Dr. Oetker is a family-run company steeped in tradition with a history stretching back more than 13ß years. Headquartered in Bielefeld, Germany, the company has global subsidiaries in over 40 countries and employs more than 16,000 individuals. Today's accelerating speed of competition, the changing needs of consumers and employees, and the increasing complexity of the business world have prompted organisations of every size to rethink work and collaboration. But unlike many traditionally-minded businesses, Dr. Oetker is facing today's changes proactively.
Over the years, Dr. Oetker has launched various initiatives to cultivate an agile work culture. But its leaders soon recognised that the entire organisation would have to take effective steps to drive sustainable change. So Dr. Oetker launched #move, a four-person team tasked with coordinating, steering, and stimulating in-house transformation.
The #move team invited us to accompany Dr. Oetker on its transformation journey.
Dr. Oetker wanted to initiate simultaneous change processes in different functional areas. Like pebbles thrown into water, the effects of the efforts should emanate outward in circular ripples across the company.
Dr. Oetker chose the approach because its teams and organisational units are spread around the world. Needs and procedures can vary significantly between Bielefeld and Mumbai. Who better to understand the requirements of a particular area in a particular country than the people on the ground?
Our solution was to develop a programme to train agile coaches in different functional areas and locations. The coaches serve as local transformation agents (LTAs) who bring new tools, methods and forms of collaboration to their teams, advancing transformation from within.
We launched the first LTA programme in October 2019. Twelve employees from sales, logistics, controlling, marketing and other business areas participated. We have since trained 49 local transformation agents in nine countries as far away as India, Poland, Spain, and Brazil. And we are training more all the time. Several affiliates of the Oetker Group have also taken part in the LTA programme.
The multi-day programme – offered both remotely and in-person – consists of five modules specially tailored to the requirements of Dr. Oetker. Topics include role-playing, tensioned-based work, design thinking, scrum, leadership culture, and transformation management. The programme's curriculum prepares participants to initiate fundamental changes in how employees work and coexist based on the particular needs of their work area and location.
To ensure that the processes of transformation align across the company, the coaches must stay connected to share their experiences, challenges, and learnings.
“We quickly realized in the #move team that we could only develop the culture in the company to a limited extent on our own. Together with TheDive, we were able to establish a training programme that enables like-minded people in the company to drive the transformation process from within.”
The programme for training local transformation agents enables employees at Dr. Oetker to find and apply individual operating systems for agile collaboration.
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“The LTA programme at Dr. Oetker is successful because it is not a project. The participants understand that we are all in a process of transformation that is fruitful to the extent that it remains a process – without a predetermined end.”