How Curtiss-Wright Increased Accountability, Communication & Business Focus with PBL

The Challenge: 

There was a lack of accountability, poor communication and minimal business focus at the site.

The Solution: 

Process Based Leadership® methodology was implemented throughout the Target Rock site. CSI started with the leadership team creating the necessary non-negotiable processes to drive greater focus, urgency and accountability. A scorecard process was developed with key business metrics identified for the site and an Accountability Process was integrated to measure and track employee engagement. Finally, CSI’s business process software, Visuant®, was deployed so that all employees could view the data and immediately know if they were winning or losing.   

The Results: “PBL is becoming the culture of the company”

The biggest success has been with communication. All employees are on the same page and speaking the same language. They feel connected throughout the site. Employee engagement has greatly improved with employees taking more responsibility, communicating with each other, holding each other  accountable for actions, and reviewing metrics on a weekly basis. Each team takes ownerships in their metrics and understands the importance in how they drive the business forward.


“I can see by cascading the right objectives, the right measurables out there that the team has a system to work together to communicate across the lines in order to get a high level of achievement.”  – Director of Quality, CurtissWright

LEAD Embraces Transformational Activities, Especially PBL

Competitive Solutions, Inc. partners with Letterkenny Army Depot (LEAD) to implement and sustain Process Based Leadership® (PBL) as a fundamental piece of their operational transformation, designed to help LEAD remain a leading Depot for the long term.

The Challenge

In 2007, LEAD was seeking to improve overall daily operations efficiencies, to better serve the needs of the warfighters, and to ensure greater delivery, quality, and service to the patriots serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Solution

CSI, working closely with Command and Staff, designed a multi-year project plan that would drive visible and auditable systems throughout every team at the Depot.  These systems include a Scorecard to track, maintain, and improve mission performance.  Next, an Accountability System to drive clear and concise corrective actions both within meetings and linked to failing metrics on each teams scorecard.  Also, a Communication System that provides a seven day cycle of non-negotiable communication meetings designed to drive urgency and information throughout the entire Depot on a framework of consistent frequency that is likened to a “battle rhythm of communication.”  Finally, a transformative Behavioral System that defines clear expectations of engagement.  These systems are the pillars of CSI’s Process Based Leadership® methodology.

CSI launched Process Based Leadership® at LEAD in 2008, with a mission to drive greater clarity, connectivity, and consistency throughout the installation.  LEAD embraced the Process Based Leadership® systems as a means to secure their future and remain a top tier member of the Army’s industrial base.  Recognizing the criticality of efficient and dynamic support of the demanding needs of the warfighters, LEAD leaders embraced to the PBL process to drive greater focus, urgency, and accountability ensuring greater delivery, quality, and service to the patriots serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

The Results

As a result of great leadership and dedication to this transformation shown by all employees, the success of Process Based Leadership® has brought awards and accolades to CSI.  Competitive Solutions, Inc. was honored to receive the Corporate Partnership Award at the Letterkenny Army Depot Business Showcase hosted in Chambersburg, PA in June 2011.  Being recognized in this capacity is a prestigious honor for the staff of CSI.

Shane Yount, President with CSI, accepting this award on behalf of the CSI team acknowledges the following, “COL Provancha and her dedicated team of civilians recognize that to compete in the global marketplace, one must never stop pushing forward.  Challenging the way we have done business and not accepting the status quo is a core value at LEAD.  It has been an honor for the CSI team to play a small part in assisting LEAD in its pursuit of performance excellence and to embrace their mission of supporting the warfighter.”

BAE Systems Anniston Boosts 6S Outcomes with PBL Foundation

BAE Systems Anniston discusses how Process Based Leadership® provides them with a solid foundation for site-wide improvements in communication, accountability and continuous improvement.

The Challenge

BAE Systems fully embraces the Lean/Six Sigma approach in all facets of their business.  They have shown significant improvements in the manufacturing environments and work spaces for safety, housekeeping, productivity and utilization of space. At BAE Systems Anniston, the challenge was to extend those gains to include efficiency, teamwork, elimination of waste, and also improve overall performance in the offices like they had seen on the shop floors.

Due to a lack of non-negotiable, minimum standard operating processes, a site-wide assessment revealed:

  • Senior Leaders each had their own style, which resulted in confusion and an unclear message
  • Meetings often started late and had key personal missing resulting in poor communication
  • A need for standardization of meeting agenda topics and meeting frequency
  • Meetings were often cancelled when the leader was not able to attend due to a lack in processes on how to conduct meetings without their presence
  • Inconsistent use of action logs, in many cases decisions were not being captured and communicated resulting in lack of completion of critical tasks
  • Several different scorecard formats existed, which made is nearly impossible for data to be accurate, trusted and useful for decision makers
  • Only 24% of employees could explain how metrics were being calculated and how those metrics could be impacted by their work
  • Only 16% of employees indicated consistently using scorecard results to develop new processes and improvement opportunities
  • An overabundance of data with no consistent root cause analysis process to drive decisions and corrective actions
  • A lack of a formal behavioral expectations process leaving leaders with the challenge of delivering feedback and reviews without supporting data

The Solution

Beginning with the Senior Leadership Team (SLT), CSI delivered several days of Process Based Leadership® Business Bootcamp training.  The SLT devoted their focus on the creation of a formal communication processes to be modeled and replicated in all departments at all levels.  The communication process calls for standardization of Home Team meetings.  Each Home Team now follows the same agenda, which would cover, at a minimum, a review of current actions, a review of scorecards, employee recognition, and a “pass-up/pass down process” for distributing critical information. 

Additionally, they clearly defined ground rules for when, where, how, and how often meetings needed to be held.  A site-wide communication “waterfall” chart was created so that Senior Leaders knew exactly when each team would be receiving key information each week. “The use of PBL in all of our meetings has increased the level of employee engagement throughout the organization.  All employees are staying informed of the status of all metrics on their team’s scorecard, as well as the Site’s scorecard.  Information is now routinely passed down, across, and up the organizational chain.  PBL is certainly helping us to change our culture, for the better, and we all know how difficult it is to change the culture of an organization.” explains Charlie Redmon, Operations Manager, Vehicle Upgrade & Overhaul

To overcome challenges with accountability, each Home Team meeting begins and ends with a review of their Action register which includes all current and open “actions.”  Each action states what is to be done, by whom and a specific target date for completion.  Discussion centers on those actions due at the time of the meeting.  This allows for meeting efficiency and the problem-solving to take place outside of the meetings.  Max Dodd, Anniston Forge Manager of Operations, states, “PBL has allowed us to consistently run our meetings at higher levels, thus allowing us to elevate the overall execution and performance as well.  PBL promotes synergy in communications and similar expectations across the site.”

With an eye on increased awareness and overall efficiency, BAE Systems Anniston also installed Visuant® software to automate all of their processes.  The software allows for Home Team members to track updated, accurate metric scores along-side their assigned corrective actions.  Users are also able to view and discuss critical “pass-down” communication items from the SLT.  All meeting minutes and notes are also recorded for future review.

The Results

Approximately 18 months after initial PBL implementation Competitive Solutions, Inc. was invited to return and conduct another formal assessment of the BAE Systems Anniston from top-to-bottom.   Survey results show vast improvements across the four major categories of Communication, Business Focus, Accountability, and Behavior.

The entire Anniston site had made significant strides in improving the way the business is being run.  There is now a common vocabulary, standard Home team meetings for communication, a common format for team scorecards, and action registers are used by every team and are reviewed in every meeting.

Measurable Improvements

Everyone is on the same page.  With the standardization of meeting agendas and the adherence to the Communication Process, there was a 30% average increase in respondents answering “always” on questions confirming communication effectiveness.  One such question regarding the sharing of best practices produced a 55% increase in “always” responses.

Knowing the business results.  Survey results dealing with the use of scorecards and performance showed a 60% increase in “always” answers by employees.  Clearly, more employees are now aware of the metrics being used to measure performance against the stated goals.

A more engaged workforce.  Now that communication is better and scorecards are consistently used for all teams at all levels, there has been a 79% increase in “always” responses regarding survey questions on accountability and a commitment to due dates.  Employees now have the ability to accept tasks, complete those tasks, and affect metric scores without the need for constant reminders by their leader.

New behaviors.  From top-to-bottom employees have shown a change in their behaviors and how they perceive the way decisions are being made in running the business.  A positive increase of 38% was shown in the follow up assessment with regard to how employees see their leaders’ understanding of the business, how issues get resolved, and how employees on multiple levels interface to produce positive results.

eSchool Solutions Drives Accountability with Visuant®

Kathy Cortez, Operations Effectiveness Manager for eSchool Solutions, discusses the benefits of using Visuant® to run their operations.

The Challenge

The challenge was to find an easy to use a system to replace Excel that not only captured metrics but had a built-in corrective action conduit to drive accountability and expectations. “Initially we did not have a process in place to track metrics like we now have with Visuant®. We used Excel for the business office reporting and Microsoft Project on the development side”.


The Solution

CSI delivered three days of Visuant® Software training and consulting. CSI worked with Kathy Cortez’s team by simplifying their current scorecard metrics, integrating corrective action plans and creating effective meeting agendas.


The Results

Kathy Cortez has been very impressed by the results and the way eSchool has adapted to Visuant® Software. “We now have productive meetings where the team members leave with action items and target dates.  We have a way of storing agendas that team members can refer back to, if they were unable to attend the meetings.  We have historical metrics on scorecards that help to see trends and areas of improvement, as well as process improvements.”


Measureable Improvements

  1. Saving Time. Visuant® allows eSchool to have more efficient and productive meetings. All scorecard metrics are color coded; corrective action plans and meeting notes are integrated within the meeting agenda allowing managers to stay focused and save time.
  2. Saving Money. Time is an invaluable commodity; eSchool has not only been able to increase the effectiveness of their meetings but decrease the length and number of meetings attended per week.


Tobyhanna Army Depot Succeeds with Leadership GPS®

The Challenge

Tobyhanna Army Depot’s Systems Integration and Support (SIS) Directorate wanted to focus on leadership at all levels of the directorate from supervisor to the senior staff.  They needed a fully rounded approach that focused on all leadership skills operationally, professionally and personally.  There was a high turnover rate at the supervisory level.  Supervisors frequently requested transfer into other Tobyhanna directorates, so the senior team wanted to ensure full and comprehensive leadership development prior to job transfer and promotion.  Prior workforce surveys showed a lack of trust and empowerment at all levels.  The main challenge was that each level of leadership was acting one level below their authority level, creating a high, un-empowered dependency upon the senior team for all decisions and resolutions.

The Solution

SIS, in conjunction with CSI designed a Leadership Sustainment System called “Leadership GPS.”  The program provides all leaders at every level a monthly, four-hour custom class.  The class is supplemented with three hours of private coaching and shadowing for each student.  The curriculum concentrates upon world class leadership books and specific coaching actions and class homework.  The class modules include multi-generational teams, coaching for success, performance development, sustaining business performance and behavioral feedback.  “The [Leadership GPS] System has shown us that while not everyone possesses the natural capacity to lead, anyone can be a leader.  The difference between the two is how much work is involved.  I have seen Branch Chiefs work very hard to become leaders.  I am extremely proud of their success, and the quality and quantity of the work that went into this success.  I too have grown exponentially.  I am confident that absent this training, I would not have been able to recognize the growth of my peers and subordinates,” says Mike Fisher, Chief of the Industrial Services Division.

The Results

“Cultural change is happening across the organization.  Positive behavior patterns are emerging in the Leadership Team and the team is developing and growing but most importantly the employees are seeing and experiencing the changes and are embracing it.  They now have more confidence than ever before in leadership,” states Terry Hora, Director of the Systems Integration and Support Division.  The business results include measurable improvement in safety, percent to schedule, rework, and indirect labor hours.  The survey results indicate improvements in trust, employee morale, customer service, leadership confidence, delegation and empowerment, and subordinate and team development.

“I think that this course and the coaching has made everyone involved in it a better leader and mentor thus improving moral, quality and life at the depot,” states at TYAD shift Superintendent.

About Tobyhanna Army Depot

 Tobyhanna Army Depot is the largest, full-service electronics maintenance facility in the Department of Defense (DoD).  The depot’s mission is total sustainment, including design, manufacture, repair and overhaul of hundreds of electronic systems.  They include satellite terminals, radio and radar systems, telephones, electro-optics, night vision and anti-intrusion devices, airborne surveillance equipment, navigational instruments, electronic warfare, and guidance and control systems for tactical missiles.  The Systems Integration and Support (SIS) Directorate is the largest directorate at the depot.  Tobyhanna Army Depot implemented Process Based Leadership® in all directorates in 1994 and through the years has maintained a strong competitive advantage building upon the integrated foundation processes of communication, accountability, scorecards, and expectations.  Process Based Leadership® called “Corporate Philosophy” by Tobyhanna Army Depot is considered a non-negotiable business process.  The growth of the depot has tripled during the years with exponential business results.   Tobyhanna Army Depot and been a Shingo Medallion Award winner for five consecutive years from 2006-2010.


Brazeway, Inc. Delivering Results with PBL

Brazeway, Inc., a privately held company, is the world’s largest producer of frost free evaporator coils and a leading global supplier of aluminum heat transfer tubing and components for Appliance, HVAC, and Automotive Air-conditioning.

The Challenge

Upon recognizing the need to make performance improvements, Brazeway’s senior leaders determined the need to leverage their employees’ strengths via business-focused work teams and a robust communication process.  They set sites on “being the best” and creating a culture of empowerment and personal accountability.  Additionally, they determined to set their strategic goals based all the criteria laid out by Industry Week for Top 5 Manufacturers.

The Solution

Working closely with senior leaders, CSI helped Brazeway develop a comprehensive plan to implement a business alignment system called Process Based Leadership® (PBL).  The plan included a transition to a team-directed workforce, the implementation of accountability processes, the creation of a business scorecard, and the development of a meeting-driven communication process.

Some of the tactical components of Brazeway’s PBL implementation include: weekly communication meetings focused on performance, business scorecards for every team in the organization providing connectivity to the bottom line, team problem solving and decision making processes to guide performance improvement efforts, all paired with auditable processes to drive business results.

Brazeway aligned all these processes in such a way that all employees have become business performance experts resulting in business-focused decisions made at the appropriate levels by the appropriate people.

“Our employees are our greatest asset.  Empowering them with bottom-line business accountability has been, and will continue to be, the key to our growth and success,” proclaims President and CEO Stephanie Boyse.

The Results

During a six year period following implementation of Process Based Leadership®, Brazeway’s sales tripled and their profits grew by 260%.  Brazeway shares its financial success with all of its employees through a bonus plan based on the company’s profitability and individual or departmental objectives that are tied to the company’s annual return on net assets.  All employees feel like they are true owners in the company.

“We should be very proud of what we’ve accomplished, yet never satisfied that we have reached our potential,” adds Ms. Boyse.

Industry Recognition

Brazeway, Inc. was named one of Industry Week’s Top 5 Manufacturers.  They sit in good company with other award winners, such as Toyota, Merck and Nestle.

Nutrien Cultivates and Grows a New Culture with PBL

Nutrien Cultivates and Grows a New Culture with PBL

Process Based Leadership® provides Nutrien with company-wide cultural improvements in communication, accountability, decision making, and overall organizational engagement.

Nutrien, operating through three segments; Retail, Wholesale and Advanced Technologies, is a multi-national organization with over 10,000 employees, and has grown aggressively over the past decade with multiple mergers and acquisitions.

The Challenge

Inherent with rapid growth through acquisitions, is the challenge of bringing together diverse individual company cultures under one company banner.  As a large organization with a long and rich history, Nutrien is no exception. As they grew rapidly through mergers and acquisitions, they came to the realization for the need to define a Nutrien “how we do business” way of operating to integrate the local cultures at the various, newly acquired locations.

“We really struggled with alignment as an organization. There was a lot of confusion, people didn’t understand why we had certain priorities and how they fit in. Everyone had a very general idea of what was important, but we were not consistent in our execution.”

TJ Heidrick, Manager of Manufacturing Special Projects.

To best understand their challenges, Nutrien enlisted CSI to conduct an assessment including interviews with members of the Executive Team, Plant Management, Operations, Maintenance, HR, Finance, Sales, and Marketing.  Results showed random pockets of excellence, strengths in one location were liabilities in others, no sharing of best practices, no cross functional collaboration, major difficulties in communication, and a general disconnect caused by too many conflicting messages and initiatives coming from senior leadership. 

Core Areas in Need of Development:

1) Communication.

  • Employees believe that communication with their managers has been lost; especially when managers travel more than 50% of the time.
  • Many employees report an overuse and/or misuse of meetings.
  • Employees struggle with information overload and knowing what is most important and relevant – email use being a major culprit.

2) Business Focus.

  • Some metrics and scorecards are in use, however, there is a lack of consistent use and consistent application of the scorecards across departments, levels and locations; all appear to be utilized independently.
  • Too many concurrent, conflicting initiatives, making prioritization difficult for employees.
  • Employees are unable to see the big picture due to a short-sighted, reactionary culture.

3) Decision Making.

  • Higher level personnel tend to over-analyze and get caught up in the details, making it more difficult to come to a decision.
  • Sometimes decisions are made at the wrong level, while other times too much second-guessing occurs, leading to micromanagement and lack of true empowerment for employees.

4) Accountability.

  • Many tasks go incomplete because of varying approaches to decision making.
  • Too often accountability is based on feelings, rather than actionable, outcome-based discussions.

5) Culture and Behaviors.

  • Most managers are burdened with so many administrative duties that they are unable to be with their team and support their efforts in hitting goals, so they resort to firefighting (reactive) efforts.
  • There are major differences from one site to the next regarding empowerment and autonomy. Some people feel micromanaged, while others have total freedom to make decisions.

The Solution

Following a full analysis of assessment data and a debrief with Nutrien senior leaders, CSI worked closely with the senior leadership team in the development and refinement of the Nutrien PBL Process Implementation Plan.  From this Plan came the roadmap for cultural change level-by-level with regard to how expectations will be set, how leadership will communicate, how performance will be monitored, and how everyone will adhere to minimum standards of engagement.

Beginning with the Potash, Nitrogen, Senior Leadership Teams, Nutrien cascaded implementation of culture-shifting communication processes, accountability systems, behavioral expectation standards, and performance management solutions driven by business scorecards.

The Results

  • Commitment driven by non-negotiable processes and mentality
  • New terminology and follow through regarding taking action
  • Weekly scorecard reviews provide clearer focus
  • Quarterly metric and action trend reviews
  • Clearer definitions for what “success” looks like
  • Alignment from top to bottom
  • Increased communication of successes
  • Authentic, sincere approach to recognizing people who drive improvements

Measurable Improvements

  • Culture changing to one of more focus on bottom line business results and continuous improvement
  • Noticeable improvements in communication, both horizontally and vertically
  • Increase in prevention of safety issues
  • Scorecards provide ways to be open and honest about performance, then link to a process that drives accountability. This has led to better understanding of and focus on key business focus areas
  • Successes are being recognized and communicated creating a more positive work environment and reinforcing an integrated Nutrien culture


Manatee County Tax Collector Wins Prestigious Florida Sterling Award

Manatee County Tax Collector searched for a Balanced Scorecard System but found much more with Process Based Leadership®

The Challenge

Manatee County (FL) Tax Collector is an independent constitutional officer duly elected by their fellow citizens and taxpayers in their county of residence. Tax Collectors deal with a variety of duties and responsibilities and provide a myriad of important public services that allow them to exercise valuable leadership roles in government. They direct, plan, organize, budget, set and implement policies which affect not only their local government, but also reach the state level as well.  With all of their daunting tasks to complete, this organization had been searching for a strategic planning and management system.

They thought that all they needed would be a balanced scorecard system.  After reviewing several scorecard vendors, Ken Burton, Jr. and his team clearly saw that they needed a total strategic solution for their organization.

The Solution

Their one obvious choice was Process Based Leadership® with the consultants of Competitive Solutions, Inc.  “CSI’s Anna VerSteeg brought strategic focus to this organization with Process Based Leadership® and Visuant® software.  This entire process was a true turning point to the excellence our office has achieved,” states Ken Burton, Jr.

Since working with CSI over ten years ago, Process Based Leadership® and Visuant® software brought significant accountability to the Manatee County Tax Collector’s office.  “We use every aspect of this accountability system.  That is the beauty of PBL® and Visuant®  software.  The system forces you to enter who is doing the action item and also requires a due date.  There are no open ended discussions.  Communication is top to bottom and bottom to top every week,” states Ken “The scorecard software allows me to see how my office is doing at any time and from anywhere.”

The Results

Burton’s office is operating in a more efficient and focused manner.  Ken said, “The people at Competitive Solutions, Inc. understand the methodology of how strategic management systems work within our unique scorecard.  The staff easily walks anyone through issues.  Since PBL® and Visuant®  software has been up and running, we have had no problems.  The processes have become second nature to the entire organization.”

In 2011, Florida Governor Rick Scott announced that the Manatee Country Tax Collector Office had won the prestigious Sterling Award.  They were one of only two recipients being honored that year. The Sterling Award honors organizations that utilize proven methodologies designed to improve operations, increase customer value and overall results. The criteria are based on the National Malcolm Baldrige standards for Performance Excellence.

“Process Based Leadership®, without a doubt, played a significant role in our Sterling journey,” Burton stated.   After only looking for a balance scorecard to implement into their organization, the Manatee County Tax Collector found much more offerings in the methodologies of Process Based Leadership® and Visuant® software.   These proven processes as well as the consultants of Competitive Solutions, Inc. helped the Manatee County Tax Collector office achieve their pinnacle of success, The Florida Sterling Award.

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