Borusan Holding Industrial Manufacturing

Borusan Holding, a key player in the Turkish business and economic development realm, was founded in 1944. Today the organization maintains five key business units in steel, pipe manufacturing, distributorships of world-renowned brands, logistics, and telecom. The organization has enjoyed stable growth since its inception. Part of the organization’s success rests in its strong partnerships with international companies such as Arcellor Mittal, BMW, Caterpillar, Mannesmann, TATA, Manheim and Eton. Equally important is the company’s commitment to social responsibility, modern management practices, and profitable growth. In addition, the organization prides itself on its commitment to deployment and effective implementation of Lean Six Sigma Methodology through the Borusan Group.

The Challenge

With all this going for them it’s hard to imagine that Borusan would have room for improvement. Yet one challenge facing the organization was the task of creating a unified culture and approach to leadership development with five such distinct and diverse business units. And so the challenge to create unification—rather than continue to operate in a culture that varied from company to company and a leadership approach that varied from manager to manager—was underway.

Another of Borusan’s goals was to create a shared leadership style and a common approach and language for developing people across business units. The organization was also looking for a development approach that went beyond the classroom. Borusan was looking for the right methodology.

The Solution

Initially, the search for an external partner surfaced a short list of possibilities, one of which was The Ken Blanchard Companies. From there, Borusan ran pilot training programs to test the content and delivery method before finalizing their selection. Once the pilots concluded, Borusan made their decision to partner with Blanchard Turkey.

“The decision to choose Blanchard was not difficult,” says Burcu Akar Kuyuku, Human Resources Manager and Lean Six Sigma Deployment Champion. “Blanchard truly understood our needs and met our criteria. In addition, the skill and expertise of their consulting partners and trainers was exceptional and effective. And their methodologies were a practical fit for our culture and people.”

Borusan launched Blanchard’s Situational Leadership® II program to general managers of each business unit and the CEO of the organization first, and then to all group managers because they felt this was the best way to create ownership. In order to bring everyone up to speed on what was happening, an elaborate communications plan was put in place. All managers attending training and culture coaches were assigned the task of communicating to their staff and organically educating others about the SLII concepts. This accelerated the buy in for the initiative as a leadership culture change rather than an HR-driven initiative. Feedback and ideas for improving the process were looped in from attendees and employees back to HR to act on. A key directive that was HR-driven was to embed the concepts of SLII into the performance management process. To accomplish this, HR specialists in each company acted as consultants providing support tools, coaching, additional job aids, case studies, and articles for all participants. In addition posters and pocket guides illustrating the principles of SLII became part of the hallway art to remind employees of the skills and model. Follow-up and reinforcement tools were used to sustain the learning in Borusan’s continuous improvement culture.

The following year, in order to further embed and sustain SLII, Borusan took the training to the front line employing a SLII companion program Situational Self Leadership which teaches self leadership skills to frontline employees. The organization also required managers and employees to create action plans and goals for the coming year using the SLII framework to agree upon development level and leadership style for each goal. The organization also utilized the SLII companion program Coaching Essentials for Leaders to further develop coaching, communication, and feedback skills for all leaders.


The comprehensive development framework has been very successful for Borusan. Almost 1,500 individuals have been trained to date and results have been very positive. “This has been one of our most successful training initiatives in Borusan,” Kuyucu states. “Percentage ratings for the training evaluations have been in the high 80’s to high 90’s in all four dimensions we measure. In addition, we are seeing the managerial and culture transformation that we had hoped for. Most important, there is a sense of ownership for this process. We hear from managers that they see their individual transformations occurring—from being an operational manager to one that develops both the business unit and people with equal skill.”

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