A Premier “Turnaround CEO” for Bridgestone Americas, Inc.
Retired, CEO, President & Chairman Bridgestone Americas, Inc., Keynote Speaker, Consultant & Coach, Author
Watch In Action
In his keynote, Driving Results, Garfield explains in compelling fashion that “when you’re finished changing, you’re finished.” That was what Bridgestone Americas faced. It had operated the same way for decades, and its cultural was that of on old-line manufacturing company. Its employee base had been with the company for many years, and was resistant to any meaningful change. If the company was going to survive, much less thrive, it had to make dramatic changes. Yet, 75% of all change efforts fail. Garfield shares how he successfully drove change, and how you can do exactly the same thing!
He explains key elements of change, without which any meaningful change effort is doomed, and how he creatively used the concept of innovation to get the organization to embrace and actually seek the cultural changes that were needed to take the organization to the next level. It worked – the company’s results were extraordinary. Your industry group, company, division, department or group will all learn and benefit the same way Bridgestone Americas did.
Why Book This Speaker
Gary Garfield is an expert on Change. As the CEO of Bridgestone over the Americas he drove radical change to turnaround the struggling organization, achieving record profits every year of his tenure. He speaks from a position of hands on success!
Bridgestone Americas, a large organization with 55,000 employees operating on five continents, had disappointing performance for more than 20 years, struggling to survive in a very competitive, mature industry. During his tenure, Garfield changed virtually everything – the culture, the strategy, the vision, and, yes, where needed, the people. The results were extraordinary: profits grew over 500% in six years, achieving results no one thought possible.
Garfield shares his real-world experience of successfully driving change and turnaround in his highly acclaimed keynote address. His principles of change and turnaround apply whether that change is a company, a division or a department. He gears his keynote to meet your needs. For industry groups, he dramatically persuades the audience both on the need to embrace change and the six key elements essential for successful change. For a company’s leadership team, Garfield helps them embrace senior management’s change agenda and what they must do to be successful in driving change. For the broader organization which is often resistant to change, Garfield explains why change is essential, how they benefit by embracing change and the consequences of resistance to change.
Traveling From: Nashville, TN
INNOVATIVE CHANGE: Being in the 25%
Everything changes; technology, culture, markets, people. Yet, so often businesses, divisions, departments and groups fail to make the changes needed to thrive, much less survive. When leaders attempt to implement changes, it often fails. In fact, a Harvard Business Review article has suggested that change efforts fail roughly 75% of the time. In this keynote, Gary not only makes the case for staying ahead of our ever-changing world, but also explains the six critical steps leaders must follow to successfully make the change they seek, so that they are in the 25% of successful change efforts. In the end, the audience will be inspired to make the changes they need to, and they will know how to do it.
If You’re Finished Changing, You’re Finished
So often, when leaders attempt to implement changes, it often fails. In fact, a Harvard Business Review article has suggested that change efforts fail roughly 75% of the time. One of the main reasons is people resist change; it is a threat; it scares them. But as one of our founding fathers, Ben Franklin, said, “If you’re finished changing, you’re finished.”
In this keynote, Gary helps management successfully make the changes they are implementing by helping the audience understand that change isn’t their enemy, it is their friend. This keynote settles nerves, and helps those afraid of change accept it and embrace it. Gary artfully weaves into the keynote the dramatic changes he made at Bridgestone Americas, transforming the organization from an old-line manufacturing company to a dynamic and successful industry leader. He helps the audience understand that while most were afraid of the changes, it likely saved the organization, and, more importantly, their jobs. But more, those that embraced the changes grew professionally and personally, and received great financial rewards as the company’s profits grew. In the end, your audience will be inspired to embrace the changes that need to occur.
What Successful Leaders Really Do
Much has been written and said about leadership. Things like, lead by example, leaders designate, those that can do, can lead. In this keynote, Gary goes far deeper into what great leaders really do, what they do not do, and how they develop their leadership skills, beginning with the essential work on leading oneself. Gary knows this from experience. He led a massive turnaround of Bridgestone Americas from an old-line manufacturing company into an industry leader, achieving record profits each year along the way. Gary artfully weaves into the keynote the six lessons learned, both from mistakes and good decisions, made along the way so the audience can understand and relate to what successful leaders really do, and most importantly, incorporate those learnings directly into their careers.
Succession Planning: Essential for Longevity
It’s easy to get caught up in the daily issues and challenges and ignore one of the most important responsibilities of any manager, executive and leader. That is succession planning. In fact, effective succession planning is arguably the single most important predictor of an organization’s longevity. Yet, it is often brushed aside for another day, and when it is tackled, it is so often done ineffectively. With minimal consideration, a star is often promoted to the next level with little more than the hope that they can excel in the new job. All too often, they don’t. In this Key Note, Gary explains the fundamental requirements for success at different levels in an organization and the accompanying key managerial and leadership skills needed to excel along each level of what has been called the leadership pipeline. Gary then offers a process for effective succession planning.
Succeeding While Being Good
It is easy for companies to view themselves as apart from society. Gary firmly believes that companies are a part of society. That is why being an Outstanding Corporate Citizen was one of Bridgestone Americas core principles. And that is why the company did things like provide underprivileged children with backpacks and school supplies on the first day of each school year and built a full-scale auto shop in one of Nashville’s most challenged high schools – so high schoolers could graduate with a skill that would land them a well-paying job upon graduation.
With it, employee pride and engagement rose, and so did Bridgestone Americas profits, which grew 500% in six years.
In 2010, Gary was promoted from General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer to CEO of Bridgestone Americas, then a $10 billion company with 55,000 employees world-wide. Gary instituted extensive strategic, organizational, and cultural changes as the CEO. As a result, the company achieved record profits every year of his tenure, and a 500 percent improvement in profitability in six years. Revenues also grew 40% percent during his tenure. Gary retired at the end of 2016. Gary has written a book on successfully driving change in a group or organization. The book, entitled Driving Results: Six Lessons Learned from Transforming an Iconic Company, is published by Wiley & Sons and available now.
Bridgestone Americas manufactures and markets a wide range of tires for a variety of applications primarily under the Bridgestone and Firestone brand names. Among other business units, Bridgestone Americas also owns and operates the world’s largest automotive service and tire retailer, the worldwide leader in vehicle and equipment air spring technology, and, until recently, the world’s largest manufacturer of commercial roofing products, among other businesses.
Discover the keys to effective organizational transformation from an author who did it as the CEO of an iconic company.
In Driving Results: Six Lessons Learned from Transforming an Iconic Company, now-retired Chief Executive Officer Gary Garfield delivers an incisive and eye-opening road map of how to transform any organization, department, or group. Through a series of massive changes, Garfield drove record results while the CEO. By sharing his learnings on driving change in this insightful book, you’ll learn how you can use the six essential elements to drive results through change at your organization or with your team.
Gary did a fantastic job of using business cases and metaphors that helped our leaders see the real-world impacts and implications of deliberate cultural change. He helped set the tone for our leadership summit and his talking points were referenced throughout the day during our critical thinking sessions. His message was well received, and already we are seeing the change in the way our leadership team thinks and talks about organizational and cultural change in the context of the overall vision.
Gary Garfield was spectacular! He customized his talk to exactly what we were looking for, and the audience loved him.
Gary spends time upfront understanding the current business situation so he can customize his message to the audience. He is a thoughtful and humble speaker. He captivates participants by sharing the strategies that were implemented and obstacles that were overcome to deliver record breaking profits as the CEO of Bridgestone. During his presentation, he adapts quickly and handles questions brilliantly. At Barge, we are still talking about some of the insights he shared with our Executive Team.
We organize 34 events throughout the United States and have worked with hundreds of keynote speakers over the years. Gary Garfield is truly impressive; instead of reiterating sound bites and clichés about leadership, he speaks from a vast breadth of experience that is nearly unparalleled. As the former CEO of a Fortune 500 company, Gary understands that effective communication is crucial, and his speaking style reflects the practical application of it.
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