Yves BonteCEO DOMO Chemicals
Leadership today is all encompassing - My first 12 months in my new role
A scene from the townhalls presentations in February 2020.
I know this for a fact, because on January 31, 2020 DOMO Chemicals signed the papers to buy Solvay’s European Performance Polyamides business – the biggest acquisition in the history of the company – doubling our turnover and workforce. And with this significant development marking the start of my leadership at Domo, I began ‘town hall’ meetings in February 2020 introducing myself and the new company to everyone at DOMO Chemicals at various locations across Europe.
These town hall presentations were a wonderful opportunity to connect and hear everyone’s feedback. But unfortunately, barely two weeks after they began, due to the unfolding Covid-19 crisis, they had to stop. It was incredible. Nobody then could have imagined how the world was about to change. Those first weeks gave me a new perspective on the 100 days philosophy and a new perspective on leadership, particularly around communication and connecting with all of my new colleagues at DOMO.
The birth of the Improve DOMO Program
It was around that time a famous Winston Churchill quote came to mind. He said, “never waste a good crisis” and at DOMO, we certainly used Covid-19 to innovate, fast. With some creative thinking and great IT, we went digital and made virtual meetings and connection to our customers and partners work, because we had to. I was new for the company; the company was new for me and what was going on was extraordinary. Despite the crisis, the power of innovation was implemented quickly, and things kept running smoothly.
I remember April and May were very difficult months. That was the moment when I knew that we had to do more, and why we started the Improve DOMO Program – a Program with clear objectives, crystalized and set out over time to allow prioritization and focus to ensure the execution of our growth strategy.
Taking DOMO from good to great
Mapping out how the company would develop, I felt strongly that a holistic approach to build a high performing company and become a reference in the industry was needed. However, applying a forward-looking sustainability lens to our people, our operations and market offerings would be essential to position and grow DOMO as a global polyamide solution leader in the future.
That’s because l believe today leadership requires a model encompassing 3 core elements:
- The Head, which is envising the future and the priorities required to succeed.
- The Heart is looking how as a leader we can inspire and empower employees.
- The Hands, which is about enabling capabilities to ensure innovative and agile execution.
I really want to take DOMO from good to great and this includes making sure we are a benchmark in the industry when it comes to protecting our planet, addressing climate change and reducing the consumption of natural resources. Moving towards a circular plastics economy is an important part of this ambition and whilst there are many things we are doing as a company, such as lightweighting plastics and recycling, as an industry we need to collaborate up and down the value chain for the biggest impact.
It is a journey, it will require a lot of personal and business investment, and we will need to work in partnership, but we need to do it. In the end, this journey will make DOMO a better company and more valuable to our customers.
Undergoing a cultural transformation
Having a purpose and strong values are a clear priority for me. They are two things that I believe are fundamental to help shape a cultural transformation at DOMO to sustain and grow our business. In this regard, I’m looking forward to the upcoming release of our new co-created company purpose and values.
Other values that stand out for me include: curiosity, which I think has helped us to be innovative and creative, and has been so important during the pandemic; ambition, that drives our company to the next level of success; accountability – my accountability for what I do or don’t do, as well as the accountability of my colleagues; collaboration; and last, but certainly not least, respect. Respect for colleagues, clients and stakeholders, and respect for each other’s opinions. These values are about sustainability too – the sustainability of DOMO Chemicals as a company.
Looking to 2021 with hope
When I reflect on the past year, the thing that stays top of my mind is the courage and resilience of our people, and I have learned how committed and passionate everyone is at DOMO. At the end of the day, a company is its people and without people there is no company.
I’m also proud that we have weathered the Covid-19 storm together. We have successfully navigated the post-merger integration of DOMO and Solvay amidst the pandemic and economic challenges of 2020. Plus, the implementation of the Improve DOMO Program sets the basis for growing our operational excellence to ensure improved performance and opportunity in the years to come.
Like everyone else, I am looking to 2021 with hope. Going forward we will build on the hope of this new year, and our values and vision for a sustainable planet. This means a continued focus on our purpose, our strategy and our customers and I believe with these components in place we’ll keep growing our competitive strength.
As I mentioned earlier, DOMO is firmly on a journey from good to great which, for me personally, means that I am not here to just lead DOMO for the next years, but to steer it toward a transformation. That’s both an extraordinary privilege and responsibility and it’s the reason I come to work every day.