Paul Tolchinsky says:
I have (co)authored a chapter of the Collaborative Change Library that is now available on the myLibrary app (www.mylibrary.world) – you can access it on your phone, tablet, or computer. My chapter is: Whole-Scale Change [https://lnkd.in/gnzgkYs]. There are videos and supporting materials as well. I welcome your reaction and suggestions on the chapter and supporting resources. I’m curious to learn what you think and look forward to your feedback.
Founded in 1981
Paul D. Tolchinsky and Albert B. Blixt
And so, next generation… we pioneers are moving to the next learning environment and leaving this one to you. My assignment to you, before I go, is the following: Stand on the shoulders of the pioneers who went before you… honor and learn from us… and then spring into the future with new and robust concepts that will be more than we old-timers ever dreamed of. You are the creative minds of this unfolding Millennium.
— Kathleen D. Dannemiller
The Continental AG Story:
How Whole-Scale Change helped the people of an automotive company transform its strategy, structure, and culture to make the leap from a past based on fossil fuels to an electric future.
The massive challenge facing the automotive industry today is how to make the leap from a century of combustion engines and fossil fuel to a future of electric and autonomous driving vehicles. In the automotive industry of today, you have a massive shift going on and no one wants to be left behind. Few companies know exactly what to do to catch the next wave.
In 2016, Continental AG, like its competitors, was heavily invested in hybrid engines and were very successful with their products in the auto market. The Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) division of Continental AG found itself on the outside of this dramatic shift, looking in, trying to reposition itself to be competitive in a completely different marketplace by 2025. The convergence of electric, autonomous and connectivity had changed the playing field and threatened their very survival.
As this shift was occurring, Continental needed to look holistically, think holistically and act holistically. In the HEV business, employees were smart about the market and wondering: “what are we doing to position ourselves for long term success?” They were also wondering, “what are the implications for me and my job?” A new leader joined the team with the task of repositioning HEV for long-term success, as a competitor in the autonomous, electric automotive sector. As the sponsor and champion of the change, the leader had to quickly (6 months) define a new strategy; re-align the people and structures; and, reshape the culture to embrace the uncertainty ahead.
Over the course of 12 months, applying Whole-Scale principles and practices, we engaged the whole system (over 2500 employees, in 10+ countries) in redefining strategy, re-aligning structure and reshaping the culture of this organization. Utilizing a series of small group and large group whole-scale events, we honored the past, evaluated the present and shaped a competitive future, where HEV could potentially become a key player.
Below you will find the change process we employed [Figure 1]. Together with the leadership team, we engaged a critical mass of staff, in maximum mix teams (microcosms of HEV) in diverging and converging activities, designed to explore and co-create solutions that everyone could support.
The Diverging Activity
To get the broadest look at the past, present, and future, the leadership team created 9 teams of staff (each a microcosm of the Business Unit). Each team had a name, and a focus, as described in Table 1. Each team had a charter, key questions for exploration, a sponsor and champion, and a chart, mapping the potential interdependencies between the various teams. For example, the Shark Tank team had the task of developing a USP (Unique Sales Proposition) and the sales pitch to the Executive Board. Their job was to leverage the wisdom of the other 8 teams and create a compelling sales pitch for why to invest in the HEV plan.
Table 1 . Continental AG Divergent Action Teams
The goals for this process were (1) as much divergent thinking as possible; (2) embrace the complexity of the situation; and (3) simultaneous working. Each team had 4 months to accomplish its task. The model was essentially an Appreciative Inquiry process. The months were roughly organized so that in month 1, each team did “Discovery” work, in month 2, “Dreaming”; month 3 “Deciding;” and in month 4 “Delivery” to the whole system.
The Converging Activity
There were two kinds of convergence activities over the six months. There were three large group meetings where all 150 members of the group came together to plan the work. The first was a launch meeting at the beginning. The second was to harmonize the work of the teams before submitting the strategy and new structure to the board. The third, and final, was a meeting to plan implementation.
Between the first and second large group meetings, smaller Checkpoints were held once each month as one portion of the “Discover-Dream-Decide” process was complete. At these Checkpoints a representative group from each of the teams came together to share what each team had accomplished and to “get whole” so that the work of the teams would be aligned before moving on to the next step. The steps were captured in a Global Project Change Roadmap .