Fortune 500 Company

Winthrop helped one CEO heal a bitter rift and build the strong corporate culture he needed to take the company forward

The young CEO of a 70-year-old manufacturing company watched, frustrated, as the strong corporate culture he had grown up with seemed to be dissolving before his eyes. He was proud of the company’s recent hires, highly educated and ambitious people who were pursuing new opportunities such as wind towers, equipment leasing, and fleet management. But he could see that this group wasn’t meshing with his longtime managers in the manufacturing division, experts in bending and welding steel who were long on experience but short on academic degrees.

Trying to heal this rift, the company engaged Winthrop to conduct a “cultural audit” and gap analysis. Through research in corporate records and scores of interviews with executives and long-tenured employees, we identified the core values that had contributed to the company’s success over time. One stood out. Far more than its competitors, this company had granted autonomy and opportunity to entrepreneurial people who could “build from scratch.” This craft mentality was strong in both the new hires and the shop-floor engineers. It needed only to be highlighted and recognized. The CEO and his team developed programs and incentives based on that unifying theme, and watched respect and collaboration grow between the two groups.