The Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of chemicals, fertilisers, plastics and metals. Their base in the UK is on Teeside, where their activity is split across different plants on two sites. The Engineering Shared Services team supports and maintains all the plants and employs around 300 people. This team was formed to replace the existing arrangement of a separate team for each plant and is led by a team of eight senior managers.
The idea of a shared services model was not popular with the staff at the individual plants. They were losing a dedicated resource over which they had control. So the leadership of the new senior team had to be strong to drive through change which was unpopular. At first, the leadership team successfully implemented the new model.
However, a new challenge now presented itself. As one of the senior managers put it “We have won the war, now we need to learn how to win the peace.”
SABIC consulted Brathay to help establish the team’s objectives for the next 12 months.The team recognised that, although they were already a high performing team in many ways, they needed to achieve even greater alignment with one another to present unity and clarity to the business. They also needed to reconsider their relationship with their internal customers and with their employees.
Team event: The programme began with a one-day event for the whole team plus one of the plant managers. The inclusion of this manager and internal customer in the whole programme ensured that the team was challenged to be externally focussed.
The event took place on SABIC premises. Its purpose was to:
- involve the whole team in shaping the objectives of the programme;
- maximise the value of the residential workshop by introducing the team to the way we would work during the event; and
- enable the Brathay consultant to see at first hand how the team worked together.
One-to-ones: Each member of the team met with the Brathay consultant to:
- share their personal views about the challenges facing the team; and
- set their personal objectives for the programme.
Residential team event: Brathay Hall provided an inspirational setting for the team to spend three days together, developing their capabilities both as a team and as individuals. A combination of practical experiences, focussed review and application of practical models and theories where appropriate supported the team in focussing on areas such as:
- trust, support and alignment between team members;
- the balance for individuals between management and leadership; and
- the shift in mindset towards internal customers required to move the function forward.
Action planning meeting: Approximately two months after the residential event a one-day workshop took place at SABIC to:
- review the action taken to apply the learning since the residential event;
- identify the impact this had;
- use the learning and outcomes from the residential event to formulate and commit to objectives for the Engineering Shared Services function
- focus specifically on their relationship with their internal customers and engagement and alignment of their workforce
- establish coaching pairs between team members to facilitate ongoing leadership development for individuals in the senior team
Working with Brathay enabled the team and its individuals to:
- develop new strategies for supporting one another;
- avoid unintentionally working at a tangent to their colleagues;
- adjust the balance between leadership and management to motivate and develop the staff reporting to them;
- develop skills and practices for holding more productive conversations with their key stakeholders; and
- develop prioritised objectives and an action plan.