Reviving Engagement and Leadership: Graeme Lee’s COE Experience at Coles

Graeme faced the formidable challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, which disrupted his facility’s operations due to lockdowns, and isolation periods. 

Graeme’s primary objectives were to engage his team in a growth and improvement mindset and to enhance his own leadership skills, as he had not previously undergone formal training. 

Graeme faced several challenges for himself, and within his team as the Distribution Centre Manager at Coles:

  • As someone not accustomed to formal study, Graeme initially found the COE program daunting.
  • He had a fairly disengaged team that was aware of the pending closure of the warehouse.
  • There was a reactive and undisciplined approach to Continuous Improvement (CI), with top-down efforts proving ineffective.

Previous attempts to address the disengagement issue included incentives and campaigns. It was no surprise that these measures were short-lived and failed to produce lasting results.

Structured Frameworks

Participating in COE provided Graeme with a structured framework and challenged him to think differently, identifying areas where improvements were needed. He personally successfully navigated the program with the support of the business language and COE coaches. On top of that, the team and company benefitted through; 

  • The development of a business plan with clear deliverables and timelines, guided by SMART objectives.
  • Engagement of his team to provide input, leading to the formulation of new strategies for capacity improvement.
  • Utilisation of demand forecasts to drive decision-making.
  • Effective coaching using the GROW method to achieve desired outcomes.
  • Involving his team in the Continuous Improvement journey.
  • The establishment of development and succession plans driven by a skills matrix.
  • Implementation of a structured approach to meetings for improved effectiveness.

Powerful Conversations

Graeme intends to continue his learning by further developing his coaching skills, having recognised the profound impact that powerful conversations can have on desired outcomes. He is now driving individual development plans for his team to optimise skills coverage and succession planning.

He also emphasises the importance of involving the team as much as possible and as early as possible in improvement initiatives. Additionally, Graeme acknowledges that even simple changes, such as a consistent approach to meetings, can significantly enhance their effectiveness.

Graeme highly recommends COE to leaders seeking improvement. He underscores that while the concepts covered may not be groundbreaking individually, they form a cohesive framework that serves as an excellent reminder of the fundamentals often overlooked in the busyness of leadership. He believes that any leader, irrespective of their experience level, can benefit from COE if they are committed to improvement. If you feel like you might be a leader ready for the COE program, book a call here to chat with Anita or one of the team.

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