Case study: Jay Hennig, Moog, Inc.

An operating group of a worldwide aeronautics conglomerate increases revenue by 400%

Where We Started

In 2004, Jay Hennig had recently been promoted to president of the Space and Defense division of Moog, a worldwide designer, manufacturer, and integrator of precision motion control products and systems.

Jay and his team needed to turn the business around. They were developing a new strategy but the team had trouble finalizing it and moving into action. In meetings, leadership team members would routinely agree to strategy (or be silent) and then come to Jay individually after the meeting to tell him why he shouldn’t follow through on what the team “decided.” It was impossible to get a real strategy in place to generate the numbers they needed because people weren’t saying what they’re really thinking with the group, instead they were only speaking to Jay.

Another issue for Jay was his desire for the leaders to be more accountable to the business and to each other. Jay explained: “No one questioned the other leaders’ business unit performance even though there was variability. No one said: ‘Hey Joe, why are your expenses so high?’ My fear was that they were doing it in their heads but not articulating their concerns.”

The Space and Defense leadership team needed to learn how to get to the heart of their biggest recurring challenges and turn the business around. 

The Work

The Space and Defense leadership team worked with Roger Schwarz & Associates (RSA) to adopt the Mutual Learning approach. The team agreed to live by the five values of the Mutual Learning approach and the Behaviors for Smarter Teams. The work focused on showing team members how to clarify assumptions and ask questions to understand what was really going on.

Over time, Space and Defense integrated the Mutual Learning approach into its culture through additional coaching and facilitation with RSA – both with the leadership team and a key HR manager who helped ensure the culture shift. They succeeded in clearing roadblocks that time and time again stopped them from achieving their objectives. Team members learned how to raise issues of performance and shared accountability for results without generating unproductive defensiveness. Where they once skirted around “undiscussable” issues, they now have a rigorous and compassionate way to make decisions and take action that produces results.

The Results

Increased team effectiveness and accountability led directly to business results:  revenue increased 400%. Here’s how Jay Hennig summarizes the value of the Moog Space and Defense Group’s work with RSA:

“I can show performance and I can link it to the work with RSA. I can show where this group has gone:  we have had excellent growth and impressive changes in profitability – from big loser to strong contributor. 

The accountability of each leader on the team increased significantly. It used to be a hub and spoke:  everyone came to me. Now the team self-manages. They collaborate on strategy. I have much more time to do strategic things now that I am not day-to-day in the fire. 

I hear from senior leadership that they are impressed by our collaboration and teamwork. I know we could not have gotten there without RSA.”