Our very first case study in seeding and scaling new ways of working and organizing inside a Fortune 500 company.
August has spent two years creating transformational change — at a global scale — inside of one of the world’s largest, oldest and most complex food businesses.
The engagement, epic as it has been, had humble origins. We were brought in after one of the biggest business units in North America had just been restructured. Despite the new org chart, the business simply wasn’t performing.
Senior executives lamented the ways in which the org was getting in its own way. People spent most of their days in meetings, and the rest of their time either digging themselves out of their inbox or creating endless powerpoint slides for their line managers. Teams were mired in a morass of convoluted decision making, politicking and functional infighting.
Things needed to change.
Emily, Jessie and Usha from the August Team
“The story of this company, August and the development of Responsive is spine-tinglingly amazing....it restores my faith in this organization.”
We worked with the executive team to identify 5 business critical missions and spun up a team around each. We designed the teams to be lean, autonomous, and multidisciplinary. There was no distinction between makers and managers; everyone on the team rolled up their sleeves to do the
We created conditions which enabled the team to operate differently: with an intense bias for action, and a tolerance for risk manifested through weekly sprints and ships, and relentless testing and learning (both in terms of the ‘product’ they worked on, and the way they worked together).
Not only did each team accomplish their mission, they exceeded all expectations. Perhaps most crucially though, they’d landed on a scalable operating model that enabled teams to operate with unprecedented speed and agility.
Global senior executives were
What followed was a global roll out. First, we codified the key practices that resulted in new behavioral shifts. There were 9 in total. We packaged them
We embedded new ways of working and
These new ways of working and organising started spreading, not only because senior leaders were mandating the change, but because once workers saw the benefits – 15-30x faster project completion, simpler and more effective coordination and cooperation across groups, significant progress against organisational health goals, faster progress toward career and life goals (!) – they spread the methods themselves
Finally, we stood up an internal coalition, designed as an opt-in Center of Excellence, with global and local representation from BUs and functions critical to long-term sustainability. We trained master coaches (again, on an opt-in basis), who are now charged with scaling this new op-model to all four corners of the globe.
We worked with the heads of Transformation and HR to ensure every General Manager understands how to adopt the practices, and we continue to support local markets to get up and running.
Using before & after surveys, we were able to measure the change in mindsets.
Through a simple set of practices, we helped accelerate over 40+ business critical missions, sparked a global movement of tens of thousands of people from across the organization, and created measurable behavioral changes that resulted in tangible economic impact (not to mention, making work more engaging for thousands of employees).
We estimate that:
What did we learn! So much. Here are a few highlights: