3M Rhythm of Change BY atnee126 3M’s rhythm of change: 3M started as a mining and manufacturing company but soon developed into and moving toward technological innovations and products an example of steady rejuvenation. This kind of change was continuous throughout the life cycle of the company. The change started when a young book keeper named William L. McKnight took the place of 3M’s sales manager and observed the quality problems with company’s products.
He started with a systematic change which eventually took effort after 14 years of the start of 3M, turning losses into profits. This systematic change lead to a fermented revolution when in 1916, 3M took up technological activities by setting up its first lab, thus leading to an educated reform. Okie’s employment was an example of inadvertent rejuvenation, following his footsteps many employees started working and developing their ideas with no restrictions what so ever. All this was a result of one sales manager’s efforts.
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McKnight’s approval of Central Research Laboratory (CSR), the idea of tripod-like stability, and the approach to ‘make a little, ell a little’ lead to imperative rejuvenation, thus a solid ground for learning and sharing knowledge was created within 3M, this approach of McKnight’s was to support the much desired organic change within the company. McKnight believed that innovative development was feasible only in an organization in which people are given considerable freedom.
Awards like ‘dual ladder’, ‘Carlton Society, and ‘Golden Step Award Program’ were also initiatives to support organic change. Although McKnight started with a systematic change, soon after, change became dramatic hen he took over the position of CEO and later President, but still there was a support for organic change. After McKnight, came the era of Lou Lehr who kept going for the dramatic change with a driven revolution.
As a successor of McKnight he went forward with the planned reform as he launched the ‘Genesis Program’ to support individual promising ideas and ‘The Circle of Technical Excellence’ for team efforts, and finally an ambitious program ‘Cooperating for Growth’. Lehr set an example of driven rejuvenation in the company as he set a personal example for being the eveloper of surgical tapes when he was a chemical engineer in the company. After Lou Lehr, ‘Lake’ Jacobson also made some dramatic changes when he added more than 20 new technologies and introduced the ]35′ program in the company.
Although Jacobson continued Lehr’s R&D funding process, he was more into disciplined development process he wanted more focus in the choice of project development and an early introduction of new products in the market. Jacobson was much ridged in his approach as he introduced the ‘Placing Programs’ which limited the support for rganic change by selecting only 100 developmental programs and ideas put forward by the employees, furthermore it became difficult for employees to find 15% of their time to work on their own ideas.
But still this dramatic change led to an over achievement of target in 1991 at the time of Jacobson’s retirement. When ‘Desi’ DeSimone became CEO, he observed that the dramatic changes of his predecessors had led to a command and control system in the company even though it was decentralized. Although he wanted to combine the management styles of his agent of dramatic change.