Packaging producer with no contents
Tuesday, 9 September, 2014
Serviteur produces packaging material. Wrapping paper, boxes, bags, ribbons and bows. So far, so good. But it that good enough? What difference does Serviteur actually do to the customers? What would the world be missing, if Serviteur wasn’t here tomorrow? And where is the company going? Questions that require answers. And answers that provide direction. Serviteur was searching for this, and it found the answers in the company’s Center of Gravity. Read more about the Center of Gravity here.
In 2011 Kenneth Guldager joined a company that in his own words “existed thanks to its past greatness.” Granted, the turnover was actually good reaching a nice three digit amount of millions of kroner, and Serviteur’s packaging products were literally selling themselves to returning customers. On the surface, it looked like a healthy company, rich in traditions.
If it ain’t broken, break it
So if it ain’t broken, why fix it? If it works, why tinker with it?
“I am saying: If it ain’t broken, break it! When things are running on autopilot and everybody is “just” doing their work, that’s when things slowly start to stop. Development grinds to a halt, the turnover remains flat, and sooner or later earnings start to decline because everybody is focusing on the top line and runs the business as usual,” Kenneth Guldager explains.
Instead of settling comfortably on the executive floor and manage the company from there, he put on his working clothes and got tough.
“It turned out that no one was really focusing on the bottom line. Therefore, we initiated a major efficiency project focusing on cost cuts. Frankly, we needed to get rid of habits that were 50 years old and bad investments,” Kenneth Guldager says.
Where was the foundation?
Having completed a comprehensive and at times painful clean-up of the organization of the stuffy company, time had come to start rebuilding. But what do you build upon, when the clean-up revealed that the company lacked a strong foundation?
That question opened the eyes of the new CEO and raised a number of new questions as well:
“It dawned on me that we simply did not share a fundamental common understanding of our role in the world. What was the purpose of our company? What makes us get up every morning to go to work – except of course our salary? We were only competing on price without thinking of the value we could give to our customers. We lacked gravity, and we were not at all putting to good use all the forces that Serviteur had acquired through decades in the industry.”
Kenneth Guldager realized that he had to create a new foundation before creating a new Serviteur for the future. The company needed to find its overall purpose and its direction. It was then that he accidentally heard about The Communicative Law of Gravitation. Find out if you are violating The Communicative Law of Gravitation here.
Purpose, direction and motivation
“I fell for Gravity’s way of thinking. To identify the purpose of the company, its forces and the amplifiers to secure the best result. The overall Center of Gravity, as you call it. That around which our whole business is orbiting and that gives us strength and direction. Our business is packaging material, but this was about getting the contents in place. To find our purpose, chart the direction and create the motivation to walk together,” Kenneth Guldager explains.
He asked Gravity for assistance to find the Center of Gravity of Serviteur and create the foundation upon which to build the new Serviteur. By analyzing the way the world and Serviteur viewed the company and itself, Gravity established the point of departure for the process. The analysis confirmed the somewhat stuffy impression: Serviteur was the industry CPA. Reliable, but not very inspiring, to put it mildly. The analysis formed the basis for the Center of Gravity process that the business concept, development, and operation of Serviteur are based upon today.
Something to get up and fight for
“Through this process and a number of meetings and workshops with Gravity we found our overall Center of Gravity and most importantly our purpose: We enhance the joy of giving and receiving. No less. That’s something to get up, go to work and fight for every day,” notes Kenneth Guldager.
Besides identifying the overall Center of Gravity for Serviteur, the workshop also led to the ambition to distinguish the company from its competitors by assuming the role of industry experts. A completely new direction for the company. And the journey had started.
Center of Serviteur’s parameter mix
The center of Serviteur’s new solar system is the Center of Gravity and our purpose, together with the enhancement of the joy of giving and receiving. That’s the core, around which the company’s parameter mix is orbiting and which has already led to radical changes – and improvements – in the company.
One of the seven Ps of the so called parameter mix, i.e. the elements representing the operation and development of a company, is People. Each individual employee in the company has to be orbiting around the Center of Gravity and be able to accept the purpose. Because of that Kenneth Guldager had to dismiss some of the employees stuck in the old Serviteur.
“The process has given us direction and purpose, but it is of great importance for us to use the new Center of Gravity in a targeted and active way in our daily work. To this end Gravity has developed a check list for us with five simple questions. Every time we must make decisions and create something new, we ask those questions. They are our guarantee that it makes sense in relation to the Center of Gravity and that we keep the direction, we want Serviteur to follow,” the CEO explains.
Better and more fun sales
Serviteur is also fully engaged in living out and executing the new Center of Gravity as to the P thatfhatevelopment and flexibility. stands for Promotion.
“Recently, when we participated in a trade fair, we changed the presentation of our products for the first time since 1985. Now, we were not selling products but solutions enhancing the joy of giving and receiving and proving that we are the experts. We are convinced, we sold more and at higher prices than usual. And it was more fun, too,” says Kenneth Guldager and adds:
“The Communicative Law of Gravitation is not a miracle cure and can’t stand alone, but it has helped us to create purpose and point us in the right direction. Together with Gravity we have created a foundation to be used every day for expanding, developing, and running our company.”
The customer’s opinion
“We have used The Communicative Law of Gravitation as a strategic tool to chart a brand-new course for the company. And it is a fantastic tool.
We were involved in the whole process with Gravity, and we really feel that this new business foundation is ours.
Best of all, in our Center of Gravity we have developed a clear purpose and a clear direction. We dare make decisions with this in our hand. Decisions that are beneficial to our company.”
Kenneth Guldager, Chief Executive Officer, Serviteur