Published: July 02, 2020
Published: July 02, 2020

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Jesus Builds Winning Teams in Times of Crisis

Back in 2019, Jesus Valencia, PPG operations director for Latin America, and his team started embarking on a new company initiative. With its focus on building more strongly connected teams, he had no way of knowing the real and lasting impact this project would have. Now, during a global crisis, the far-reaching value of this is shining through, with the team’s sense of community and support still going strong.

Focused on Results and Teamwork

Jesus joined us five years ago during the COMEX® acquisition in Mexico. He was then in charge of a manufacturing plant. Today, he is our operations director, in charge of manufacturing, supply chain and quality control at seven plants.
My career has continued to grow, and I thank PPG for the opportunities and the trust they put in me. I enjoy my work. Every day presents new challenges.

Alongside his focus on delivering results, one of Jesus’s passions is building winning teams. This is how he came across The PPG Way Sprint.

The PPG Way “Sprints” Towards a Better Focus

Early last year, we launched The PPG Way, an organizational culture change to kick off our journey towards becoming the company we commit to be. Teams defined changes they felt they could make in order to get closer to it, and the initiative proved a hit.

To help teams sustain their behavioral change, we developed The PPG Way Sprint – a focused seven-week period in which teams must find ways to truly produce their desired impact. Weekly check-ins and daily micro-challenges help keep the team on track and have resulted in a closer-knit, focused team that is more engaged and effective.

50 teams piloted The PPG Way Sprint in June 2019 and all with great results, with Jesus leading one of these teams.

Jesus and His Team Are a Sprinting Mindset

Jesus and his 17-strong operations team worked on a sprint in June 2019. The team chose two pillars to focus on:

Their main challenge was to form a community:

As a team, we seemed to be working in many different directions and not sharing resources or best practices.

Through The PPG Way Sprint, they got to know each other much better. There have been many other positive outcomes that have proven to be even more important in the last months, as the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world.

For Jesus’s team, the key elements were the establishment of regional strategies, such as creating high-performance teams to ensure continuous long-term change, regional cost reduction strategies, and productivity strategies. Now, they have regular meetings to keep each other updated and it has become practice that they share installed capacity and resources.

It was a unique experience that allowed us to improve as a team and form a community. During this period, we have to take a lot of hard decisions daily, but with The PPG Way in mind, we have more open and honest communication as a team.

Sprint Success: Spreading the Word

What advice does Jesus have for fellow PPG leaders in their journey down The PPG Way?

First of all, he is convinced that you’ve got to believe in the change. If you doubt or do not trust it, your team will feel your reservations and the sprint won’t get off the ground. Secondly, he urges us to remember that changes can be made quickly and that it is just a matter of motivating, involving and trusting our people.

My learning is that it is necessary to continue to improve on a daily basis, no matter the situation – we don’t know what will happen in the future and it is best to have the best possible capabilities in our teams, in our operations.

The Strength Is in the Team

With the global situation as it is, it has never been more important to work together as a community and to build one another up through support and shared knowledge. Professional American basketball player and coach, Phil Jackson, once said: "The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team," and it’s so true.

This has proved to be a big advantage during the pandemic – in this kind of situation, it is important to feel supported and have everyone working together. It makes it easier to cope with a crisis. When we started, I was convinced that becoming ‘One PPG’ was impossible; that I just had to learn to handle things in PPG siloes. Now, I see that not only is it possible, but it has power.

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