The challenge

The world’s largest manufacturer of glass containers contacted Axialent for help transforming their current culture. Despite millions of dollars invested in technical improvements, the manufacturer’s largest plant continued to have the lowest production rates across the company in the last 10 years. Employee engagement was extremely low, bickering and blaming was the norm, and union politics stalled the business.

The Axialent team was able to cut to the core of our culture, clearly identify the limiting beliefs and outline a plan to address the human dimension of our operations. The tools and training introduced at the shop floor, middle management and leadership levels of the plant re-energized the workforce. Labor relations between the three unions and management have greatly improved to the point that the plant leadership team now consists of both plant staff and union officials. The labor issues that were once colossal are now trivial. We are now focused on growing and improving our business together.
Plant manager


The approach

Starting with a culture diagnostic, more than 75 employees from the underperforming plant and 80 employees from two other plants were interviewed. The findings identified the existing behaviors, symbols and systems that were hindering the performance of the plant.

Based on the findings, an in-depth customized development process was designed for each stakeholder group over a period of 12 months:

  • Leadership assessment and executive coaching for the plant manager to support his efforts in turning the plant around.
  • Leadership team development (union and salaried): seven days of conscious business skill building plus individual coaching sessions.
  • Line management: six days of conscious business skill building plus group coaching.
  • Plant workforce workshops: half-day seminars for 300 employees focused on increasing a sense of personal responsibility.
  • Selective skills building workshops to improve operational effectiveness.
  • On-site business facilitation to improve the labor management partnership meetings.


The impact

One year later, the number of grievances from union workers against management that required resolution beyond the plant leadership went to 0 percent. Climate surveys every month showed steady improvement across the plant. A 360° review showed 1,100 percentage basic points improvement in leadership attributes for the plant’s leadership team, with highest scores in response-ability, truthful communication, conflict resolution, cross-collaboration, clear commitments and inspiring others with their vision.


Improvement in Leadership Competencies
Increase in basic percentage points over a period of 9 months.