Performance Turnaround Plus Building Leadership PipelineA Supply Chain Org in a large MNC

Leadership Pipeline
The Supply Chain (SC) organization in Unilever Indonesia is a ‘regional’ entity, not just responsible only for the country.

While typically, each country has its own SC organization worked out, Indonesia is strategically important because it is a big contributor in the APAC region, and hence its SC played a very strategic role.

The Challenge

For some time though, the SC organization’s performance had been constantly in the red, in both business and engagement parameters on their internal matrix, which was highly aspirational.

There was a high concern as expectations of the Board, Business Partners, Region, and  Global were not being met the way they wanted.

Having been high-performing in the past, but now in a situation where oveall business growth seemed constrained, the top leadership team members of the SC organization, had gotten into a state of feeling ‘victim’ and ‘looking up’ to be rescued.

As the leader of the organization described it, it called for a Turnaround in both performance and leadership.

An Orbit-shifting Leadership intervention led by Erehwon, enabling this turnaround was decided upon.

The Intervention

The intervention was conducted in 2 waves:

Wave 1: TURNAROUND — With the 12 level-1 leaders of the SC organization (8 months).

Wave 2: PROACTIVE Going to the ‘Next Level’ — With the 65 level-2 leaders (1 year).

The Breakthrough

The first wave of breakthrough: TURNAROUND

The intervention was an intensive one with the 12 level-1 leaders. Starting with a collective Orbit-shifting Leadership Intervention (Diagnostic + Workshop) in the first month, each leader went through a One-on-one Orbit-shift Coaching process, 12 sessions per person, spread over 8 months, to internalize and deploy the Leadership Mindsets, Skills, Practices to make the Turnaround ‘sustainable’, and transform both performance and people development simultaneously.

And the focus of the coaching was not just leadership coaching in a very generic sense (the classical executive coaching), but coaching for orbit shifting – creating transformative impact despite odds.

The outcome and impact at the end of these 8 months was:

  1. The adoption of a Common Rallying Cause: ‘Team that becomes a reference point for surpassing odds & winning consistently in entire region’.
  2. Mindset shifts:
    • From Victim to Taking Charge;
    • From Mere Supplier (always catching up) to Value adding Partner (proactive & leading).
  3. Turnaround complete in 1 year: GREEN on ALL parameters.
  4. Dramatic shift in perception of SC by rest of organization, Board, Region, Global – the team seen as learning base.
  5. 6 out of 12 leaders moving onto larger roles within & outside the country.

The second wave of breakthrough: PROACTIVE Institutionalizing

Having demonstrated the turnaround, the focus of the second wave was completely aspirational – to multiply the future pipeline of leaders from the SC organization.

It was a given by now that the market conditions/demands, and changing SBU structures that are natural of a large MNC, would always create extreme odds for the SC team – they would one of the first to get directly impacted, and yet they would have to deliver.

How to ensure that despite these odds, and inspite of being in a support function like supply chain, the team members could move into organizational leadership roles? Leverage the challenge for a larger opportunity?

Through a sharp, very focused orbit-shifting leadership intervention, 65 level-2 leaders, went through ‘Capability Building + Group Orbit-shift Coaching + Cross-learning Concourses’ distributed over a period of 1 year.

The focus was to:

  • Facilitate the level-2 leaders to sustain a steady-state GREEN performance through their teams
  • Speed up their transition into a new SBU structure (where an earlier common SC was broken as per the SBU’s they were catering to)
  • Become future organizational leaders themselves even though many of them were first-time leaders of their teams

The Impact

The outcome and impact of this wave, in a year’s time, was of institutionalization, with the key highlights being:

  1. The Common Rallying Cause sustained till today
  2. Mindset shifts sustained at not just the top leaders’ level, but at a SC org level:
    1. From Victim to Taking Charge;
    2. From Mere Supplier (always catching up) to Value adding Partner (proactive & leading)
  • From Avoidance to Courageous Expression
  1. From Controlling to Enabling
  1. Individual Leadership Development: About 50% of the level-2 leaders are meeting internal leadership standards. (Note: These leadership standards were expected from the above level onwards.)
  2. Increased generative engagement between level-2 leaders and level-3 leaders.
  3. A set of ‘NEXT PRACTICES’ for transforming internal performance as well as transforming engagement with business partners internally and externally.

Overall, this SC organization has become a reference point for what a SC team can be capable of.

Some supply chains registered 80% growth compared to the previous years. For example, in the ice cream division, making sure that the transportation happened without breakage, or ensuring products on shelves with no lapse in stocks during even the largest goods movement period like Ramadaan, etc, and many other efficiencies, are attributed to the SC transformation.

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“At SLIC, we are very pleased with our association with Erehwon. They have taken on the challenge of “orbit shifting” Shriram Life Insurance with a lot of passion and we were able to form a strong multi-disciplinary team who could work together seamlessly and with a strong focus. Erehwon brings a unique blend of structure and creativity which helps to inspire breakthrough innovation. It ensures that we stay on course but also allows for powerful solutions to emerge. Also, their experience and network have helped us to tie up with good partners that will help us take our solutions forward. We are looking to great results from the initiatives that are now being piloted and also more good solutions ahead”.

Casparus Jacobus Hendrik Kromhout
Casparus JH Kromhout
MD and CEO, Shriram Life Insurance