Executive Conversation: The CIO as a Transformational Partner

DEBORAH PETERSEN  ::  Strategy & Execution

Patrick Thompson heads digital transformation at Albermarle Corporation, a speciality chemical company at the center of the reinvention of the automotive industry. Supplying the lithium carbonate that goes into EV batteries, Albermarle is a leader in meeting the increasing consumer demand for electric vehicles.

The Chief Information & Digital Transformation Officer recently sat down with our WorkBoard CEO Deidre Paknad and shared his experience of executing transformation strategies as a partner to CEOs and why a digital operating rhythm is crucial to speed and agility today.

We have made the full conversation available here, but wanted to share a few takeaways.

Making Strategy Execution Excellence an Imperative

When Kent Masters became the new CEO at Albermarle in 2020, he made execution of the company’s growth strategy the top priority, Patrick said.

The organization wanted a more agile and faster way to drive its strategy, said Patrick, who started his career at Accenture and is a longtime student of methods for bringing businesses together, and connecting IT with strategy execution.

“That’s what brought us to WorkBoard. We were looking for a framework that could accelerate the execution of our strategy, which was the hyper focus of our CEO,” he said.

“Head and shoulders above all of them, WorkBoard shined on many fronts,” Patrick said.

“For 30 years I've been building out IT strategies that help businesses become Fortune 500 companies. Here, we found a platform that had all the elements that I'd been taught all my life, and it just fell right in the place,” he said.

As a digital leader, he appreciated the ease of adoption, intuitive usability, and the seamless integration with well accepted tools like Microsoft Teams. “It is not a heavy IT centric platform but something that everybody can easily use.”

Keeping Teams Connected to the Big Picture

As part of its focus on strategy, the company now for the first time ties the work of every team member to its execution, he said. Everyone can see ‘How am I helping the team win or lose.’

Indeed, research by McKinsey in December 2021 shows that organizations which are the most successful in executing their transformation strategies make the goals tangible to their teams.

Albemarle had already accelerated its digital transformation at the start of the pandemic to empower teams to work from anywhere. It strengthened those connections with the transparency that the WorkBoard platform and playbook enables.

The measurable results that OKRs provide when incorporated into a digital operating rhythm makes it easy to take strategy and put it into execution. “You can literally take a metric, manage it, and monitor it week to week and see the needle move, and move the results,” he said.

A More Inclusive Way to Work

“It's the perfect time for this platform to accelerate through companies because you're trying to figure out a way to connect to those remote workers,'' he said. “It provides measurable evidence of their contribution and their success.”

The employee surveys the company conducted on 3 different occasions over an 18-month period found that the engagement of its teams actually increased despite the pandemic and no matter where they were working.

“Progressively, the employees showed that they were more productive each time,” Patrick said.

The Rest of the Story

Watch the rest of the conversation here and learn more about how WorkBoard helps high growth companies in every industry increase the velocity of their transformation and fuel their digital operating rhythm.

Like it? Get more and share!

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