Caterpillar, Inc. - {subtitle}

Organizational culture is organic, operative, malleable and measurable. Purposeful change within its immense influence, especially in a large organization, requires time, manifold planning and spirited stewards with a common vision. This profile is a glimpse of people at the Caterpillar Mining and Construction plant who are progressively adjusting their professional decisions, work standards and values to a constructive, high-performance, “I can do it” culture. Rod Bussell, VP & GM of Caterpillar’s Decatur plant, views “organizational culture” with the concrete, tangible perspective as he might a product design. His depth of experience and innate leadership brilliance lead him to recognize that culture is the foundation piece to the “one, focused high-performance team” he is moving toward with the 2,000 people at the Decatur plant. He has seen the ripple effect of a culture in which his people believe they have the power to make decisions at their job level based on what they hear in the voice of the customer. He has seen the power of a culture to influence good managers to become great leaders.

The Organizational Culture Goal:

“We are trying to move our whole organization to one, focused team and to create a high-performance organization. We think people accomplish all the results we get and the more we can work as one team, all 2,000 of us, with focus on creating a constructive culture, a high-performing culture, the better it is. We’re not only doing Imagine 21® for our troops, but we’re also doing OCES culture survey assessments, Cultural Consensus Building, *Leadership Impact® assessments, coaching, and a variety of other things.”

“It’s All About People”:

“We consider everybody as part of our one team. From our perspective, it’s not a union/management plant. We see our team as one big work force. We have a huge diversity of ethnic backgrounds, skill sets, and educational backgrounds. When we talk about our employees… we talk about everybody as being part of Caterpillar and the vision of making a superior product. I came into this Caterpillar plant and tried to figure out how to make it even better… The assessment was that we didn’t need to be better engineers, we didn’t need to have more money invested in machine tools. The assessment was we needed a common vision and confidence that we could change our perceptions and attitudes. It was more what we believed as opposed to what our skill set was.”

The Motor Grader Team:

“A dozen people on the shop floor in the Motor Grader area formed ‘The EA Team’ on their own, to solve customer issues. ‘EA’ stands for Employee Action. The EA Team was focusing on complaints from a dealer and decided to call him. Joe Williams said, ‘even better than that, get on a plane and talk with him.’ Two members of the team went out, listened, observed and brought back the voice of the client with a list of things to do and then, as a team, they figured out how to do them. We’ve got a lot of good stories from The Pacific Institute that are going on.“We’re steeped in a long tradition of spending time communicating with everybody in the organization about what the voice of the customer is and what the voice wants. We run approximately a thousand customers a year through our plant, and most of those customer tours go through the shop, and most of the questions asked are asked of the people who put together the product.”

The Story Of Glenn*: “I’m Going To Change”:

“Glenn (*not his real name) may be the smartest guy you’ll ever know. He has always been very successful from a technical point of view, but every leadership assessment run on him has shown that his people skills were limiting him. He had a reputation for being somebody that people didn’t want to work for, and , in a lot of cases, bright, talented engineers turned down jobs in his organization because of his poor reputation as a leader. When he got his Leadership Impact survey results, it said the same thing that other upward feedback had told him: there was very little of the constructive style blue on it and a lot in the aggressive and passive zones. Glenn had already been through Imagine 21® and Facilitator Education, and he said, “I don’t want to be like this. I’m going to change.” He set his goals to change and he got together with the entire group that works for him and said, “Hey, this is what my leadership circumplex looks like. I don’t want to be like this. I’m going to change, but I want your help.” The change is dramatic. Some of the new people in the plant who didn’t know Glenn before now love to work for him. They say, “We don’t know this old guy they talk about, but you’re fun to work for. This is an exciting place to work.”Why It’s Working
“The process for change and the measurement device are consistent. We’re using the same mechanisms to assess our culture as we do a leader’s impact on his/her organization. Look at the measurement device and you can directly apply the Imagine 21® techniques, like coaching forward or the Pygmalion principle, and then you combine them with affirmations. In the case of Glenn, he now has The Pacific Institute’s tools, he knows what to change, and he knows how to change it. By soliciting the input from his people and listening to his coach from The Pacific Institute through the *Leadership Impact® process, he feels he can identify what can be worked on to improve… The measurement data and the process to use it for change are consistent.”