Founder, CEO & Heart-driven Visionary
Co-Founder, Head of Wellbeing Experience & Tech
Head Strategy & People
Mayrilian Acosta Davalos
Get rid of these employees!
Our founder, Jim Lippens, worked for 22 years in a production environment when
– one day – his boss asked if he was interested to become the plant manager of a business unit of three departments and 108 employees. Jim got two days to reflect upon it. After one day Jim decided to accept the offer. His decision was not obvious at all, as he had no experience of leading such a large group. More over the business unit was losing money for 30 years. On day one in his new role, Jim got the order to fire 27 employees…
The plan of the new shareholders was to fire all 108 workers within a maximum of 3 months. Jim was shocked as the management did not inform him about this in advance and also because he was aware of the huge potential of some of these employees. When Jim saw the fear in the eyes of these employees waiting for their potential personal terrible news, Jim decided to do everything he could, for them. Jim just could not accept the idea of firing these skilled workers and wanted to reverse this desperate move of the management. But how? The clock was ticking!
Shift from a culture of fear to a culture of love
Jim started working 16 hours a day willing to save these 81 remaining employees’ jobs under terrible time pressure. From day 1 it was clear to him that he had to win the trust of the employees and together they had to make their business unit profitable within 1 month. A plan was made in cooperation with all operators. As Jim had extensive prior experience of these departments in project improvements and tests, Jim knew the equipment and machinery well. Jim also embraced the knowledge and experience of these workers. Results started to show soon. After one month, the business unit started to make the first profit in more than 30 years!
Massive Increase in productivity & innovation
Engagement and mutual respect kept increasing and the business unit started to deliver money on a monthly basis now. Top management did not understand how this was happening, and increased the pressure on Jim’s business unit to deliver even more.
In his role as a servant leader, Jim tried to keep pressure away from the shop floor and started focusing on their passion and talent. In a culture of belonging, the true heart connection between all team members became the base for excellent results. As these employees started to develop even self-invented innovative products, companies from all over Belgium and even from the UK came to visit the shop floor. Jim’s leadership style was armed with vulnerability, which made him relatable, approachable and cemented the heart connection with his team.
The employees in Jim’s departments were now seen as the most supportive, positive and productive in the whole plant.