In the space of two years, a global manufacturer serving the oil and gas industry experienced multiple manifestations of the new normal of constant change; a market crash (The North American division went from $1.7B in revenue to $600MM in 24 months) followed by a sudden boom in demand, the frustration of commoditization, unexpected tariffs on foreign steel, and a massive industry disruption by a competitor.
Amid this constant change, the organization had ambitious goals to:
- Increase production capacity
- Increase revenue
- Drastically reduce lead time from order to delivery (reduce batch size)
- Accelerate the launch of their own new competitive service offering
- Increase their focus on the customer
- Become a great place to work
Kotter was hired to help them achieve the growth sought and meet these challenges head-on. First, their senior leaders aligned around “a big opportunity”: a unifying vision of the future that served to articulate through “head” and “heart” why the future state was infinitely more exciting than the status quo. Then, by engaging many more people at all levels of their organization, they were able to debottleneck their business and remove the barriers that would have prevented them from moving quickly when the market boomed. This approach fostered an ability to change and win in a rapidly changing landscape, and when market conditions improved, they saw revenue growth of over $500 million in less than a year.
Perhaps most importantly? Employees are working and thinking differently. They have transformed their culture into one positioned to move infinitely faster amid constant change, responding more quickly to environmental and customer shifts. These changes have been gained through 1) seeking out input and ideas from all levels of the organization, 2) developing deeper intimacy and understanding of their customers’ needs, and 3) augmenting their organizational structure with a new way of operating. Consequently, they have improved quality, safety, turnaround time, and operational efficiencies, and even won the best places to work award. They are working faster than ever before, with everyone from executives in the C-suite to those working in their steel mills taking ownership and pride in their work. Whatever comes next, this manufacturer will be ready.