Trusted Executive Foundation Interview with Richard Tyson, CEO of TT Electronics

With over 20 years’ experience in the communications, aerospace and defence industries Richard Tyson  was appointed to the CEO role of TT Electronics plc on 1 July 2014.TT Electronics is a global provider of engineered electronics for performance critical applications, headquartered in Woking, England.  It has over 4,800 employees worldwide.

On the importance of trust:

“Trust is a key ingredient in terms of how we are able to retain and continue to develop relationships with our key partners, customers and suppliers. It’s all about product service and quality, and maintaining that.”

On building a high trust culture:

“The whole thing starts from absolute clarity around the company’s purpose and direction. We put a lot of emphasis into how we are clear in terms of our objectives, goals and how we will operate together as a group. I’ve been here 4 years. In that time we have delivered our first phase of improvement quicker than we thought. We put together a strong purpose statement that the senior leadership group bought into and created as an executive team. We undertook an informal survey throughout the businesses within the group by meeting face to face with a large part of the organisation and gaining input from the top 50 to 100 leaders. We put a lot of emphasis on listening to what was felt on the ground.”

On how you create a high trust culture as a global company:

“We make sure everyone understands and is bought into their part of creating the culture in the business. We spend time with each of the individual sites talking about what all of this means for them, for their team, for their location, for each individual part of the business. The guys locally in their teams turn this into team objectives so that everybody knows their role as part of the overall, long term picture of where we want TT to be. They understand the path to get there, and their role in getting there. We put a lot of emphasis into that. We also have a variety of KPIs to support us knowing whether we’re getting there or not.”

“We then set about creating an environment in which the senior leadership team are visible, straightforward and honest with the people around us in the business. We set out to live these behaviours every day as a role model of what everyone can aspire to and deliver against. All of this is combined with a good, strong, ambitious vision for the future and a realistic way of getting there.”

On how you measure trust:

“We run an annual employee engagement survey supported by site visits and quarterly live, real time town halls where we have Q&A sessions with groups on site. We benchmark against thousands of global equivalent organisations across a series of relevant standard questions to give us a sense of what our employees are feeling.”

“I measure trust in terms of the number of people willing to fill in the survey. It was 53% when I arrived. Last year it was 87% which I think is a measure of the level of trust and engagement we have with our people who are prepared to tell us what they want, and how they feel. This has been a massive step forward for us.”

On the Nine Habits of Trust:

The Nine Habits of Trust Model

It is clear that Richard and his leadership team put a lot of effort into being honest, and the same with openness and transparency. It’s a big, complex organisation which requires them to do a lot of evangelising, a lot of communicating about what is possible if everyone works in the “TT Way”. In the second phase of their organisational improvement plan there will be major opportunities for them to be brave. They are starting that part of it with a lot of confidence having done so well in the first phase.

We wish Richard well with his plans for TT Electronics. We thank him for his time and for allowing us to share his insights from the interview.

For more information on the Trusted Executive Foundation please refer to this short introductory video

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