Challenge: A leading multinational consumer products company had highly aggressive plans for expanding its business in China ten-fold in 7 years. This included launching an array of products worth tens of millions of dollars within the year. They needed to accelerate launch plans while doubling their technical talent in the highly competitive Chinese labor market. They also had to move forward on plans to reorganize the Chinese R&D unit, and to relocate to a new city to be near the marketing team.
The executive team of the Chinese R&D unit had agreed to the ambitious goals and timelines. However, they had missed several key milestones, and their launch targets were at serious risk. The head of Global R&D was mystified by the slow progress He needed to take decisive action to prevent a “derailment” of this division and restore the critical momentum they needed to meet their objectives.
How we helped: We identified several critical issues that were distracting the Chinese R&D unit and contributing to the delayed results. For a variety of reasons, members of the leadership team had been reluctant to share challenges they faced with each other and the Global Head. This led to a feeling of isolation among the leaders that was preventing them from working together to identify and resolve roadblocks to progress.
Members of the team were clearly surprised and relieved to discover that they were not alone in feeling the pressure of their many challenges. The ability to uncover and express their concerns while “maintaining face” enabled them to discover new ways to overcome roadblocks and get back on track.
Results: The head of Global R&D subsequently told us that our work together “served as a catalyst that removed inertia.” This resulted in “new thinking, which prompted us to new action.” Among these were plans they implemented to:
- Accelerate talent acquisition in the competitive employment market
- Close a dysfunctional manufacturing facility that had been sucking away time and resources
- Reassign key talent to ensure that critical development projects were put back on the fast track
The revival of momentum and velocity in their projects enabled the group to realize millions of dollars in previously at-risk top and bottom line growth.