Unilever Indonesia – HygieneBreaking through Boundaries – to Unleash an Orbit-Shift

Unilever Indonesia - Hygiene
PT Unilever Indonesia Tbk manufactures, markets, and distributes consumer goods primarily in Indonesia.

The company markets its products under the Pepsodent, Lux, Lifebuoy, Dove, Sunsilk, Clear, Rexona, Vaseline, Rinso, Molto, Sunlight, Wall’s, Blue Band, Royco, Bango, and other brands.

The Challenge

Unilever Indonesia was performing brilliantly for many years in a row. It was even winning awards as the best company in Asia beating Toyota, Singapore Airlines etc. The Hygiene division of Unilever contributed about 40% of the turnover, but had been performing poorly for the last 5 years. Their bad performance went to such an extent that the Hygiene Division had begun to believe that they could not win the market. They were fast losing credibility inside Unilever and were seen as a pariah that could not perform. Heads down, avoiding peers and feeling shame and guilt for staining the company’s amazing track record, the Hygiene team was isolated.

In 2005, when Laercio Cardoso came in to head the Hygiene Division of Unilever Indonesia. What he saw was something far worse than lagging business numbers. In his words “When I arrived in Jakarta, I found the Hygiene Division in disarray. The team’s morale and energy were at its nadir, the relationships adversarial and the environment demotivating”. Reeling under poor performance, the Hygiene team at Unilever, Indonesia had got demoralized, they were demotivated. What most organisations would do when they are losing badly in the market is focus more and more on numbers. Create hard and focused targets, they monitor people closely, continuously and minutely to achieve these targets.

Laercio realised that to achieve his aspiration he needed a breakthrough in the approach, just pushing his team would not be enough. He didn’t want to mandate Bigger Goals, he wanted the team’s ownership. The realisation that hit him was that to truly uplift the organization they didn’t need another performance goal, they needed ‘to transform their attitude’. His deepest realisation was that to pursue a Nonlinear Growth goal the first breakthrough needed was at the team mindset level, it was here that he chose to partner Erehwon to make this happen. The Erehwon team first Conducted an Orbit-Shift Diagnostic and the next stage was the Orbit-Shift Workshop.

The Breakthrough

The team came together for The Orbit-Shift workshop at an offsite. The process of Orbit-shifting Innovation was applied to inspire the  team to reflect , recognise and breakthrough the Mindsets that had become the Gravity that was  holding them back  .

The first boundary they recognized and broke through was:

They realized that they were allowing themselves to get paralyzed between the Local competitors and the approach adopted by the Global Brand team. Breaking through this boundary, they decided to move away from ‘Acting like a victim to Taking Charge of the Agenda’. This unleashed then into finding ways that were within their control – to respond to and overcome challenges posed by the local competitors

The Second Breakthrough came in the form of a Rallying point

Earlier the leader had tried to align the team to them to a BHAG –Big Hairy Aaudacios Goal, like Grow 3x in 3yrs.

But this did not inspire the Team. The Breakthrough Dialogue that followed triggered a realization that what mattered more than anything else to the team was ‘To fight for Credibility & Redemption’.  What finally resonated with and   inspired the team fundamentally was the challenge to Regain Lost Pride.

The Rallying point became ‘Not a number goal but a Unifying cause – that manifested in the form of street Fighter – move out of the comfort zone and win the market street by street’.

Co-creating the Orbit-Shift Execution Roadmap

The next Breakthrough came in the way the leadership team of 12 enrolled the other 120

Erehwon facilitated the Second Orbit-Shift workshop with the entire 120.

Rather than assuage these doubts with smooth talk, the leadership team listened to the people. They opened up genuinely and spoke about their own fears and doubts which they faced. Every single person, every one of the 120 was given an opportunity to express where they connected with Street Fighter and what their concerns were. This collective expression and process of engagement started building up momentum and belief.

No one forced anyone. There was immense openness. No defensiveness. All 120 members committed to being Street Fighters.

The Impact

In pursuing the Street Fighter Challenge, they achieved their growth target of 3X growth not in the slated 3 years but in 9 months.

There was a deep change in the everyday way of being as a Street Fighter. Voluntarism towards team goals, persisting with solutions for difficult problems, converting problems to opportunities, reaching out to find solutions for other departments – all of these became a new and sustained Hygiene Division way.

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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