transforming culture for strategic growth

transforming culture for strategic growth

agility and innovation start with building critical skills

A global food manufacturing, distribution and retail company based near Toronto, Canada was heading into a phase of significant growth, and the leadership team needed to shift their strategic direction from product-centric to being customercentric. This meant becoming more innovative and responsive to the consumer’s needs – a huge departure from their previous strategy.

Leaders knew improving speed and effectiveness of decision-making and cross-functional collaboration would be critical to achieving their aggressive growth targets.  To improve agility and customer-centricity (which were anchors to the strategy), the program focused on these four key competencies for all team members:
• Accountability & work ownership
• Cross-functional collaborations
• De-centralise decision-making
• Increased autonomy

Delivering products that aligned more closely to customer needs meant completely changing their workplace culture. Employees needed to feel safe to work with greater independence, and cross- functional collaboration required stronger working relationships across the organisation.


The client is a global food manufacturing, distribution and retail organisation, supplying products to retailers through their distribution network for more than 75 years.

With 2,200 employees generating almost US$1B globally, shifts in mindset and behaviours to align to the new strategic mandate would require involvement at all levels of the organisation.

project details

the challenge

Analysis of performance over the previous three years indicated whilst modest growth would likely continue, significant shifts in their operating approach would be needed to achieve larger growth. Without greater autonomy and ownership by leaders and employees, inefficiencies in decision-making, cross-functional collaboration and internal workflows would continue, limiting growth opportunities. These changes would allow for faster and improved responsiveness to customers as well.

the process

The senior leadership team started with their own development, understanding change wouldn’t happen at the frontline level unless shifts at the top were seen first.

Senior leaders participated in a series of workshops designed to analyse how new skills would be needed, and where to apply them in their work. After three months, they led a series of conversations with their direct reports to help them begin to internalise similar leadership shifts.

Following each session, directors and managers led conversations with their teams, focused on the topics connected to their strategic priorities.

All participants used the Habit Builder for 30 days following each session, to integrate new skills and mindset shifts into their work.

the outcomes

After completing the first phase of the program focused on leader skill development and coaching, combined with cascading conversations at the team level across all
business units, 94% of leader participants reported seeing improvements in their working relationships.

Participants at all levels reported a 28% improvement in strategic skills development across the program. Participants also reported observing how specific skills and processes were critical elements for empowerment and engagement, and combined for greater accountability overall.

Client Feedback
  • “This is the single most important initiative we’ve undertaken, and the future of our company relies on it.”

    CEO – Global Food Company

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