Manufacturing Company- From an Entitlement to a Responsibility Culture
A large global manufacturing company approached People for Success to support them on changing the culture of one of its sites. The site’s Senior Leadership Team acknowledged that in order to bring their vision to life, they would need their people to change their mindset from ‘it’s all about me’ to it’s all about us.’
This was always going to be challenging as the company’s culture reflected an old ‘public service’ mentality of doing as little as possible and getting as much entitlements as possible. The site was once owned by the Government and the culture was given little attention until its lucrative government contract came under threat. This meant that unless there were major improvements in efficiency, productivity and output, the site had a very limited lifespan.
The site was known to have strong “entitlement mentality”, which actually contributed to a “sickie culture”. The site managers believed that employees were misusing sick leave entitlements and were not being questioned for this as well as other suspected behaviour.
The entitlement culture resulted into poor morale, disengaged workers, low productivity and cost the company an average of $5,332 per employee per year with a total cost of well over a million. Given the flow-on affects of having an entitlement culture, the cost could had been double, if not triple.
The supervisors and managers were frustrated with their staff. They had given up raising performance and behavioural concerns and rarely took disciplinary action when it was required. The Human Resource team appeared to be risk adverse and was more concerned about avoiding union discussions and tribunal issues. The team, in fact, failed to look at risk from a broader perspective. For example, “What is the risk with customers, team morale, productivity etc. of tolerating poor performance and behaviour?”
On the positive side, the Senior Leaders were ready to step up and take action to shift the entitlement culture into the strongly desired culture in order to establish a unified culture of accountability.
People for Success conducted a thorough study of the site. A series of interviews and focus groups were held throughout the site to gather information about the challenges and needs of the employees. The key findings from the interviews can be summarised in the following comments:
- “It doesn’t really matter how good or bad I perform; I will have a job regardless of the quality of my work.”
- “I don’t really care whether the company is making profit or not.”
- “The managers’ job is to take care of every problem and decision, because ‘that’s what they are paid for.”
Contrasting these comments, there were some other employees in the company, who wanted to make meaningful contributions, but they found it very difficult.
- “I want to make improvements to the way we work. I have so many ideas, but the managers just don’t listen or make any time for it.”
- “Managers are so focused on getting product out the door and ticking boxes at the end of the day that they don’t see how much better we could be doing things.”
- “I’m sick and tired of the people around here who get away with doing little at work. They come here to bluff and because they are aggressive, no one pulls them up. It’s a joke.”
- “I want to give feedback to my staff, but HR and my boss tells me to let it go. It’s so frustrating.”
With a clear overview of the current culture and the desired culture of the company, People for Success tailored a Cultural Change Initiative that would build the leadership capability and cohesive leadership teamwork required to shift the culture.
The Cultural Change Program was divided into two stages:
The first stage of the program was designed to build cohesive relationships within the senior leadership team and the next junior level of leaders. A Top Team Alignment Program was delivered to each leadership team. This transformational program focused, among other things, on the following areas:
- Examine, through a 360 leadership assessment, how each leader contributes to the culture of entitlement. Given that culture comes from the leaders, it was first necessary for the leaders to take responsibility for it.
- Educate leaders about the strong impact that leadership and culture have on business performance.
- Develop a vision for the future, purpose for the work of the leadership team, concrete actions going forward to begin the cultural journey and obtain personal commitment from every leader to move forward with cultural change.
- Executive coaching, coupled with strong KPI’s, for six months for senior leaders, focusing on developing constructive leadership behaviours, strong inspiring messaging for the culture change and moving away from passive and/or aggressive leadership behaviours.
The second stage of the program was delivered to all staff having people management responsibilities. The program included all supervisors, team leaders, managers and senior leaders. We delivered a highly tailored and personalised version of The Authentic Leadership Program. The programme was broken into three, two-day modules and run over six months. The key objectives of the programme were the following:
- Gain a common understanding of the expected leadership and management behaviours for the site;
- Managers and leaders will have the confidence and skills to deal with issues of all people and better manage the production of the site;
- An improvement in performance, motivation and engagement of all people through a change in leadership styles, which will include the use of coaching, facilitation and inspiring communication;
- The site is able to embrace the change that will come with the new commercial arrangements with the government.
Seven months after the conclusion of the program, 87% leaders and managers felt empowered and skilled enough to have difficult, yet important conversations addressing performance and behavioural issues. 100% surveyed people believe that these conversations have significantly improved performance and morale.
84% employees on site are more engaged with the company after the program had finished.
The direct return on investment from the program is estimated to be over $2.1M for $0.5 M investment. (4 X Return on Investment)
It’s important to note that Lean was introduced at the same time to coincide with the culture change program. The programs People for Success organised supported the implementation of Lean, as it’s difficult to implement Lean with a culture, which is unmotivated to change and a leadership team without the skills to motivate people to change.
“I thought that this entitlement culture had nothing to do with me until I saw how my own thinking-style and behaviour were impacting the morale of my department. The 360 tool and the conversations on the LSI mat made me re-think how I am standing up as a Leader and what I can do differently.”
Testimonial by a Senior Leader of the Site
"Using the six hats methodology we were able to uncover all of the issues that contributed to us not delivering on time. The issues were around material supply, communication, teamwork, business model, leadership. Every person contributed and those people who would normally dominate discussions with only a negative contribution were silenced with the six hats metholodology allowing every person to contribute. Using the collective intelligence of the group we were also able to brainstorm solutions to the issues and set long and short term action plans going forward. We covered a lot of ground in 2 days. Using other methodologies it could of taken longer or worse still we may not have identified all of the root causes."
Bruce Hansen, General Manager Operations, Security Solutions and Services
"Kristyn facilitated a series of Leadership Team Alignment workshops for our executive group. Our senior leaders gained insights into how they see themselves, how others see them and how those insights can be used to improve our team’s performance. Following the investment in the program we not only saw immediate improvements in our leadership culture here at carsales, but longer term positive impacts to the way we lead and communicate."
Cameron McIntyre, COO
"The course was excellent, I came into the training thinking it's just another course where the trainer will tell us right from wrong and how it should be. I came away inspired to be a better customer service professional."
Silka - Customer Service Professional
“Kristyn’s approach to our team building event and complete understanding of what we wanted to achieve ensured an extremely effective outcome. It was obvious from the start that we were in good hands as Kristyn assisted both companies, define business goals and a strategy, then went on to create an amazing event with a complexity of team challenges including games and events which involved all of the team selecting what they wanted ‘more of’ and ‘less of’ within the Alliance which formed a list of ‘Shared Goals’ for the team. The valuable tools and processes utilised throughout the day left a lasting impression on attendees, with only positive feedback received. Kristyn’s ability to embrace and capture all types of personalities and styles is a tribute to her which left the team with a highly memorable and extremely beneficial experience.
Peter Munro - V1 Alliance Manager
“As a team we were able to achieve amazing results. Kristyn was persistent, challenging, sensitive and emapthic. I can truly say that we have never engaged with a company that has delivered us with so many improvements in the way we manage ourselves and our people.”
Wendy Cooper - Commercial Director
“I want to thank Kristyn, in addition to highly recommending her for her commitment to exceed expectations. I was fortunate enough to attend People for Success Authentic Leadership Program over a period of 12 months which involved sometimes confronting and challenging learnings. The impact on my leadership and facilitation skills is seen day in and day out. Not only has my team gained the rewards of this program I approach every situation differently today as a result of Kristyn’s guidance. This program has greatly assisted in my journey to be the best leader I can be and without this program I wouldn’t be doing and making the decisions I am making today. "