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Bridge the gap from strategy to execution: culture change that sticks

Suzanne Bates (Bates Communications, Wellesley, Massachusetts, USA)
Andrew Atkins (Bates Communications, Wellesley, Massachusetts, USA)

Strategic HR Review

ISSN: 1475-4398

Article publication date: 9 October 2017




A 100+ year old organization was facing an enterprise-wide, multi-billion dollar transformation. A new, cross-functional team was brought together to spearhead this change, but faced challenges because of organizational siloes and lack of cross-functional communication. Following an in-depth assessment of the leadership team’s behaviors and their leadership presence, the president realized the team would need to change their communication strategies to drive the transformation.


Each leader was assessed using a research-based model of executive presence, the ExPI™, which is designed to measure specific behaviors of executive presence and leadership communication; the qualities of leadership that engage, align, inspire and move people to act. The team developed a “profile of success” highlighting their desired future state as a team, and compared that with the collective data on their strengths and gaps as a team. The comparison and insights from the comparison formed the roadmap for improving their behaviors as a team.


The leadership team ultimately became champions for the enterprise-wide change by improving communication streams and winning buy-in from their own teams and other stakeholders critical to the change. They’ve transitioned from seeing their role as protecting their vertical siloes to connecting their functions into a horizontal, integrated pipe that delivers fast, seamless value to the company and the customers.


This case study highlights the importance of creating culture change through leadership behavior. When an organization is faced with high-stakes transformation, change ultimately starts at the top. Leadership teams who invest in the hard work of changing their siloed actions, and hold themselves accountable for a new way of working, will be able to drive change more effectively and more quickly.



Bates, S. and Atkins, A. (2017), "Bridge the gap from strategy to execution: culture change that sticks", Strategic HR Review, Vol. 16 No. 5, pp. 222-228.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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