The Spirit of Saltillo
By Rob Gaiser (September 2020)
Many of you know that in 2008 we built the Saltillo, MX plant. I didn’t realize it at the time, but this site had an impact on me and has truly changed my thinking about how we work. What I am talking about is the spirit of the team is in everything they do.
Even in the first weeks, with no building and only a patch of dirt to look at you could feel it. There was an immediate connection between 6 people that had one thing in common, build a business. Some of those people are gone now but that team environment still goes on.
You can see it, feel it and experience it when you enter the plant. For those of you who have not been there, the first thing you notice is the building sign, then the flags and the cars all parked the same way, which for some reason strikes you as teamwork and pride. Seriously, they do!
The next thing you notice is that everyone is wearing a Saint-Gobain shirt, you know what team they are on. You hardly ever get greeted by only one person and everyone seems to take the time to say hello to the visitor and make them feel at home. When you go on a tour, you see a facility that is extremely 5S. If you have been there, you know what I am talking about and you know that it takes more than one or two people to make this happen. Visual management is all around and the managers, well their desks are on the shop floor and they are sporting whatever color shirts are scheduled for that day. The production also gives you a feeling of teamwork where one process moves to the next and people are actively working together, trusting each other. Not that this is so different than other plants but what shows is really a culture.
So today, I try to incorporate that thinking in our transformation and collaborative leadership model. So that is how their spirit changed me. To me, teamwork brings trust and accountability which will eventually drive collaborative leadership.