What does it take to reboot a company from the ground up? Joining us on this episode is Doug Conant, the Founder of ConantLeadership, former CEO of the Campbell Soup Company, and co-author of the international bestseller, TouchPoints. Today, Doug is sharing about how he turned Campbell around, and how he’s able to create leadership connections in the smallest of moments.
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Campbell Soup before and after
When Doug entered, Campbell had lost half its market value in one year, they were under investigation by the SEC and the Justice Department, and many people were being let go. Business was not good, morale was not good, and it was a toxic environment.
Doug’s core belief is that leadership is all about the art and science of influencing others in a specific direction. It’s all about the people and nothing to do with him. He could not expect the employees to value their agenda as a company until they tangibly demonstrate to them that they value their agenda as people. The challenge was to step up and start demonstrating that.
They went from having the worst employee engagement in the Fortune 500 to having the best employee engagement — something that had never been done before over that timeframe.
Campbell Soup Success Model
You cannot win in the marketplace if you don’t first create a winning workplace. And when you begin to win in the marketplace, you’re going to be able to win with your community. And underneath winning in the workplace, marketplace, and community, you need to be winning with integrity.
Doug quotes Stephen Covey: ‘You cannot talk your way out of things you behaved your way into. You’ve just got to behave your way out.’ And so as a management team, they had to behave their way out with the people that worked there.
Play the long game
In any position you go into, you have three years. The first year, it’s the other guy’s fault, and you’re doing the best you can with what you’ve been dealt with. The second year, you’re learning. And by year three, you’re supposed to have it. With every job you go into, take the long view. It’s never going to be a one-year wonder turnaround; it has to be a culture of continuous improvement.
The world is now morphing into a place where you have to be very fluent in very small interactions: touchpoints. For the most part, we all do this by the seat of our pants. But we’re best served if we don’t — and we can learn how to be powerful and effective in these micro-moments.
There is a simple process for getting good at managing the small moments: enter the moment with a “How can I help?” mentality and exit with a, “How did it go?” mentality. You can process almost anything in one to two minutes, which is important because you need to be ready to talk when your people are ready to talk. People have to know you’re really listening, that you understand what they’re saying, and that you want to see them make progress.
Head, heart, and hands
Be tough-minded on standards, and tender-hearted with people.
Head: make sure there is a logic to what you do because your people are hungry for consistent thinking.
Heart: show up with great authenticity.
Hands: develop the practices that allow you to bring your logic and authenticity to life when you show up in these moments.
If there were two words Doug would want every leader to be able to say, they’d be: “I’m here.” “How can I help? I’m here.” “What’s wrong? I’m here.” Be fully present in the moment with your head, heart, and hands.
Resources for Doug Conant
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