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Kerry Foods

When Kerry Foods, one of the world’s leading food producers, was looking for some help in changing the perceptions and performance of its Finance function it turned to Red Thread to help them.

Finance is far too often seen as the function that says no, counts how many and then gives everyone grief for not providing their returns on time. And to add insult to injury they then produce a set of numbers that no one really understands that say you aren’t doing as well as you thought.

So we helped them create a strategy that was going to not only shift that perception and transform the department into one that was seen as a genuine value adding partner for the business, but deliver that value too. A partner that helped the business make the best decisions and drive real sustainable value.

Our work consisted of three main parts:

  • Top team development and strategy formulation
    Development of the Vision for Finance
    Development and roll-out of the Finance Behaviour Framework
  • Finance Manager and Accountant training
  • Finance Managers conference

Top team development and strategy formulation

We worked with the Finance Leadership Team to set up the journey towards becoming a high performing function driven by a High Performing Finance Leadership Team. This included stakeholder interviews to assess current perception of the FLT, one-to-ones with each member of the team to understand their individual aspirations, helping the team identify the current barriers to success and agree the Leadership Rules and Behaviours they were going to adopt to enable them to succeed.

Finance Manager and Accountant training

The FD sanctioned function wide development for all his Finance Managers and Accountants. The aim was twofold – first to show his staff that he wanted to invest in them; and secondly to provide them with insights on how to become genuine value-adding business partners as well as the skills to be more influential and assertive.

The workshop ran over two days and combined experiential exercises that looked at building trust (the arguments amongst the participants making the point eloquently)and group influencing; with inputs and exercises looking at Power, Personality, Push/Pull; and the changes in language and manner that increase Persuasiveness and Assertiveness.

The workshop culminated in participants working in triads to bring all the learning together to create comprehensive influencing strategies to resolve current challenges and drive greater value in the business – strategies that they shared with their line managers and incorporated into team action plans.

Over 100 managers attended the programmes with Level 1 evaluations consistently exceeding 4.5 (out of 5).

Finance conference

The next stage of the journey brought all the Finance Managers together for the first time for a one day conference at Legoland under the theme of Delivering Today whilst Building Tomorrow.

Prior to their arrival, each Finance Manager received a Lego figurine. The day started with everyone having to find colleagues who had the same figure. Once grouped into teams, they were challenged to build a house together, underling the theme of Building .

The day generated fun and energy and helped the managers see themselves as more than just their jobs or function. As well as shifting their self perception the day delivered the following key benefits and commitments:

  • Greater insight into Business Performance and the Group Vision through a facilitated dialogue with the CFO and CEO
  • Insight into future product development from the Chief Marketing Officer
  • An opportunity to network and work together as Finance Managers to distil the Vision into meaningful actions and plans for them and their teams in the work place
  • Clarity about the Leadership Behaviours they will adopt and how they will make these live in their teams and the Finance Function
  • A personal commitment from everyone there to driving and leading the change

The Red Thread hosted, designed, produced and delivered all elements of the conference.

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