Friday, February 12, 2010

Saving Campbell Soup Company

In grade 10, I remember my Global History teacher telling us that if someone has said what we wanted to say already, (and better) to use it. So I would like to share with you, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Campbell Soup Company, Douglas R. Conant’s words about engagement. To read the full article please visit,

If you take a look in your kitchen cupboard or maybe even in your office desk drawer, you'll probably find something produced by the Campbell Soup Company.

Early last decade, the company was struggling. The stock price was down, the company wasn't meeting earnings expectations, and Wall Street was whispering that Campbell was for sale. That's when Douglas R. Conant stepped in.

He signaled his intent to change the company's culture by shaking up the leadership team. Conant courted employees' trust, building bit by bit, until he created an extraordinarily engaged company.

You have to engage in the work, and when the challenge gets bigger, you have to pick your game up a notch. You have to lead from out front and be ready to engage in the challenges of the day, especially in tough times.

The essence of my leadership philosophy is very much the same as it was before. We have what we call our Campbell Leadership Model, and we drive off of that. It basically says you have to inspire trust, and once you earn people's trust, you have permission to do some amazing things.

I strongly believe that you can't win in the marketplace unless you win first in the workplace. If you don't have a winning culture inside, it's hard to compete in the very tough world outside. Our mission is to build the world's most extraordinary food company by nourishing people's lives everywhere, every day. You can't ask employees to achieve extraordinary results if they're not fully engaged. I said it wouldn't be a top-down culture -- it would be a high-engagement culture. That's why we focus a great deal on getting the workplace right so that people are engaged and proactive -- so that people are moving forward arm in arm and competing with a spring in their step. As they become more engaged, they find ways to win in the marketplace that are sustainable. You do have to shift your tactics every once in a while. You always have to bring something new to the engagement mix to bring it to life again. It can be a big thing or a little thing.

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