Lindt & Sprüngli has been prospering for 170 years, with an extensive array of well-loved, quality products in its stable. Their recognition at the end of last year as Gold Award and Innovation Winners at the Organisational Culture Awards, at OCExcellence.com, shows they are about much “more than just selling chocolate”, however. The company has been on an impressive growth trajectory for the past 10 years, rapidly increasing their workforce from 50 employees to 200. Ensuring the business continues to thrive and grow at this current rate has of course required extensive work behind the scenes.
The ‘Diamond’ project was conceived to “create something special and long lasting that would shine brightly in the company” and put purpose at the heart of the organisation. Their UK and Ireland Managing Director, Joel Burrows, remarks on the difference the project has already made to drive success in a tough marketplace, but says Lindt are only a quarter of the way through their journey. Highlighting their engagement with the ongoing change and refocus, employees have called Diamond a “life changing programme”. The judging panel praised Diamond for demonstrating “an innovative and brave approach to reimagining [Lindt’s] organisational purpose and culture” and for the “clear and lasting impact of the change programme.”
The aim of Diamond from the outset was to enable the company to develop the leadership skills of their top talent; bring pride and belief in the business and culture for all employees; and ensure that Lindt & Sprüngli was truly a fantastic place to work. Lindt decided to “crash the leadership hierarchy”, challenging Directors and Managers to come up with solutions to business dilemmas that developed each of them as individual leaders; not just personally, but as a part of a collaborative team. Through creating an uncomfortable situation for their leaders, Lindt drew out both original ideas and supportive, fruitful relationships. Leaders also reported an increased sense of confidence in their leadership capabilities, self-scoring increasing from an average of 4/10 to an impressive 8/10. Finally, the company also made the decision to shift the focus of their conferences from numbers and data to people, including how individuals and teams are making the difference to business success.
Summing up their recent achievements, Lindt’s HR Director, Jenny Lawrence, commented “Without doubt, one of our successes with our culture has been through creating a common purpose that everyone believes in: “making people feel special”. We have inspired our leaders and people to live an extraordinary working life and to create it for those around them. We are only just realising the potential of our business opportunity but we can already see the culture shift with our people feeling empowered to lead the culture and create sustainable solutions for the future. Our engagement scores have shot to 91% because our staff believe this is a great place to work – an increase of 20% over the past 4 years.”
Lindt are going from strength to strength in building a company where a purpose is an anchor for all; people are fully aligned with strategy; and greatness is unlocked in leaders and teams. Watch this space if, as they say, they are merely a quarter of the way there!
Organisational Culture Excellence Showcase is the first of its kind to share the insights and proud organisational culture stories of the OC Ex 16 Award Winners and Highly Commended organisations.
Victoria Hillis, StarboardThinking.com