Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Fast change at Weyerhaeuser.

The organization design process started in January 2005, with an implementation target of January 2006. Weyerhaeuser's goal was to consolidate the five product-line businesses that had been part of three acquired companies into one customer-facing division so the customer would experience a single point of contact for all products and services. This was an organization with 15,000 associates, and, in one way or another, each of them was going to be touched by the redesign outcomes. So, the design process involved teams from across the entire division, representing manufacturing, sales, marketing, engineering, new product development, etc. The teams' job was to define the roles, responsibilities, and relationships needed to execute the new business strategy. They came up with several organizational design options and conducted a rigorous review process to determine which option would provide the most value to customers and to Weyerhaeuser.

After months of active discussion and debate, the new organization was presented to the CEO who then approved it. A leader for the division was selected in June 2005, and an executive leadership team was selected using Weyerhaeuser's "next-generation" succession plan. Since the next-generation leaders were very much involved in the development of the new strategy, they were committed to see it implemented properly. Key leadership positions were filled across the organization, and a launch event was held in October to introduce iLevel to the division's 300 leaders. This two-day business simulation session let people experience the new strategy first-hand and be personally involved in the launch of the new iLevel brand. They were then the internal champions of the transition and completed the staffing of their organizations based on the new strategy. In January 2006, the iLevel organization became a reality. 

Design and implementation at Weyerhaeuser was developed to avoid the execution gaps which come about because of the following seven shortcomings:

- Failure to ensure that there's a deep understanding of the “why” behind the new strategy … and failure to get real buy-in or alignment from the leadership team about critical priorities. The plan was to avoid going forward with unexpressed ambivalence.

- Not engaging a critical mass across all levels, locations, functions and businesses.

- Not dealing with the organizational inertia that comes from legacy mindsets and leadership skill gaps.

- Not having the right tools and processes to maintain transparency and accountability.

- Failure to maintain momentum and sustain initiatives over time, as the energy and the urgency tend to slip away..

- Failure to focus resources where they will have maximum impact by using critical leverage points.

- Failure to manage the “Now" and the "New” simultaneously, operating in a world that's not "either / or."

More details tomorrow.

No comments: