Luxury brand automobiles face a steep challenge. The marketplace is growing more competitive with products from new contenders in Korea and a resurgence of US manufacturers in Detroit.
Consumers in the US are often price shoppers and want a luxury product at a discounted price. Add in rising costs for production and shipping charges and it’s easy to see why the automotive executives need innovative solutions to succeed.
Audi, the luxury brand of Volkswagen (VW), is headquartered in Germany and has global revenue of €48 billion and over 68,000 employees. They established Audi USA in 1968 with the introduction of the Audi 100, which enjoyed success. Audi USA offers a selection of over 25 models and positioned as the top luxury choice. The organization fills open leadership roles with
both internal candidates from Germany as well as American leaders from competitors. The multi-cultural leadership team presents unique challenges for leaders joining the company.
All functions within Audi of America participate in annual surveys that measure the level of employee engagement and satisfaction. When survey results are below expectations, the leaders of the teams work to understand why and to address potential barriers to effective team dynamics.
The leader of a core team was struggling to surface the reasons for disappointing survey results. Although the team was successful and accomplishing its objectives, the team survey scores indicated a clear disconnect. The leader knew that either an issue or group of issues was keeping the team from reaching its full potential.
CTD has a long-term relationship with Audi of America and understands the dynamics and
expectations of their results-driven culture. The leaders of this team asked CTD to design and facilitate a team session that would surface the challenges reflected in the survey scores and develop an action plan to address the underlying issues.
CTD applied its Connecting Teams methodology, which provided a structured and metric-based approach that enabled the team members to share their points of view about the team’s performance. Team members expressed what they felt was needed to improve efficiency and identified specific behavioral changes to achieve the team’s full potential. Team members then developed both team and individual commitments that would lead to improved team dynamics.
To measure these improvements, CTD’s Connecting Teams methodology surveys team members about their peers’ progress toward team and individual commitments at 6 and 9 month intervals after the initial session to show progress over time. Team members also assess one another on the degree of follow-up on these items. Research shows a strong link between team members’
level of follow-up and their perceived effectiveness among colleagues.
Through its participation in CTD’s Connecting Teams process, this core team at Audi of America was able to surface and understand factors that had been getting in its way of achieving satisfactory scores and most importantly, their potential as a team.
The Connecting Teams survey results indicated positive changes in effectiveness for team and individual commitments and degree of follow-up at the 6-month check-in and an additional 30% increase over those scores at the 9-month mark. These gains were corroborated by the client’s metrics as well, with the team showing a 38% gain in the next year’s employee satisfaction survey.
Audi USA now has a transformed team that has renewed its commitment to excellence, which will help the organization meet its long-term goals for market share.