As the Managing Director of Mercer Celgar, a global leader in the pulp industry, Bill MacPherson leads a large-scale, modern mill operating in a complex industry. What are the results? The British Columbia-based pulp mill annually produces nearly a half million metric tonnes of pulp, 250,000 litres of turpentine, and enough eco-certified green energy to supply its needs and the energy needs of 20,000 homes. Mercer Celgar accomplishes this with a workforce of about 400 employees and 21st Century manufacturing strategies.
For Bill MacPherson, people are the No. 1 element that differentiates Mercer Celgar from its competition. People and teams working together and problem solving – that’s what makes the difference. Bill has a simple, yet powerful, philosophy for directing the mill:
- Hire better than everybody else
- Develop talent better than everybody else
- Celebrate performance together
Hire Better with a Structured Board Interview
Bill knows it’s not about finding good people versus bad people. Instead, it’s about finding a good fit. Hiring managers need to avoid selecting people because they like them. Does the job candidate look like me, act like me, talk like me? That’s not necessarily going to result in a selection that’s right for the organization. Instead, selections should be based on abilities, experience, and behavioral data that’s gathered in a highly structured board interview. In a nutshell, this describes the 15dots® Selection Process. Bill was introduced to the process (then known as the Nowlin Selection Process) when he interviewed and was hired at James River 30 years ago. Since then, he has helped implement the 15dots Selection Process everywhere his career has taken him. Bill MacPherson has seen firsthand the transformational effect of the 15dots strategies in each organization.
Develop Talent with Quantifiable Feedback
Employee selection gives way to onboarding and training. Bill believes that feedback is the No. 1 way to set people up for success. Here’s his advice. When providing feedback, start with examples of exactly what employees are doing well. Tell them what behavior you’ve observed and how this behavior had measurable, quantifiable results. On the flip side, if employees are off target, tell them early on what is going on and discuss ways to change the behavior.
Celebrate Job Performance Together
The third element of Bill’s philosophy is to celebrate performance together. Instead of creating a corporate culture in which employees compete against one other, create an environment that values teamwork and collaboration. This begins in the hiring process. Select candidates who provide real-world examples of how they functioned well in a team setting. While it’s important to recognize individuals who do great work, celebrating team performance is even more essential. Team performance lays the foundation for the long-term success of an organization.
Differentiate Yourself by Empowering People
While pulp mills in the U.S. and Canada use the same equipment and manufacturing processes, Mercer Celgar differentiates itself with its talent. The demands of 21st Century manufacturing are intense – artificial intelligence, automation, high-levels of preventive maintenance schemes, complicated electrical controls processes, and complex industrial chemicals. Thus, it takes a certain type of person to work at the Mercer Celgar Mill. Organizations like Mercer Celgar that recruit, hire, and train people better than their competitors will be more likely to celebrate performance milestones.
Bill MacPherson has always believed that people are the No. 1 element that differentiate an organization from its competition. 15dots provides its clients with the tools to consistently identify and select team members who can differentiate the organization.