Case Study: Executive Onboarding
Accelerating the introduction of a new executive to a poorly functioning team and business
Medium $68,000,000 (700 employees)
Situation: The primary manufacturing plant of a North American subsidiary of an international company appointed a new General Manager (GM) in hopes that he could turn around the plant. The plant was more than 100 years old and had been acquired by the parent company several years earlier. The plant was in massive disrepair, productivity was waning, and a history of cronyism resulted in lax manufacturing and safety standards. Although the new GM was being promoted from within, this was by far his largest assignment, and he was moving across continents and cultures to manage an organization that was wary and resistant. The challenge was to accelerate his entry into the organization and help him identify key issues to be addressed and key people around whom he could build a new team.
The MBEC Difference
MBEC interviewed management, created an initial 90-day plan, and facilitated management retreats, enabling the new GM to begin the plant’s turnaround process and create a long-term strategy of continuous improvement.
- Understanding the Business: Although the new GM had a basic knowledge of the business, this poorly functioning plant in a distant country and foreign culture required him to have a stronger command of the issues to be faced and the order in which to face them. It was decided that a consultant from Myron Beard Executive Consulting (MBEC) would interview as many members of the current management team as possible to understand better the current strategy, structure, and basic processes, as well as the strengths, concerns, and priorities of both manufacturing and personnel.
- Creating a 90-Day Plan: On the basis of these interviews, it became clear what the key challenges were that the new GM would have to address, with regard to the near-term strategy, structure, personnel, processes, productivity, and safety. MBEC assisted the GM in putting together a comprehensive 90-day plan to address these needs and to begin prioritizing the areas to be addressed.
- Management Team Building—The Big Reveal: A two-day management retreat was held, at which time the themes of the interviews and the GM’s new 90-day plan were presented. Through the use of smaller breakout groups focusing on specific elements of the information, the 90-day play was revised and/or validated. The conclusion of the retreat was a final presentation of both the 90-day plan and the issues the management team needed to address in the development of a near-term strategy.
- Working the Plan: Following the retreat, MBEC assisted the GM in revising his 90-day plan and prioritizing what needed to be addressed to begin the process of “righting the ship.” He had to make some difficult personnel decisions, realign his management team, and begin the process of changing the culture. He did this through changing structure and processes to increase productivity, creating a greater focus on safety and environmental issues. He demonstrated the courage to make tough decisions and address legacy processes that no longer served the business.
- Follow-up Management Retreat: Three months after the earlier retreat, the newly revised management team met to review progress to date on the initiatives undertaken from the 90-day plan. As a team, they began creating a strategy for the following business year. In addition, through an assessment process, they were better able to understand how they communicated and made decisions as a team.
Outcome: The extensive MBEC management interviews, the creation of an initial 90-day plan, and the facilitation at both management retreats resulted in the GM being able to begin the plant’s turnaround process and create a longer-term strategy of continuous improvement. During the next several months, the productivity at the plant improved dramatically, serious environmental issues were addressed, and the newly formed management team began to move from the inherited laissez-faire culture to one that was more performance-based.