For 100 years, KONE has been a global leader in the elevator and escalator industry. But in 2007 in the Americas, new CEO Vance Tang was alarmed at the lack of customer focus and inconsistent operational discipline. He expected more from KONE — and he viewed leadership development and culture change, ultimately focused on the customer, as the best way to get there.
Faculty from CCL’s Organizational Leadership practice worked with KONE in a developmental process called Transforming Your Organization, collaborating with the KONE senior leadership team in designing each step. The senior leadership team members did not delegate leadership development. Rather, they started with themselves. According to Vance, “We had to appreciate that we had to change ourselves first in order to change the culture. CCL helped us talk to each other. We spent time on feedback, trust and dialogue. Now we can openly challenge each other and achieve better outcomes because we can all be on the same page and work much faster.”
Then came the next step: engaging the top 100 KONE Americas leaders in a two-day event dedicated to strategic direction and, just as significantly, the changes in mindset and leadership needed to enact the strategy. Vance began by laying out the vision of getting from No. 4 to becoming THE industry leader. The senior leadership team members then did something remarkable. They engaged in dialogue among themselves while onstage in front of everyone. They talked about how they were changing personally and as a leadership team facing big changes. They explored the leadership style necessary for achieving their new vision and plotted concrete steps to reach it.
CCL’s work with KONE remains in progress — and continues to deliver results. Customer satisfaction has tripled and employee engagement has reached world-class levels. Safety incidents dropped over 70 percent. Market share and profits rose significantly despite the global recession. In another sign of progress, the senior leadership team chartered four strategy teams focused on leadership, profitable growth, environmental excellence, and financial excellence, with membership straddling functions and levels in the organization. According to Chuck Moore, KONE’s senior vice president of Human Resources, “An eagerness to think about strategy is permeating the culture. People all over are weighing in. The goal is to let the best ideas win.”
Transforming Your Organization “is not a step-by-step plan. It’s not an HR program. It’s a more complicated journey of shared leadership. We had to learn how to collaborate and be interdependent in order to make this journey,” says Chuck.