A top executive of a Fortune 500 chemical plant had set a vision for the future, and wanted to utilize the Leaders Leading Leaders® program as a means of establishing and implementing a strategic plan for the vision. As the executive team practiced the individual competencies and team disciplines of L3 the idea and energy that emerged in the center was, the material flow is boss.
This discovery expressed a shift in authority—from the traditional hierarchy to the manufacturing process and ultimately to the customers. This discovery was serendipitously aligned with Vision 2000.
In a circle of 40 executives, on the afternoon of the second day, the conversation turned lively and challenging. Without hesitation and pointing to the center of the room, a woman asked, “I wonder what the boss thinks about that idea?” Astoundingly, the boss she was referring to was the material flow. The collective insight that the material flow is boss “clicked” in everyone’s minds simultaneously shifting the criteria for decision-making.
As a result of this powerful meeting, everyone in the plant went through the L3 program as the team led the company towards living their collective vision.
A CEO from a fledgling financial institution constantly experienced the truth of the adage of too many chefs in the kitchen. The executive team was a group of highly independent and highly intelligent men and women who spent much of their time trying to outdo each other. Meanwhile, the CEO was intent on getting them all to agree with him.
The Leaders Leading Leaders® process had helped him see each one of his team members as a chef with his/her own expertise, say, one in red meats, others in poultry, seafood, appetizers, and desserts.
By applying the principles, skills and process of Leaders Leading Leaders® the CEO was able to create an environment where each leader asserted his/her own unique individuality, respected the offering of other leaders and surrendered to the guiding vision of creating an optimal experience for the customer.
As a vice president of a leading consulting firm, Carl, who had taken part in a recent Leaders Leading Leaders® program, was increasingly complaining that his group was in the business of teaching clients how to communicate, but not practicing these same guiding principles themselves. On a Friday, he was called into the CEO’s office and informed that the current president was leaving. Now it was his turn to run the organization and to stop his complaining.
He called his spouse and asked her to meet him at the airport. After relaying the story with enthusiasm and his wife responding with ample praise and congratulations, there grew a long pause. She looked at him inquisitively as he blurted out, “But I don’t know what to do! What will I tell the team on Monday?”
Sunday night Carl reflected on the L3 principles and his impending task. All of a sudden and with much relief, a light went off! He had a plan.
Monday morning he entered the meeting room determined. He opened the meeting by telling the team the above story. He followed this story with an admission and insight, “We are going to stay with our guiding principle of creating jubilant customers, but beyond that, I don’t know what to do. However, together I think we can figure this out.”
With this forthright and exposed opening, a conversation ensued that contained the insight and energy to implement a strategy that propelled this once floundering division into the number one position for four straight years. While breaking all previously held records Carl most remembers, “We had a lot of fun.”
The CEO of a historic financial institution had spent weeks preparing to present his plan for turning the company around. Upon completion, he leaned into his high backed leather chair with a familiar look of satisfaction on his face and simply asked the executive team, “What do you think?”
A collection of nodding heads assured him that he was on the right track. After a couple of clarifying questions, a round of hearty handshakes, and a few reassuring pats on the back the team broke for drinks and a celebration dinner. Eight months later the same CEO pulled aside one of his most trusted executives and said, “What’s going on? I thought everybody was on board with the turn around plan, but everybody is going in their own direction!”
The Leaders Leading Leaders® program was introduced to the executive team. After introducing the L3 process, the CEO began to understand the difference between imposing ideas versus asserting and surrendering his ideas.
This time when he was challenged to present a critical strategy to his team, instead of presenting his plan as a done deal he said,
“You all know how crucial this new product development strategy is for our company. In the past, I have presented a plan for your approval. This approach has worked pretty well at times. However, pretty well is not good enough any more. I now believe that together we could design an excellent plan and position ourselves to implement it with quality and quickness. I will start this conversation with some initial thoughts, as a piece of a puzzle if you will, then invite each of you to offer your perspectives. Together we will look for the larger picture that wants to emerge.”
Eight months later he proclaims, “The L3 process was absolutely phenomenal.”
The team had implemented a new product line in record time and became known and sought out within the company for their turnaround “secrets.”
A global medical supply company established a US manufacturing presence in the Deep South and purchased a medical supply sales company in the heart of the Midwest.
For three years the two divisions avoided each other. The top executives, differing in gender and generation, agreed on one thing: they hated each other. At the apex of the organization, the parent company could see the possible synergies and finally directed the two divisions to meet.
The first meeting was hostile and mirrored a sibling rivalry. The president from the south experienced the L3 Instant Synergy process while attending a non profit board retreat. After sharing her experiences with her elder male counterpart the two agreed to give the process a try.
The desired outcomes were for the team to:
In one day (7 hours), they identified and prioritized three possibilities for synergy and for each possibility they created a series of priorities, and then focused on three priorities to act on. Furthermore, the group created goals, measures and a plan of action for each of the three priorities. After the formal close of the meeting, teams gathered in the lobby, working on their own—mixed teams from each company. The female executive said, “If we want to match reality with expectations, this session far surpassed expectation.”
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