Program: NIKE Line of Sight
Timeframe: 2000 - 2007
Industry: Sports footwear, apparel, and equipment
Program Partner: Organization Systems International (OSI)
Nike's top executives wanted managers to better understand the impact of their decisions across the large matrix organization. A custom simulation-based program, developed with our partner OSI, gave worldwide teams of managers the experience of creating shareholder value together through fact-based decision making - ushering in a new era of prosperity at Nike.
- Nike's managers were passionate about sports and fitness, and had leveraged it into two decades of product innovation, brand leadership, and financial growth.
- But revenue growth and share price were stalled, and senior executives felt that important business decisions needed to be based less on emotions and more on facts and financial understanding.
- The global organization's large size and matrix structure made it difficult for managers to see how their individual decisions impacted overall corporate results.
- The fast-paced culture of Nike meant that any training experience had to be highly engaging and directly relevant to managers' day jobs.
To give senior managers a practice field for fact-based decision making and provide a line of sight across the company, so they could see how their individual decisions impacted the overall business results and shareholder value.
- In partnership with Organization Systems International (OSI), WholeWorks developed a four-day simulation-based leadership program (Line of Sight) to build competencies in fact-based decision making, finance, and business acumen.
- Over 1,400 senior-level managers participated in the program worldwide over a seven-year period.
- Prior to the development of Line of Sight, OSI developed a custom competency model for Nike. This model provided an integrated framework for Nike's ongoing talent development, including 360 surveys, and Line of Sight program evaluation.
- Executives at Nike played a direct role in developing the Line of Sight program. They also served as faculty, and sponsored follow-up projects.
- The centerpiece of the Line of Sight program was a three-day custom simulation of a fictional snowboarding company based closely on Nike's business model. The simulation reinforced Nike's performance-focused sports culture, while adding new financial decision-making skills. Nike opted for a custom simulation to ensure that managers were learning in the context of their unique business model. (See sample program materials below.)
- Participant teams managed the virtual business over seven years and applied financial concepts as they implemented their strategies in pursuit of growth targets.
- We used hands-on workshops to build participants’ skills in team decision-making and shareholder value creation; these new skills were immediately applied in the simulation (just-in-time learning).
- Participants completed follow-up projects where they applied what they learned to improve business results in their areas of responsibility and then reported outcomes to their executive sponsors.
- Because the simulation accurately reproduced the company culture and the cross-role tensions of the matrix organization, participants reported they could immediately apply their decision-making training in their daily work.
- The program helped the company develop a common language and framework for financial decision-making across the organization—a contributing factor to their strong growth in revenue (x2), profitability, and stock price (x3) over the next decade.
- Pre- and post-program tests showed that participants' knowledge of key concepts increased significantly as a result of the program.
- In Europe, participants formed Action Learning teams to apply what they learned in follow-on projects. The financial benefit from these projects was estimated to be in the tens of millions, providing an ROI that far exceeded the cost of the program.
- The program was awarded a Best in Practice Citation by the American Society of Training and Development (now ATD).
Valuable Learning Experience
The edge, Inc. simulation consistently received highest ratings from participants: 4.7/5.0 and above for learning value.
Representative participant responses to "Please share any overall comments about Line of Sight that you might have for your colleagues.":
- "Great seminar with a lot of practical value. Experienced skills of sharing, working together in groups, delegating and decision making."
- "Very useful training. Just do it!"
- Excellent, high level course. Good opportunity for networking!
- Great course, but prepare well. Be bold.
- Great course. Take advantage of the expertise already within the group.
- "Take advantage of opportunity – excellent course!"
- "This is the best program at Nike I’ve ever taken!"
- "Uncomfortable at first, great value at the end. Team building and fun."
- "Very good course – tougher and more exhausting than expected. Very tense/tough simulations days – felt harder than “real” life as we were in different roles than day to day. Very good course."
- "Overall, it was excellent…a great learning tool for Nike."