Federal Signal Enterprise
Leadership Team Meeting, St Charles, IL. March 20, 2007
Laurie Shambler of Federal Signal said that she had been waiting for the right opportunity to use Face The Music since experiencing an FTM blues interactive in Chicago in 2003. Well, it was about 3 ½ years later when she found the opportunity she was looking for, the Enterprise Leadership Team’s annual meeting. Last year they had hammered out a long-term strategy, and now it was time to acknowledge progress and troubleshoot problems around executing that strategy. The company focus is on being innovative in their manufacturing and sales niches to breakthrough to better results than ever before. Laurie knew that Face The Music would get them thinking about the strategy execution in innovative ways. In the session, there were 10 groups, each with one of the ten tenets of the Federal Signal strategy to focus on, and a subject matter expert on that topic as part of their team.
Early on the groups had an opportunity to talk about the issues, progress and direction in their strategy area. The blues they discussed ran the gamut from great success to great challenge – these discussions were the foundation for the songwriting. As a group, the Federal Signal leadership didn’t have a lot of musical talent compared to some groups we’ve seen (with one notable exception), but they were more attentive and focused than most of the groups we see. They got down to it and wrote some good lyrics expressing the various strategic situations in funny, insightful, and creative ways, and they had a great time doing it. The whole process was augmented by special attention to the room design – subdued lighting, Blues Brothers-style hats and glasses for all, the BB movie playing in the background at dinner, and the Bluesmobile as a backdrop to the stage. CEO Bob Welding was among the enthusiastic performers inspiring his team to take some extra rehearsal time during dinner to help nail the song. And VP Kent Garno, a real life blues keyboard player, sat in with the FTM band adding some of that boogie woogie flavor.
The feedback from the participants was that they had a great time, explored their work issues in a way they never had before, and got to know their colleagues in a whole new way.