The corporation was facing comprehensive, world-wide changes. Leadership quality was seen as its core. Changes in organizational structure affecting roles, functions, responsibilities, processes and procedures were imminent. Excellent leadership quality was defined as the key asset to a successful change. Therefore, leadership abilities needed to be brought into focus and enhanced. Approaches and methods were chosen to enhance leadership qualities. The condition was that all leaders should approve the chosen approach.
First, a common understanding of leadership, of ways of executing power, as well as a common guideline were necessary to prove its importance to successful structural change.
Therefore, the implementation of a new leadership assessment system was planned. Criteria were developed to measure the leadership qualities of all management. Those criteria were then transformed into measurable figures to provide a sound basis for the new assessment systems.
By means of a communication process, trust in change and in the implementation of the new leadership assessment system was built up. The urgency of the situation in status-quo, and the roles of leadership needed to be understood. Several leadership-workshops resulted in a clear perspective for the change process. All colleagues were integrated in this phase to increase the acceptance of the changes.
During a large change conference, a general consensus defined and determined all leadership assessment criteria, required leadership abilities, and essential values to give the structural changes a stable framework. As a result, the leadership gained confidence that a smooth implementation and use of the system were possible.
The corporation needed to adjust to new market requirements, and therefore wanted to adapt a new strategy. Operational Excellence (an approach to improve performance) and Lean Six Sigma (quality management) had previously been introduced, in order to withstand rising competitive pressure. It was necessary to implement change methods in a robust way, and to stimulate an open-minded attitude toward change among the corporation’s 1700 employees. Especially, the high executives needed to acknowledge the necessity of change and act accordingly. Therefore, an additional goal of the project was to orient leadership qualities according to the new strategy and Operational Excellence.
As the corporation had maintained a stable market share for a very long time, its existence was never endangered, and the staff perceived the future as secure. Therefore, there seemed to be no urgent need for them to act. The imminent danger to the concern and to the site itself, of a possible expansion of the pharmaceutical market, needed to be communicated in a way that everyone involved could grasp the gravity of the situation.
Every single employee had to be addressed. Everyone was to be given the opportunity to change his or her mindset and led to feel more responsible for the future of the site. This approach seemed to provide the key for the economic stability of the site. Particularly the leaders were given a prominently responsible task within the change process.
All employees were involved in a month-long process that included a large change conference and a road show. The conference invoked a deeper understanding of Operational Excellence, and a variety of initiatives to foster the new strategy and to implement new structures to support change. A new leadership instrument was installed based on the results of the conference. Sustainability of the process results was secured by subsequently structured and facilitated meetings, several more smaller conferences, a continued flow of information, and a project manager who was responsible for the execution of all binding resolutions.
Due to the economic crisis in 2009, less turnover had been achieved. Although there were signs of improvement, the company’s consultants and managers needed to align with a new sales culture. They weren’t satisfied with passively waiting for new projects. They wanted to actively acquire them.
The unpopular task of selling needed to be re-envisioned. The employees called themselves consultants or managers and were reluctant to act as salesman to “earn” their own projects. Assignments were rather given easily by customers, and were mostly executed in the specific resort they were handed to. There was little cross-selling among resorts or products, in attempts to better fulfill the customers’ needs.
The participants were skeptical, but a sustainable process had to be initiated to replace the short-lived measures that had been previously taken. Consultants and management needed to be involved and become inspired about selling, which they had not perceived as important before. The competitive patterns among consultants and between sales-regions needed to be broadened, and team-openness and team thinking had to increase.
The process started centrally with a large international change conference, and extended to each country and region with implementation conferences.
Credibility and trust in a sustainable process among the consultants was achieved through a rigorous and goal-oriented procedure. Also, increased trust among the resorts became tangible.
The large change conference was a breakthrough in the corporate culture, and an invitation to re-think corporate values. It enabled participants to accept the new sales philosophy and triggered various implementation measures. The core of sustainability was a special roll-out concept with continuous and targeted communication, road shows, regional conferences, team meetings and various sales measures.
The company was weakened due to several waves of dismissals, a merger and years of austerity measures. New principles were needed to bring the people back together and help them stand up for their company. The focus on market and customers had to be sharpened.
The lack of motivation to work for this company and the diminished trust of the staff in its management needed to be overcome for a better future. The last development had inflicted too much pain and hurt. It was necessary to establish trust that the coming changes would be for the benefit of all.
A common understanding of the corporate history was needed, in order to rebuild trust. A reliable, trustworthy and economically stable perspective for the future was planned. With a rising feeling of contentment in the company, it became possible for employees to focus on the customers and market.
Via a long-term process, a team consisting of members of staff and management developed a guideline for the company. Using various kinds of communication, all colleagues were involved in this process. Their issues, as well as their feedback regarding milestone results were collected. Therefore, every single employee was part of the process from the beginning.
This guideline was presented during a large change conference, and finalized following a long working-process. Measures for implementation for teams, departments, hierarchies and the whole company were developed. This process lasted several years.
Involving every employee re-established trust in the process and in the future of the company. The efficiency and atmosphere of the workplace were measurably improved. The commonly developed principles have proven to be a stable foundation for positive change for the future.