Case Studies & Testimonials

Making Business Integration Work

In 2016 Mars announced we would be integrating our Chocolate segment with our Gum and Mints segment. This was the largest merger that we had undertaken in our history and it was a program that touched all areas of the business including organisational design, people, processes, systems, site locations, legal, tax and of course customers.
The Australian integration team, led by Karen, successfully completed this in just 18 months and achieved all of the identified milestones on time and on budget. Beyond these results Karen was a great sounding board for me and my leadership team throughout the whole experience.
When the global team reflected on the Australian team success and what stood us apart from others, it was clear that the critical element was the approach that the team took to unlocking high performance team collaboration.
It's great to see this codified approach is now sitting at the heart of Karen and Katherine’s business, so that other organisations can benefit from the power of exceptional team work.
Andrew Loader, GM Mars, Wrigley Confectionery, Australia

Business Transformation

In 2016 I moved from France to take up the role of GM looking after ANZ. The ANZ business had been incredibly successful but we knew we needed to transform the business to adapt to the changing environment to ensure our on going success.
There were three critical factors that helped us transform. The first was getting clear on the new business strategy, the second was making some adjustments to our senior leadership team and the final piece focused on cultural evolution.
The critical enabler to these changes was the focus we brought to nurturing a culture of safety and applying a collaboration system for all of our teams.
I continue to be so proud of the results the ANZ team were able to achieve and I am excited to know that other businesses could now benefit from Karen and Katherine’s passion, experience and skills in helping teams to unlock their potential.
Patrick Gantier, GM ASIA

Best in class S&OP+

S&OP+ is the end to end process we used to manage our business operations.
In 2015 we embarked on a journey to achieve a gold S&OP+ status which we knew would add more accuracy to the delivery of monthly targets and business forecasting. Naturally this would support our supply chain, customer engagement and P&L delivery.
Through detailed qual and quant research we found that although we did have some work to do on improving the “what” of the functional process most of the opportunity existed in the “how”. We found that improvements could be made with more efficient meetings, having decisions being made in the intended forums, ensuring actions were followed up, people were held accountable and importantly we practiced the behaviours that were the enablers for effective collaboration and team work.
The key focus of addressing the how was having our entire S&OP+ team trained together in Crucial Conversations. It was so powerful to have them experience the training together and they were then able to support each other in nurturing their learning. It was also beneficial to have Karen and Katherine deliver the training as they were able to tailor the examples to the realities of the business at the time. We also applied the Collaboration Program which helped teams be clear, disciplined and intentional about how they worked together.
The results of the changes saw us improve our S&OP+ to the highest rating of gold.
If your business needs help in improving the how of your key businesses processes, then Karen and Katherine can help.
Peter White, Sales Director Australia

Accelerating Customer Centricity

We know that businesses that have strong relationships with their customers deliver stronger business results across all lines of the P&L.
The tool we used to assess our performance is the Advantage Group Survey that ranks companies in the FMCG industry. The intent of the survey is to help suppliers understand what is important to them and how they can work together more effectively.
In 2017 the team launched an intentional full business focus on improving our customer centricity and after 18 months of focus we proudly achieved a top 2 rank in 2017.
I have no doubt that a critical enabler to this achievement was the focus the business had placed on building a culture of safety and developing collaboration capabilities across all teams.
Any business that is looking to connect more effectively with customers by unlocking the potential in their teams would benefit from talking to Katherine and Karen.
Hamish McLeay, GM Australia

Thought Leadership

In the field of team effectiveness, there are a lot of popular ideas that, while fun or interesting, do nothing to enhance team performance. It’s time that stopped. I’ve committed my professional life to helping organizations find better, more impactful ways to invest in their teams. Karen and Katherine are two of my most powerful and expert colleagues in forming a quiet revolution in team effectiveness. They are smart, creative and thoughtful leaders as well as skilled consultants and facilitators. When I am looking for someone to challenge or enrich my thinking, my first call is to Kath and Karen. Every minute I spend with them creates value for me, for my clients and for the field that we are all so passionate about.
Carlos Valdes-Dapena, Principal
Corporate Collaboration Resources, LLC

Building Strong Leadership Teams

I had the pleasure of working with Karen and Kath as we looked to transform our leadership team into a truly high performing team. Both Karen and Kath were quick to understand the current environment and through the use of tools and high quality facilitation they helped in building a team with a much higher level of openness, trust and output. I can highly recommend using Growth Konnections as a way to build effective teams and leverage the resulting business benefits this will bring.
Sophie Cave, CFO Australia

A Successful M & A

I worked with Katherine and Karen across a number of projects over many years. Their operational and strategic business skills coupled with their approachability and ability to communicate made them truly outstanding business partners. They had earned very high levels of trust right across our business. The last of the many projects we worked on together - the integration of two of our business units - was the most multifaceted and complex of all.

Mergers and acquisitions are notoriously difficult to get right. Statistically for most businesses - especially large businesses - the net outcome is that M&A activity loses shareholder value. Karen would often quote Peter Drucker in saying that ‘culture eats strategy for breakfast’. We all know that cultural integration plays a key role in the success or failure of the integration or merger but so few of us know what a great strategy looks like or how to get there. Katherine and Karen were able to guide the business in not only setting the strategy for cultural integration but also drilling down to team-building at a functional and subfunctional level - starting with the leadership team and cascading through the organisation. By the time the strategy was operational and the integration underway the business was buzzing with excitement and a ‘can do’ attitude. Given that there were redundancies involved and the usual level of uncertainty that comes with this kind of activity, this was a truly outstanding outcome.
And the proof is in the final results - last year was the first full year of integration and a hugely successful year for the business. Business targets were met and employees rewarded with the bonuses they so richly deserved after a very full year. This is an exceptional result. In spite what could have been a very disruptive process - and what we had witnessed in similar activity within other companies in our industry - our business integration was smooth and employee engagement was maintained largely due to the partnership with Katherine and Karen. I highly recommend them and look forward to working with them again.

Catherine Pemberton, Corporate Affairs Director

Factory and Supply Success

In 2018 Karen and Kath were instrumental in helping shape our site leadership team purpose, our ways of working and the rhythm of how we came together to operate and lead the business. What was really pleasing was that in a year of substantial change we not only came together as a stronger leadership team but delivered the best results the site has ever seen. We could not have done that without their help in making us more effective as a team.
Jeff Wall, Supply Director Australia

Building High Performing Teams

I have known and worked with Katherine and Karen from Growth Konnections for several years. Their partnership brings together two great skill sets. Karen has a strong business background having worked in Sales extensively before successfully transitioning to HR. Katherine has deep and extensive knowledge in a range of Organisational Development areas. They both have a passion for developing great teams to deliver outstanding business outcomes. The tools and techniques they use get to the heart of what makes a great team and they deploy them in a practical and pragmatic way which delivers great business and aligned team results. I would strongly recommend them to anyone who is committed to improving their business through building team alignment and cross functional alignment.
Aaron Quinn, HR Director Asia Pacific
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