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Veronica has worked for the company since 2017 and is based in the UK. She received her 2020 Knauf Insulation Leadership Award for driving continuous improvements that led to major culture change and significant benefits for customers supported by an inspired team.

Veronica Cross  leadership award winner
Knauf Insulation leaders want people to succeed and develop and that is clear to see everywhere in the company. I admire the supportiveness and encouragement of other leaders within the business to all employees who want to develop.
Veronica Cross

What do you think contributes to leadership success?

For me the most important elements that contribute to leadership success are effective communication, consistency and integrity. Leaders must be able to communicate effectively to any level sharing information with confidence and precision.

As a leader communicating effectively with your team helps eliminate misunderstandings, which can encourage a productive, engaged and inspired workplace. Within any team, effective communication is vital, it is not just the ability to speak to people, but to empower them to speak to each other, in turn enabling the development and building of strong working relationships. 

A consistent approach within leadership contributes to a stable work environment, it allows expectations to be made by both team members and leaders which in turn builds trust and develops the working relationship further. Integrity is all about being able to walk the walk and not just talk the talk, consistently promoting and displaying positive behaviours that are in line with our values.

What qualities do you admire in Knauf Insulation leaders?

Knauf Insulation leaders want people to succeed and develop and that is clear to see everywhere in the company. I admire the supportiveness and encouragement of other leaders within the business to all employees who want to develop.

What advice would you share with a new colleague to help them thrive at Knauf Insulation?

We are all one team, and as such, cross-functional collaboration is key. Embrace change openly while being inquisitive. The ability to strip any situation right back to factual information enables complete understanding and therefore the potential for improvements to be made.

What do you see as your greatest achievement at Knauf Insulation and why?

For me, my greatest achievement while working at Knauf Insulation has been supporting and developing the UK Customer Service team as they embarked on the launch of our Continuous Improvement journey within non-manufacturing at Knauf Insulation Northern Europe. 

Order to Plan was selected as the pilot process for Continuous Improvement across non-manufacturing in the region, with the focus on the UK Customer Service team and making improvements to their ways of working. 

The introduction and embedding of our visual management systems on a daily basis provided structure to the team’s routine and factual information on how they were operating each day.

A considerable culture change was required within the department to enable and encourage the team to feel supported in decisions, and as such, the team is now able to make informed choices based on data and facts. 

As we progressed along our Continuous Improvement journey this daily approach of working with data and facts developed further to analyse more detailed information around Customer Service-based non-conformities. The improvement work done in this area has resulted in over 80% reduction of Customer Service related errors year on year.

Throughout 2019 the team hosted a number of individual and group visits — including a visit from the Knauf Insulation Board — to both demonstrate and support the sharing of best practices from the region. 

As a team we have received a lot of positive feedback with regards to the improvements we have made and we are looking forward to continuing our Continuous Improvement journey, supporting others and making further informed developments to our ways of working. 

Which leadership quote resonates with you and why?

Civil rights leader Jesse Jackson:
“Never look down on someone, unless you’re helping them up.”

This quote really resonates with me and the development journey I have been on with my team as we introduced Continuous Improvement as a new way of working. Developing team members to work with factual information that forms the basis for suggestions or ideas, while encouraging and empowering individuals to make informed decisions that shape the way they work.