CHONGQING, China - The goal was to launch the 2013 Ford EcoSport sport-utility vehicle in Chongqing, China by leveraging the talents of a globally diverse workforce. The EcoSport utility team, who recently was honored with a Diversity and Inclusion award, accomplished their objective. The global team of over two hundred was onsite in Chongqing for two years, and needed to stay united during stressful and challenging times.
In 2011, at the start of the program in China, meetings were conducted in Chinese. These meetings were preventing the team from sharing ideas and aligning on work plans and issues. The English, German, Brazilian, French, Indian, Australian and American team members could not follow the discussions.
The first step was to locate the diverse global team onsite in Chongqing. Each team member brought unique technical talents that needed to be integrated into the launch process. The team developed an integrated communication procedure so that the global teams could be trained, aligned, exchange technical information, and engage in complex problem solving. Most of the team members had been taught in English, so the diverse leadership team agreed to communicate in English during the team meetings. This allowed everyone an opportunity to participate in the meetings and develop a common understanding of work plans and issues. Translators were provided if needed.
In order to show respect for each culture, the daily startup meetings would be kicked off by greeting the team with a good morning in Chinese, German, Australian, Portuguese and English. Also, whenever a country had a holiday, a team member would explain the importance to their culture, promoting understanding and respect between all of the cultures. The nightly conference call with global teams from Brazil, Germany, and America were led in English, with some sidebars in local dialogue. The team embraced these changes as a key enabler to share ideas and perform at world class levels.
The EcoSport was successfully launched in China in March 2013. Two years of working together as a globally integrated team produced a product that is exceeding all expectations. EcoSport sales, quality and profits in China are exceeding forecast.
The teams ability to integrate a diverse workforce and remain together during the challenging and stressful portions of launch, serve as a tribute to the launch leaders. The team was inclusive as well as respectful on this demanding and challenging program with many team members living in China for the first time. The program’s success is amazing and represents a successful historic event for the One Ford plan.
“I am very proud of the outstanding work that the team has done to make this Diversity and Inclusion award possible. We needed the full spirit, commitment, energy and talent of all the launch team to face the challenges ahead,” said Steve Paveley, chief engineer, New Model Programs, China. “The team leaders encouraged every team member to contribute to the success of the Ecosport launch in China and this is a great example of how we work together every day in a global team. The award for the China Launch Team is a great memento for the entire team that can be treasured throughout their career,” Paveley said.