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A Culture Transformation Case Study

Who do we need to become?

CultureTalk Partner Reynaldo Naves and his associates at Olivia Global had a big assignment: transform the culture and create cultural consistency across multiple brands underneath Brazil’s largest fashion retailer in step with operations integration and technological advancements.

This was a successful company with a great reputation and wide reach. They had already found a winning formula, so it had to be asked “How do we move around the parts and pieces of this organization without breaking anything that works?” The intervention had to be deliberate and precise.

Reynaldo joined CultureTalk co-founders Cynthia Forstmann and Theresa Agresta to discuss this ambitious project in-depth.

Watch the full conversation or check out the highlights below.

8:48 Nobody wanted to change the formula of success.

Reynaldo shares some background on his client Renner. Renner is a huge organization employing 25,000 people across several countries. They had a stellar track record of getting results and delighting customers but wanted to revisit their culture in anticipation of shifts in industry and technology. The challenge was to reinforce the cultural behaviors that led to success, while carefully incorporating new behaviors to allow for the integration of new businesses, brands, and technical skills

13:31 You must see the future. You must feel it.

Key to Olivia’s process in this project was creating a desired future — a collaborative vision of the culture we could become.

“You have to make them view, feel, and live in this future today.”

| Reynaldo Naves, CultureTalk Certified Partner

Through this exercise of imagination, the sometimes-slippery concept of “culture” becomes tangible. Then, this vision must be compared to the present reality, bringing the behaviors that need to change into sharp focus. This allowed Reynaldo and his team to identify new behaviors that supported this desired future.

17:21 Where resistance emerges, there is the most potential for growth.

Shifting the culture across a 25,000-person organization was never going to happen overnight. Resistance is a natural, necessary, and productive part of this process. Reynaldo speaks to how the Archetypes offered a lens through which not only are strengths identified, but shadows are confronted. This work happens on a personal level and then that personal work is connected to the goals of the organization. What can I do to support our desired future? What am I doing that isn’t supporting our desired future?

19:17 You must engage people where they are.

To create this change, Reynaldo and his team had to engage people on all levels of the organization, from the executive committee to the people working in the retail stores. The story of “who we want to become” must be communicated to a diversity of audiences, while stirring the same images and enthusiasm wherever it is told. The team at Olivia found they had to tailor their approach when engaging people at the various levels of the organization. It comes down to one-on-one conversations. One person. One shop. One city.

“In the end, you have to engage people, not in the headquarters, but you have to engage people in the shop in Montevideo, Uruguay. You have to use their words, their feelings and their way of work.”

| Reynaldo Naves, CultureTalk Certified Partner

26:23 A leader is a storyteller.

Reynaldo had a special exercise he’d do with leadership. He’d have everyone close their eyes and he’d tell a story about a wonderful vacation he took, rich with sensory details. He’d ask the leaders to envision the scene, to smell it, to feel it, to taste it. “This,” he said, “is the vividness with which I want you to tell your own stories.”

Our stories matter. By taking ownership of their own stories and connecting them to their role at the organization, leaders inspired others to see where their purpose aligned with the organization’s purpose.