from tell-do to can-do

delivering a business transformation programme across 8,300 stores

Our retail client had ceded market leadership, costs were rising and
a ‘tell-do’ culture was taking its toll. We worked with them to design and
deliver a nationwide business transformation programme across 8,300 stores.

our approach

Our approach centred around bringing the organisation’s strategy to life through its 250,000-strong workforce. To improve performance, the entire culture and ways of working needed to change. Our programme spanned three phases: discover, design and enable. During the initial design phase we tested our hypotheses across two pilot regions: San Francisco and Dallas.

We mobilised teams through self-discovery diagnostics and storyboarding, defining the problem we had to solve together. From the customer’s viewpoint, we analysed all aspects of field operations and support centre interactions – culture and leadership, performance management, operational efficiency, and customer behaviour. This culminated in an insight-rich story, owned by the whole business, driving the business case for change.

The design phase focused on getting engaged people doing the right things to delight customers and drive performance improvement. Store and regional level interventions focused on isolating and improving areas of opportunity identified during diagnostics. We combined tools and techniques such as problem solving, lean process mapping, RACI, plan-do-review and coaching and feedback with leadership coaching to create a self-sustaining culture.

During the enable phase, we worked alongside internal change agents to empower the wider workforce to implement the solution design. We also implemented a visual performance management system centred around balanced scorecard to give line of sight from the board room to the shop floor, and drive continuous improvement and ownership of performance.

our insights

Our diagnostics uncovered the picture of a culture crying out for change. It was task orientated, with a command and control leadership style. A lack of collaboration, ownership and customer focus was compounded by overly complex processes, unclear performance management systems driving metrics not behaviours, and conflicting priorities.

Above all, there was a 250,000-strong army of loyal employees waiting for their potential to be unlocked. The pull for change was there. It was our job to harness that force and create the capacity, capability and will
for change at all levels in the organisation.

the results

With a team of just 16 consultants and 88 client change leaders, we actively engaged with more than 100,000 store and regional staff. We introduced them to the concept of ‘freedom in a framework’, transferring skills and building capability.

This helped us to achieve a statistically significant uplift in sales and margin, as well as an impressive reduction in team member turnover – which in turn contributed to an overall programme RoI of over 20:1.