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Working in a highly competitive market and not experiencing growth in alignment with strategy, this global FMCG turned to culture. Dattner Grant was commissioned to work with global divisions in Latin America, the Middle East and Europe as part of a major cultural initiative.

Cereal Partners Worldwide (CPW) is a joint venture that combines the expertise of two companies: Nestlé and General Mills. Established in 1990, CPW employs 4600 people and makes many of the world’s most popular breakfast cereals. The company has international reach, serving customers in more than 130 global markets. It operates in a deeply competitive market with a strong focus on growth.

 

In mid-2015, CPW set some audacious ambitions for its leaders, the likes of which would require significant shifts in thinking, behaviour and impact. The focus was building a highly constructive culture. Senior leaders in CPW were looking for an organisation to help consider what it takes to build an organisation that drives growth through culture and leadership.

 

Dattner Grant was chosen to work with CPW’s leaders in what was called the global Leading for Growth Program.

 

This first step in this program was for Dattner Grant to undertake a company-wide inventory of CPW’s culture using the Organisational Culture Inventory (OCI) and the Organisational Effectiveness Inventory (OIE). This produced several outcomes:

 

  • It identified the preferred culture at CPW – how people wanted to feel about coming to work and how they were expected to operate and behave
  • It showed the current cultural state
  • It showed what outcomes that culture produced – some desireable, some that where actively inhibiting strategy
  • It gave clarity on the mechanisms that were creating their current culture.

 

This data – effectively showing what they wanted, what they had and what was driving their current state – highlighted the levers for change. The ‘levers’ were those interventions that leaders could own and control. These actions were clearly identified as those most likely to give CPW the cultural changes it needed to drive growth through its people.

 

Dattner Grant then worked with the Global Leadership Team in Orbe, Switzerland, to understand and plan a response to this data.

 

From there, Dattner Grant designed and facilitated a series of Leadership Programs starting with the global leadership team in Milan, Italy, and then cascading it to other senior teams covering Europe, The United Kingdom, Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

The program looked at:

 

  • The cultural patterns globally and regionally, and what leaders might do in response
  • Leadership style and impact – how leaders think and how others see them
  • Emotional ability – the key skills needed by leaders to shape culture
  • Difficult conversations – how leaders can manage them effectively and the cost of poorly managed difficult conversations
  • Coaching skills – practical skills for leaders
  • Mental fitness – including endurance, resilience, stress management and recuperation.

 

A suite of diagnostics was used to give people insight into their impact and ability as leaders, particularly the Human Synergistics Circumplexes on Culture and Leadership Style.

 

Participants were also given coaching support, feedback, action planning strategies and an online development program to support them further.

 

A major success factor was the drive and deep understanding of the culture by the CEO David Homer, the Global VP of HR, Bright Nkosi, and the program leader Janine McKenzie, supported by a committed, strong leadership team who were active and present during the programs.

 

The program was very highly rated across all the global regions. Dattner Grant’s facilitators found working in multicultural, diverse environments both challenging and stimulating, with existing team resources able to facilitate the delivery of multiple global programs in varying regions simultaneously.

 

The result for CPW is that, in a highly competitive and growth-oriented market, they are now leveraging leadership and culture as a critical driver of competitive advantage. Change and innovation will meet less resistance, different units will better collaborate and share resources, and the organisation will be better positioned to grow.

Author, Jim Grant, Founding Partner Dattner Grant.