Leading Culture Change at Seagram
Why did Seagram need to Change? Why did it use a values based approach?
In the mid-nineties, Seagram’s core market, the spirits and wine business, had stalled. At the same time its CEO, Edgar Bronfman Jr. (Bronfman) sold their 25% stake in the chemical giant DuPont. This was the payment from when Seagram’s in 1982 sold the oil company
Conoco to DuPont. This stake in DuPont, by 1995, represented about 70% of Seagram's total earnings. The income from the sale fueled a further diversification of the company, but also a strengthening of its core business with purchases that gave access to new markets. Bronfman had anticipated the need …show more content…
He also recognized the fact that the core values had to come from within the organization when he engaged the managers in the process of defining them. I believe a critical factor was how he emphasized the communication of the values through the personalized communication
cascade, the 360-degree feedback loop and the values training programs. Based on the feedback received during the values training programs, it shows that Seagram has a long way to go before they can say that the culture has changed. But this is to be expected. Every planned change is both challenging and frustrating and it takes resilience to succeed.
How would you respond to the challenges listed at the end of the case?
The challenges face the crucial part of reinforcing and institutionalizing the change.
Regarding the first challenge of implementing and follow-up on the suggested actions from the participants, I would have established a forum with executive powers that could receive the info, discuss it within an expressed, known framework before making a decision. If the suggestions were “approved”, I would have communicated them as actions originated from the employees. This would then be “small wins”, important in change processes.
The next questions are about punishment and reward. On this I think Bronfman is wrong. To create a learning organization based on thrust, respect and teamwork, it is not recommended to use a stick. He should only emphasize the