Leadership Alignment & Values Development – Standing together as one…

  • Organisation: Kotahi Logistics LP Limited
  • Person: Jay Padden
  • Role: Human Resources Manager
  • Organisation size: 40 people
  • Location: Auckland
  • Core Business: Global Freight Solutions

A bit of background

Kotahi was established in June of 2011 with a vision to create world class global freight solutions for New Zealand.  Majority owned by Fonterra, the leadership team saw the opportunity to take forward the best of what Fonterra had to offer in creating a new brand and culture that aligned to their vision.  The HR team also wanted to put a tangible “stake in the ground” in terms of behavioural measures and part of this was to embed the new values and associated behaviours into their performance management framework and processes.

What was the challenge / opportunity?

Being a new business with a mix of ex-Fonterra people and new recruits the unique opportunity was to create a set of shared values that ‘everyone’ bought into and that aligned to the organisation’s vision and business strategy.  With a new leadership team at the helm, there was also the opportunity to create alignment and agreement around what behaviours were important for the ideal future , starting with their way of working as a leadership team and committing to ‘walking the talk’.

What did we do?

A critical first step was to get the leadership team away from the office to spend some time getting their heads around what building and leading a truly values based organisation from the ground up meant.  We wanted to be sure that everyone had their eyes wide open about the rewards and challenges of committing to the journey, along with recognition of the current cultural reality and the organisational mindsets and leadership behaviours that were creating it.

From this first Executive Session it became clear we needed to spend a little more time aligning as a leadership team before we went out into the business with the full project so we spent a further half day with Kate focusing on ourselves as a team, developing a leadership charter including the behaviours we agreed were most important for us to demonstrate as a team in order to lead the business to achieve its purpose and create a great place to work that we would all feel proud of.

From that strong foundation we then involved the entire business in the development of the values through a series of workshops that also included ‘show and tell’ by the entire leadership team of our own work to that point – an unprecendented level of transparency within our business and a clear signal that things were changing.  Together with Blacksmith, we then developed a set of shared values and supporting behavioural statements that were then tested for validity with the entire business.

The entire process was so inclusive and transparent, it really gave everyone in our business a voice.  Our people felt heard, understood and appreciated. 

What were the results?

  • We now have a set of values that everyone has bought into and they guide our business decisions and “how we do things around here”
  • Going through this process has made everyone more aware of their behaviour and how it aligns to our values
  • We have started to create a common language within the business that is values driven – this has given people in the organisation a framework to start to have conversations in a values aligned way that they may of shied away from before we began this work

  What were the flow-on effects?

  • We now a Values Champions group who are driving internal initiatives to support the values and have some fun along the way
  • We are aligning the values to events such as team building
  • We are promoting our values visually in our new office environment
  • From an HR perspective, our values have become the foundation for our pro-active and ongoing culture work

“I’m really pleased with how things worked out – the process was easy and surprisingly painless, and I was really pleased with both the outcome from the work we did with Blacksmith and the on-going activity we are developing around our values”    

Chris Greenough CEO