Going the Distance

Rick Clemmer
“The cynics become the greatest believers and contributors.“
Rick Clemmer

NXP, formerly known as Philips Semiconductors, completed its IPO in the summer of 2010 and was listed on NASDAQ. The initial stock price was well below target. CEO Rick Clemmer remained positive, but also realized that things had to improve.

In November 2010, as the next step in the turnaround, he and his management team set out with his executive team on an exceptional journey. The objective was to deeply connect and align on the company values. In Egypt, in the wilderness of the White Sand Desert, he witnessed one of the most significant transformations in his career.

“One of my team members didn’t want to be there,” says Rick. “On the first night he was totally frustrated and upset. The second day started the same; ‘why are we doing this, why are we doing that’. Yet by the third day he had an ear-to-ear smile. He loved the process, was totally engaged and probably got more out of the journey than anyone else.”

During the journey the team got to know each other on a deeper level. They developed a fundamental understanding of their core motivations, ways of working and the values that would drive the growth

 of the business. Each member grew personally and, as a collective, the team really kicked onto a higher level.

This executive team journey was a prequel to the ‘Top 160’ leadership journey that took place six months later. This time round, Rick and his team worked seamlessly together to make sure the core values of the company were shared, properly understood and truly owned by the leading 160 movers and shakers within the company.

The initial journey gave the executive team the space, time, motivation and inspiration to be more honest, open and vulnerable with each other. Having taken these values to heart, they could effectively spread them throughout the much larger group on the next journey. In this way the new culture firmly took hold at NXP.

“It still happens that we - myself and the executive team - do not act as we should,” he says. “The difference now is that we realize it is unproductive and we change it. “

“The turnaround started with creating a clear vision, strategy and values followed by a large scale organizational transformation where we adjusted the structure,” he continues.  “We then embarked on developing our leadership teams - one of these interventions was the leadership journey with my management team and the top 160 NXP leaders. It was all at the same time exciting, intense, reflective and very helpful in aligning around behaviors and values.”

  • Going the Distance

    “If you want to grow a business, you have to grow people. There is no other way. You can’t grow a machine.“
    Tex Gunning
  • Going the Distance

    “There is a difference between having a strategy and having people actually own it.“
    Floris de Kort
  • Going the Distance

    “I'd even go as far as saying that if you want to build a great company, you should send your leaders on a journey.“
    Frank D'Hollander
  • Going the Distance

    “Culture eats strategy for breakfast“
    Selim Loukil