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Turn Around or Shut Down

Summary: In 2007, the CEO of Trident Group changed how the company’s chemical unit would report its financial results, a decision that revealed the unit was missing revenue projections by more than 90 percent. With just a year to transform the failing chemical unit, the unit head formed an improvement team to analyze performance metrics and find a solution. The team learned the unit’s employees portrayed signs of low morale which, according to international research firms, can impact profitability. The head of the chemical unit explored the concept of self-directed teams, which are highly trained groups of employees responsible for work with minimal management supervision. While it was an unconventional approach, the unit head recognized self-directed teams can promote process alignment, customer-centeredness and employee empowerment. Nine months after implementing self-directed teams, the unit’s overall process score increased from −13 percent to 65 percent, which resulted in a 70 percent increase in revenue and $3.4 million saved.

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