Ken Scobie General Manager Operations, Tokheim UK
In late 2015 we discovered that our company would be acquired by a major US manufacturing group. I saw this as an opportunity but also potentially a threat which led me to ask my Leadership Team to think about how we could make the next big step in our business performance. We had a long history of continuous improvement and we were struggling to see anything that could help us make a leap forward. After a lot of head-scratching we agreed that there were weaknesses in our teamwork and collaboration skills. My HR Manager had connected with Eleanor through the Chambers of Commerce and suggested that she may be able to help us. We arranged an offsite event with Eleanor and the Leadership Team and that was the first step towards a transformation.
The first event was a real wake-up call on where we really were. It was the start of a challenging and hugely rewarding journey. Eleanor’s skill and energy was absolutely critical to making us see the gap between where our current performance was and where we could be. I had feared that the Leadership Team would not buy-in to the idea but Eleanor’s engagement quickly dealt with the scepticism and real improvements started to be seen.
Shortly after the acquisition, we learned of a group company in the USA which had been identified as a world-class example for Employee Engagement, Empowerment and Continuous Improvement. When we looked in depth at what they had done we could see that they had identified the same gap we had spotted in Dundee. This realisation made us more determined to develop the leadership skills and achieve the same kind of recognition.
Almost a year after our first session we were visited by senior management from Corporate Headquarters in Chicago. Their conclusion was that we were already at the level of their flagship operation and may even be ahead. Every operating measure had exceeded previous records and the Dundee team had gained reputation for business excellence and a sense of a connected team with clear direction and a determination to support each other whatever the challenge. Just as important, every member of the team agreed that work was just a lot more fun than before and energy previously wasted on needless arguments and in-fighting was now going into making the business better. This has rubbed off on many of the employees and we see levels of collaboration that we never experienced before.
Of course, things are not perfect but that just gives us motivation to try harder and we will continue to work with Eleanor to be the best that we can be.