In my 35+ years of experience, organizations succeed when they focus on 3 Wins, A Win for the Customer, A Win for the Organization, and A Win for the Individual. It is often the gaps in business strategy and their failure to focus simultaneously on the customer, the organization and the needs of the individual employee that cause the biggest problems. Fix these process gaps and many issues become resolvable. The same is true during organizational change efforts.
There is no shortage of books, articles, consultants, theories, models, and tools to assist in change efforts. We all continue to search for answers to increase the success of change initiatives. The dismissal success rates of large change efforts of 15-45%, unchanging since the 70’s, should trouble every person engaged in any business change. I personally believe there are great lessons to be learned from the successful processes used to create and maintain the famous Saturn Corporate culture from 1987 until the early 2000’s when General Motors decided to permanently eliminate the Saturn brand.
At the core of the Saturn culture was philosophy of collaboration along with a commitment to seek win-win solutions. In the 15 years I was a part of Saturn, I actually helped define the meaning of the triple win. The customer was the ‘true north,’ and as such, a win for the customer was always inherent in the plan. It was necessary as a business to succeed, so the organization naturally had to be the second win. And finally, without every individual benefiting, the commitment to “do the work” would falter so the third win belonged to each contributing individual. And after so many years of coercion, unhealthy, damaging competition and coexistence in every part of the General Motors’ system (employees, union, management, suppliers, and dealerships), cooperation, collaboration and a drive for co-ownership emerged as the right strategy. Without cooperation, and collaboration, the 3 wins are impossible to obtain or maintain. This was the Saturn Difference.
Here are some great questions to get you started!
- What are your customer philosophy and customer processes – are you collaborating? If not, why not?
- What type of culture and environment exists within your organization?
- If you aren’t collaborating today, what can you do to start?
TripleWin’s Professional Development Program is provides theories, models and skill development to support developing and working in a win-win-win culture and environment. For more information, see www.triplewin.ch.