How a Tandem Team Rolls on Goodyear Tires

Edsel-WEBWouldn’t it be great to roll through each work day with a team that is collaborative, communicates well, values training and development, and has a genuine concern for the future leadership of the organization? Or is your team rolling on deflated tires? Is a team such as the description gone the way of Ford’s Edsel? (OK, I’m dating myself now, and you younger readers, just Google it). Such a team does exist at Goodyear North America. First a brief scenario of how this team began its journey as conveyed in the August issue of HR Magazine.

Their journey began with two questions, 1) who would replace current leaders? and 2) how was the company preparing future leaders? In addition, business pressures from global competition and volatile economic conditions were looming. Something had to be done. The decision was made to restructure the company. Now the team was able to identify the type of leadership the company would need to drive it forward. This, in turn, helped the team to identify the type of development these leaders needed to steer the company in the right direction. The team made the commitment to develop the process and put it in place to accelerate the shift. How does a company develop such a team?

Goodyear North America paved the way for their executives by laying out a roadmap taking each executive and the team to their destination of creating a tandem team.

Executive Buy-In

Goodyear North America President Steve McClellan, set expectations for his drivers or executive team. Each executive is charged with

  • Actively participating in the program.
  • Being open and transparent.
  • Being unafraid to learn.
  • Learning from each other.
  • Teaching someone.

Without these expectations and accountability in place, no team will achieve the status of being a high-performing vehicle for change. Is your organization hiring people with the right mindset that fits your culture and the commitment to carry it through? Establishing expectations from the beginning helps every executive to turbo charge his or her engine from the green flag.

Traits and Competencies

Just as Goodyear’s analysis of the traits and competencies future leaders would need in order to carry out change initiatives, this same analysis is set for the executive team as a whole. rolls out these traits and competencies.

 Leadership Traits

  • Build talent and teams around them.
  • Have the ability to solve problems.
  • Are effective communicators.
  • Make courageous decisions.
  • Deliver results.

General Management Competencies

  • Accountability
  • Financial acumen
  • Strategic planning
  • Change leadership
  • Visionary
  • Continuous process improvement
  • Decision quality
  • Developing others
  • Challenges the status quo
  • Builds relationships

An executive team hitting each of these would help any organization operate and run like a well- oiled machine. These traits and competencies must be there from the start. The hiring process must have some mechanism in the system to discover who and who does not fit in with this type of culture.

HR Must be the Lead Vehicle

Human Resources must be not only a member of a well-functioning team, but must also act as the pace car in order to win the leadership race. For example, HR must be charged with:

  • Having a full understanding of the organization’s culture
  • Setting the pace through early executive engagement and overseeing an effective leadership development path
  • Being unafraid to call in backup vehicles such as a leadership partner
  • Measuring impact because this is really where the rubber meets the road

Such teams have the ability to hang in there through curves, bumps and when the company hits a pothole. This is the type of team whose wheels won’t fall off when roadblocks or thrown up or when the green light in the race to profitability turns to yellow or red. Following the road map that Goodyear North America offers will provide your organization with safe travels and it won’t go the way of the Edsel.

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