Building a Culture of Change Management and Strategy Activation in Your Organization

Change is an inevitable aspect of any organization’s journey, and its success often hinges on how well the culture adapts to it. Our new cross-functional interest group focused on Leadership, Change Management, and Strategy Activation kicked off on January 26th with an event emphasizing culture’s critical role in the success of change initiatives, underlining the importance of employee engagement, transparency, and effective communication. Many thanks to UWEBC Member companies Fiskars and Schneider National for sharing their compelling stories.


We first heard from our member company, Fiskars, a company with a rich history dating back to 1649. Initially thriving during the pandemic due to increased demand for home-related products, Fiskars has faced challenges post-COVID. Issues such as global supply chain disruptions, shifts in consumer behavior, inflation, and internal cultural challenges have led to a decline in employee engagement. In response, Fiskars has initiated a momentum-building plan. Weekly office hours allow employees to share ideas and suggest solutions, fostering an open and collaborative environment. The introduction of “Cultivators,” engaged employees facilitating communication, has seen a major improvement in ways of working. Additionally, the Fiskars Master Class, where peers share stories with one another, creates a sense of belonging across all levels while also promoting transparency. The key advice from Fiskars’ turnaround journey is to embrace change without fear, trust the process, and uphold honesty and clear objectives.

Next, Amanda Van Der Linden from Schnieder shared insights about change management methodologies. Prosci’s ADKAR change model, a well-established methodology, forms the basis of Schnieder’s approach. Amanda explained that the creation of a Change Management Center of Excellence allowed a holistic view of potential gaps, streamlining the process of change. She noted that building change management capabilities at Schneider involves workshops, accessible resources, and a cumulative change tracker. The emphasis is on developing a change management mindset, appreciating its importance, recognizing when it’s needed, and understanding effective coaching and questioning strategies. 

Aric shared that strategies fail primarily due to three things: a lack of line of sight between people and the mission, low employee engagement, and a failure to invest in activation. Aric’s four phases of Strategy Activation – Envision, Discover, Design, and Execute – provide a roadmap for organizations to successfully navigate change. Finally, Aric Wood introduced the concept of Strategy Activation, emphasizing its role in aligning people, engaging them, and fostering the adoption of new ways of working to achieve a shared vision.

This inaugural event highlighted the significance of a strong organizational culture in change management. Employees who feel a high sense of connection to their workplace are more likely to embrace change when they see leaders modeling the desired culture. To sustain any change, it is crucial to measure results continually, ensuring that the organization is moving in the right direction.