Advancing Leaders Meets Corporate Ingenuity at Avis Budget Group
When major competitors launched a new offering, Avis Budget Group quickly responded to the challenge of a changing marketplace. Recognizing a need to invest in human capital to foster innovation and stay competitive in the shifting landscape, Avis also acknowledged that, within that goal, it was important to develop and retain a qualified, diverse workforce that included a greater share of female leaders.
Avis selected Linkage’s Women in Leadership Institute™ as a strategic element of its women’s leadership training and Global Women’s Initiative. Linkage took a customized approach to Avis’s participation in the Institute, deploying its Agenda for Change™ model as the framework.
Prior to attending the Institute, the 26 participating high-potential female leaders, alongside Linkage consultants, studied Avis’s relevant customer research, competitive intelligence, and the financial and operational implications of the new service. With that background in mind, the participants attended the Institute as two intact teams.
Beyond the standard Institute sessions and activities, the two women’s leadership training groups received customized on-site experiences that addressed their leadership development and business needs simultaneously. Both teams spent their time at the Institute and the 30 days following it working alongside Linkage facilitators to develop preliminary conclusions, recommendations, and action plans for a new, competitively disruptive service. They then presented their final conclusions and recommendations to Avis’s senior leadership team.
As a direct result of the teams’ recommendations, Avis launched the new Select and Go service in markets nationwide. This new offering provides a highly profitable revenue source that includes great benefits to Avis customers. Importantly, the program’s features are difficult to replicate, preserving innovation and protecting this new revenue stream.
One of the Institute participants was promoted to lead the development and launch of the new Select and Go service, and many other Institute participants went on to play significant roles in the development and rollout, as well. Avis continues to send a team of leaders to the Women in Leadership Institute each year for women’s leadership training and to address a strategic business initiative.
WHY IT WORKS
By pairing women’s leadership training with business needs alongside the organization’s goal for a more diverse, inclusive leadership, Avis was able to tackle three goals in one effort. In providing high-potential female leaders with an opportunity to develop something innovative and prove their capabilities, Avis was able to create something tangible that in turn led to new in-house opportunities for those leaders’ professional growth. And by doing well in their new roles, those leaders delivered immediate results to the bottom line while also providing a sustainable advantage.
Avis has continued this approach, maintaining its ideals, focus, and annual Institute participation to continue driving results, innovation, and acceleration for high-potential female leaders.