Success Story – John Hancock Insurance

Gail Schaeffer, John Hancock, Retail Long-term Care

Gail Schaeffer, vice president, John Hancock Retail Long-term Care, asked Cheever Communications to provide executive and corporate coaching to this multi-million dollar business group, which she founded and leads. “We faced a number of major business challenges,” said Schaeffer.

“I wanted to make sure that I was communicating with my team as effectively as possible and that the group as a whole was functioning in positive, productive ways.”

Initially, Elizabeth Cheever worked with Schaeffer as her “guide” leading up to the division’s annual planning meetings. “We developed a communications strategy for these sessions, based on the past year’s achievements and goals for the coming year,” noted Schaeffer. “With a better understanding of the communications needs and styles of each member, we created meeting strategy that enabled the group as a whole to reach discussions, with my acting more as a participant than leader.”

One year, the John Hancock division faced a special challenge. After a year’s hiatus, Schaeffer returned and realized she needed to re-energize the group. Cheever coached Schaeffer on management and communications approaches for doing this. On Cheever’s recommendation, Schaeffer announced an audacious goal: to grow the business by 50% in the coming year. This tactic “shook people up in a good way,” according to Schaeffer, and dramatically communicated that this was a new department with a renewed sense of purpose and direction.

The outcome? The division boosted its business by 75% that year.

“Cheever helped us – and me, in particular — better understand the dynamics and likely reactions of different team members in different situations,” said Gail Schaeffer. “Cheever helped us depersonalize difficult situations and proactively plan and manage these interactions better. With their combination of business knowledge and interpersonal psychology, Cheever is outstanding at focusing on communication and relationship management.”