Where Experience Meets Coaching
Global technology & manufacturing company decides to move HQ:
Coaching of key managers mitigates impact.
Situation: Hired to coach three mid-level managers. Halfway through the assignment the company announced that their office would be closed and relocated. The company planned to have many of the non-relocating employees work from home.
Approach and Insights: Having completed the base elements of the program, we discussed the impact of the announcement, what could be done to mitigate its impact and how what they had learned could be used to smooth this transition. We continued these discussions all during our weekly telephone and monthly face to face meetings through the program’s end. Each manager utilized what they had and were learning to materially aid their decision-making processes regarding personnel and how best to approach the myriad of issues the announcement created.
Impact: Issues of staffing were raised in advance of key employee’s leaving. Under performers were managed out of the company. The transition to new offices was accomplished with no major disruptions of service or support to customers.
Company calls in coach to sort labor management relations as a necessary prelude to achieving demanding production targets:
Mediation and coaching create atmosphere for settlement of complex grievances and path to working together as a team.
Situation: A series of management changes over time resulted in a less than optimal relationship between a well organized and knowledgeable bargaining unit and a management team that had yet to completely coalesce.
Approach and Insight: First objective – settle the grievances. A series of “mediation” like sessions were held with management and labor and, eventually, with both in the same room. Compromise was achieved when it was made apparent that the outcome could only be “win/win or “lose/lose”. There was no case where one side could “win” and the other “lose”.
Second objective – manage a workload of historic proportions. The grievance settlement allowed the parties to come together. They developed an understanding as to just what would be necessary from each to achieve the unprecedented, required level of output. Team skills improved during a series of coaching/team building sessions. Bargaining unit leadership and management met regularly to discuss concerns of both parties as they became apparent. Eventually, both sides anticipated necessary adjustments to the benefit of all.
Impact: All grievances were settled, and record production was achieved.
Acquisition of old-line manufacturing company by its much larger competitor:
Largest plant in acquired company must integrate and rewrite the labor agreement at the same time.
Situation: The largest plant in this relatively small manufacturing company becomes the focus of the much larger acquiring company’s plan to integrate the acquired company.
Approach and Insight: First objective – meet the demands of integration. We did several team building/change exercises with the plant’s leadership that allowed them to see the larger picture, that the acquiring company sort to achieve. We provided tools and operational insight that allowed the team to “unlock” from the old ways of doing business and embrace the new ways of the acquiring company.
Second Objective – obtain a labor agreement within the bounds of the acquiring company’s financial and language requirements. The bargaining unit needed accept a contract materially different, although no less rich, than what had been historically negotiated. Working with the acquiring company’s labor expert, a plan was devised and implemented that drove negotiations to impasse. Once at impasse the bargaining unit leadership accepted that it was a new day. That the old way of working through contract requirements was no longer valid. The contract was voted on and implemented without an unfair labor practice being successfully brought.
Impact: Integration was achieved and the contract was successfully negotiated without a strike or successful unfair labor practice.
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