BOLTON FOOD, internationally recognized for a wide range of superior quality products (Isabel, Cuca, Rio Mare...) has positioned itself with its range of brands, winning over 100 million households around the world to choose these products with the utmost confidence.
Óscar, tell me, what do you think has been key to your transformation at Bolton through PEAK®?
When we started working with the ActioGlobal consulting firm, we thought we were already prioritizing, but we only had a list of projects that made us shoot arrows without hitting the bull´s eye, often getting frustrated because we were trying to do more than we were capable of doing at the same time.
We have streamlined form 30 down to 11 and currently 7 objetives. We deliberately decided that our North Star, the guiding Polar Star, is the definition of what being successful means to us at the end of the year. From there, we learned and iterated on the measures necessary to achieve that goal.
And when you decided to take that step forward and "wildly" define the company's priorities, what did you observe as changing in Bolton?
A year and a half ago, I wouldn't have thought it possible, and it has made me humble to recognize how the new way of working has helped us make radical changes in our business.
And improve because teams and individuals were learning from one measurement to the next, right?
Yes, true. In the short term, you can tell very quickly what works and what doesn't. The first quarters are a time of in-depth learning for the teams, but the weekly rhythm, the "Drumbeat," has helped us a lot to pivot, iterate and update the agile OKR , Objectives and Key Results, if necessary. It´s the shared rhythm in the company that is crucial.
Our Drumbeat as part of the PEAK® methodology has rendered our previous bulk of meetings obsolete. The change has required discipline, but today, with one hour a week, we can replace sessions that used to take a whole day. That's because we go further week by week, and when necessary, we also dive deeper. This weekly approach gets you into problem solving and figuring out the why.
Our interaction as leaders with the teams is all about giving them confidence that we are there for them to help them achieve the common objective. It's inspiring and supportive leadership. And as General Manager, I have learned who is a good leader and who is not.
Are you saying that in a sense, leaders are handing "power" over to their teams?
Leaders, who are called Sherpas now, facilitate the journey and help teams remove potential obstacles. As a direct leader, I can tell you that this is a culture change that hurts at first, but it has incredible impact.
The best ideas and the best solutions come from those who are close to the customer, and those are indisputably the teams.
To change the speed of the organization, we have combined the capabilities to think and execute. Illogical bottlenecks have disappeared and we have avoided missing opportunities.
Why do you feel that changing this view of leadership through PEAK® "hurts"?
Well, because it requires somehow taking a complete back seat as the "boss", forgetting about micromanagement, and letting your people make mistakes. It is hard because it is a transformation since as a "Sherpa", your focus now is on thinking of solutions.
We come from a family business that was hierarchical by nature. In our previous way of working, there wasn't much communication, we didn't involve people, and that may have led to motivation being quite low. By giving the teams the presence and leadership role I mentioned, we have witnessed talent emerge.
Few leaders recognize that transforming is tough and, certainly, a cultural and way of working transformation doesn't magically come about.
There is a lot of learning by doing. PEAK® is not magic. It's a learning process that leads to success. The first few months are tough, for sure, because it's a dramatic change, but the process becomes second nature to you. There is a learning curve.
In this respect, the ActioGlobal's PEAK® consultants are a "tough" team, because they tell you things directly and without mincing words, and that is something I appreciate. It's hard to practice discipline until it becomes a habit, and ActioGlobal manages that brilliantly. Moreover, they not only train the team, but also pass on the knowledge to the people who later have to run the company autonomously without them.
And following this transformation that you have accomplished at Bolton Food Spain, what targets are you aiming at?
Following PEAK®, we no longer look back, but only to the future. We have coordinated with Milan on the various corporate initiatives and interactions to be able to move forward in concert.
My dream is to see us do exactly the same, PEAK® in Italy, in France, all over the Bolton Group. Because the results are excellent and clearly visible.
I must say that PEAK Agile has turned out to be a pleasant surprise for me. In my +20 years of experience in Supply in world class companies (P&G, TetraPak, Mondelez) with a strong background in Lean Manufacturing (in all its versions), I have never imagined that a pragmatic, streamlined and simplified version of objective management and integration methodologies could have such a positive effect in the short term. Well, I must admit that I had my reservations at the beginning. We still have a long way to go in Bolton Food Spain, but undoubtedly this methodology has initiated a tangible and high impact change in the organization.
The PEAK Agile methodology has taught us to be much more focused on working for tangible impacts rather than for actions in each of the challenges we set ourselves, and also to measure the results weekly. Additionally, thanks to the Squads, different departments of the company collaborate together to achieve common objectives, generating really interesting points of view that before working with this methodology would have escaped our attention.
New business challenges, unprecedented business perspectives.
Si quieres dar forma al futuro, a través de la agilidad, la digitalización y el alto rendimiento, juntos lo haremos realidad