Increase productivity and improving motivation to achieve growth despite a labor shortage : the Bebcolab case

In 2015, manufacturing company Bedcolab found itself with its back against the wall. A year after a 50% cut to its workforce, due to a sharp drop in sales, strong growth resumed and the company’s manufacturing operationswere struggling to keep up with the pace of growth. Whereas most other companies in the same situation would have looked to recruit more staff in order to support production, Bedcolab’s  management asked themselves if their existing teams could absorb this additional workload. This question is even more relevant today, in the context of labor shortages and a mismatch between available talent and the needs of the labor market.

Indeed, it’s rare to find a company that, instead of increasing its capacity immediately, starts out by examining whether their initial assets are being used to their full potential, whether best business practices are consistently implemented, whether identifying opportunities for improvement is a day-to-day priority or if the flow of information is efficient.

These issues fall under the responsibility of first-line managers, but how many of these managers have actually undergone management training? How have they been supported and developed during their transition from technical experts to team leaders, now held accountable for team performance? Even with decades of experience, first-line managers often measure their own performance by their ability to resolve crises on a daily basis. Rather than being team coaches or leaders, they remain technical experts, despite their supervisory This has major repercussions for many companies: recurring problems, confusion regarding performance accountability, “blame culture” within the organization, investments failing to deliver the expected results, etc.

Bedcolab’s strategy and visionary approach in resolving its production issues has been to invest first in its human capital and then in its infrastructure. The company therefore chose to strengthen its management capabilities at the point of delivery before embarking upon a recruitment drive or before purchasing new machinery. The goal: to increase productivity and motivation. The results were conclusive. Five years after cutting its workforce by 50%, sales have risen by 135% and the company operates with 40 fewer employees than would have been necessary to deliver the same sales revenue 5 years ago. By investing in management at the point of delivery, Bedcolab has succeeded in increasing productivity by 40%, has raised its production capacity by 30% without any injection of capital, and has also reduced staff absenteeism by 40%.

Bedcolab’s management called upon Proaction International to obtain the fighting force necessary to accelerate the implementation of the management team’s vision: “I knew where I wanted to go, but the need to act was urgent and the Proaction International team had the expertise, the experience both in Québec and internationally, and the references in the manufacturing sector.” Three main change areas were prioritized:


Through a better understanding of their roles, first-line managers started moving away from their reactive mode and began to place more emphasis on monitoring performance, on planning and on team mobilization. By shifting their focus away from manual tasks and the resolution of recurring issues, Bedcolab’s supervisors have adopted a management approach aiming to steer their teams’ efforts, to recognize their work and to empower each employee towards communication and the resolution of day-to-day issues.


The ability to meet daily targets depends on one’s capacity to measure performance in real time. Yet, too many companies have insufficient knowledge of their production standards or are unable to justify a wide variation between technicians doing the same job. At Bedcolab, supervisors placed particular emphasis on determining production standards, on respecting best practices and on communicating the importance of always reaching targets. This focus gradually allowed the company to set ever more ambitious performance targets and therefore become more competitive.


Introducing a continuous improvement team has become essential for any company’s competitiveness in our ever more complex, competitive environment. Companies aren’t just hounded by local players any more. Technological improvements and the proliferation of international trade deals are factors that influence competitiveness, yet over which companies have little control. At Bedcolab, the introduction of this team allowed the work initiated by Proaction International to be continued, and for management coaching methods to be applied, ensuring the necessary management maturity to achieve world-class performance.


The case of Bedcolab demonstrates the determining role of first-line managers on business productivity and mobilization. This is all too often neglected by management teams, despite the fact that it is a key factor to competitiveness. Before investing time and money in recruitment during a labor shortage, businesses must first ask themselves whether their workforce is conscious of their daily performance levels, and whether they are constantly reliving the same issues, which impact upon performance. In many cases, they already know the answer…

4 solid tips to integrate coaching with your teams

Translated from French. Article published April 9th, 2019 on Click here for the original French version.


Confronted with a labour shortage from an organizational perspective, where the working generation is thirsty for knowledge and is constantly seeking career advancement, do managers understand the true value of their role of as coaches to their teams?


The everyday reality is that a manager’s tasks are mostly dictated by organizational objectives and, therefore, by managing results and performance. What does this mean for employee skill development? When was the last time you accompanied your employee to a professional activity (i.e., a client meeting, a team meeting, etc.) with a view to coaching?

The roles and responsibilities of a manager

Managers must play a number of roles on a daily basis, often leaving little time for employee skill development. As a result, organizations routinely transfer the responsibility for skill development to Human Resources, which is provided through employee training in most cases. Subsequently, the challenge for both the employee and the organization is to capitalize on this investment on a day-to-day basis.

But why not share this responsibility and emphasize the importance of the manager’s role as coach on a daily basis? Due to the immediate supervisor’s proximity to their team members, they frequently interact with each employee, understand expectations and the skills being sought, and can provide coaching on a daily basis – knowing that they will be the first to reap the rewards!

Why should coaching be valued?

Here are some of the potential impacts provided by the manager-coach.

Maximizing your employees’ potential:
Sometimes we don’t appreciate the full potential of our employees, and thus, we don’t allow them to reach their highest level. During coaching sessions, by being in the thick of the action with your employees, a manager-coach will notice that they are able to contribute more than they thought and can help their employees work on their strengths, thereby developing their potential. The employee will feel valued and the organization will reap the rewards alongside the employee.

Accelerating employee growth: 
By coaching regularly, you not only increase the frequency of interventions, but also their quality. Twokeys to accelerating progress.

Delegating and empowering each level of management:
When an employee is unable to perform a task, it is often the immediate supervisor who must compensate. By coaching your employees, you will empower them so that you can more easily delegate tasks and free up time to invest in your work and your own advancement.

Employee engagement and retention: 
Given that recognition is one of the prime sources of employee engagement, coaching sessions help identify victories and, therefore, create opportunities for positive reinforcement. In addition, employees appreciate and feel valued when you invest (time or money) in them and it won’t hurt with retention!!!

Accelerating organizational performance:
By developing individual skills while coaching, we are giving ourselves the benefit of a skilled team. Since the organization is the sum of the individuals who work in it, a skilled team will only increase the organization’s overall performance.

How to allocate time for coaching and putting the role of coach into practice

Here are a few simple but effective tips – proven through years of coaching and consulting services – that will allow you to integrate your coaching role into your daily routine:

Time management:

  • Like any good activity, if it is not scheduled, it is unlikely to occur. We need to schedule time in our calendars to coach our employees.

Develop a progression plan and make the various stakeholders accountable:

  • Identify the skills to be developed and define coaching activities that will allow you to develop these skills.
  • Spread these activities out over time – along with deadlines – and you will start gaining momentum.

Create coaching activities:

  • Accompany your employees throughout their activities to observe them in action and provide feedback for your own coaching process after each session.
  • Conduct role-playing and/or simulation exercises with your employees to empower them in dealing with new situations in a lower-risk environment.

Take advantage of coaching opportunities at various moments:

  • Coaching doesn’t always have to be planned. When one of your employees comes to you for help, seize the opportunity and turn it into a coachable moment.
  • Turn some of your individual management meetings into coaching sessions.

The coaching approach is not limited to specific activities, it is also a state of being.

By integrating the role of coach into the manager’s responsibilities and regularly allocating time for coaching, your organization’s foundation will be more engaged and therefore more solid, but above all it will reach its potential. Prioritize and allocate time to develop your personnel on a daily basis; and it will benefit your organization, your employees and yourself.


Katherine Jean
Director of Operations at Proaction International

Combining performance and freedom

Translated from French. Article from Caroline Hardy, published February 25th, 2019 on Click here for the original French version.


How far does freedom in management extend? As a human, manager and leader, do you give your teams enough freedom? And for yourself? Do you think about it every day? What are the potential impacts of greater organizational freedom for your business and for society in general?


Intervening and Influencing: a definition of freedom

According to economist and philosopher Amartya Sen (1998 Nobel Prize winner), freedom is – among other things – the ability to intervene and influence; a concept he calls “capabilities” (Sen, 2000). Intervening and influencing, two verbs, two behaviors that seem ancient given how basic they are. Yet in 2019, they are also extremely modern and applicable to organizations that evolve in a complex system where everything is intertwined.

The opportunities to make choices in relation to our responsibilities, as well as our aspirations and desires, are potential sources of inspiration in the workforce. There are a variety of impacts on performance related to freedom that we can observe on a daily basis: for example, greater decision-making capacity, increased curiosity about our environment, leading to greater creativity, and increased organizational mobilization. But how do we provide greater freedom in our organization? What elements can allow your teams and employees to influence and intervene?

Here are a few, from the simplest to the most complex, that may help you to initiate organizational dialogue: work hours and places, organizing work, company culture, priority management, employee selection, delivery dates, budget allocation, setting financial margins, organizational strategy, creation of new concepts, research and innovation.

Let us consider a specific case: if employees are allowed to manage their own work schedules, or even their own workplaces, they will opt for the most convenient times of the day, being times and places (whether noisy or not, whether in the office or not) where they are most productive and most likely to create and think in accordance with their own rhythm. This self-determination can increase performance for many.

Freedom, control and performance: the paradoxes

This sense of freedom, which gives wings to many, can also overwhelm others. One of the great organizational paradoxes (Pauchant & Mitroff, 2001) remains that of control vs. freedom; in other words, the importance attached to these two concepts in the “design” of our organizations.

These questions may lead you to think differently about the elements that shape your team’s performance: is your team performing better when the leaders exact control or when they provide greater freedom of choice and action? Is there a ratio, a scale, an optimal balance?

These questions, which seem unanswerable or at least have as many answers as there are people, demonstrate the relevance of understanding who we are as humans. Choosing to give more or less freedom/control to our teams is a strategic choice for
organizations. The choice, when made consciously, allows us to understand the expected and desired behaviors.

Furthermore, this paradox of freedom and control suggests that we can choose the stance that we will take on a daily basis. Great leaders often question themselves. Take a step back. Who are we? What are the needs of the people around us? And who do we want to become? These are the reflections and introspections that lead to greater performance.

Finally, freedom is the ability to choose who we are. Choosing our level of freedom, strategically choosing whether or not our organization is more in control and centralized or innovative, and chaotic. Humans are free to influence and intervene when it comes to the freedom we afford to our teams. Leaders are free to decide how performance will be sustained.

The possibilities

What if giving greater freedom helped accelerate business performance? Is freedom synonymous with fulfillment and well-being? By offering and proposing the freedom to think, choose and act, we welcome a world of possibilities for individuals and organizations.


Caroline Hardy
Director of Executive Coaching and Training Programs at Proaction International



Proaction International will take part in the 19th edition of SIRHA 2019 in Lyon, France

SIRHA (International Catering, Food and Hotel Trade Exhibition), the leading world hospitality and food service event, will be held from 26th to 30th January 2019 at Lyon-Eurexpo. 2984 exhibitors and over 207,930 professionals will be attending this event.  

Proaction International is proud to be taking part for the first time in this global event, alongside MTI Group, an independent French and European agri-food industry network.  

Come and meet members of Proaction International at stand 2.1B52. The team would be delighted to discuss their business activities over a few snacks and drinks.  

You’ll also have the chance to win a pair of tickets to our flagship event on leadership and management, the 2nd edition of the Sommet Performance which will be held in Lyon on June 6, 2019. Three pairs of tickets are to be won!  Come and try your luck! Click here for more information on the 2019 Sommet Performance.
*The event will be held in French. 

Join us at our stand for an aperitif on Monday, January 28th as from 6pm!

Useful information:  

  • Dates: Saturday January 26th to Wednesday January 30th 2019  
  • Opening hours: 9am to 6pm 
  • Location: Eurexpo – Visitor entrance 
  • Address: Boulevard des Droits de l’Homme, 69500 Bron, FRANCE 
  • Website:  

 Image Sirha

Image source: SIRHA 2019 brochure 



You will find out about the latest innovations in the supply chain industry.

Proaction International will proudly be attending the Modex Show 2018 on April 9-12 at the Georgia World Congress Center. Over 800 exhibitors from industry, commerce and government will be participating.

Philippe Gautrin, our VP Business Development and Analysis, will be there as one of the speakers. He will give a presentation on using KBIs (Key Behavior Indicators) as a tool to reach the highest level of performance, on Wednesday, April 11th from 3:00 – 3:45pm in Theater F.

This event will also be a great occasion for your business to network with other professionals involved in the manufacturing and the supply chain industry:

C-level and VP-level manufacturing, distribution, logistics and supply chain executives, manufacturing and production managers, industrial, plant and manufacturing engineers, IT, logistics and supply chain directors, third-party logistics professionals, distribution center and warehousing managers, procurement professionals.

Come visit us at our booth (#C1450)!
Register now:


Adrenalys – Access to up to $150M in capital and many more advantages for selected SMBs!

Adrenalys is now taking applications in Quebec. The 25 exceptional SMBs selected will benefit from solid support to take their businesses further, in addition to investment, coaching and financing.


Adrenalys consists of 10 key industry partners: National Bank of Canada, Fasken Martineau, Fonds de solidarité FTQ, Proaction International, Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton, Ascendis, Bleublancrouge, EDC, Finalta Capital and Talsom. This flagship group joined forces to guide the CEOs of fast-growing SMBs and help them propel their businesses to the next level.

Businesses who profit from Adrenalys’ assistance will have access to an elite, innovative team of consultants, financial support of up to $150M and fantastic visibility.


To learn about Adrenalys’ eligibility criteria and to register your business, visit

Adrenalys_Logos des partenaires



SCB-SCEAU-30020PME-2017-ENIt is a source of great pride for our internationally recognized SME, and our employees, to be named among the most influential organizations in Quebec. Proaction International’s growth within the Quebec ecosystem is undeniable—we are now among the 300 most important SMEs in Quebec, according to Les Affaires.

This classification groups organizations, the majority of whose shareholders are in Quebec, that have a maximum of 300 employees. They are classed according to the size of their full-time workforce.

To consult the rankings, click here.




Partner, Analysis and Development, Proaction International

Are the managers in your organization supporting their team to help achieve their full potential and maximizing your company’s performance in an optimal way? If not, it is time to discover the power of Key Behavioural Indicators (KBIs).


Even in this era of technology, human beings are still essential in delivering performance excellence. Most enterprises tend to focus primarily on processes and technology—but it is important to remember in any era, people manage, support, and benefit from innovation, and are the engines of change. Using KBIs enables us to build on what is really at the heart of an organization: people. They are what generate performance.

Great performance within an enterprise means making sure you are using good “behaviours,” as in the case of an athlete training to win at the Olympics. KBIs allow you to measure the different facets of the knowledge and behaviours of a proactive, effective manager. Combined, these indicators show the best management practices to adopt on a daily basis.


As a manager, you always need to ask yourself if you are adopting best practices for optimal management in your industry (whether it is “4.0” or not). KBI measurements allow you to create a profile of the technical and human capacities of your organization’s managers. This evaluation will be the starting point of an improvement process that seeks to perfect managerial abilities, which will in turn enhance the managers’ added value, and create the required level of operational performance.

Let’s look one more time at the analogy of the athlete whose starting physical performance is measured with the help of different indicators. This top-tier athlete will need to re-evaluate these indicators as training progresses to achieve the desired results. KBIs measure good behaviours, and so they also offer the possibility of creating improvement. It is important to keep in mind that what you don’t measure now, you will forget later.


These behavioural indicators (the indices of Management Skills, Personal Satisfaction, Decisional Capacity, Active Supervision, etc.) allow your managers, and by extension, your organization, to develop in a sustainable way.

As a general rule, a manager is more comfortable with the technical side of his/her role. A manager in who wants to evolve has to incorporate the human element into his/her management routines to find a balance between technical expertise and the mobilization of the people. It is this mobilization that will reduce the gap between the organization’s potential and its actual performance.

The role of the leader or manager is not held in very high regard in some organizations. The model of the “critical” boss, who seeks to catch people, has to be transformed into a leader who is there for his/her team and wants to help it evolve. This coach needs to be able to support, motivate, and guide the team, taking into account the strengths and weaknesses of each team member.

To achieve high performance in an organization, you need to master the art of combining know-how and interpersonal skills. To adopt best practices, in tandem with training, an individualized coaching approach allows for a personalized, dedicated support in changing behaviours, in a way that lasts.


With the aid of coaching and KBIs, the best managerial practices will have a significant impact when they are first implemented:

  1. Improvement in KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and KFIs (Key Financial Indicators), which will allow for the economic growth of the organization;
  2. Mobilization of employees, who will feel involved and engaged, which will be a part of the solution in the day-to-day;
  3. Increased efficiency in the organizational structure. When employees perform their roles better at all levels of the company, managers no longer have to “compensate.” Everyone performs their tasks better—which improves productivity.

What are you doing to improve the managerial abilities of your organization, and to help it achieve its fullest potential?

Source [French] :

Proaction International announces William Hendrickson as Vice President Business Development and Analysis for leading the USA region

Leading performance management firm Proaction International announces William Hendrickson as Vice President Business Development and Analysis will lead the organization’s growth in the USA region. In his role, William will be responsible to develop and expand new and existing relationships in the USA region and help American’s organizations to improve their operational performance through a well-proven approach.

“We’re thrilled to welcome William to Proaction International.  He brings a proven track record of success in growing the top and bottom lines of businesses along with successes delivering significant and sustainable results for clients, said Denis Lefebvre, Proaction International’s President and CEO. Under William’s leadership, I am confident we will successfully market Proaction International’s in the USA.’’

William brings 29 years of experience in management consulting and corporate executive management positions.  He was most recently a Senior Executive Partner at Venetia Partners. Prior to this, William was Managing Director at Accenture and held senior business development and operations senior leadership roles at Hitachi Consulting and Alexander Proudfoot Consulting.  William’s diversified leadership skills span commercial and operational aspects of businesses with demonstrated success of delivering revenue growth.

“I’m extremely proud to join Proaction International, a group of highly talented consulting and operations professionals with a stellar track record of delivering significant sustainable results for clients.  I look forward to working with the team and growing the USA business,” said William Hendrickson.

William graduated from the University of Central Florida with a degree in Electrical Engineering Technology and subsequently earned an MBA from Florida Atlantic University. He serves on the Dean of Business Executive Advisory Board at the University of Central Florida, and is a subject matter expert and coach at the Blackstone LaunchPad – Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership.

William Hendrickson









A Look Back at the Sommet Performance : le rappel