Reality Training Culture Change

Change corporate culture.
Internalize the skills.

A company's success hinges on its ability to continuously develop its corporate culture. In today's world, no one can afford to stand still. But managers sometimes find culture change more difficult than expected.

Finely worded principles are not enough to motivate changes in employee behavior. After company restructuring, mergers or takeovers, employees look to their superiors for guidance. Yet this requires that the managers themselves have internalized the changes and embody them every day on the job. This is where CPC comes in: With Culture Change Reality Training.

To us, culture change comprises all a company's internally focused strategic development or reorientation efforts. This can affect its management style, cooperation within the firm, the service orientation of its employees, or corporate values.

Once top management has made the decision to change the corporate culture, they must define the change precisely, e.g. in the form of a mission statement. The second step involves realizing the mission statement, a much greater challenge. That's when the culture change must be modeled from the top down and made understandable to the employees. Upper, middle, and lower management must all serve as role models.

Implement change projects.
Make plans understandable.

Managers often do not understand the need for the reorientation in the first place. They do not see the discrepancy between their own and the desired new behavior. They fail to challenge old habits.

Top management has been known to craft a new management model without the senior managers having once considered changing their own principles.

If management does not succeed in implementing change, nothing in the company will change. Even the top-down approach does not help in these cases. To get the ball rolling, companies need to make their plans understandable especially to upper, middle, and lower management.

Each and every manager must personally experience how their behaviors conflict with the vision and how those behaviors make their employees feel. Culture change reality training uncovers these connections and clears the path for the new vision.

Get the ball rolling.
Benefits at a glance.

During culture change reality training, participants learn under real-world conditions why the change is necessary. The format affords managers at every level a real understanding of their employer's plan of action for change and turns them into competent change agents.

During training our consultants confront the participants with a fictitious but daunting task. The objective may be to implement the culture change in an acquired company. CPC presents the new unit in completely real terms, employees and work environment included.

The reality training participants have three days to gain the unwavering support of the new unit's various stakeholders for the culture change. Good salesmanship is not enough. Credibility and exemplary behavior in interacting with their peers is paramount.

Reality training forces participants to experience in no uncertain terms the contradictions between their own and the target behavior. This awareness, combined with regular feedback from stakeholders and coaches, creates effective learning in the shortest possible time.

Experience proves that most managers not only become eager to overcome their own shortcomings, but positively soar from the good results that come from actively applying the new principles. The ball starts rolling...

Culture change reality training offers the following benefits:

  1. Under realistic conditions, executives learn how their actions impact employees and whether their behavior reflects the proposed culture change.
  2. Reality training increases acceptance on the part of the participants.
  3. Individuals receive honest feedback and the opportunity to immediately apply that knowledge through iterative learning.
  4. Managers come to firmly believe that the proposed changes are good ones and necessary for the entire team.
  5. External actors and coaches mirror the current situation and uncover the need for action.
  6. Training forces participants to leave their comfort zones, thereby awarding them with completely new learning experiences.

Culture change reality training has also proven an effective alternative means of initiating change across a critical mass, e.g. the entire management staff. The experience spurs the definition and follow-through of the action plan for permanent culture change.

Reality training not only gives participants the knowledge they need to realize culture change projects. It also creates zealous proponents of the overall plan and role models for the evolution of the company.

Reference Case: Impassioned managers, Excellent Service.

How do you create a comprehensive program that induces top management to internalize their company's service orientation and then model the appropriate behaviors? That was the very challenge facing our client, a leading international telecommunications company.

The change strategy targeted sustainable service excellence. A total of 2,200 managers were to pursue this goal, with absolute conviction. To achieve this goal, CPC was contracted to develop and implement an effective concept. We ended up leading over 80 culture change reality training sessions for our client's managers. Service for internal and external customers was always the focus.

Besides internally anchoring the service philosophy, participants were also encouraged to reflect on the consequences of their management style and seek honest feedback. The following areas were to be covered:

  1. Create stable service concepts
  2. Assess participants' service behavior
  3. Drive home the executive role model function
  4. Guide employees through every aspect of service
  5. Foster cooperative relationships internally

To accurately reflect the situation at the company, for the reality training culture change we set up a fictitious company with its own offices, employees, products and history.

In this challenging environment, we elicited typical behavior patterns without prompting any defensive reactions. At the end of the first day of training, CPC pulled the executives back out of the virtual world and gave them direct and authentic feedback.

Participants were given ample opportunity to reflect on the rationale and reality of their behavior.

"The overwhelming number of aha moments ultimately led the managers to change their behavior and conduct themselves with much greater competence and conviction on the second day."

The result is apparent. The client succeeded in effecting the culture change and the company's new service orientation distinguished it on the market. The reality training also uncovered the need to do away with boundaries between divisions in order to improve quality of service.

Reality training got the service excellence ball rolling for our client. CPC received excellent feedback.


Portrait Michael Kempf
CPC Unternehmensmanagement AG
Am Flughafen
60549 Frankfurt am Main  


Portrait Sebastian Keim
Senior Manager
CPC Unternehmensmanagement AG
Am Flughafen
60549 Frankfurt am Main  

„Changes require that every manager internalize the culture change and become a role model to his employees.“  

Georg Heuchert, Partner at CPC