How to Initiate Culture Change for CPGs


Culture Change Red Apple




Your company has profitably existed in the marketplace for decades. It’s not easy to accomplish the success of your brand’s history, and the leadership has much to be proud about. The same leadership has recruited you to lead the company’s key performance areas, but really would prefer you follow in line with the way things are done. They say they want change, but only under their accord.


You now realize you’re in a pickle, and you’re on your own right now. Leadership avoid confrontation and prefer to stay under the radar. To take the company to the next level, you know more sales and distribution is not what will improve performance. It’s something bigger; something much easier to talk about than actually do. I am talking about culture change.



 So, where do you start with Culture Change? Here’s some ideas on how to initiate…




Think Outside the Box


To start, evaluate your procedures and the key players implementing them. Are the decisions being made have your target consumer in mind? Make all decisions based on that. Ask questions to develop a vision for the future and find influence throughout the organization to help you communicate the vision. It’s easy to get caught in the everyday routine, but it’s time to jump off the hamster wheel. Don’t let obstacles be the barrier to a well-executed vision.


Create a sense of urgency  for process transformation. Step up driving performance within the organization by re-evaluating your team. Understand who really contributes and who just talks louder typically boasting about their activity. Who makes decisions? Who is blocking decisions from being made?


Is your team being trained and informed appropriately? You have to provide the right tools and resources to the right people to get this job done. Next, empower them to boldly speak up and make productive, smart decisions on their own. Micro-management kills inspiration and debilitates creativity and collaboration. This could be the root of the problem, but it’ probably not the biggest issue.




Educate the Leadership, Cross-Train and Recruit New Talent


Can’t talk about culture change without talking about the leadership of the company. Many time the leadership is the barrier to change, and know you can’t transition without the support from the top leadership. If the top doesn’t understand, find someone influential to them to help you get the message across. This is most likely the most difficult part, and failing to get the leadership to sing change from the mountain tops is the fastest way to stop change. Think about what’s important to them and tailor your message to incentivize this change. Build commitment from the top to communicate openly, then change can happen.


If a cancer exists amongst the leadership team conflicting with the progressive movement of culture change, than difficult decisions must be made to remove it. Be bold. Sometimes it’s about putting these disgruntled people into a new role within the company to get them off of easy street, re-inspire them, and challenge them. If the cancer has spread, meaning there is no hope, you are just better off parting ways.


Give others, hungry for the opportunity, a chance to to rise up and contribute. You will surprise yourself. Transfer responsibility by cross-training; for example, the brand manager and sales manager could switch roles to develop a more well-rounded perspective and skill set. Improve your talent pool, recruit a highly skilled talent from the outside to spice things up internally.




Work Towards a Team Goal


The most important aspect of culture change is to remember to start from the top and then the bottom up – meeting in middle. A plan is executed, measured and refined; nothing is set in stone. Remember the truth behind opportunity cost. 


Celebrate the small victories together. Learn from the mistakes that happen, as we all learn more from mistakes than anything else. Make decisions based on facts, common sense, and integrity. Role up your sleeves and get dirty. Forget about titles within the organization, and inspire some real collaborative teamwork. Walk the walk…don’t just talk.


Soon enough you will begin to see that achieving shared goals is fun, improves performance, and maintains a happier workforce. Happier people sell better and develop better relationships. The positive winning culture can become contagious when the team is working together towards the same goal. Good luck CPG.