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Purolator Courier's CIO: Why We Shuffled Execs

Purolator Courier's CIO: Why We Shuffled Execs

When it came to a major overhaul of its business operations, the company allowed leadership of the initiative to migrate from one executive to another as the project moved to different phases. In the midst of it all, Jim McDade found himself in the role of prime contractor.

Another executive stepping into a critical role during the build phase was Mike Coté, VP Corporate and Regulatory Affairs, who took the lead in preparing the company to take the new business model to market. Five salespeople were pulled from each of the company's divisions and worked as a dedicated team under Coté's direction.

"Perhaps the toughest job faced by the take-to-company team members was digesting the shear magnitude of the change before them," said Coté. "We worked with the leaders of the change management teams to ensure that their team members maintained a day-to-day focus on 'the next step' in the change process that we had laid out. By adopting this approach, our change management team leaders were able to safeguard against the temptation their team members may have had to singularly focus on the end goal, a view that risked being overwhelming."

The take-to-market team created a playbook that acted as a how-to guide for moving customers from the old world to the new world.

"We focused on all the positive aspects such a change would bring to our customers," said Coté. "We also emphasized the fact that over the years we had earned the trust of our customers by delivering on our promises time and time again, and in so doing we had earned the right to deliver the sort of positive change that our initiative represented."

Project Governance

As the project had a big team with many companies involved, proper oversight was critical, so a series of regular meetings were held to help things stay on track. On Monday, the project team would meet to go over what happened the previous week, get a fix on where things now stood, and plan for the following week.

Tuesday mornings were set aside for a project review, which would run from ten till noon or however long was needed.

"We had people in our PMO who were just phenomenal. They managed our checkbook, time-reporting where we were, and they also managed what the issues were," said McDade. "In about three hours they would walk us through a 50-page deck. We'd have thirty or forty people in the room and different people would talk about their parts of the project -- what they had achieved, what their issues were, what was outstanding, what they needed help on. We did that every week and we did it relentlessly. Early on it was a little uneven but then people found out that these meetings were there to help them get their issues on the table and get them solved."

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