When the CEO of one of the nation’s largest pharmacy chains announced that the company would stop selling tobacco products in its 7,700 drug stores, he made headline news and set a powerful example for others to follow. CVS Caremark (recently renamed CVS Health) CEO Larry Merlo put a firm stake in the ground by voluntarily forgoing a source of $2 billion a year in revenue.
So, you might be wondering, what was he thinking?
I wrote about the four reasons culture-shaping efforts fail in my previous post (Organizational culture has reached a tipping point, yet many culture change initiatives fail for four key reasons). But what makes them succeed? What makes some culture-change efforts successful where others become simply another ‘flavor of the week’ training session that never translates into real change? This is a subject of great debate and many theories exist.
As we looked for the common denominator of success in the hundreds of culture-shaping efforts we have led at Senn Delaney, the level of CEO ownership and personal engagement won hands down as a key success factor.
CEO’s continue to publicly proclaim their efforts to manage significant and meaningful culture change. Some miss the mark and show their lack of understanding this critical topic. Others, like Satya Nadella of Microsoft, share a much clearer vision and appear like they truly “get it.” What separates the visionary and capable culture champions from the vast majority of leaders that don’t understand the culture fundamentals?