Let Go & Lead
Denise Ramos CEO & President
ITT Corporation

On the Power of Stories (2:35)

A couple months ago I went and visited a facility that we have that makes valves.  And in that valves facility they walked me through the past two, two and a half years when they went on a lean transformation of that facility.  And I saw the results that they were able to demonstrate from that.  And I sat back there and I said, so why can’t everybody do that, right?  … And then they told me that they were going to take this process that they used and they were going to take it to a smaller division, a smaller facility that also makes valves down in Amory, Mississippi.

And so, I ended up, I went down there which was a very interesting message to the whole organization when I did that, because people would say and where are you going?  I said I’m going to Amory, Mississippi.  Never heard of it.  What do we have in Amory, Mississippi?  I said well you know right now it’s a, it’s a small facility that we’ve got, but you know what, they’re doing something very powerful down there.  And so, when I went to Amory and I had lunch with all the employees there…And they started asking me questions about things and one of the questions they asked me, is they said so, what does corporate say about Amory, Mississippi?  And I said not much…

And I said and then the second thing is, I said you guys want to get on the map for ITT?  You do this lean transformation in a very powerful way and I will hold you up as a role model to the rest of this company.

So, I tell you that story because when I was meeting with the investors today and I talked to them about Amory, Mississippi, you know what, now all of a sudden instead of me just saying oh, we’re, we’re — we like lean transformations which was an abstract concept to them, that they would say okay, but make it real.

Make it tangible.  And I said, so, you want to know, you want to know how it’s being executed in this company?  I said let me give you an example of Amory, Mississippi.  It becomes real.  It becomes alive.  They no longer say it’s a slogan that you have as a company.  It’s real.

So, that’s why I think storytelling is so powerful because it demonstrates to people something that — before you tell the story to them it’s more of an abstract concept.