Nestlé wants to make its products climate-neutral and its entire product range healthier. And to do so in the shortest possible time. It quickly became clear to those responsible that such major tasks would require an adaptation of the management culture.
Nestlé is the largest food manufacturer in the world. The traditional Swiss company, which began its journey over 200 years ago with the sale of soluble milk powder, has today become a global corporation with over 2,000 brands and more than 350,000 employees in 186 countries. In Germany, Nestlé employees work at the Frankfurt headquarters and in 11 factories to implement the company’s credo “Good food, Good life” on a daily basis. However, the context in which we live is undergoing major changes. To meet the challenges of climate change and the urgent need for healthy nutrition, one also needs “good leadership”.
A new form of collaboration, an open feedback and learning culture to tackle the pressing tasks together. How do you get there?
Working together more flexibly, more openly, more innovatively - these are just words for now. But they should soon become actions. Complex solutions need experience, exchange and ideas from the whole team across different disciplines. On this basis, managers can then make forward-looking decisions. But despite all the innovation and openness to try new things: In the food industry, everyone involved must meet the highest standards of precision and reliability.
Nestlé already had a vision of future collaboration and leadership culture in 2019. The practical implementation was initially to take place in face-to-face workshop formats. Then came the pandemic - and the decision to work with TheNextWe. Thorough co-creation resulted in a customized program for Nestlé Germany. The survey of about 100 employees from all areas was incorporated into a pilot program: Based on the identified wants and needs, three individual learning paths with different focuses were developed, all supporting the envisioned vision of leadership and collaboration.
In three core areas - new leadership culture, more innovativeness and better collaboration - a collective motivation for change was to be ignited so that the transformation that had begun could really be lived.
50 colleagues started the pilot program, and the entire top management team (including the CEO and board members) took part. The twelve-week program began with an analysis of the personal mindset, i.e. the inner attitude toward the most important professional topics.
The exchange took place in a concentrated manner via the TheNextWe app, where participants talk to their coach via chat and audio call. This distraction-free exchange allows for a high level of concentration in which important leadership questions are answered: Am I listening more than I am speaking? Am I leaving room for answers? Do I believe that I can only achieve real performance by working overtime - or does the best leadership consist of developing employees and valuing them with tasks? In this way, participants identified very practically what they themselves wanted to change in order to promote an open learning culture - and to increase their own well-being.
In the weeks that followed, practical application took place: New behaviors were practiced - with the help of weekly tasks and impulses from the coaches and other offers in the app.
The pilot program was successfully completed and the rollout began: In one year, over 370 managers participated. The extremely high participation rate shows how important the program became for the participants: Only 9 of 2,298 scheduled coaching sessions did not take place. The participants report major improvements on the way to achieving the goals they have set themselves:
With the positive mindsets that were identified and developed as a goal, employees became drivers of change, protagonists of an open leadership culture. Many thanks to all participants for the trust, the commitment and this best practice of a collective mindset change!