Evonik Oil Additives Canada
Evonik Oil Additives Canada is a subsidiary of Evonik Industries. Back in 2013, the executive team realized that they were struggling to work together effectively which was coming through loud and clear to head office of Evonik Industries. Since Evonik Industries had already engaged with a Table Group consultant based in the US with surprising results, they decided to call upon STRIVE!, the Canadian consulting partner to The Table Group, to take this team through the same process and become more cohesive and strategic.
A Table Group consulting partner initiated this work by conducting a 2-Day Leadership team offsite. The pre-work for this session included the Table Group’s Online Team Assessment as well as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality assessment.
The team immediately experienced improvements in their interactions and decided to bring the consultant back for follow-up sessions over the course of the following year. According to Dr. Andrew Swann, team leader, one of the biggest catalysts for change was the willingness of the team members to put into practice what they had learned. It’s one thing to talk about organizational health. It’s entirely different to do the hard work of putting it into practice.
The results of this team’s efforts have been impressive and far-reaching. No longer are team members holding in anger and frustration, but rather the open dialogue, increased communication, and collective buy-in has resulted in more collaboration and an aura of enjoyment within the workplace.
Umicore Burlington is a mid-sized manufacturing company with 150 employees on three shifts. The plant manager and human resources positions had experienced some turnover in recent years. There was also a sense of complacency that was creeping in that these leaders particularly wanted to address. After reading The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, they decided to get help with confronting these challenges to transform the organization.
A 2-Day leadership team offsite was scheduled. Prior to the offsite, the team engaged in a MBTI (Myers-Briggs) assessment and the Table Group’s Online Team Assessment. This tool measures a team’s susceptibility to the Five Dysfunctions. Their report indicated that the team particularly needed to focus on trust and conflict.
After reviewing the Five Dysfunctions model, the team was able to see their challenges in a new light and be inspired to face their shortcomings. The plant manager demonstrated humble leadership by making this transformation of the leadership team a top priority. Together with the human resources manager, these two individuals set an example of building a foundation of trust, with healthy conflict, and improved communication. Their standard of excellence set the bar high and raised the expectations of fellow team members.
During the initial offsite and several follow-up sessions, the team worked through exercises and made impressive progress in their ability to trust, have productive conflict, and clarify their purpose, mission, and strategic anchors. Many of the team members did not believe these strides were even possible.
Meetings were another area where the team experienced dramatic improvement. What was previously a “meeting stew” of many critical issues, meetings were revised to be regularly scheduled productive times focussed on the most important elements rather than the most urgent.
This team’s dedication resulted in better decisions being made faster. When turnover occurred within the team, new members were brought on board that were committed to building the leadership team. Every new member participated in the Myers-Briggs assessment providing a first step to understanding one another’s personality, leadership style and team dynamics.
The transformation of the leadership team led to more trust and empathy amongst team members throughout the organization. Communication was more frequent and efficient resulting in less rumours, and more clarity through all levels of the organization.
A year later, the team retook the Team Assessment with markedly improved results. While this team recognizes that they are not “perfect” they remain committed to exceeding corporate expectations. Their transformation from previous years continues to inspire outstanding performance from all levels in the organization.
Commonwell Mutual Insurance Company
This insurance company was formed through mergers and acquisitions. It had been several separate companies that eventually decided to band together into one holistic provider. The boards and senior leadership teams worked together to create one board and to fashion a new leadership structure. No layoffs occurred during the transition, although two individuals decided to retire. Others accepted new positions with different titles. The CEO, Tim Shauf, made it his personal goal to grow the company, to expand into new territory, and to be hiring new people to join the organization within a year. He met this goal before his deadline. The company was doing well outwardly, but inwardly was struggling with consistency, clarity, and trust.
A STRIVE! consultant was brought into create board clarity and senior leadership team clarity. The communication needed to come from the very top. It was clear early on that the board needed to unify on the strategic direction of the new organization. Once this was in place, the consultant turned to focus on the senior leadership teams.
The CEO was passionately committed to people within his organization. So much so, that a management team and an executive team was created; however, it was unclear which group was the decision-making body for which topics, or when it would act in an advisory capacity. This lack of clarity was a central focus of two offsites, until a new structure was developed. Throughout all of this, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality assessment helped to create better understanding of decision-making and factors to consider, with the Five Behaviours of a Team as a foundation on which to build trust, transparency, and accountability.
The team immediately experienced improvements in their interactions and decided to implement the MBTI assessment throughout the organization. They also decided to use comparison reporting to gauge their progress on how their team dynamics were improving, or failing to reach desired levels. (They are really tough on themselves!) The company has gone on to expand their territory even further, and to define their own standards for organization health. Decision-making has been faster. The clarity of the six questions has fostered better accountability and results. As we write this, they are currently expanding and hiring to fill new positions.