Jul 31

Milacron Spans Boundaries to Build Business – Boundary Spanning Leadership in Action

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Milacron Spans Boundaries to Build Business – Boundary Spanning Leadership in Action

RCSN offers a unique brand of Leadership Consulting that can help you achieve greater collaboration, drive innovation, and create cross-functional capabilities that can improve business results.

It’s called Boundary Spanning Leadership. It’s about creating direction, alignment and commitment across group boundaries in service of a higher vision or goal.

Milacron, leading global suppliers of plastics-processing technologies and industrial fluids, is a Cincinnati institution. After experiencing lean years, Milacron re-focused on fundamentals, including spanning the boundaries that hindered collaboration and innovation. Today, they’re stronger than ever.

BSL2-CompanyGrowthThe Challenge

Milacron grew up like many great US companies—everyone doing their job to the best of his or her ability. But when challenged with a changing global landscape and an economic downturn, working in isolation against independent business objectives was no longer sufficient. Milacron faced boundaries on three fronts:

  • New acquisitions
  • A goal for growth overseas
  • Legacy teams working in silos

All pose real risks of communication breakdowns and lack of collaboration. For example, the differences that make a company valuable for acquisition are precisely those that could prevent successful integration if boundaries aren’t properly managed. To get more out of the collective expertise across the organization, Milacron needed to break down barriers that had been in place for decades and forge new connections to help people work together.

The Boundary Spanning Engagement

In late 2013 and early 2014, RCSN’s Donna Chrobot-Mason led three in-depth Boundary Spanning Leadership workshops in Milacron’s Cincinnati and Chicago offices. Senior leadership picked up on the model immediately. Simple but critical steps such as updating roles and responsibilities were taken to begin the “Buffering” and “Reflecting” practices that help teams create the foundation to forge common ground.

Six Boundary Spanning Leadership practices - Buffering, Reflecting, Connecting, Weaving, Reflecting, Mobilizing, Transforming

Six Boundary Spanning Leadership practices – Buffering, Reflecting, Connecting, Weaving, Reflecting, Mobilizing, Transforming

Milacron’s teams were energized by innovative methods and tools to transform the organization such that Boundary Spanning becomes an organic part of every day life. That’s why they have hired a Director of Continuous Improvement who will work hand-in-hand with RCSN to ensure that the company’s culture is aligned with its vision and goals. Dr. Chrobot-Mason continues to partner with Milacron and will be working with them in the future to facilitate this culture change. Future work in this area may involve “real-time consulting,” in which a Boundary Spanning expert participates as an objective outsider in day-to-day operations to work to resolve the challenges posed by internal boundaries. It will also likely involve establishing metrics and real incentives to drive boundary-spanning behaviors.

The Impact

Milacron is already seeing increased communication. People are looking to one another to help solve challenges and finding ways to utilize each group’s strengths. More collaboration, more camaraderie. From senior executives to those working on the line, they realize that when they work together, they all win.

Span Boundaries for Better Results

Milacron was able to emerge from the most difficult time in the company’s history by evolving to thrive in a new global economy. What about your organization? What boundaries are holding you back?

The Outcomes of Boundary Spanning Leadership

  • Increased organizational agility to respond to a global marketplace
  • Dynamic cross-organizational innovation processes
  • Achievement of mission-critical, bottom-line results
  • An engaged and empowered workplace at all levels
  • Cross-functional learning capabilities to solve problems and adapt to change
  • A welcoming, diverse, and inclusive organization that brings out everybody’s best
  • Better managed risks and rewards through enduring cross-sector partnerships
  • Higher performing virtual teams
Interested in how Boundary Spanning Leadership can help you achieve your business results? Give us a call.

513.272.2451 • rcsnleaders.com

To download a copy of the case study click here.