Steven R. Rayner, NCW’s change and corporate storytelling consultant, on the transformation of A&D supplier Lord Corporation and how lessons learned can apply to wider A&D as it ponders post-Covid resilience strategies

by | Jan 11, 2021

Steve Rayner has been a change consultant for over 30 years working with some of the world’s best-known companies and brands. For much of this time, he has used the power of story – as do we – to help CEOs and senior executives successfully transform their business during times of turbulence and change. His clients have included, Harley Davidson, IBM, Microsoft, Mubadala, as well as – of particular relevance to our story – Boeing and Lord Corporation.

In this interview with Nick Cook, Steve talks about the Lord Corporation transformation story, in which he was a key player. From 2017-19, Steve took time out from his consulting practice (now Ascension Transformation Solutions to join Lord as Director of Leadership and Organization Development to see the transformation he had helped start as a consultant through to its conclusion.

By mid-2016, Lord – a privately held (US) manufacturing company that produced adhesives, coatings, motion management devices and sensing technologies for aerospace, automotive, oil and gas and industrial markets – was struggling to find its way and had hit a wall. The story of how the CEO and members of the executive team worked with Steve and his colleague Bill Belgard to turn the company around, using an energising mix of strategy and ‘forward-storytelling’, Steve recounts here – and in his newly written paper: The Transformation of Lord Corporation.

The results, evident in the discussion – and in the granular detail of the paper itself – were stunning, propelling $850 million 2016 sales to over a billion in 2018, with a 70 per cent increase in profits. By the end of 2018, Lord was in the best financial position in its history with strong growth projected out to 2023, making it an attractive acquisition prospect. It was bought at the end of 2019 by Parker-Hannifin for $3.675 billion.

Our interview concludes with Steve’s assessment of the lessons learned from this and his other change-management projects – a large number of them in aerospace – for the A&D sector in 2021 as it seeks stability and resilience in the face of 2020’s profound shocks. We also discuss how they relate to new directions for A&D – in particular, as our CTA campaign makes clear, the sector’s capacity to shift its technology and skills to resilience markets in the global challenge space.