IBM Accounting Director facing major morale issues during downsizing efforts

Rich Bannon was put in charge of a new organization at IBM that had been created to centralize all the administrative accounting work throughout the company. He was responsible for more than 500 IBM employees and contractors. There was a good deal of stress and paralysis, resulting in more errors, rework and reduced productivity at a time where just the opposite was needed.

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  • Employee morale and engagement was at a low point, hindering change efforts
  • The management team was not aligned in its vision, goals and strategy for making the necessary process improvement changes
  • Staff didn’t have the necessary process analysis tools and skills to increase their productivity at a time of reduced staffing, increasing fear and anxiety among the work force
  • With an urgency to fixing immediate problems, they often jumped into solutions without clearly comprehending root causes, leading to creating new problems and more work
  • The organization was encumbered by an overuse of metrics that were not meaningful


  • Bannon deployed DCG’s Leadership Frameworks workshop to align his management team to a common set of goals along with a strategy for moving forward. The workshop enabled a clear definition and commitment to the goals, clarified the role of each leader, identified necessary changes in the culture, developed a strategy for transferring process innovation skills to the front line, and developed a committed action plan
  • By utilizing DCG’s Grass Roots Innovation workshop, people were taught process analysis skills, coached to work across departmental boundaries, given tools to utilize their creativity in bringing solutions to problems, and encouraged to become leaders of change rather than victims of it
  • Metrics were evaluated and prioritized based on how they prioritized corrective actions


  • More than 1,000 hours per month of wasted time were identified and eliminated, giving the organization the capacity to make necessary long-term changes
  • The reporting of executive summaries was reduced from 17 pages to 3
  • Rich’s organization was awarded the CFO’s annual award for Best Practice and Process Improvement savings, and he was featured on front cover of their monthly magazine
  • Future leaders of the organization continued utilizing the tools and skills taught and also were awarded a CFO award honoring outstanding achievement in process improvement