In 2004, the Coca-Cola Company was struggling, to say the least. During a seven-year period (1998-2004), the company's total return to shareholders stood at minus 26%, while rival PepsiCo delivered a 46% return. At one point, the company's third quarter earnings fell 24%, one of the worst quarterly drops in its history.
Shareholder return and poor numbers weren't the only issues for the company. Employee morale was down, capabilities were lacking, good employees were jumping ship and the company's vision was unclear.
New CEO and leader Neville Isdell was given the challenge of transforming the once-mighty business back into a powerhouse.
Isdell's solution for turning the company around: "His Vision."
The new CEO wrote his vision for the company, which he referred to as Coke's "Manifesto for Growth." This vision outlined a path for the future, not only where Coke was headed, but how it was going to get there and how people would work together along the way.
He got rank-and-file employees involved in helping him create this "manifesto," which immediately improved employee morale. He created teams to tackle the issues and make sure time lines were met.
Shareholder value jumped from a negative return to a 20% positive return in just two years. By 2007, Coke had 13 billion-dollar brands, 30% more than Pepsi. Staff turnover fell by almost 25%.
How about your company? Do you have a vision? Have you shared it with your employees? Have you asked for their input?
It is amazing where the bus can go when everyone on board knows which direction it is headed.
--Ron Ameln, SBM