Developing Global Teams

W. L. Gore & Associates has travelled a long way from a local company to a highly praised global enterprise during its 54 years of development. Since its foundation in 1958, the company has principally focused on fabrics, medical products and cutting-edge electronic products. The highly efficient strategy resulted in ubiquity of the products produced by W. L. Gore & Associates on all seven continents and beyond. The key to the company’s success lies within the effective collaboration of the employees who are being referred to as associates at Gore. They share same goals and make significant commitments while being separated by distance or culture. Nevertheless, each worker is pivotal within the enterprise which makes W. L. Gore & Associates a company oriented not only on a result but also its employees.

Background

During its history, W. L. Gore & Associates was chosen several times as one of the “100 Best Companies to Work For” in several countries, such as the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. In 2008, Forbes also distinguished the activity of the enterprise by placing it on 180th position of its 500 list of the largest private companies in the U.S. The list of W. L. Gore & Associates achievements can be easily observed further. The annual revenues constitute of more than $2.5 billion although the financial results were not made public due to the company’s privately held status. The highly efficient workforce of the enterprise consists of approximately 9000 associates across the world. The members of the Gore family and associates are the principal holders of the company’s common stock.

The background of the enterprise is closely interwoven with a chemical compound, polytetrafluorethylene (PTFE), which possesses several unique properties. While working at E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., Wilbert Gore was involved in the examination and characterization of this chemical compound, brand named the Teflon by DuPont. Nevertheless, DuPont did not give his consideration to it, while Gore saw a wide range of its possibilities and potential implementations. Therefore, his interest in developing the unique features of this material led to a creation of his own company with the essential support of his wife, Genevieve. Nonetheless, the first business transaction involved the former employer, since the primordial goal was to obtain the unique material.

During its 54-years history, W. L. Gore had only four presidents. Wilbert in person remained in the lead of the company until 1976, when his son, Robert, succeeded to the position of CEO. In 2000, Chuck Carroll became the next president of W. L. Gore. Being a longtime employee, Terri Kelly turned to be the fourth one in 2005. Meanwhile, Robert Gore remains the pivotal person within the enterprise by holding a position of chairman of the board of directors.

CEO

The founder of the company, Wilbert Gore, had a gradually developing career. Being a Master of Science in physical chemistry, he started working at American Smelting and Refining in 1936. In five years, Gore joined a DuPont subsidiary, but less than in four years he moved to its headquarters in order to hold a position of research supervisor and head of operations research. Gore’s work with PTFE caused new possibilities to loom on the horizon. Nevertheless, DuPont had a divergent opinion about the company’s objective. While Gore was excited about becoming a manufacturer of cutting-edge and high-tech products, DuPont preferred to supply industries barely with raw materials. Thus, W. L. Gore was established on January 1, 1958.

Just like any other undertaking, the development of the company resulted in being highly challenging. The Gore’s house was not only mortgaged in order to provide the company with initial financial basis, but also served as a facility. With the help of friends and relatives, W. L. Gore had overcome the barrier and became a profitable company. This spirit of family atmosphere and mutual support within the enterprise will be cherished throughout its 54-years evolution.

Mission Statement

The primordial goal of the company has remained the same throughout the years of its existence. It lies within the manufacturing of a wide variety of high-tech electronic products, fabrics and medical products. While putting an emphasis on enterprise’s worldwide growth, it is crucial to maintain strong relationships between company’s associates despite their cultural diversity.

Vision

W. L. Gore & Associates has a unique approach towards its structure. While most of the similar companies tend to establish a hierarchy, Gore had emphasized the significance of relationships between workers since the company’s foundation as all of them sit in the same boat. An individual is highly cherished and valued within W. L. Gore & Associates. Participation in company’s development through producing innovative ideas or taking part in discussions is widely encouraged since it results in considerable business achievements. In this context, the most effective cooperation lies within the small teams concentrated on a certain task. Commitment and involvement of each employee along with the long-term view guarantees the success of the enterprise.

Set of Core Values

The core values have not been altered in W. L. Gore & Associates despite its considerable growth. Among the most prominent values are innovation and creativity, high ethics and integrity, direct one-to-one communication, lattice structure, deep knowledge, and natural leadership. The core values at Gore include elements such as personal relationships built on trust, fitness for use, compensation based on contribution, just to name some. Initiative of each associate is highly fostered within the company, while the communication style and its structure favor the development of innovation and creativity. Comprehensive support, help, encouragement stimulates the employees to extend their knowledge and cultivate skills. Any activity within the company is based on overall commitment and responsibility, while associates are given the freedom to a considerable degree. Meanwhile, employees are committed to making significant contributions towards the company’s success, the company, in its turn, is interested in providing them with various benefits, comfortable working conditions, a challenging yet full of opportunities environment.

External Environment

Globalization has caused a significant growth of W. L. Gore & Associates from a local company to a global enterprise. In 1964, the first venture was established outside the United States; by now, there are facilities in approximately 30 countries all over the world. The reason behind this success lies within the dominant role of a supplier of various innovative products, which was pursued due to the unique strategy of company’s development. Another significant reason for growth of W. L. Gore & Associates in the international arena was based on external acquisitions. However, each case was thoroughly evaluated in order to identify the benefits of acquiring certain companies, their unique technologies and capabilities.

Internal Environment

The internal environment of W. L. Gore & Associates is based on strong and trusted relationships between employees. The organizational pyramid of the company lacks conventional hierarchy-like structure. Each worker is considered to be pivotal, therefore, their efficiency and commitment is directly proportional to the company’s attitude. W. L. Gore & Associates encourages the initiative and activity of its employees and rewards them accordingly. Thus, a unique approach towards entrepreneurial culture and natural leadership within the company results in considerable business achievements.

Objectives of W. L. Gore & Associates

The primary objective of the company was set forth by its founder, Wilbert Gore who encouraged the approach of making money while having fun. This facetious statement includes the crucial goals of W. L. Gore & Associates which lie within a well-balanced development and growth, effective business strategy and highly satisfied customers.

Recommendations

In order to improve the performance of the company in the international arena, it is essential to reconsider its decision-making process in critical situations. While the lattice structure of the company may be beneficial in terms of communication style among the employees, it complicates the information spreading which causes, in its turn, a delay in solving a long-term problem that arise.

Another recommendation concerns the implementation of new technologies for communication. It is obvious that modern global cooperation of associates relies on virtual sphere to a considerable degree. Although being abreast with the times is highly significant, W. L. Gore & Associates should keep contributing towards maintaining of strong and trusted relationships between the company’s employees. The enterprise should invest in regular, direct one-to-one communication which fosters a spirit of family atmosphere and mutual support within the company.

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