Lavoro di gruppo presso SDA Bocconi.

Ride the Change Thanks to People

Tierre Group, a reference company for fittings in the pneumatic automation, food & beverage and Telecom industries, has launched an innovative training project in collaboration with SDA Bocconi, the School of Business Management in Milan: a program built step by step involving all collaborators, from the managers to the employees, internally and externally. The contents developed in the classroom were translated into concrete actions within the company.

 The training project involved the entire staff.
The training project involved the entire staff.

Tierre Group has become, over its 20-years history, one of the reference companies supplying fittings in the pneumatic automation, food & beverage and Telecom industries. At the core of the success of this company there are, above all, the people and their values. In fact, it is on its employees that Tierre Group builds its competitive advantage over its competitors. But what does it mean “to put people at the centre”? For Tierre Group, it means guiding choices and taking actions being clear that, without them, forgetting the distinctions of position or role, including external agents, the company cannot achieve the results it is actually achieving. In October 2018 the company organized a “Kitchen Lab”, a cooking workshop: everyone wearing their own chef’s apron and hat for a common goal: preparing a lunch to be shared and celebrate, among other things, the twentieth anniversary of the company. The ingredients available: fun, collaboration, confidence, competition, the desire to grow and improve themself. It is right after the Kitchen Lab that a training project was born, over the following two years, which is going to continue in 2021. The project involved an important interlocutor, SDA Bocconi, the Business Management School of Milan.

The training project in the detail

The chosen approach, having clear the goal, was overturned compared to the traditional one. The program was built step by step, involving the base and bringing out the key points to work on. In the awareness that to move forward it is necessary to stop and look back, we started by telling ourselves and reconstructing the history and evolution of our company together, to help employees design a shared future towards which to strive. Having put together the critical success factors of Tierre Group, we began to think about the areas to be improved, as necessary action to make the leap.

The elements that emerged on which the following steps were concentrated can be summarized as follows:

– Definition of role boundaries
– Definition of responsibilities at all levels
– Definition and improvement of processes

Information sharing:

– from top to base and vice versa
– between the different functions
– within the single function
– Start the cascade delegation process
– Introduction of coordination and integration tools
– Team work
– Sharing the vision of the future and the sense of going

These points have been translated both into content developed in the classroom and into concrete actions within the company. The training course therefore dealt with issues related to the design of the organization, the delegation process, the interpersonal communication, the understanding and enhancing individual differences and the group dynamics, up to addressing some specific organizational and management tools, such as meetings, and a final feedback in 2021.

The contents of the project in the company daily work

In order to bring the contents learned in the classroom as much as possible back into everyday life, work has begun in the company on several fronts:
– Definition of roles and responsibilities, the consequence of which was the revision of the jobs, the mapping of the competences and the organization chart and the delegation of responsabilities
– Starting structured inter-functional meetings
– Starting functional meetings
– Coaching at various levels
– Planning of company meetings to communicate the company’s management to everyone
Regarding this last point, for example, immediately after the lockdown and despite the social distancing, the management did not want to leave anything outstanding: all the collaborators, from the managers to the employees, internally and externally, were invited to join web conferences.
And this is because the need to thank them for not giving up in this difficult period was urgent. The message, loud and clear: the company exists and it is investing, not only in the business, with an ambitious digital marketing project and attending to important tenders alongside competitors in the
sector, but also and above all in the continuous development of its key resources, the people. In which way? Organizing structured coaching for the young resources, advanced training courses for the managers, online training for salespeople, coaching at all levels, to give support, to make their presence felt. Being a company can also mean putting aside short-term goals for a moment and taking time to smile together, in the awareness that the achievement of long-term goals passes through people’s well-being.

Here are some other evidences that emerged from everyday life with people:

– Difference creates value
– Continuing to learn, evolve, question oneself is the humus of the company
– Mistake is a learning system, if it does not become a stress on doing
– Having people who are not afraid of making mistakes and saying they did it is an added value
– Communication is the glue
– The ability to be humble and open to new ideas is a source of learning

Tierre Group Headquarters in Cormano, near Milan.
Tierre Group Headquarters in Cormano, near Milan.

Teaming up: the imperative for those who govern a company

A final consideration is related to this historical period, so global and pervasive, where, among other things, many paradigms on people management seem to have been blown. In fact, in addition to the need to oversee the continuity of the business, redesigning and reinventing oneself and being far-sighted in the redefinition of the strategy, it is now more necessary than ever to give great attention to people. This means being able to review your processes in progress, but above all knowing how to adapt your leadership style to make sure that people are effectively at the centre. Once again, in the spotlight there is the leadership that faces the great challenge of becoming flexible. Never as in this moment, flexibility means knowing how to read and segment, to accommodate needs, to make a true inclusion towards all its stakeholders. It was necessary to “rediscover” fragility as a value, not as an obstacle, and, consequently, to lower the barriers and get closer to others. This is becoming the new way of teaming up in a real way, empowerment, this is the way to keep everyone on board: managing the individualities within the team, to make a team. Today’s situation leads in this direction, if we want to be successful and rediscover what we can call collective intelligence, also through individualities, learning to value their differences.

About the author: Giordana Taggiasco is HR Consultant, University Professor, Coach ACC-ICF International Coaching Federation at SDA Bocconi.