Thursday, July 18, 2024

Inside The Mind Of . . . Rodney Bergman

Rodney Bergman is Celestica’s senior vice-president, Global Business Services.

Prior to joining Celestica in 2014, Rodney was with Accenture as a Managing Director/Partner at the company’s Toronto practice. Over the course of his 20-plus year career at Accenture, Rodney designed and implemented global programs for customers in the technology, healthcare, resources and consumer industries, in areas spanning organization design and development, business process design, workforce effectiveness, leadership development, global business services, and project management.

Describe what the company offers its customers?

Rodney Bergman: We provide electronics manufacturing solutions from designing products, building and assembling products, for a range of industries from health to aerospace and defense, to general communication companies. What we ultimately do is we provide them with – or we produce for them – products under their name. We are like an outsourcer of electronics manufacturing, starting with design and ending with after market services for global customers.

What does the company do to remain innovative?

Rodney Bergman: It’s a challenge to keep up with the pace of change.

Our customers – both established Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEMs) and emerging companies – are asking how they can innovate faster. They are looking for opportunities to develop breakthrough products quickly, and gain access to new markets.

We bring our global scale and subject matter expertise to every stage of product development – from the drawing board to full-scale production and after-market services – enabling bold innovation at a pace that keeps our customers ahead of the competition.

We understand that design innovation can be the difference between a product that gets to market, and one that defines the market.

How do you build a “one team” culture when your employees are based in multiple global locations?

Rodney Bergman: Each week, teams gather around Gemba boards and discuss performance metrics and opportunities or continuous improvement. Shorter daily huddles have been a natural progression and will be fully adopted by year-end. In every location, we have installed large video screens that stream updates and information that is consistent no matter the geography.

Metrics are at the heart of everything we do. Teams review their daily and weekly metrics.

Before annual planning and long-term strategic planning sessions, focus groups are held with client groups to review their objectives and to provide the opportunity for feedback.

All operating processes are standardized globally.

The real secret sauce for Global Business Services is something we call ‘organization processes’, around a number of areas such as continuous improvement, client engagement, and building a community.

Each of these has a defined process and leader. The power of 1,500 people contributing to these processes has resulted in the engineering of a high-performance organization.

Today you lead a team of over 1,500 employees globally. What is key to good leadership?

Rodney Bergman: I think about this a lot. For me, it begins and ends with one key focus. It is critical that we listen to our employees and give them a voice – especially when you are operating in a global market. My number one goals is to make sure that everybody has a voice, and their leaders listen.

I describe my organization as being an organization of 1,500 leaders, not an organization of 10 leaders, and the balance being everyone else is followers.

What’s very difficult is that those are great words, but how do you actually make that happen? What I’ve done is try to engineer a culture where everybody has a voice and everybody can participate.

What’s the next step, beyond offered ideas?

Rodney Bergman: People need to feel heard. That is central to our philosophy as well. I think what becomes very important is, whatever they are coming up with, and the thought they’ve given it, are actually formalized.

For every ten to fifteen people on my team, there is a large white board which basically displays productivity and continuous improvement metrics, community aspects and so forth.

Everybody participates in at least one-hour session, each putting forth their ideas, looking at the measures, and ultimately contributing to the team. Their ideas get documented.

All these great ideas that come from 1,500 people across the organization get recorded and identified for pursuing continuous improvement projects. Then we track to see how many of those get implemented.

We recognize people for their submissions, and people who have taken them to the next level to implement those ideas.

On an annual basis, we have hundreds of continuous improvement ideas. This is a concept that’s only two-and-a-half years old. It’s really changing the voice of the person – making them feel a part of building solutions for customers and clients, and making sure their voice is heard and acted on.

In addition to performing your day to day job, we expect you to contribute, because we believe in you, and we recognize you as having a point of view close to the work at hand.

Today, sometimes I have to shut down meetings because they have so much to offer.


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Dave Gordon
Dave Gordon
Dave Gordon is a Toronto-based freelance writer whose work has appeared in more than a hundred publications globally, over the course of twenty years. More about him can be found at