Leading Change at Simmons
The case explores the challenges of managing a large-scale organizational change at Simmons, an old and established company that manufactures and distributes mattresses. The new CEO, Charlie Eitel, hired to turn the organization's performance around, considers whether to implement an untraditional training program that includes outdoor experiential team-building activities as a central element of his change strategy. It gives us opportunity to consider the decision of investing in the expensive training program following the loss of the three largest customers — retailers that together had contributed a third of Simmons' revenues. One central theme is the role of leadership in engaging and motivating employees to implement changes that improve product quality and operational efficiency and cost.
The Company and its new leadership:
Simmons Inc is a 130 year old mattress manufacturing company based in Atlanta. The company has changed many hands since it was founded in 1870 by Zalmon Gilbert Simmons. The recent acquirers Fenway Partners have appointed Charlie Eitel has been appointed the CEO of the company as he has the track record of turning companies around. Charlie has brought about a number of changes in the organization since he has assumed office. His endeavor is to making the companies a place were people like to work and with whom customers like to deal with.
What changes are brought by Charlie Eitel and how his leadership has affected the company during the first six months as CEO?
Heading into 2002 what should be the management team's top priorities?
Should Simmons roll out the GGOL program? If so, how, and how would you justify the $7.2 million investment to Fenway Partners?
What approach should Charlie Eitel take to bring about change in the organization: conventional or unconventional?
Simmons Culture and Values:
The Company had established a core set of values since its inception which were: