business Training

Innovating for Results - Case Studies- Part 3


I was recently asked to blog about some of the successful consulting and training projects I have been involved with over the last two decades. There are many, but I will start with four of my favorites representing a range of industries. Below is an overview of Project #3.

Client # 3: The Gap

 Training Challenge:

 At a time when fashion retailing was in a widespread slump, The Gap was thriving. In spite of a general decline in sales, earnings were steadily rising and The Gap was the envy of the industry.

But the company’s leadership wasn’t satisfied. Certain the picture wouldn’t remain rosy if the company stood still, they embarked on an aggressive strategy of organizational reinvention and growth which called for virtually doubling the company’s size in just three years.

With such an ambitious goal, doing business as usual was out of the question. Everyone in the organization would have to start thinking and working in completely new and more creative ways.  How could they achieve this radically changed mindset in short order, throughout the company?

Training Solution:

The company decided to initiate the push for innovative thinking by making IFR the focus of their Regional Managers’ Meeting. At this meeting, the Gap’s top 400 managers went through and intensive and enjoyable one-day IFR workshop, followed by activities designed to reinforce their learning and help them apply the new language and skills to the specific challenges they faced at work.

The Results:

Managers immediately began using IFR terms, skills and tools in their daily work. In fact, the impact at the managerial level was so striking that The Gap promptly launched plans to extend the program to its 1700 stores worldwide. Convinced IFR would dramatically help boost the ability to reach their three-year goal, the company made the program a key tool in their push for growth.

For example, one of the outcomes of the IFR workshop was taking a fresh look at the layout of Gap stores. As a result of the workshop several changes in shelving strategies, product placement and sales counters were implemented in all stores.

Client Comment:

 “This has been one of the most impactful and positive programs we’ve ever run. Management immediately saw the performance payoff if we spread IFR through the organization quickly enough.”


* IFR is the newly released and expanded version of “Break-It! Thinking.”