As the automobile industry shifts into global, modular platforms for industry growth, strong teamwork is needed more than ever to deliver innovative solutions within the organization. High-performing teams depend on a shared mission, vision, and values to harness their collective expertise and focus their individual efforts. They establish clear roles and responsibilities – plus a framework for making decisions and resolving conflicts. The Volkswagen Group of America (VWGoA), headquartered in Herndon, Virginia, is the North American operational headquarters and subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group of automobile companies of Germany.
VWGoA relies on their teams to keep them ahead of the competition. Although the name Volkswagen is synonymous with the innovative Beetle, strategic teamwork was needed to push the brand forward in a fastchanging marketplace. They needed teams who could hit their deadlines and produce results that make a difference.
As VWGoA experienced significant growth in the marketplace and US-based offices, a key support function was challenged to keep pace with the needs of the business. The team understood the importance of ensuring that practices and tools supported the aggressive objectives established by the corporation.
A consequence of the fast growth and associated pressures was a lack of alignment and clarity within the team. It was critical for them to determine their roles and responsibilities in order to create a highly functioning team that would support the business.
VWGoA needed their team to demonstrate a blend of professional expertise and credibility, hold themselves and each other accountable for the broader impact of their actions, and communicate candidly, balancing advocacy with openness to others’ ideas. They realized they needed everyone on their team to be better equipped to handle the demanding challenges of fast growth.
The senior leader of the support function asked Connect the Dots for its partnership to develop a customized approach to address the unique needs of the team. Connect the Dots leveraged its best practice Team Dynamics model that first reveals an honest current state of the team, articulates the business-based desired state, and then develops a realistic and practical action plan to bridge the gaps. The solution included team-building sessions that allowed the team to better understand the working culture of the team and how that culture both helped and created barriers to the team’s success. In addition, the sessions utilized the current work of the team as a way to apply the action plan.
The initiative enabled the team to openly reveal and work through the team’s dynamics in an objective way. Once this information was “put on the table”, the team was able to focus on the initiatives that were important to the business. In addition, the initiative provided the team with a roadmap for addressing issues that came up in the future, as well as rules of engagement to keep them on track.
Over the course of the four-month initiative, the team gained a high level of alignment and commitment, allowing them to support the needs of the business and establish them as a facilitator of the growth instead of a barrier.
With the Team Dynamics model, VWGoA now has team training that is customized to reach their organization’s goals, confident their teams will work together to produce measurable results. And they are well on their way toward achieving the ultimate goal of stronger sales in the U.S. automobile market.