Team turnaround – Silos and firefighting to alignment

From fire fighting, blame and poor service delivery to trust, having the real conversations and pulling together to deliver a share purpose and priorities.

The Challenge:

The leader of an EMEA Supply Chain team in the energy sector contacted us. The organisation was in fire fighting mode and retrenching into silo working and blaming. Service delivery was poor with falling IFOT numbers and increasing pressures and frustration from customers and sales teams.  When asked what was going well in the discovery calls, one leader said “honestly? Nothing” – it wasn’t all bad and they wanted a turnaround in results and team spirit.

What we did:

Conversations with each of the leadership team and key stakeholders ‘lanced the boil’ and held up a mirror to the team.  In our first workshop we created the space to hear each other, air concerns and get to grips with the real challenges.  They realised they all wanted change, success and a sense of satisfaction and shifted from stuck perspectives to curiosity.  They articulated their “Why” and their shared endeavour to turn things around.

We we then invited to build sustained change with 6 virtual and face to face events over 18 months.  Themes included building alignment, the quality of attention and listening which underpin great decisions and thinking, clarity of focus on priorities.  It was tough to break out of fire fighting mode and make trade-offs when facing competing demands from the business.  Ultimately we transferred facilitation skills to the team to enable them to continue without us.

The result:

The team moved from working in silos, blaming and frustration to open conversations, confronting issues and focusing together on turnaround.  A longstanding dynamic was addressed which freed the leader and team to move on, gel and be more visible together with the wider organisation. It took courage to challenge each other’s behaviour. This led to decisions about changes in regional manufacturing strategy and improved service delivery.  Team members reflected “we have made big strides in being more open, honest and challenging with each other. We have also become more confident as a leadership team and present a stronger perception with our business partners” “we act much more as one team and also behave like one team and  help each other in difficult situations”

“We have really improved in terms of discipline, delivery of what we promise and our ability to go into details.  Planning and performance are very clear and discipline and good engagement from the countries. Much more control. It means we focus on the right priorities.”  

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