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    Catalyzing Change Case Study

    Change Management in a Steel Mill

    Change Challenge
    A steel mill of 1,500 employees went bankrupt in a community of 15,000.  The local economy was devastated.  A new company purchased some of the assets of the bankrupt plant with a vision to invest in updating the equipment and hiring back 300 experienced steelworkers.  Plant leadership needed to re-start the operation and make it a profitable venture for the acquiring firm.  Management realized that a new work culture and new leadership behaviors were required to make the plant successful - and that to do so, management at all levels needed new skills to work together and with the hourly workforce in new ways.  
    Customized Solution
    We consulted with all levels of management from the shop floor to the CEO for a three year period, beginning with creating the organizational and leadership framework with the senior team, and then cascading goals and objectives to individual operating and maintenance teams.  The leadership training and development process began with defining the new target work culture, and then the competencies required for managers and supervisors to successfully lead in it.  Next, each member of the leadership team from the plant president to first line supervisors was assessed. Thereafter, a series of monthly individual coaching and quarterly group training sessions guided the development of new leadership behaviors for the management staff and fostered the development of cohesive teams.  Individual sessions focused on progress on individual development plans, a combination of business goals set by their manager, individual needs based on their assessment results, and follow-up assignments from the group coaching/training sessions.  Group coaching sessions were targeted around both leadership competencies as well as critical current business initiatives - such as safety, communications, standardized job procedures, quick-hitting problem-solving teams, and continuous improvement processes.  Through this integrated and aligned process, we catalyzed change by simultanously developing individual leadership capacity as well as furthering specific, technical, bottom line business projects.   
    Real Results
    Results include the following: testimonials by the parent company that out of several hundred acquisitions, the steel mill was its "best buy;" a smooth start-up that exceeded its timeframe and operational goals; pay incentive results for each pay period typically exceeding 130% of target; and a world-class performance management and coaching process typically reserved for senior leaders or high potentials in large corporate environments installed at a small lean manufacturing plant. 
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