Magazine article Talent Development

New Team, New Rules: A Company's Reorganization Meant Employees Needed to Learn to Work with New Teammates. the First Step Was Finding out How to Get Along

Magazine article Talent Development

New Team, New Rules: A Company's Reorganization Meant Employees Needed to Learn to Work with New Teammates. the First Step Was Finding out How to Get Along

Article excerpt

As the world's sixth largest automotive supplier, French-based Faurecia supplies interior systems, emissions control technologies, and automotive seating and exteriors to leading automakers, from BMW and Toyota to Ford. With 320 sites in 34 countries, Faurecia has long been recognized for its breakthrough approaches to doing business--a key enticement for industry veteran Bob Thomas when recruited to join as vice president of purchasing, North American Interiors Division.

However, within months of coming onboard, there were significant challenges brought on by a major acquisition. To accommodate the new demands, immediate rebuilding required changing roles, new responsibilities, staff promotions, and realignment. And while change is never easy, for the existing team--many of whom had been operating comfortably in their roles for several years--this was especially tough.

"I quickly came to realize that with the changes we'd made, communication issues between various groups within our purchasing operation [team] had begun to emerge," explains Thomas. "It became evident that as a team we needed to go through some type of learning to really understand each other."

Healthy conflict

With more than half the team new to the company--including himself--and existing team members in new leadership roles, Thomas faced the situation head on. He knew he needed a high-performing team and needed to build trust and collaboration. And especially important, Thomas needed to create a team culture that encouraged and supported healthy, open conflict.

"I encourage conflict," he says. "I believe it helps make issues and problems visible, allowing us to resolve them in a healthy and positive way. It was important that our team understand what healthy conflict should look like. We needed to create and agree to a set of rules of behavior."

Developing a cohesive, high-performing leadership team for the purchasing operation became a top priority. And in the Droste Group, a consulting firm experienced with successfully developing leaders within Faurecia for more than five years, Thomas found the perfect partner. Together, they agreed that before the team could truly function as a team, each individual had to understand himself: What part of the team member's personality is contributing to or detracting from the team's success? What are each team member's strengths and how can they be leveraged to the collective advantage?

Getting to know you

As a first step, Thomas was introduced to Everything DiSC from Wiley's Workplace Learning Solutions group (formerly Inscape Publishing)--a set of online assessment tools designed to develop positive workplace relationships. …

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