From Field Technician to Global Leader: Grant’s Journey to Operational Excellence

Grant, the General Manager of International Field Services, embarked on a transformative journey when he enrolled in the Core Operational Excellence (COE) program. With a technical background and over 20 years of management experience, Grant sought to enhance his leadership skills and find effective solutions to the challenges he faced in running his global function.

Before COE, Grant’s team operated in a reactive manner, dealing with issues as they arose and lacking a structured approach. They faced constant cost pressures and struggled to progress initiatives that needed wider stakeholder buy-in. Siloed ways of working and a lack of knowledge on how to drive improvement further added to frustrations.

Grant hoped that COE would help him achieve his budgetary goals without compromising customer satisfaction or team engagement. Additionally, he sought to boost his confidence and professionalise his skills as a leader. While previous restructuring and attempts at cascading the budget challenges had fallen short, Grant recognised that COE could provide the practical tools and feedback loop needed for sustainable improvement.

COE proved to be a game-changer for Grant and his team. The program equipped him with best practices to assess and measure his business against, bringing clarity and strategic focus to his role. Extensive support and coaching provided a confidence boost, and the involvement of his leaders in the program fostered a collective learning experience. By actively engaging with his team, Grant saw his own leadership skills develop, leading to a more engaged workplace and improved performance.

Among the key takeaways from COE, Grant realised that management is both an art and a science, and authentic team engagement is essential for driving improvement. Impressed by the impact of COE on his own performance and the success of his team, Grant took the initiative to train all his leaders and their successors in COE over a two-year period. He also extended the program to key field staff, recognising its value in enhancing cross-team conversations and driving business improvement.  By the end, Grant had 18 COE graduates in his business and 39 graduates from the shorter Introductory Operational Excellence (IOE) program.  

Grant acknowledges the challenges of finding time for the program but emphasises that the rewards outweigh the difficulties when tangible differences become apparent – in his case, over $500k in external cost savings. He highly recommends the COE program to leaders who are seeking personal growth, team development, and sustainable business improvement. Grant credits Anita, the program facilitator, for her exceptional knowledge and ability to make the content relevant and engaging for participants. Under Anita’s guidance, COE came to life for Grant and his team, sparking numerous “aha” moments and creating an interactive learning environment.

As his organisation faces increasing pressure, Grant’s endorsement of COE and its application in driving change is invaluable. With a growing number of leaders across the business recognising the language and approaches of operational excellence, implementing transformative initiatives becomes a smoother and more successful endeavour. In fact, it has unleashed a movement with a core of his team banding together to drive ongoing and relentless continuous improvement.  Grant’s journey stands as a testament to the power of COE in enabling positive change and delivering tangible results. If your journey feels like Grant’s, it might be time to get a scorecard on the hard skills gaps in your business. Check out our Leadership Skills Audit here.

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