For more than 75 years Jeppesen has been helping aviation professionals worldwide reach destinations safely and efficiently through an array of innovative informational products, services, and software. A leader in the aviation arena through navigational charting and data, flight scheduling software and pilot training, the company now has a growing number of clientele in sea and land transportation. Jeppesen, which was acquired by The Boeing Company in 2000, is headquartered in Englewood, CO and has 3,300 employees worldwide.
Bruce Morse, Director of Professional Services, leads the team responsible for developing and delivering service solutions to customers utilizing the company’s products. With some 250+ employees in eight cities worldwide — in Singapore as well as Germany, Sweden and the United States — Bruce wanted to restructure the Professional Services team to support the anticipated growth in Jeppesen’s service business. When he approached Jeppesen’s Organizational Development for assistance, it was suggested that Bruce develop the organizational structure as part of an overall strategy, and recommended that he contact McGhee Productivity Solutions.
Jeppesen’s Professional Services is Client focused, and dedicated to developing and delivering industry-leading solutions. Bruce’s challenge was how to successfully transition from a geographically-driven delivery model to an agile, business-driven global delivery model. The siloed approach that had supported their growth and the development of industry-leading expertise lacked the scalability necessary to support Bruce’s vision; his first priority was to transform a group of talented, highly skilled individuals into an aligned, cohesive team.
Bruce enlisted the help of a McGhee Executive Consultant, Cindy, who proposed McGhee’s Objective Accountability Program (OAP). She explained that the OAP would support Bruce in operationalizing his vision for Professional Services, producing a documented strategy that could be cascaded, managed and tracked across the entire organization. Once the plan was in place, the optimal organization structure would follow.
Bruce’s organization had already experienced McGhee’s Take Back Your Life!® (TBYL) trainings which support individual and team-based productivity. The OAP was the next logical step, an integrated methodology that leverages consulting, coaching and training to deliver increased performance while maintaining work-life balance. The group experienced immediate results: alignment as a team, clearly delineated goals and objectives and – of particular interest to Bruce – a systematic approach for division-wide accountability.
Bruce and Cindy first worked to clarify the obstacles and objectives resulting from the current organization and process.
Next, with Cindy’s guidance, Bruce completed a structured set of pre-work activities which became the foundation for an off-site session for Bruce and his Leadership Team. As a group, they reviewed the prior year in order to understand and leverage their successes. They also reflected on and developed a set of guidelines to shift the results based on the prior year’s disappointments. Then the group aligned on the organization’s Mission, Values and three- and five-year goals, which led to the creation of their one-year Strategic Team Plan.
The Leadership Team then convened a month later to participate in the Accountability Program (AP) off-site, which provided the processes, tools and coaching to support individual and team accountability. The team’s focus included metrics for tracking progress and making the necessary adjustments to stay on course; alignment on a rhythm and process for regular review of the plan; and establishment of a team collaboration space for storage and access to the OAP materials.
At Cindy’s suggestion, Bruce added an operations specialist and a strategist to the team, filling both positions with key people, dynamic individuals who report directly to Bruce. “There are 250+ people in the organization working towards, and being accountable for the completion of our goals; hiring these positions has been a HUGE improvement and has helped to drive focus, alignment and accountability.”
“I am clear now that the OAP is a process, one that requires and supports adjustments as-needed; the system can be adapted and refocused as needed,” Bruce added, noting that this distinction was key in helping the team at Jeppesen implement the McGhee methodologies.
For Bruce, creating the structure was key. Having both the process and a method for implementing and managing that process is what has made the difference. The team has leveraged the OAP to better engage and manage the organization and their commitment to the process is unwavering. “In spite of the craziness, the Accountability Reviews bring it all together and the right discussions take place”, Bruce commented. “I have visibility on the team’s activities and the process keeps our focus on the future. At first, our 3-year goal was considered controversial; it’s now accepted and is an active part of the organization-wide conversation.”
An added benefit is the feedback that Bruce and his team have received from within Jeppesen: “Other groups having organizational challenges have shared that they wish they were more like the Professional Services team which is remarkable, given the state of our team just one year ago. Even those not prone to giving compliments have commented on how well the team is working together”, Bruce adds – a testament to the power of the OAP process.
“We have a better understanding of each other’s areas of focus and how they often interconnect, which helps us when prioritizing work and aligning dependencies. Overall, it’s had a positive impact and our team is now marching to the same drummer” stated Todd Sainer, Business Operations Specialist. “Consistency and dedication to the process keeps us accountable each month to ensure we arrive at our OAP reviews prepared and ready to go. We’re all comfortable even calling out our boss when consistency may start to slip. The fact that we are committed to the process makes it valuable, and each of us knows that we’re accountable to hold up our end of the bargain.”
Through their work with McGhee, the Professional Services team at Jeppesen experienced the following results:
• A system that drives synergy and collaboration through the team
• More time to focus on unifying goals due to clarity and alignment
• Team awareness of each other´s priorities and visibility on how each individual impacts the whole
• A protocol for accountability that keeps the team focused on goals
• The creation of a team that transcends cultural and geographical obstacles, resulting in a more unified approach and increased team satisfaction