Opening New 'Windows and Doors' to Business
The Director of Talent Management and Organizational Development at MI Windows and Doors, Thane Bellomo helps organizations to design cultures that give the best performance outcomes in terms of engagement, key performance indicators, and retention. Thane has a proven record of identifying root causes in processes and systems. He collaborates with stakeholders to design and translate OD frameworks to generate strategies that work and make a difference in the real world. In an exclusive interview with CIO Review, Thane gives his insights on the necessity of training and development for the workforce of every organization.
How is the organizational development sector changing, and what role do you play in your organization?
The most fundamental change I have seen in organizational development is that it has moved away from simply being the learning and development arm of the HR function to a stand-alone support organization. Companies see the value of purposefully paying attention to the role that culture plays, how to define and develop it, and how to create leadership models that drive and align with it. This is critical to organizational sustainability and is often the differentiator between a great company and an 'also ran.'
Over the last couple of years, MI Windows and Doors has grown into a medium-sized company. As we continue to grow, I aim to build and manage the foundational talent pool and organizational development processes required for a largesized company. This includes performance management systems, talent development systems such as succession planning, talent mapping, and building learning and development programs for the organization.
Previously, I worked for Exelon Corporation, a Fortune 100 company, where I helped build many of those foundational systems. My job was also focused on executive coaching and facilitating leadership teams. I then moved to MI Windows and Doors to take on the challenge of building these crucial organizational systems from the ground up. I have worked in the business for about 25 years in various healthcare, government manufacturing, and energy industries.
What are some of the challenges plaguing the industry?
A significant number of the workforce at our organization are assemblers who build windows and doors for replacement and new construction. Most of our employees work hourly, and with their tight schedules, it isn't easy to reach out to the population to drive organizational development and change. My initial objective has been to seek out effective supervisors and elevate leadership competence and capacity at the supervisory level, which, as we know, is where the rubber meets the road. As organizational strategies are translated into streamlined workflows, the supervisors are the most important asset we can leverage in manufacturing to ensure that teams are aligned, motivated, and engaged.
The most important lever that we can pull in manufacturing is to ensure that leaders are aligning their teams, motivating them, engaging with their people, and developing them to be future supervisors
How important is the pursuit of constant innovation for any company today, and what would be your advice to your fellow peers in creating an innovative process?
You will know that you have an engaged workforce when everyone in your organization is trying to figure out how to improve your organization - innovating new and better products and services and working to solve your organizational challenges. All things being equal, if your workforce is configured in this way, you will be successful.
Innovation is vital in this regard.
The market is full of competitors actively trying to figure out ways of winning. The only solution is to innovate better and quicker, to get ahead of the curve, and to be a market driver - not a market follower.
We are actively working to create a culture where our people drive innovation. For this to happen, we need to develop our people so that they can innovate.
In other words, we are not trying to develop people to get work done; we are developing people so they can figure out how to get work done better.
In the next 18 to 24 months, are there any new technologies or trends on the horizon?
Distributed training is gaining popularity year after year. More and more, people are taking advantage of online learning modules or platforms to develop leadership competencies, like leading teams or dealing with difficult performers. With the advancement of technology, this remote learning has become more effective and will continue to grow.
There is also a growing relationship between learning and development and departments like IT and finance. These once-siloed organizations are collaborating to deliver effective remote or online development programs. Companies that excel in providing such collaborative learning experiences will have the advantage of upskilling their people in ways that allow them to see the bigger picture. The possibilities are endless with the advent of Meta and virtual or augmented reality. One barrier to this is the hardware needed to allow this to happen. Over time, economies of scale will drive down prices, but it will be up to L&D organizations to determine how best to utilize this new technology. I anticipate that we will see things that will be game-changers in this area over the coming years.