Leading Culture through Times of Organizational Change

Article excerpt


As important as it is for leaders to guide their organizations through disruptive external forces, we also must be prepared to lead when volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity arise from within the organization itself. Leadership changes, business performance, reorganizations, divestitures and acquisitions can stress an organization's culture. But with a clear strategy and a strong Human Resources partnership, we can adapt to changing times and cultivate the talent our organizations need to deliver positive business outcomes.

In 2011, Denise Morrison became CEO of Campbell Soup Company and implemented a new strategic framework called Focus Forward--a plan designed to deliver sustainable growth. To deliver on that strategy, we needed to create a culture of high performance; so we've engaged our leaders and developed a systematic approach across the organization, driving cultural alignment by pulling four strategic "levers": Company Strategy, Leaders & Organization, Symbols & Rituals, and People Processes.

Creating clarity around our Company Strategy was the first step toward engaging employees in the evolution of our high-performance culture. We articulated our desired outcome--"to drive sustainable, profitable net sales growth"--and what we needed to do to get there: strengthen our core business and expand into higher-growth spaces. …