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Pace steps out on the path of organizational reform.

Pace steps out on the path of organizational reform

Poor communication, a demoralised workforce, an over-complex management structure, weak leadership and slow decision-making were among the problems that, four years ago, had brought set-top box manufacturer Pace to the brink of bankruptcy.

The company was making a loss of £15 million on sales of £175 million. It had debts of £30 million and its bank had withdrawn its borrowing facility.

Today, the company is second only to Motorola as the world's largest pay-to-view TV digital set-top box maker. And human-resource management has been at the heart of the turn-around. In People Management's April 2010 issue, Churchard reports that Pace has created a new company culture, organizational structure and management systems through leadership development, performance management and new reward structures that align individual and company performance in both the short and long term.

Pace has been transformed into a truly global business, with revenues of more than £745 million, profits of £28.5 million and net cash of almost £40 million. Customer numbers have increased from 20 to over 100, including more than 35 of the world's top 100 operators, and market share has doubled.

The 950-employee business won the change-management category and overall prize in the most recent Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) people-management awards. It also holds the Confederation of British Industry human-capital award.

Jackie Orme, CIPD chief executive, commented: 'By aligning cultural, leadership and performance transformation to the corporate objectives, the HR team is putting the HR agenda at the forefront of business strategy. It has also demonstrated that strong leadership and commitment to employee engagement and professional development are essential ingredients in the recipe for organizational success.'

In Volume 89, Issue 5 of Workforce Management published May 2010, Kiger examines in more detail the contribution that good leadership can make to the success of an organization. Summarising research from the Institute for Corporate Productivity, a non-profit think tank, the author identifies the five main characteristics of a good leader as: the ability to communicate organizational goals; being an excellent decision maker; empowering employees; ensuring that programmes support the desired culture; and adopting innovative processes to increase employee effectiveness.

Kiger discusses how organizations develop these elements in their leadership, indicating the training methods thought to be most successful.

In similar vein, in the May 2010 issue of Training Journal, Franckeiss advises how leaders can get the best out of their employees. The author underlines the importance of: engaging employees and making the most of their skills and knowledge; understanding the complexities of an organization's culture and translating it for a diverse workforce; and continuing to improve leadership skills and practice.

Finally, Franckeiss discusses the need for leaders to embrace change, respond to it flexibly and support employees to do so, too.

In Training + Development's April 2010 issue, Darby, senior vice-president at strategy and technology consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton, considers the challenges of leading staff through organizational change. She explains that, because change is multi-dimensional, a holistic approach to managing change requires an understanding of nine main disciplines and how they are intertwined: stakeholder-relationship management, leading change, change strategy, communication, human-capital management, learning and training, process and infrastructure, project management and performance management.

But just as every person is unique and complex, so is every organization. 'When it comes to implementing true change, there is no cookie-cutter approach, no five-step method, and no silver bullet for success,' she concludes. 'Not only is it important to use multiple methodologies, but knowing which methods to use and when to use them is priceless.'