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In February 2016 a new management team took over the reins at Heineken SA. Top of the MD’s agenda was to create a unified, high performing culture. Catalyst was appointed to facilitate this transition; what followed was a remarkable journey highlighting the importance leadership and face-to-face engagements play in transforming a culture.

The entire leadership team understood that they needed to walk-the-talk if a shift in culture was to be expected. The journey started with a bang when the top 50 leaders got together to co-create the roadmap to their desired culture. This roadmap was informed by Heineken’s strategy and focused on team alignment and bringing the Heineken behaviours to life.

What followed were multiple engagements to reach all Heineken SA employees.

All these sessions were carefully designed to ensure full engagement at the session, as well as effective knowledge-transfer and practical application. It included the use of cutting-edge technology (UMU), gamification, game-based learning, world cafés, learning expo’s facilitated by executives, music, visioning through future headlines and collaging, videos, artifacts such as playing cards on the behaviours, and product launches to name but a few.

Leadership teams were empowered to lead their sessions and the tailored design of each session created the opportunity for every employee to enjoy the day, and contribute meaningfully to, and take ownership of, their divisional action plans.

Two initiatives that stood out were the Supply Chain conference of 350 people, and the numerous high-performing team sessions with the Executive Committee. The Exco’s willingness and boldness to have honest conversations and to hold each other accountable is a key driver of their culture change. This is also reflected in their business results.

This partnership illustrates the importance of a committed leadership in instilling a culture and driving new behaviours. We’re honoured to be part of this journey, and expect Heineken SA to go from strength to strength.