Electronic Arts

Electronic Arts

BACKGROUND:

It may surprise you to know that in terms of revenue, sales of video games surpass any box office success in Hollywood. EA (Electronic Arts) is the biggest video game company in the world with a reported nett annual revenue of US$4.02 billion (fiscal year 2008). Currently, EA's most successful products are sports games published under its EA Sports label, games based on popular movie licenses such as Harry Potter and games from long-running franchises like Need for Speed, Medal of Honor, The Sims, Battlefield and the later games in the Burnout and Command & Conquer series. The Asian regional office oversees the most diverse range of countries, facing many potential barriers such as language and culture.


NEED:

Jon Niermann, the President of EA Asia Pacific, is responsible for working with all country GMs and reporting back to HQ in the USA. As they are dealing with projects that span the region, the country leaders of EA need to be particularly switched on. During the country managers meetings, there can be no room for politicking or personality clashes the team simply needs to get the job done as quickly and efficiently as they can. Jon's desire was to ensure that all meetings stayed focused on the real issues and effectively reached their goals, so he engaged Tirian to work with this team each time they meet and assist with facilitating team processes.


SOLUTION:

After important meetings with both the President and HR Director, it was decided that a long term strategy needed to be adapted, whereby the Tirian facilitator, in this case Director Andrew Grant, would offer some type of practical structure and guiding input as well as facilitating group processes to reach the predetermined business outcomes.

  1. The first meeting kicked off with the opportunity for the team to discover more about themselves and their unique leadership styles. Tirian's Dynamic Interaction program – which includes DISC behavior profiling – was used to help the team understand what strengths they bought to the meeting and what weaknesses they needed to be aware of. This helped to create a feeling of acceptance and trust, and the open environment established allowed the team to move forward more effectively.
  2. The second meeting then focused on challenging the team on their group dynamics and communication. Being a virtual team based across several countries, they realised that the communication is even more difficult, and that it was important to establish specific ground rules and guidelines for communication. Tirian's ‘On Thin ICE’ program was used to help the team discover the issues they faced at a team level.
  3. As the team built up trust in themselves and their peers, the Tirian facilitator was able to use the common strategies and language established in subsequent meetings with ongoing business facilitation.

OUTCOMES:

Any issues involving personalities were dealt with ensuring the team could focus on the important areas.

Communication matrixes were clearly drawn up and stuck to with clear goals as to who was to implement what.

Important Meetings where very difficult issues had to be dealt with took place in a positive atmosphere and moved much faster with all outcomes being meet. Careful planning with the director of HR ensured that the key business meetings were defined and executed with minimal issues. Any issue that did arise was quickly taken care of by the Tirian facilitator allowing all people to focus on the real issues.


FEEDBACK AND VALUE: (from the President)

Jon Niermann

“Before we worked with Tirian I was very reluctant and skeptical about using outside resources and consultants to help us with our business planning or team building. My past experience had left me underwhelmed with resource "expertise" and programs, so I looked at them largely as a waste of money and time.

This changed with my first experience with Andrew and team. Not only are they a pleasure to work with, but the Profiling was a powerful and useful exercise to help a group of industry leaders I was working with understand each other's thinking and decision-making process.

I then wanted to put my leadership team at EA through the process. It was very well received by the team as was a subsequent exercise on Antarctica. We've since worked with Andrew three times over the past year, and it's been great to have this continuity as a team with him getting to know us and see us grow with our interaction over time. I'm sure we'll continue to build our relationship with Tirian.“

Jon Niermann
- President Electronic Arts (EA) Asia
- TV Host Asia Uncut (Star TV)