Thursday, July 17, 2014

Grow Spectacularly

In my previous blog post, "In Search of performance Excellence", I spoke on the importance of leadership and strategic planning to organizational success and performance excellence.

In his 1989 book “On Becoming a Leader,” Warren Bennis offers a distinction between leaders and managers as: the manager does things right; the leader does the right thing. The Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence's Leadership category asks how senior leaders' personal actions guide and sustain the organization: how do they lead? how do they set the vision and values? how do they promote and demonstrate legal and ethical behavior? how do they create a sustainable organization? how do they communicate with and engage the entire workforce and key customers? how do they create a focus on action that will achieve the organization's objectives, improve performance, enable innovation and intelligent risk taking, and attain its vision? how do they create and balance value for customers and other stakeholders?

This month I wish to elaborate further on the topic of leadership, providing one company's example of alignment and integration of its vision, values, strategies, culture, ethics and behaviors to achieve sustainable growth.



I am proud to share my experience as a 33+ year employee of 3M company. I have experienced seven different CEO's at the helm since I began my 3M career in 1981. Some were better than others with regards to sustaining the organization. Like many businesses, 3M has had its share of challenges over its (112 year) history delivering consistent revenue growth against increasing expectations, and we have successfully sustained our rich culture of innovation and quality. 3M's corporate culture of innovation and quality begins with the revered McKnight Principles. William L. McKnight, who served as 3M chairman of the board from 1949 to 1966, encouraged 3M management to "delegate responsibility and encourage men and women to exercise their initiative."

About 3M: 3M captures the spark of new ideas and transforms them into thousands of ingenious products. Its culture of creative collaboration inspires a never-ending stream of powerful technologies that make life better. 3M is the innovation company that never stops inventing. With $31 billion in sales, 3M employs 89,000 people worldwide and has operations in more than 70 countries.

Shortly after taking office in 2012, new CEO Inge Thulin announced 3M's new vision, key strategies, growth levers, and a new set of leadership behaviors. The new vision statement perfectly fits 3M's matrixed organizational structure and culture of innovation, quality and customer focus:

Our Vision

3M Technology Advancing Every Company
3M Products Enhancing Every Home
3M Innovation Improving Every Life

Our Values

  • Act with uncompromising honesty and integrity in everything we do.
  • Satisfy our customers with innovative technology and superior quality, value and service.
  • Provide our investors an attractive return through sustainable, global growth.
  • Respect our social and physical environment around the world.
  • Value and develop our employees' diverse talents, initiative and leadership.
  • Earn the admiration of all those associated with 3M worldwide

Our Strategies

  • Expand relevance to our customers and our presence in the marketplace
  • Gain profitable market share and accelerate market penetration everywhere
  • Invest in innovation: Invigorate existing market opportunities and Focus on emerging megatrends
  • Intensify capabilities to achieve regional self-sufficency
  • Build high performing and diverse global talent
  • Drive consistent superior levels of operational excellence

Our Growth Levers

Portfolio Prioritization
Invest in Innovation
Business Transformation


More recently, 3M Talent Development published a new set of "Leadership Behaviors" in alignment with key strategy #5 to develop high performing and diverse global talent. These new behaviors replace the previous set of Leadership Attitudes. Why the change from attitude to behavior focus? Behaviors are observable and measurable. Behaviors can be learned. These new leadership behaviors help to shape employee engagement - a critical factor in delivering superior customer experiences. Accountability, empowerment and employee engagement result from workers and teams who continually ask the accountability question posed by Roger Connors’ The Oz Principle: “What else can I do to operate Above The Line and achieve the desired results?”

Leadership Behaviors

Today and every day …



Inge Thulin, his senior leadership team and management at all levels constantly and consistently reinforce the 3M Code of Conduct. 3M's Business Conduct policies and Code of Conduct are hard-wired into our culture. Even more recent than the new Leadership Behaviors, 3M senior leadership has launched a new series of videos describing the Code of Conduct Principles.

Code of Conduct Principles

BE GOOD: Obey all laws and 3M Code of Conduct
BE HONEST: Act with uncompromising honesty and integrity
BE FAIR AND IMPARTIAL: Play by the rules, whether working with government, customers, or suppliers
BE LOYAL: Protect 3M’s interests, assets and information
BE ACCURATE: Keep complete and accurate business records
BE RESPECTFUL: Respect one another and our social and physical environment around the world



Yes, I am biased towards 3M based on my personal work experiences. However, many other excellent examples of aligned leadership and culture resulting in operational success can be found among previous winners of the state and federal performance excellence awards. I encourage you to peruse the Baldrige website for a listing of these role model organizations.

1 comment:

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