CLIMB Case Study: Building a high-performing global team

In this case study, we describe the challenges faced by a leading Financial Services provider, and how the MatchFit CLIMB model was used to deliver the objective of building a culture of trust and positive team relationships.


Managing a virtual global team of 40 people presents many challenges, even for an experienced leader. The Head of Marketing managed a team of very capable individuals working globally, but there were a number of ingrained behaviours across the team that needed to be addressed.

Lack of face-to-face interaction, together with working across cultures, time zones and with different nationalities created challenges that were difficult to manage. This resulted in mistrust among team members, a lack of team identity, poor collaboration and communication, and not having a sense of control over the collective agenda.

Aware that there were some complex personalities in their leadership team, the Head of Marketing recognised this as an opportunity to develop the team further. She sought a professional development solution that would enhance trust and drive increased collaboration and high performance at an individual and team level.


MatchFit’s expertise in working with global and virtual teams meant we were able to create a bespoke programme (CLIMB – Building a High Performing Global Team) that would deliver against defined success criteria:

  • Engender a sense of trust among the team by exploring and resolving issues
  • Support the development of a team identity which embraces the dynamic of ‘I have your back’
  • Explore individual and team collaboration and identify measurable progression
  • Ensure control and governance over the collective agenda
  • Develop commitment, intensity and motivation towards the above objectives through a development pathway.


Due to the virtual nature of the team, some of the sessions were conducted remotely and materials were available through a cloud platform. The marketing leadership team followed the three-phase MatchFit Development Pathway over a two-year period, which ensured careful analysis, design, delivery and measurement.

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Working with senior leaders and the wider team 

  • Focused on the ‘Identify’ and ‘Innovate’ phases which included:
  • Base Camp team workshop
  • Online survey
  • Interviews with managers and team individuals, including reflective feedback
  • Development of bespoke training modules.

Base Camp team workshop

A face-to-face offsite workshop for 40 people focused on the challenges and good practice of working in global and virtual teams. It generated conversations around some of the challenges and focused on what the team could do to move forward in order to build trust, identity, collaboration and gain a sense of control.

Online Survey

Post Base Camp, we conducted an online survey across the whole team, asking a series of questions relating to:

  • Their objectives and the challenges they thought were blockers to success
  • What support they might need to unlock those challenges
  • What development they might need to take them to the next level of maturity in their career.

Interviews with managers and team individuals, including reflective feedback

A series of interviews at a senior leader and team level were carried out to dig even deeper. This helped identify individuals’ development areas and we were able to reflect back what their line manager thought they were, to see if they were aligned.

Development of training modules

Based on all the research and feedback gained, we designed 10 training modules that could be delivered virtually to address the key development areas that had been identified. Examples included: building trust, collaboration and your role, developing your leadership style, black box thinking etc.


Working with the senior leadership team

Based on the ‘Initiate’ phase of the MatchFit Development Pathway, the key areas of focus below were agreed with the aim of strengthening relationships, collaboration and communication. In particular, unlocking tension between specific individuals within the team was also highlighted as an objective:

  • Leadership team dynamics
  • Individuals within it and their styles
  • Supporting the team through change.

This was delivered through:

  • Leadership team group sessions – setting personal commitments to change
  • One to one coaching including targeted development work with individuals to address behaviours that impact negatively on the team dynamic
  • Sensitive coaching and intervention work with individuals at a lower and more senior level to unlock tensions.


“A lot of the time, this kind of support feels like a ‘nice to have’ when you have a certain amount of budget for CPD. But what I would say now, going into year three, it has to be there. It’s enormously helpful to me as a leader and the people on my team. I don’t think we would want to do without this support. The coaching support I received has helped me navigate some of the complex personalities in my team who all demand a different approach.” Head of Marketing

The impact of CLIMB – Building a High Performing Global Team has been a success story for the Marketing team. The Head of Marketing has seen a dramatic difference across all of the team and in some individuals in particular. In the 2018 company Employee Survey, the marketing team’s Leadership Survey results were the best in the whole business by quite some measure and better than the ‘Best in Class’ external benchmark.

The programme leader and coach, was viewed as an external sounding board and ‘critical friend’ who helped team members focus on their goals and put strategies in place to address their development needs. The Head of Marketing was able to gain an external and independent view of their team.

In relation to the objectives set out at the beginning of the programme, success can be demonstrated in all areas:

Engender a sense of trust among the team by exploring and resolving issues

  • A significant shift is now evident regarding the level of trust within the team. Individuals are instantly more open and honest with each other about ‘work stuff’, so issues can be resolved before they escalate.
  • The team are now more open about sharing accountability across some of the delivery areas and less protective of their ‘turf’
  • The Head of Marketing has gained more trust with their team by empowering staff to manage the agenda on projects.

Support the development of a team identity which embraces the dynamic of ‘I have your back’

  • Most team members have ‘dusted off their sharp edges’ and are now demonstrating collective trust and accountability across marketing projects relating to a number of vendors and internal stakeholders.

To explore individual and team collaboration and identify measurable progression in this area

  • Three team members working together on the customer experience agenda have demonstrated great collaboration, trust and accountability which is delivering benefits to their customers.
  • As a result of the personal one-to-one coaching and intervention work, one individual has made the biggest change in their approach and behaviour, unlocking tensions within the team which has been noticed by the Executive team.

Ensure control and governance over the collective agenda

  • The one-to-one coaching sessions were extremely helpful in enabling team members to have a private space to talk about what was stopping them from doing/achieving certain things, and this has been helpful in guiding the collective agenda.

“There are a lot of facilitators and coaches who run programmes, but Bradley builds trust and engagement. He is not superior towards people, he comes down to people’s levels and that openness is what leads to results. People are not scared of being vulnerable with him – he is independent and not part of a big organisation” Head of Marketing

Do you have a team challenge we can help with?

Please contact Bradley Honnor:

EMAIL: [email protected] TEL: +44 (0)20 3145 0580