Chicks, a local innerwear brand with a history of 67 years, has been facing challenges in recent years due to an aging customer base, unstable environments, and the impact of the pandemic. Jennifer, the new director, saw an urgent need for the company to change in order to attract new and younger customers. More than half a year ago, she initiated internal management restructuring and adopted Autopilot Leadership Model to create a new corporate culture. With more than 60 years of experience, the company had established a strong internal culture; how much will the new leader still be able to change?
Change #1: Find Common Goals with Employees
Like many traditional companies, Chicks used to adopt a top-down management approach. Jennifer said that in the past, even if the middle-and lower-level staff did not completely agree with management's decisions, they had no way of reflecting their concerns and were forced to follow what they were told, which usually did not lead to good results. Through applying Autopilot Leadership, she established common goals with the team, allowing them to explore company's future direction, engage in discussions and build consensus; thus changing the traditional top-down management style.
Change #2: Empowering Employees Effectively
Apart from establishing common goals, she also improved communication among employees to help them understand the company's vision, and allowed them to take the initiative to seek empowerment and lead meetings. She believes the biggest change for herself and her employees is their mentality, "We've all activated our battle mode and have seen a positive change in everyone's mindset." Autopilot Leadership has brought changes in decision-making as well. Jennifer wants to develop strategies that are aligned with the needs of the market, so she values the input of her frontline staff, who are best positioned to reflect the needs of their clients. Through internal and customer questionnaires, their involvement in strategy development had increased. Employees’ views on the future direction of the company were also drawn for the management to have a better understanding of staff opinions and to make appropriate adjustments in future plans of Chicks. In the past, employees were discouraged from expressing their views in meetings, as the company did not follow-up their input proactively. However now, Jennifer would share the progress of feedback follow-ups and inform those who were involved about the company’s responses.
Change #3: Build Up an Atmosphere of Trust
Emphasizing the importance of transparency in management, Jennifer hopes the Chicks brand can sustain at least for a century and build a company culture that is reminiscent of a family. Jennifer is happy to share her ideas with staff as well as listening to their views. After reaching a mutual consensus, employees can achieve the goal in their own way. “Serving as a supporting role, I put the initiative back in the hands of department heads and let our staff decide what to do best. In the past, some of them only did cosmetic work when they did not agree on a decision. Now, being more involved, they are willing to accomplish the goal proactively.”
Autopilot Application is Easier for Startups and SMEs
For relatively small businesses or startups, Jennifer believes they may encounter less resistance when adopting Autopilot Leadership than traditional companies. “If you want to promote a new idea, look for influential people in your company to buy-in and spread as early adopters, so the progressive change can be smoother.” She also refers to the "Dao-Tian-Di-Jiang-Fa" mentioned in the Autopilot Leadership Model, establishing common goals with the team step-by-step. Jennifer is still experimenting it with her team and hopes the new direction will take Chicks farther in the future.
Designed for building creativity in teams and making employees self-driven, Autopilot Leadership better equips traditional companies to adapt to rapid changes. By creating an innovative atmosphere from top to bottom, companies will be able to achieve the long-term goal for a sustainable business.
If you also wish to explore how Autopilot Leadership can inspire your company, transform its culture, and lead it to success and achieve business continuity, schedule a one-hour free consultation session with us today via email@example.com.