Decoding & uniting a unicorn

Decoding uniting a unicorn


How to decode and spread the success DNA of one of Europe’s fastest-growing companies while running even faster? 

The founders and management team realized that to secure future success while still growing its business rapidly across multiple markets there was a need to define and scale the success DNA of the organization. 

The company had grown to 3000 employees, and the pressure on key players in the organization to both deliver on growing promises, onboard people, and stay alive and sound was often an unsolvable equation. High performers joining the company had an equally hard task offloading these key people since they were under high pressure to deliver. The mass of the organization did not know the core purpose of the company and therefore mistook the company for any traditional.  

The founder had wanted to do this for some time but, this being too big to fail, had found it to find the right partner. Suddenly, he found the company being 3000 people in great need of support. 

The results

Wide alignment and engagement for the organization’s success DNA, robust and ready to take on the challenges and opportunities of tomorrow.

  • Awareness and engagement for the journey ahead, in the core and width of the organization through an accessible model covering critical aspects of the company’s success DNA – the purpose, culture, and strategy.
  • Allyship for the journey through involvement in the process and clear expectations on leaders and employees to contribute to the success through individual and joint ownership.
  • Ability to scale the success DNA through a leadership toolkit supporting strategy and culture into action in all parts of the organisation. 
  • Distributed leadership for the success through awareness and training of leaders throughout the organisation.
  • Increased collaboration across functions and markets enabled by uniting people around joint strategic focus areas, culture, and purpose. 

The Task

People Heart Business were invited as partner in this situation. A situation with a great need of support yet many conflicting priorities. The task was as often in partnerships jointly defined. To leverage the potential in the organization there was a need to stop running and prioritize defining the success DNA to further scale and professionalize the organization for future success. The task to both define and align around purpose, culture, add strategic focus areas. People Heart Business was equally focused on getting the right things in the fancy power points as building a movement for the success DNA, and therefore the work to a large extent relied on co-creation with the organization.  

The solution

  • Through a 6 months co-creation project, gather the management team, leaders, and employees in the organization to analyze, discuss, and define critical aspects of the Success DNA.
  • Define external trends that will impact the organization going forward and, in this context, contribute to strategic organizational learning and development of relevant direction and expertise.
  • Build trust within and between organizational units to better understand and collaborate around strategic priorities. 
  • Build a framework for “the company way” including purpose, culture, and strategic focus areas while simultaneously strengthening leadership capabilities, and most importantly ownership for the realization of the Success DNA in both senior management and employees out in the organization. 

Partner quotes

Making the traditional player innovative and human centric

Making the traditional player innovative and human centric


How to make the successful large traditional player leave the safe space and move into uncharted areas making it successful going forward? 

With strong market performance, over 10 000 employees with a high engagement for the company, and large and satisfied customers – why change?   

…Because the world changes, and what made this organization successful now or in the near future will not be the answer to long-term success. To lead the future, the organization needed to have a higher focus on innovation and sustainability, transforming their leadership to handle the fourth industrial revolution and have a higher focus on human centricity to attract both customers and the next generation workforce. 

The organization had been built on strong individual leaders and business units. Even though collaboration was a core value, it had not been core to the Executive Management Team, creating frustration and inefficiency in the next level of the organization. At times, the executive management team became more of a suppressor, than an enabler of innovation in the organization. To compete at scale and drive innovation, there was a need for alignment, efficiency, and collaboration.   

The newly appointed CEO reached out to People Heart Business to get support in this transformation – to unite the executive management team around the critical success factors for the future and role model a human-centric way of working. 

The results




Percentage experiencing a high degree of increased performance.

  • New performance management measurements from the board throughout the organization covering and driving both financial and non-financial targets
  • Higher pace in driving the strategic agenda for sustainability, innovation, people and efficiency
  • Improved team climate and power balance supporting the future success of the company
  • Members not supporting or able to drive the shift leaving the team and giving space to diverse perspectives on future success

The solution

People Heart Business, together with the CEO, decided to start focusing on the Executive Management Team, but with important input from external and internal stakeholders. The first phase built important trust and engagement in the organization for the newly appointed CEO, it helped the management team to stop, reflect, and see the severeness in the gathered feedback from owners, board, customers, and employees. The feedback highlighted many positive areas and built pride in the management team, and it also functioned as a wake-up call for some blind spots.

Building a high-performing management team is not a two-day workshop gig. It takes dedication and time to truly impact strategy realization and team efficiency. Therefore, People Heart Business, together with the customer, targeted the most critical business challenges and designed a one-year program. Individual development assessments, in relation to the critical success factors, were conducted for all team members, to build awareness of strengths and development areas and to spark development. Cross-functional task forces were put together to create shared ownership for common challenges rather than silo-driven responsibilities.

The initiative was met with both positive and negative reactions. Members with higher historical status and large impact had a harder time understanding the need to prioritize the initiative, whereas people in charge of the desired change or promoters of collaboration experienced a great relief that hindering blocks for performance and psychological safety were addressed.