Since 1961, Grid management consulting has helped thousands of companies maximize their human capital. All change efforts must begin by understanding the existing culture and how to manage and maximize this invaluable resource. We give clients the power to develop cultures that constantly reinforce standards of excellence. Explore the kind of bottom-line results our exclusive management consulting methodology has delivered.
Maple Reinders Constructors (Canada)
- Family-owned Canadian company;
- 35 years in the construction business;
- Annual construction revenue in excess of $165,000,000;
- Recognized in 2009 as one of Canada's "Top 50 Best Employers".
Maple Reinders was established in 1967 as a full-service design, build, and construction-management firm specializing in industrial/commercial/institutional facilities, municipal infrastructure, and environmental projects. They have grown to seven offices across Canada, and are recognized as environmental construction leaders with wastewater and composting facilities that exceed government standards.
Maple Reinders began undertaking a major change when their revenues doubled in less than two years. "We experienced a period of dramatic growth and in trying to keep up with the new work, we ran into problems. We realized after that period that we needed controlled growth. Grid was very timely for incorporating this new growth the right way, by building a culture that supports our mission and vision."
The Grid Solution
Addressing specific problems with specific solutions, all senior managers and 75 staff members engaged in Grid development activities designed for individuals and teams, tailored to their functional levels within the organization.
An HR manager at Maple said, "There is a lot of common sense and logic in Grid, and it's amazing how important common sense and logic are for successful business. You have to practice using it on a daily basis to succeed, and Grid provides a way to do that. "We also value Grid because its message is as valuable for home and family as it is for business. Family is always an important part when considering any learning. People spend 80 percent of their day working, so they need to be happy, rewarded, and fulfilled."
Maple's Heavy Civil divisions specialize in water and wastewater treatment facilities. These divisions led a landmark design/build/operate project for a $16 million wastewater treatment plant upgrade in Banff, Alberta. The design and construction phase was completed on schedule (within 18 months) and on budget. Because Banff is located in a national park, the upgraded plant was designed under stringent environmental constraints, and now has some of the lowest discharge targets in North America. "This kind of track record has given us a pre-qualifying status for many of the large-scale projects that we bid on," the HR manager commented.
In 2009 Maple-Reinders was recognized as one of Canada's "Top 50 Best Employers to Work For" by the Globe and Mail newspaper. The HR manager says, "We believe that the Grid solutions greatly contributed to Maple's success and continued profitability. We're very proud of being in the top 50 on our first attempt!"
Classic Couverture, Ltd. (UK)
Classic Couverture Ltd. (CCL), founded in 1989, is a chocolate manufacturer supplying 20,000 metric tons of chocolate to blue-chip customers within the United Kindgom, Continental Europe, and the United States.
The question that faced CCL was simply: "What are the areas that need to be tackled that would provide the maximum impact to our financial performance?" This was a particularly tough question to ask, since the company had just successfully re-built its factory achieving optimum performance, quality, and efficiency, and recruited and installed a highly qualified management team.
This type of success can mask other, less tangible, results. Further examination revealed that silos had developed, with little evidence of effective, cross-departmental teamwork. The new challenge was to improve communication, cooperation, and coordination across the organization.
The Grid Solution
Following many months of research into a suitable solution, CCL's managing director selected Grid® to improve individual and collective teamwork performance.
The first step was to measure the intangible and "fuzzy" areas of existing behaviors that characterized workplace interactions between the silos that had formed. Management began by using the basic behavioral styles presented by Grid. The Grid behavioral model is unique because it takes a typically intangible process (relating to others) and defines specific actions that reveal a person's, a team's, or an organization's style of relating.
Grid provided CCL with a structured framework to address the culture of its organization through individual and team effectiveness, and added an understanding of the "people factor."
The Grid experience was extremely positive and powerful. The process uncovered significant issues relating to unresolved conflict. Communication, cooperation, and coordination throughout the business have improved dramatically. More importantly, the methodology provided ongoing measurement and has made the culture and relationship issues tangible. The future plan is to implement the Grid solution throughout the company.
As CCL's managing director said regarding the challenge faced by company, "The highest degrees of education, the most expensive equipment, and even unlimited amounts of capital will never reach their full potential if the 'people' behind them cannot work together soundly and effectively."
FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company (FENOC) (USA)
FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company, a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp., is a diversified energy company headquartered in Akron, Ohio. Its subsidiaries and affiliates are involved in the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity, as well as energy management and other energy-related services. Its seven electric-utility operating companies comprise the nation's fifth largest investor-owned electric system, based on 4.5 million customers served within a 36,100-square-mile area of Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. Its generation subsidiaries control more than 14,000 megawatts of capacity.
Operations performance issues drew attention to FENOC's need for improved communications at all levels in their plant environments.
The Grid Solution
A search for corrective solutions led FENOC to discover Grid. The solution focused on self-discovery and self-convincing experiences for the strong-willed management team in a powerful "command and control" nuclear environment.
Actions being taken in the workplace by those who participated in Grid are resulting in:
- Broader inclusion of individuals in informational and operational meetings;
- Increased information sharing between the nuclear plants;
- Greater focus on problem resolution;
- More solicitation of ideas from the leadership;
- Increased examination of potential problems and preventive actions;
- More vigilance in compliance with operational procedures and tasks;
- More recognition for individuals and teams for doing what is right rather than the past model of who is right;
- Improved and more respectful relationships;
- Improved trust in the more team-based environment.
Police Service of Northern Ireland
The Police Service of Northern Ireland consists of about 13,000 police and civilian members patrolling throughout 29 district commands in Northern Ireland.
On November 1, 2001, the long-standing and historically well-known "Royal Ulster Constabulary" (RUC) became the Police Service of Northern Ireland to ensure that the predominantly Protestant police service hired and maintained an equal proportion of Catholic members. This transition was viewed as essential to ensure a balance of religious backgrounds in all members of the police service.
The history of conflict in Northern Ireland, much of it historically directed at the police, had created a culture of division and a tremendous challenge for the new police service, a challenge where a new vision of leadership change would be critical. Such leadership change would have to focus on behavioral issues rather than structural or process issues.
The Grid Solution
To ensure that the focus of the new service would be more on behavioral changes than process changes, PSNI chose Grid as the obvious best solution.
In the spring of 2003, a proposal to hold joint police and community roundtables was accepted and a year-long rollout was put in motion. The Irish Republic Police (known as the Garda Siochana), the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Swedish Police Service and Latvian National Police, government officials and community members, other public sector employees and even members of the England's well-known Centrex Police College attended with PSNI members.
The chief constable and his entire senior command team, both police and civilian, completed roundtables after hearing one consistent message from their members: "The chief constable and his team must complete this program if it is going to have a lasting effect on our organisation."
The benefits across the service from having the initial 500-plus members attend the program have been spectacular, and a five-year plan for completing a critical mass of the present 13,000 members has been put in place. The top team has stated that Grid solutions would be PSNI's change model for leadership development, problem solving, and decision making into the future. In addition, members of the Department of Education, the University of Ulster, and others also have decided to implement similar development using Grid solutions.
According to member feedback, Grid solutions have not only been the best employee and leadership development programs they have ever undertaken, but the programs have really changed their lives. Most commented that the programs would forever change the way they approached decision-making and problem solving in both their daily work and home lives.
The director of the Police College of Northern Ireland had this to say about Grid: "I have now been in policing and education for 32 years, and I have never seen a more beneficial and pragmatic program than...Grid."
The Harvard Business Review study describes how behavioral science concepts form a link between individual learning and total organization development. The link is important because it suggests answers to a long-standing problem: how to demonstrate the large-scale measurement of human relations research and teaching. The study involved one Exxon plant of about 4,000 employees for three years.
The study authors wished to know:
- Whether Grid OD had been successful in transferring behavioral science concepts into organizational action;
- The impact of the unusual teaching-learning role adopted by line management;
- Whether there was a concern surrounding psychiatric problems with participants;
- Study whether the Grid OD program involved the question of groups as units of learning versus individuals.
The Grid Solution
Take the entire workforce through the six phases of Grid Organization Development, and results were followed for three years.
1. There is evidence that Grid OD was responsible for at least several million dollars of controllable cost savings and profit increase. In addition, Grid seems to have been responsible for a sizable increase in employee productivity during its first year.
2. Exxon managers began follow-up projects that had total organization implications to a degree never experienced prior to the Grid OD.
3. The relationships between the Exxon factory and headquarters were considerably improved, partly as a result of Grid. In addition, both union and community relationships were better than they had been in the past.
4. There is evidence that major shifts occurred in the behavioral patterns, dominant values, and attitudes found among managers at the plant. These shifts were in line with the goals of the Grid program. Improved boss-subordinate, group, and intergroup relations were reported by Exxon plant managers.
5. Colleague support seemed to be more important than boss support as a factor in managerial improvement, according to subordinate managers.
Piramal Enterprises (India)
Piramal Enterprises enjoys a multi-billion dollar business in fields such as textiles, pharmaceuticals and health care, glass containers, hard ferrites, and auto ancillaries.
"Like all business houses, the Piramal Group of Industries constantly endeavors to identify best practices and integrate them into a strategy for fulfilling its corporate vision," said the president of corporate development. "Having experienced the power of the Grid, I realized that on taking over my new responsibilities as group president…the set of values the company believed in has a strong foundation in the Grid principles."
The Grid Solution
Piramal assessed different approaches to organization development, but the president of corporate development recommended Grid OD for the company. Piramal embarked on an across-the-board Grid experience for all levels within the organization, including some of their subsidiaries such as Gujarat Glass in Jambusar and Morajee Brembana. Gujarat Glass is the only manufacturer of bottles and vials for the pharmaceutical industry in India and can boast of satisfied clientele such as Glaxo Welcome, Rhone Poulenc, Pfizer, Hoechst, Wockhardt, and Parke-Davis. Morajee Brembana is an export-oriented, high-tech manufacturing company whose core business is the export of premium-quality shirting fabrics.
Well into a year of the Grid experience, Piramal decided it was time to take stock of its impact. A survey showed very encouraging results. As the president says of Piramal's Grid effort, "Considering that huge investments and efforts have been made in this direction, this study was initiated to measure the impact and to capture the change, if any, which could be attributed to Grid."
For an overall perspective, structured questionnaires were administered to participants who had experienced the Grid process.
An increase in productivity was seen in two projects in Gujarat Glass. Even though the intensity of change has varied, Piramal has seen an improvement in leadership behavior across the board since taking advantage of Grid solutions.
"We have begun our journey toward ensuring a higher degree of teamwork, commitment, and strong sense of pride and loyalty to the organization," says the president. "I feel certain that with the continued assistance of Grid International, we will continue to experience a strong culture and improved results."
Tetra Pak (South Africa)
Tetra Pak South Africa (Pty.) Ltd. Market Company was established in 1957, and in 1979 a converting plant was built in Pinetown, Kwazulu Natal. The head office is situated in Johannesburg, with sales and technical offices based in Cape Town, and a technical office in Port Elizabeth.
Tetra Pak South Africa provides processing, filling, and packaging solutions for South and Southern Africa. Their vision articulates their role in providing liquid nourishment to the people of South Africa: "A Tetra Pak package in every home, every day."
Tetra Pak's customer focus involves a commitment to cross-functional Key Account Teams that align the processes of the organization to serve their "crown jewel customers," including the top dairy and fruit juice processors throughout South Africa.
The Johannesburg office where the Grid rollout took place resembles a group of United Nations delegates, bringing to life the diversity represented by their "rainbow nation." One member of a team that serves a large dairy customer expressed their challenge: "So much potential. We probably have had good action plans but did not know how to deliver on them."
The Grid Solution
Tetra Pak requested this major intervention to support and reinforce the earlier initiatives of their managing director and his top team in South Africa. During this time, all levels of Grid solutions (personal, team, and cross-functional) were combined to enhance the dynamic capabilities of almost 100 people. New ground was explored with the cross-functional teams that included using Grid to understand the customer.
The Grid experience positioned Tetra Pak South Africa to implement concrete changes in its company culture. The elevated candor level has provided the company with renewed passion and energy. Management has devised ways to raise and improve individual contribution. Management team members have universally praised their work with Grid.
Dairyworld Foods (Canada)
Before its recent acquisition by Saputo Inc., Dairyworld Foods had annual sales of $1.4 billion and employed 3,200 people at 24 plants across Canada. The company produced milk, yogurt, cheese, butter, skim-milk powder, juices and food ingredients. Dairyworld Foods was western Canada's largest food manufacturer, marketing an extensive array of dairy and related food products under such well-known brand names as Dairyland, Armstrong, Pacific, and Orchard Hill.
The company had made a huge commitment to a quality process. However, the results were mixed, and future plans needed better results. "It just wasn't clicking. We were missing some essential glue which was basically teamwork," said the president and CEO. "People had to understand. that they didn't have the luxury anymore of waiting for orders and following them through without having to take responsibility or without having to be accountable. With this participation side comes the whole accountability side. You can't get one without the other."
The Grid Solution
The president continued, "It really wasn't until we introduced Grid at Dairyworld that we got the teamwork to take off because then people understood what was expected of them." An innovative management team took the "leap of faith" to apply Grid solutions to interrelationships with their customers such as The Overwaitea Food Group and suppliers such as Tetra Pak.
All of this was possible due to the changes Dairyworld made to its corporate culture using the Grid processes. Dairyworld incorporated Grid right into the keel of the organization. It developed an effective organization that could hold up through chaotic times and take advantage of opportunities when they presented themselves.
Grid maximizes effectiveness. Dairyworld Foods provided a leading-edge model for this process. Beyond their own organization, they created efficiencies in the supply chain with retailers and applied innovative, new technology with suppliers.
A final outcome of the success of Grid at Dairyworld might be seen in its acquisition by Saputo Inc. for $407 million. Said Saputo's president and COO, "Dairyworld's seasoned team will strengthen our group and will contribute significantly to our growth." Saputo's acquisition of Dairyworld resulted in Saputo's becoming the leading dairy-products group in Canada.
Overwaitea Food Group (Canada)
When the founder of Overwaitea Food Group (OFG) began selling customers 18 ounces of tea for the price of 16 (over-weight-tea) nearly 95 years ago, he set a standard for personal service, innovation, and value that would help OFG become Western Canada's leading food and consumer-goods retailer.
Today, OFG operates more than 120 stores under the Save-On-Foods, Overwaitea Foods, Urban Fare, Cooper's Foods, PriceSmart Foods and Bulkley Valley Wholesale banners—proudly local stores designed to match the communities they serve. Enthusiasm flourishes among more than 16,000 OFG team members, each of whom are committed to delivering a world-class shopping experience.
Competition was eroding growth, and fewer promotions were being sought by more employees. Previous growth had created career expectations among employees, which were now beyond the company's ability to deliver. Satisfaction had to be found within existing jobs, not from the promise of advancement.
Another problem, said the president of Overwaitea Foods, was that "for the first time in the company's history, there was no inflation." The company could not raise prices to cover rising costs. "Downsizing was becoming a major thrust. Many five- and six-year employees remained, but some full-time employees fell to part-time as the competition struck in specific areas."
The Grid Solution
"Grid…was like someone turned on a thousand watt light bulb…I could see all the obstacles," said the president. "That's why I've taken Grid [solutions] on with such vigor in this company. It is the first real, honest-to-God way to make people understand why they are being a certain way and how that influences other people, and gives them the license and the tools, through that understanding, to make the difference."
"It takes years and years of dedication, persistence, and consistent commitment to good management principles to get the culture of a company as big as Overwaitea to change," the president reflected. "I feel that we are really noticing the principles of Grid surface more and more within our culture. There is a marked increase in trust, team cooperation, and accountability. Our people are forming partnerships in-house to tackle projects utilizing resources we already have and respecting the expertise another may bring to a particular issue. Each team member wants to own the outcome, and therefore individual accountability has increased considerably. Going forward, we have a tool, a way, and a goal to manage the company culture."
Two Unilever plants, one in the U.S. and one in Canada, were studied over a 13-year period to compare the effectiveness of Grid Organization. The example illustrates the profitability of two autonomous corporations operating nationwide on opposite sides of the United State-Canadian border. Corporation A engaged in Grid Organization Development. Corporation B did not. They are owned by the same parent, Unilever, located in a third country. They engage in similar business and face the same character of competition in comparable markets.
The Grid Solution
Take the entire workforce through the six phases of Grid Organization Development, and results were followed for 13 years.
The starting comparisons show that for five years prior to the introduction of Grid development, the control corporation, B, appeared to be obtaining somewhat better economic performance, but the results were well within the range of chance fluctuations. Then, after introduction of Gird Organization Development, Corporation A experienced a continuous and rising curve of profitability during the next nine years. By the end of the study, profitability in the Grid company was 400% greater than in Corporation B, which had not engaged in Grid Organization Development. Corporation B had just managed to hold its own over the fourteen-year period.
The following remarks by the president of Corporation A at a time when his company had been engaged in Grid OD for six years offers his evaluation of the change.
There is no doubt that OD has had a significant and positive effect on profits…A major objective of the Grid was to change behavior and values within the organization in the direction of showing a high concern for both task accomplishment and human motivation, and then to sustain these changes and institutionalize them…There has undoubtedly been a substantial transformation in this area, with positive effects accruing through improved communication, the use of critique, profit or cost consciousness, some aspects of planning, the handling of conflict, meaningful participation in a group, and commitment among key managers…there is one other most important benefit that has accrued from the OD program and that is a substantial improvement in the working relationships between management and union officials.
Much of the work involving the union can be considered as a breakthrough in the application of OD principles and there is little doubt as to its success.
Impact. An organization member who was directly involved in his company’s implementation project summarized his reactions.
Once we could specify how we needed to change to meet the Ideal Strategic Model, we were in the management-by-objectives business in a way that wasn’t limited by blink acceptance of the status quo. Some of the specific things we learned included:
- How to approach the business in a scientific way to analyze and evaluate variables selectively.
- Taking corporate perspective as opposed to previous functional or department view.
- Looking at existing business more critically, growing more and more displeased with current efforts.
- Gaining a new perspective on the role of planning in effective management.
- Focusing on results expected by using return on assets as the basis for business decisions in comparison with conventional profit and loss and share of market thinking.
- Grasping the deeper implications of effective teamwork for increasing the soundness of any implementation plan.
- Developing more basic insight into the dynamics of change.