Case Studies

1. Culture change and performance improvement - Kinleith Pulp & Paper maintenance operation.

In February 2003 the maintenance workforce at NZ's largest industrial site (Kinleith Pulp & Paper mill) was outsourced to ABB, an international maintenance service provider. Since then John Laurent of Action Learning has been continuously involved in helping to guide a continual change in organizational culture.

In conjunction with the measured improvement in both the quality of leadership and culture the mill has made substantial productivity gains to date. Gains have included:

  • Improvement in overall equipment efficiency from 71% 2003 to 82% 2005.
  • Maintenance cost reductions of around 10% in each year 2003, 2004 and 2005.
  • Safety incidents 1.84 per 200,000 work hours 2003 fell to 0.9 in 2005
  • International Paper rating of Kinleith as near bottom out of 25 pulp mills world wide in 2003 to second to top in 2005.
  • Consistent achievement of ABB's own EBIT targets for this project.

2. Measured improvement in management team culture in a packaging manufacturing operation assists achievement of doubled sales targets

John Laurent assisted the management and supervisory team in a packaging manufacturing operation, The diagrams below show the improvement in culture over time as seen by team members.

                  Team culture year 1                                               Team culture year 2

                       N = 15                                                                   N = 14

Reprinted with permission from Human Synergistics. ©2006 Human Synergistics International Research & Development by Robert A Cooke, Ph.D & J Clayton Lafferty, Ph.D

As a result of this culture improvement team members were able to implement new initiatives such as a high hygiene programme which resulted in doubled sales for this plant.

3. Training a management team in Shanghai, China leads to improved individual effectiveness

A Shanghai company engaged John to help with leadership development for the managers. We were able to use Chinese language questionnaires to measure and benchmark their individual leadership capabilities and compare these with international standards. With the assistance of a translator the two day programme was highly successful.

4. Improved teamwork in the leadership team of a professional services firm increases overall firm satisfaction

This firm was experiencing interpersonal dysfunction at the senior team level resulting in the entire firm scoring 3rd to last of 25 similar firms which participated in an Australasian-wide staff satisfaction survey. John worked with the top team for a year facilitating better relationships and improvement in management processes. The impact after a year was that the entire firm staff satisfaction ratings moved to 8th place.

5. Callaghan Innovation High Performance Programme

During 2012, 2013 and 2016 Action Learning was involved in the design and implementation of a culture improvement programme sponsored by three government agencies- Department of Labour, MBIE and Callaghan Innovation. A total of 27 companies employing 10 to 25 staff took part. The link below outlines the reflections of some the participant companies on the value obtained:

6. Self directed team works for Auckland Eye

Auckland Eye is a leading Auckland Eye Surgery. An outcome of a year long programme designed by John Laurent was the establishment of a self-directed team for the Eye Clinic Technicians. The picture shows the team in their daily stand up meeting planning the day's activities and resolving issues. The benefit of this initiative has been to smooth patient flow and reduce patient waiting times.

Self directed team works for Auckland Eye

7. REPLIKA - an example of culture change

REPLIKA Manufacturing Ltd produces sheet metal components on a jobbing basis for other manufacturers. During 2012 the entire company took part in a MOBIE sponsored programme of culture change and lean methods development. The diagrams below showed the culture change achieved within the organisation during this period.

REPLIKA February 2012 N = 21 REPLIKA December 2012 N = 23

By December the workforce perceptions of culture (otherwise known as 'how we do things around here') had made a significant improvement in the blue, Constructive behavioural styles of Humanistic Encouraging, Self Actualising and Achievement. In addition, Oppositional and Avoidance have reduced substantially.

These would be related by REPLIKA staff as now being expected more to...

  • 'Be more open about what we really think'
  • 'Be more involved in decisions that affect us'
  • 'Be more committed to goals'
  • 'Work to standards of excellence'
  • 'Think ahead and plan'

The photo below shows John McKay, Production Manager, and Henry Lam, Supervisor, both firm advocates of a Constructive culture at REPLIKA.

In addition to improvement in culture REPLIKA achieved real changes in internal processes. Management is more actively involved in meetings with staff and the company is experiencing strong sales growth in a shrinking market. REPLIKA management is delighted with the programme as their strategy of being ahead of the market in the deployment of high technology production machinery is now being matched by their strong culture and commitment to continuing lean development.

"Having worked with John several times now on workplace improvement and performance programmes, I feel his personable approach and ability to engage staff at all levels is a major contributing factor to the results achieved."
- Clive Tucker, General Manager, Replika Manufacturing Ltd