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Strategyzer & Mastercard: How A Global Workforce Speaks A Shared Language

Kavi Guppta

MasterCard is a technology company with a workforce that spans borders. See how Strategyzer and MasterCard worked together to scale a shared language for business modelling to over 1,000+ people inside the organization. The result: a workforce that can discuss and create value for the company. 

Note: Don't forget to RSVP to our next free webinar session at the end of this post. Dig deeper into the insights and learnings with Strategyzer co-founder Alex Osterwalder.  

Shared language was the ultimate goal for MasterCard. The ability for teams across the company (and around the world) to speak the same language when creating value for the business. And if you want a shared language in your company, you have to get the whole organization on-board. This alignment meant that teams could be more productive when communicating, and remove the blah, blah, blah from strategy discussions. Meetings are chances to talk about something, instead of just talking to each other.

The Business Model Canvas was viewed as a way to give Mastercard greater discipline on how to create value for both the consumer and the company:

“In the past, when we were looking at new product innovation, it was all about ‘what is the product and value proposition?’ There is nothing wrong with that, however, The Business Model Canvas enables us to not only look at the value proposition, but everything that needs to go into our ability to deliver on it: who are our partners, what are the key activities, what are our costs and how are we going to make money?”

— Leigh Bochicchio, Global Talent Development At Mastercard

Mastercard’s ultimate goal was to develop a shared language and culture of business modelling within the organization.

But that’s no easy feat to accomplish when you have a globally distributed workforce. The program had to be cost effective so it could be scaled internationally, and training would have to be tangible enough to make an impact inside the company.

To achieve this, Leigh Bochiccio and Eric Klisz (VP of Global Learning & Organizational Effectiveness) worked with Strategyzer to kick-off a pilot program that could eventually be scaled to a larger internal audience.

Strategyzer and MasterCard launched a pilot online training program with 60 participants. The majority of participants were from Mastercard’s product teams, and eventually included additional members from marketing, finance, and legal.

The original 60 participants gave Eric, Leigh, and Strategyzer the chance to observe how participants interacted with the training program, and to adjust the experience accordingly.

“We learned that you need both sides of the pieces: virtual and in-person experiences to drive cultural change.”

— Eric Klisz, VP of Global Learning & Organizational Effectiveness

Teams within MasterCard participated in Strategyzer’s facilitated online course through a  five week blended learning program. Each week the cohorts participated in the following:

  • Day 1-3: Self-guided online learning modules

  • Day 4: Practical in-person group exercise in teams of 5 (e.g. teams are asked to map out a Business Model Canvas together)

  • Day 5: All participants attend a live online call with a dedicated coach (who is also available throughout the week to help participants with challenge areas)

Mastercard leadership attended a separate one day on-site training session to encourage executive buy-in of the program, and to champion the tools and methodology across the organization.

“Critical to the success of any initiative is executive buy-in and the building of the discipline within the business process.”

— Leigh Bochicchio, Global Talent Development At Mastercard

The Business Model Canvas offers Mastercard teams a flexible tools to discuss new business ideas, or to share evidence gathered from the company’s experimentation culture.

“We’ve accomplished a shared language, that goes without saying. We’ve been able to sift through the noise. We have critical thinking, business planning, taking in different perspectives, rallying teams around ideas. Consolidating various products and being more strategic.”

— Eric Klisz, VP of Global Learning & Organizational Effectiveness

After completing the course, Mastercard ensures that the tools, methodologies, and approach are woven into the culture and process. Access to the Business Model Canvas and learning doesn’t stop once the program has ended. It has to continue.

At Mastercard, that meant designing frequent opportunities for teams to use the Business Model Canvas in brainstorms, lunch & learns, and product review processes. Mastercard has also expanded its training program to include Value Proposition Design

“The Business Model Canvas is a requirement of our global product review process. It enables the audience to very quickly understand the value we are creating for the consumer and to MasterCard in a language that everyone understands.”

— Leigh Bochicchio, Global Talent Development At Mastercard

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