Problem: The company was a large mining corporation. It was realised that there was a high degree of redundancy and duplication between corporate HQ and the various operating companies around the world. A specific issue was that the upcoming annual conference of senior people in a variety of senior roles in the OpCos had traditionally been a forum for political positioning, and less about taking decisions to improve overall performance. Both issues needed to be tackled. A priority in performance terms was to reduce the number of accidents arising from the use of industrial processes using dangerous, often toxic substances.
Result: Varied organisational cultures were identified, with different business-priority focuses. Generally, collaboration on exploration policy, budgetary control and project management was less than ideal. There was a previously unidentified demand for exchange of knowledge and expertise between the OpCos to be improved, with the Technology function acting as a clearing house. A better linkage between various technology-focused functions and the business at large was also desired. The annual conference was characterised by two things. One - delegates were observed to be 'tearing up their mental private agendas’. Two - the whole event generated a number of key decisions, with unanimous consent, instead of infighting, that had previously been the norm. These included:
- A new, consolidated staff recruitment regime
- The worldwide adoption of the Australian model for managing capital projects
- A dual HQ / OpCo unit to handle issues of corporate governance
- The setting up of a co-ordination unit to handle what had been tricky R & D decisions