

·          Tasks connected with history and culture of the city that contained some riddle or just reflected certain facts about this or that place in the city;

·         Tasks where it was important to show yourself not only as networking team but the Team from the capital letter. This could be some tasks with both physical activity and great creativity;

·         And of course some business tasks – while fulfilling them it became clear how attentive the participants were to the information given to them on the previous day of the conference.

 The routes were compiled so that the participant faced unusual situations all the time and had to show their skills, knowledge and team spirit, to cross the borders of usual thinking so to say. At the finish each mini-team gave their own presentation using the information that they got during the event and the fulfilled creative tasks. Again all showed themselves differently – both chiefs of mini-teams and sales representatives. In this process the chief got support from the inner trainer of Wrigley. One of the objectives for managers and trainers who assisted the program was to “build a bridge” between playing situation and actual business processes.

 The program finished with the film about the places which the participants had visited. Short historic information helped to restore the true picture of the city. Sometimes even the participants who were the citizens got surprised with new facts about their home city.

 Finished on time

 The set targets and objectives were achieved. Altogether the project in Russian regions (from Moscow to Vladivostok) included more than 1300 participants, among them 25 people were the chiefs of middle and high levels, 5 functional trainers and 6 field trainers.

 Evgeniya Kamyshnaya, training specialist in Wrigley: “We got the positive feedback from management team – inner customer and even more positive responses from sales department employees. The target was to inform 100% of staff of trade organizations within certain period and not to exceed the budget. All the employees covered training courses up to the deadline; all the events were held according to the schedule. Thus, the target was achieved”.

  Project’s results

 Evgeniya Kamysheva, training specialist in Wrigley

 The main results of the project:

  •  We filled the trade organization with all the new and essential information in the shortest time period with little expenses of human and financial resources.
  • The fact that the chiefs took part in the presentation allowed the employees to ask all the urgent questions and get answers straightaway
  • We reached our target on teambuilding.
  • The quest was held in 15 cities all around Russia. For employees it was an opportunity to learn interesting information about the cities, see things that are usually hidden from tourists.
  • Within the project’s framework we strengthened our relationship with marketing department, trademarketing and different levels of sales department – we cooperated on the objective and got a positive feedback from both project’s customer and all the participants. For our subject experts it was a new experience on creating training courses.

   Important details

 Ivan Petrov, managing partner of SmartAction

 -          How many people from your company worked on the project implementation?

While working out the project we enabled 4 people. At implementation stage we enabled from 4 to 8 people at different time. Some part of employees worked in the “fields” (in different cities where the event took place) and the other worked in Moscow. Such a scheme helped us to reduce the customer’s expenses.

 -    How long did each stage of the project take?

  As far as I remember we got the first order in January-February. We wrote the basic offer within a couple of days. Then there was a selection of project-providers over a week. One or two weeks more we worked further on the program together with the customer and planned our logistics (a very important issue in this project). The project was being organized for five weeks.

 Two teams of 2-4 people depending on the number of the participants in a particular city worked simultaneously. One of the teams moved across Russia (from Moscow to the Urals) by car together with “the office on-the-move”. The other team used planes instead of cars. In each city the teams had 2 days on average for preparing the project and one day for holding the event.

 During these five weeks everything was tightly scheduled. If there was plane delay it meant that our employees wouldn’t get enough sleep.

 Despite all the difficulties we are happy that we managed to implement the project 100%. It was a real challenge!