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From Silos to Synergy: A Case Study from Siemens

November 22, 2013

We recently wrote about how Siemens Drive Technologies created a culture to drive performance. Siemens and Linkage presented the details of the journey at the Human Capital Institute 2013 Learning and Leadership Development conference in Boston this week. If you weren’t able to attend, we’ve got you covered—here are some key highlights from this story of organizational transformation.

Quality First: A good first step

The organization needed to address product and process gaps that were accelerating costs and contributing to loss of market position. The Quality First initiative focused on closing those gaps to reduce the costs of late delivery and field repairs that were eating into profits.

Drive Forward: The name says it all

The problem was that the culture was creating problems that held the organization back from sustaining the Quality First gap closures on an ongoing basis. The solution had to create a cultural transformation that would drive the organization forward. The goal of the Drive Forward initiative was to create a “changeable” culture that delivers best-in-class customer experiences and exceptional business results.

The agenda: Collaboration, commitment, creativity

Change teams composed of individuals from all levels of the organization were launched to focus on three key areas:

  • Collaboration – Facilitate networking and improve communications by establishing a communication protocol and implementing a new communication technology.
  • Commitment – Establish a culture of accountability and ensure that everyone understands their functional roles and responsibilities, as well as the impact of their decisions.
  • Creativity – Help ensure that everyone brings creativity to their function to create a positive impact on customers, products, and processes.

The approach: Plan at the management level; implement across the company

The organization built commitment with all stakeholders. Planning at the management level ensured that the company’s leadership understood the need for change. A core change team was then enlisted to develop a vision and strategy. Implementation was started by creating a sense of urgency and then communicating the vision so that employees knew how to take action to respond to the crisis. The final step: consolidate the gains.

Reality check: Keeping it sustainable

Both Quality First and Drive Forward initiatives were key to ensuring the right sustainable and repeatable behaviors were adhered to throughout the organization to deliver business results. Leaders from both teams met to review project plans, identify synergies or redundancies, and uncover opportunities for collaboration to ensure enterprise-wide success. The “reality check” enabled them to review project implementation and impact, identify potential obstacles, and understand the communication and education activities required to achieve sustainability.

Does the Siemens story strike a chord? Share your organization’s experience with cultural transformation in the comments below.

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