I spent time with one of our clients last week as they requested support for one of their new managers to become a better leader. I know this organisation very well and the people in it have become almost like family to me. The conversation with the young manager and the subsequent conversations with his manager and the HR manager left me deeply moved and inspired. As I drove away I felt elated and started to think about what it is about this business and the people in it that impacted me so powerfully.
Five years ago our client bought this business that had not managed to make a profit for many years. The workforce was deeply disgruntled and cynical about management after years of being lied to and mismanaged. The operation was run down, untidy and technically very out of date. There was a dearth of equipment, processes and systems. Getting good professionals to come and join the company was an almost impossible task.
The person brought in to manage the operations in Australia had moved from another country with his family and settled in a state remote from the one in which the business operated. He committed himself to transforming the operations as a fly-in/fly-out leader and sought us out to help him create a high performing business. The operation is now the star in the organisation’s group.
As I worked with this young new manager last week I was reflecting on where the business was 5 years ago and what had been built in that time. His manager was confident in his technical abilities but knew he needed support in developing his leadership capability. Her, and the company’s, commitment to supporting him to be the best he could be was a big part of what left me inspired, but also the physical state of the operations and the ‘feel’ of the place is so transformed. The people are highly committed, open to learning and fully accountable for the success of the business.
We played a part in the turnaround of this business, but what it has taken on the part of its leaders on a day-to-day basis in the face of many seemingly insurmountable odds to make it happen is what leaves me humbled, thrilled and inspired by what is really possible in organisations.