Two years ago this month, we launched the Celanese Blog (CE Blog). Some people were anxious about discussing issues openly and honestly. But I wanted to hear from you; and I wanted you to be heard.
Our first blog tackled controversy head on. Ryan Morrison wrote Is Losing My Office a Good Thing? sharing his thoughts about the transition we were making from offices to an open space environment at the headquarters in Dallas. This change wasn’t popular. Yet he embraced the topic and challenged the water cooler talk.
In A Call for More Women Leaders Lu Zhang encouraged women to take on challenging opportunities and to be more direct about expressing their career needs. Her honesty struck a chord and started a dialogue crossing genders and regions.
Our most popular blog yet is Phil McDivitt’s How Celanese Materials Improved My Daughter’s Life in the Most Unexpected Way. This blog tells how his daughter’s serious medical condition was solved with a product made by our Engineered Materials business. Phil and Megan’s story helped us see how our work really does improve the world.
Addressing meaningful topics put us on a path to change. CE-Blog, as it turned out, became the first step to build a stronger culture, one where we share ideas and collaborate to make Celanese a great place to work and an even more successful company.
The blog brought us together at a time when we lacked cohesion. While we all wanted Celanese to be successful, we were working in silos with separate businesses and functions often competing for resources and recognition. I’m proud that you have changed that. Today we’re one family in brand name, but more importantly we are one team. Our inspiration is our vision and our values are the bedrock.
We’ve also evaluated our corporate strategy and openly shared that process with employees. We asked ourselves tough questions: Where do we fit in the industries we participate? Are we helping our customers solve problems and innovate rapidly and effectively? Do our products make money? Do they help us grow the company? What is our cost position? How we will grow and thrive? Are we giving you the freedom to do your best work?
Over the last two years, I have met many of you. Each of you has your own story, but you share a common commitment to the work we do and the difference it makes. In return, we’ve focused on you. We’ve improved compensation and benefits, grounded our performance management system in meaningful conversations and made a commitment to help you grow and develop.
We’re also working to put the customer at the forefront. Two years ago, some of us were hard-pressed to name just a few of our customers, today we are all committed to becoming our customers’ first-choice chemistry solution source. We have more work to do, but we are moving toward our vision. It is our guiding star for the future.
We’ve also re-engaged with the world. We established the Celanese Foundation to serve our local communities and neighbors where we are located. With your energy, enthusiasm and desire to serve, we’ve dramatically increased community involvement with Global Impact Week and Celanese International Impact Program.
All of this is to say we’ve been changing our culture in big ways and in small ways. It’s not easy to redirect mindsets and habits that have developed over years. We won’t get it all done this year or even next. We will make mistakes; in fact, I’m sure we have, but if we keep at it, without losing the focus on our goal, we will be successful.
Many of you want this change to go faster; I do too, but time and experience has taught me that great results take time. Our goal of a strong company that is sustainable for you, your families, our communities and customers is something worth striving for.
So what’s next? I’m excited to say there’s still a lot to do. This year we will take a fresh look at our strategy and renew it beyond 2016. We’ll also communicate more frequently about our journey and our company vision. This month, we’ll begin sharing stories and ideas about how we contribute to our culture and success by living the Celanese values, and we’ll share more about our path toward becoming the first-choice chemistry solution source for our customers. Translation will be a major focus for us as we look to extend our success across more customers and markets. We’ll also focus on our wellness – both health and financial – by providing you and your families with information and education on both topics as a first step toward improving our lives and taking care of what’s most precious.
Two years ago we embarked on a journey which has a personal and professional connection for each of us. While we have farther to go, that’s the nature of a vision. It’s big, it’s inspiring and it keeps us moving on the path to becoming better. Thank you for all you do make Celanese successful.