Our specialty is creating the conditions for reliable and sustainable breakthrough performance. Our clients in both the private and public sectors have made requests in specific areas given our work is highly customizable. These areas include the following applications:
An organizations culture is like gravity. You cant see it or touch it, but it exerts a constant pull that holds things in place. Like gravity, culture is made tangible by its effects; it can be seen in the behaviors and practices of an organizations management and employees. When two different cultures are required to work together, the effects, while often catalytic, can sometimes be disruptive and can undermine morale, productivity, and profits.
The need for integration of various organizational cultures is becoming more and more frequent, with increasing globalization and consolidation within many industries. The need to successfully integrate cultures, whether precipitated by a merger or acquisition, development of a new unit, labor-management difficulties, or cross-functional projects, presents complex management challenges.
Most managers attempt to bring about cultural integration through top-down initiatives that are aimed at influencing behaviors and practices. These programs often fail because they address the effects of culture, leaving its causes unseen and unchanged. Vanto Group, a full-scale consulting firm, works with its clients to create initiatives in which people can successfully step outside their familiar frameworks to identify and address the embedded attitudes, assumptions, and ways of thinking that drive behavior and hold the cultures limitations in place. In doing so, participants gain the freedom to act in new ways, and to forge a new culture based on common goals and values.
Culture is an elemental force within an organization; with Vanto Groups partnership, companies are able to harness this force to create positive change in their organizations.
“I have been a union leader for almost 30 years and a site official for the last 10 years. It was never considered to be in our interest to work cooperatively with management. We fought them, we had long, protracted strikes, and we never even considered the possibility of any kind of a real working relationship.”
“With the work of Vanto, we are now in a partnership with management. We have the opportunity to have input into business decisions and all relevant information is shared with us. Our membership now understands that as a union we benefit from this being the best business in the world, both in terms of job security and satisfaction in our accomplishments. This new union/management partnership was reflected in our recent contract negotiations. The negotiation period was shortened from two-and-a-half to three years to an unprecedented three-month process. We are committed to continuing in this high performing partnership to deliver the changes required to meet the needs of all stakeholders.”
Construction, Forestry, Mining & Energy
Union of Australia, Mining & Energy Division
Most strategic plans say more about todays circumstances than tomorrows opportunities. Improvements are incremental. Many companies stick to whats familiar — even though the real opportunities are often elsewhere.
Vanto Group takes fully into account a companys characteristics, resources, problems, and objectives; then departs from that reality to a wholly new approach.
Our strategic design process does far more than determine what actions should be taken in the future. It actually creates and designs a new future. The process establishes an environment that actively supports and pulls for the fulfillment of that future.
Fully Integrated Implementation — A Unique Approach
Managers and executives who understand strategic vision as a compelling force know that implementing it throughout an organization is critical to a companys success. Often it is not the companys strategy, product, or innovative management that distinguishes the company in the marketplace, but rather, how the company implements what it does. Unique to Vanto’s strategic design process is the way implementation is built in from the beginning. Each employee knows what the company is out to accomplish. They know their part and the difference they can make.
This ownership and committed action throughout an organization makes a company agile, flexible, and powerful in ways almost nothing else can. The strategic intent or future becomes a powerful force in the organization; It builds a life of its own, it develops its own momentum, and carries its own enthusiasm. Vanto has had remarkable success in aiding its clients in the implementation of this vision.
In Vantos strategic design process, a core group (25-150 people representing all parts of the organization) participates. These people create the strategic plan together and then take it out to their colleagues, which initiates a powerful momentum for implementation. The engagement generally takes place during 11-19 days in periodic two- to three-day sessions during a year and is customized for each client.
“Top executives are often very successful in articulating their goals but have a difficult time communicating them effectively, and more importantly, having others take them on as their own. When a company’s objectives do not live at every level and with every employee, they do not exist with any real power. When it comes to a cultural change program, which we all know is extremely difficult, what greatly impressed me with regard to the Vanto Group process and technology is that it has a way of actually giving people an access — a detailed, hands-on access — to altering the culture of an organization. Having spent a large amount of time myself designing organizational strategies, and knowing the difficulty of getting them implemented and accepted, this process is incredibly promising. It allows an organization to cut through all the resistance and effect significant change in a surprisingly short length of time.”
Jesse Isidor Straus Professor of Business Administration, Emeritus
Delivering extraordinary business results lies in developing real leadership and teamwork at every level of the organization.
Workforce mobilization initiatives allow people to move far beyond compliance to an authentic ownership that calls them to participate fully. They create an environment where the generative and committed action of employees can be powerfully elicited, allowing leadership to emerge and yield unprecedented results. Tailored to each clients needs, Vanto’s Workforce mobilization engagements may include components such as our Leadership Training Program and Breakthrough Project Program.
“The work we did with Vanto Group was part of a large-scale change effort to transform the business. When we brought this opportunity to the whole workforce, the buy-in to it and the power that it unlocked in the organization was extraordinary. People started to see that there was a future; that it was positive; that they could play a part in it and that it was going to make things more powerful for them and for the organization.”
“As a whole, some of the hard measures that demonstrate the change are that we were able to take $50 million of cost out of the business in less than six months. Also, in the past 12 months, 400 people have left the organization — all voluntarily — and we’ve been able to do that without any major difficulty.”
Ian Sampson, General Manager, Human Resources and External Affairs
New Zealand Steel, Ltd.
The Leadership Training Program energizes participants and significantly impacts their capacity and ability to lead. It is designed to cause a transformation in who they are at work and the way they approach work. This program brings about a fundamental shift in what people see as possible.
Participants are able to step outside of their familiar frameworks, identify entrenched behaviors, old habits, and unexamined assumptions. They develop new perspectives giving them the ability to see, act, and relate in new ways
Vanto Group works with people to create a self-generative climate of innovation and informed risk-taking. The results are a new sense of confidence and new ways of approaching problems that allow people to take the initiative to make things happen.
The Leadership Training Program is customized for each client and can be tailored for diverse groups — from senior executive teams to entire workforce populations. This program is generally three-and-a-half days long and conducted for groups of 25-100. In the high-tech industry, remaining successful and being competitive require real agility and the ability to constantly innovate and come out with new technology in a timely way. We asked Vanto to work with us to develop a new kind of dedicated project team to greatly accelerate the product development cycle.
In addition to reducing product development time, shortening the cycle, and producing incremental improvements, we wanted something new, fresh really a breakthrough result. Vanto’s process was designed to revitalize the culture to refocus employees on driving results, welcoming and even initiating change, and creating a new leadership role in our company. It successfully incorporates employees in the company’s future, gaining widespread commitment to growth and change.
“In the high-tech industry, remaining successful and being competitive require real agility and the ability to constantly innovate and come out with new technology in a timely way. We asked Vanto to work with us to develop a new kind of dedicated project team to greatly accelerate the product development cycle.”
“In addition to reducing product development time, shortening the cycle, and producing incremental improvements, we wanted something new, fresh — really a breakthrough result. Vanto’s process was designed to revitalize the culture to refocus employees on driving results, welcoming and even initiating change, and creating a new leadership role in our company. It successfully incorporates employees in the company’s future, gaining widespread commitment to growth and change.”
Director, Employee Education and Development Worldwide
The Breakthrough Project Program promises an overall organizational breakthrough, specifically, a breakthrough in leadership to produce and manage for unprecedented results.
This program is a powerful adjunct and support to any previous team-building activities and will accelerate team formation.
Participants re-think what is possible for both themselves and their organizations. The result is a powerful, outcome-driven team aligned around the accomplishment of its goals and objectives as well as achieving specific breakthrough business results.
The program generally takes place during 11 days: a five-day initial program, followed by two days each quarter for three quarters. Running a business is a complex matter, and at the heart of any business is people. I have yet to see anything else that has such a positive impact on peoples’ ability to relate, communicate, and perform as Vanto has. Our experience resulted in the alignment of our people around a common vision for the future, along with a powerful set of commitments and accountabilities.
When an executive team starts to gel, something very exciting happens. There comes a unique doubling of power and performance with the recognition of what the team can accomplish. Vanto Groups Executive Leadership program elicits the contributions and strengths of each member, creating a powerful team. Executives distinguish their accountabilities in a way that leaves them with access and power in the fulfillment of their overall corporate objectives. Participants develop and invent critical performance measures and systems with which to steer the organization.
Our clients report that the Executive Leadership program leaves participants generating, managing, and keeping in existence a breakthrough performance culture. The team is able to move forward effectively with integrity and power, becoming a force for change. Team members welcome risk and cause each other’s successes. They develop the competency to consistently deliver extraordinary business outcomes. The Executive Leadership program is customized for each client and takes place during a period of between three and 18 months.
“I made the decision to bring in Vanto Group to work with our senior management and to design a process where we could create and deliver on goals that were stretch goals — world records that had never been obtained before. Our objective was to take incredibly good managers and turn them into exceptional leaders who could produce another world record. The outcomes were incredible. We not only met what we considered stretch budgets, we exceeded them. We have set world records for many months in monthly production as well as setting a world record in annual production. Our costs are lower than they were when we started the program, and we were able to improve safety by 50%. All of this is from the leadership that’s in place, speaking from a vision and a set of values that the organization is aligned on.”
Senior Vice President and Group General Manager
BHP Copper Metals
Union and management relations historically are based on mistrust, conflict of interest, and ingrained adversarial attitudes. Surmounting this history and building a strong foundation of trust are essential to achieving new levels of productivity and a competitive advantage.
Vanto’s initiatives, tailored to specific union and management situations, bring about a dramatic shift in how people work together to fulfill organizational goals. When people can see themselves as an integral, vital part of an organizations future, they are able to step outside their separate, often adversarial roles and experience themselves as part of a team.
“During the work Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO) did with Vanto, we tore down a lot of the old traditional barriers between union and management, the stuff that kept us from achieving the company’s goals.”
“The cost of producing megawatts has so far dropped 18%. Our grievances dropped more than 50%. The incentive program we developed is probably paying the largest incentive payouts in the country for utility workers. Instead of a very difficult and untrusting environment, there is a new attitude and new level of productivity that reap benefits for the company and the workers.”
United Steel Workers of America, Local 12775
Mergers, acquisitions, and new alliances can be extraordinarily challenging. Each company has its own values and processes, making integration complex and idiosyncratic.
Mergers and acquisitions commonly result in a win/lose situation where the people in one company may not have much to gain and may not make it easy for the other party. In these scenarios, management teams often focus on the battle to maintain positions. The pattern is repeated throughout the ranks and the business suffers. This can and often does jeopardize shareholder value.
Alliances have their own unique challenges. Typically, two companies come to the table each with their own assets, agendas, and proposals. Operating practices, performance indicators, and problem resolution structures have not been established. This can lead to conflict that undermines the trust and partnership that are critical to realizing mutual objectives.
Vanto steps in to help companies reconcile their differences, create a cohesive organization, and realize the competitive advantage of the merger, acquisition, or alliance
Vanto offers these merger and acquisition services:
Cultural Alignment: Creates a forum in which the top leadership of both organizations can effectively design a culture for the new organization that capitalizes on the strengths of each.
Breakthrough Intervention: Resolves adversarial or entrenched attitudes. Moves management and employees past resignation and cynicism to capitalizing on opportunities.
Accelerated Implementation: Facilitates smooth and rapid merging by enabling early, voluntary agreement; resolving potential pitfalls; and leveraging the strengths of each company.
“The acquisition of Empresa Minera Especial de Tintaya, a copper mining corporation formerly owned by the Peruvian government, presented a complex management challenge. The operation had a history of under-performing, a hierarchical culture, and ineffective union/management relationships. The urgency of our situation forced us to focus on something that is crucial to the success of any merger or acquisition — bringing people together as quickly as possible to find effective ways to run the organization. With Vanto as our partner, we rapidly built one new company, one that is thriving today.”
Former President and General Manager
Magma Tintaya South America
Culturally diverse organizations include people of different races, genders, nationalities, and styles. These organizations recognize and value peoples diversity — their differences and similarities.
Organizations can learn to harness aspects of uniqueness as a source of strength and creativity for the organization.
Cultural diversity not only influences the internal operations of the organization; it also has impact on the organizations relationships with customers, suppliers, communities, and other constituencies. A skillfully diverse organization sets itself apart from its competitors.
“As president and CEO, I thought it was great to experience the outstanding business results and share price, but equally important to me was to witness the enthusiasm of the people to contribute to the organization as well as to each other regardless of rank. It was a great thrill to see the increasing numbers of official visitors from other, diverse companies, coming to study the process and talk to our people.”
“Looking back on the whole process, Vanto’s partnership and their coaching and facilitation were critical ingredients in the mobilization and alignment of our diverse workforce, and without them it would have been difficult, maybe impossible, to create such a transformation.”
J. Burgess Winter,
President and CEO
Magma Copper Company