When Rosalind Fox took over as manager of John Deere’s largest factory in Des Moines, Iowa, the plant employed 1,600 staff and integrated four major product strains. It was far greater and more advanced than the factory she’d been managing in North Carolina ahead of her promotion. She had to shift from being a more operational, tactical manager to a more strategic role.
Nonetheless Fox was also the primary Black female manager at the Iowa factory, and her employees there have been mostly white males. So she also had to establish out the way to engage with her staff and produce credibility with them. And that meant Fox had to guage how noteworthy of herself to bring to work.
“[T]he more authentic that you are, the greater sense of wellbeing you have, the greater sense of satisfaction you have, and that leads to greater engagement within the organization,” Harvard Industry College senior lecturer Tony Mayo tells Cool Call host Brian Kenny. “[T]he key factor to understand is that now not all people has the license to be authentic.”
Mayo interviewed Fox for his case see on her leadership at the agricultural equipment company.
On this episode, you’ll learn how Fox balanced the strain to assimilate into the factory’s dominant cultures with her have sense of authenticity.
Key episode matters embrace: leadership, managing people, organizational culture, variety and inclusion, race, authenticity, communication, agriculture, manufacturing, employee engagement.
HBR On Leadership curates the finest case research and conversations with the arena’s top industry and management experts, to allow you to unlock the finest in those around you. Unusual episodes per week.
- Hear to the original Cool Call episode: Fostering Authenticity and Worker Engagement at John Deere (2021)
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