Updated: Apr 15, 2021
Yesterday, in a work session about implementing enterprise-wide digital transformation at MIT with some top worldwide executives, I met and got to work with Brent Yeagy, president and CEO of Wabash National Corporation.
Wabash National Corporation (NYSE: WNC) is a diversified industrial manufacturer and one of North America's leading producers of semi-trailers, truck bodies, and liquid transportation systems. Their number of employee range between 5001 and 10.000 employees, which make Wabash National a large organization to transform.
In our work session, we were to debate about transformation implementation speed in organizations. Brent explained to me that at Wabash, he creates his transformation leadership team and that he is working on aligning the team. He even brought along members of his transformation leadership team to follow the executive programs with him at MIT. He talked about the different expertise and complementary skills he brought along to reinforce the team. They are doing mostly quick wins at the moment. As I listen attentively to Brent, he notices a smile on my face as he explained his approach and their reality, and he humbly asks: "Do you think it is too slow?"
Brent's explanation was music to my ears because it is precisely the transformation leadership team approach that I advise executives to do in my book Leveraging Digital Transformation. Brent understood the critical concept that the organization would go only as fast as his leaders go, so he works on his leadership team with priority. So, Brent creates his transformation leadership team and:
He takes time to align his leadership team.
He invests in his leaders to support their individual transformation
He knows that transformed leaders will best inspire the organization to transform.
He makes continuous learning a part of their assignment
He understands that not everyone goes at the same pace
They create quick wins to drive the transformation momentum.
Brent has chosen to implement a sustainable transformation. They are not too slow at all, and he is preparing his leadership team to reach the right speed to support and drive the transformation, all while implementing quick wins.
Brent with Wabash National Corporation is an excellent example of preparing the executive leadership team for a sustainable transformation. The organization will go as fast as the leaders go but never faster.