A Casestudy with Madeline: a strategy that works

Madeline was hired to change the company. But after a few months she was close to a burn-out and completely demotivated. Whatever she tried, nothing worked. 

People were extremely tired, fed up with external know-it-alls

Her background was in business analytics, and Madeline absolutely nailed her observations. But as with many analytical tools, she forgot to measure and check the cultural aspects of this company. This resulted in a mismatch between her goals, and the collective needs. 


Before Madeline entered the company, three leaders tried to take on this task before her. So people were extremely tired, fed up with external know-it-alls and just wanted to consolidate the current status. 


What we did in our coaching, was working on Madeline’s own behavioural change. Not based upon her own wishes, but on suggestions from people within the collective. 


After 8 months, the measurable outcome was significant. That did not mean that the strategy was done, but it gave her the ability to connect with the people on another level. Now she was able to define shared goals, and build towards a new strategy. 


The first obstacle was culture, and she had already invested in this by showing people how she, as a leader, was able to lead this change by showing this behaviour herself. Being vulnerable, asking for suggestions, and taking the time to build up trust for the new approach.


Madeline struggled with strategy and we had some fired up debates on this subject. She wanted to analyse, decide, and change. But that, in reality, never works. You need to create acceptance from the collective for your strategy. More than once I had to remind her that taking time was in her benefit, and thus in the collective interest. 


Ultimately she was able to change the company in a way that met the needs of the people within it. Some of them left. A lot of them changed. The real secret? It took about 5 years, and a lot of strategic changes based upon measurements…


Strategy is simply explained in six steps, but two of them are crucial. The first one is to make sure the people within a collective embrace your vision, and secondly to primarily measure change of behaviour instead of change of outcome. 

Learn more about the six steps in determining a strategy in Leadership Lessons #9: Strategy.

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