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How a Year of Mayhem Changed this Company for the Better {Interview}

4DX case study “We needed to do something drastic.”


Carolyn Jensen knows what it’s like to be under pressure.

The Vice President and General Manager of medical technology company ConvaTec  (Australia and New Zealand) admits her team went through a “year of mayhem” as ConvaTec transitioned into a public company from a private equity firm.  

ConvaTec, headquartered in the UK, provides many of the therapeutical products needed for chronic conditions that are part and parcel of ageing. It sells those products into more than 100 countries, and was listed on the London Stock Exchange in October 2016.

A massive shift in culture

Carolyn says going public creates a massive shift in culture. 

We went through a year of mayhem before it was abundantly evident that we needed to do something drastic,” remembers Carolyn.

Our people were very busy, but somehow not very effective. Everyone was working on different pieces of the same pie. I was asking myself ‘Do I need more head count?’ But, of course, we were public, and I had to think of profit.”  

Finding a solution

Carolyn had to find a solution that would allow her to cap her head count at around 57 by having all 7-8 teams devoting more time to what was “super important to the business.”  

“First, we needed to discover what our key features were, and what our focus would be on,” Carolyn told The Growth Faculty.  

So early 2018, she booked her senior leadership team (and subsequently all team leaders) into a 4 Disciplines of Execution (4DX) full day workshop.

In a nutshell, the 4 Disciplines are:

  1. Focus on the Wildly Important.
  2. Act on the Lead Measures (the actions - not the result).
  3. Keep a Compelling Scoreboard.
  4. ​Create a Cadence of Accountability.

By learning 4DX, ConvaTec was in good company.

The 4DX practice has helped some of Australia’s and the world’s best known companies, government departments and organisations including Harley Davidson, ANZ bank and NSW Transport. Richard Holtgrefe is the Australian-based Practice Leader for the globally-renowned 4DX developed by Franklin Covey. He led the workshops with ConvaTec. 

"It takes incredible discipline to execute a strategic goal with excellence. But it takes even more discipline to do so again and again.  Creating a culture of execution means embedding four basic disciplines into your organisation to institutionalise a common approach.  The 4 Disciplines of Execution (4DX) enables teams and organisations to identify, focus on, and execute their most important goals and objectives, and do so in the midst of competing priorities."

Setting out the wars and battles

For ConvaTec, Richard began by getting the team to set out “wars and battles.”

We started to use language like whirlwind to describe the daily stuff that needed to get done," explains Carolyn.
"We workshopped which areas of focus was needed to grow the company and decided on:

  1. Improving our Net Promoter Score (NPS) of Customer Satisfaction

  2. Improving Employee Engagement – ‘Would you recommend ConvaTec as a place to work?’  

All the teams went into battle

The focus brought the company together.

“All the teams in the business went into battle on these two things,” says Carol.

“We did weekly huddles, each team member sharing ‘This is what I committed to, and these are my commitments aligned to our wars and battles going forward.’

“We introduced a scoreboard.  We put scoreboards up in each department”

Most of the huge scoreboards were on large sheets of paper, but the sales team who logged in every morning preferred to use an electronic scoreboard.  

The results?  

In under a year, employee engagement was up 15%. Carolyn explains that ConvaTec employees increasingly feel what they are doing is meaningful.

And, customer satisfaction has lifted 10% (and this is despite a product recall during that time).

“We’re getting somewhere,” Carolyn says, with the relief tangibly audible.  “Focus is the main benefit of the 4DX method. Absolutely. It’s the best thing. It’s very easy to see what we’re focussing on. And, I can ask anyone who comes to me with an issue ‘Is this just the whirlwind, or is this aligned with the Wildly Important Goals (W.I.G.)?

Carolyn says ConvaTec Australia and New Zealand will stick with these two points of focus for this and next year, and only once they’ve nailed those (can you ever really nail customer satisfaction?), then they’ll change direction.

Happier customers

And here’s a great example of how ConvaTec helped raise that customer satisfaction score. On occasion, customers were frustrated with the time it took to get a pricing agreement from ConvaTec.  Since the implementation of 4DX, the approval process time has been cut in half.

As Carolyn puts it:

“So that’s done, ticked, okay what’s next?


Want your team to benefit from the 4DX method? The Global Practice Leader of Execution for Franklin Covey, Chris MChesney, one of the primary developers of the 4 Disciplines of Execution, will conduct one-day 4DX workshops in Sydney on 16 September 2019,  Melbourne - 18 September 2019, and Brisbane - 20 September 2019.

Note: Members of The Growth Faculty receive the highest discount for events, including this one. Click here to become a member.